Not allowed to be a Vegetarian anymore? (according to doctor) - VeggieBoards
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 Old 07-16-2006, 02:39 PM
Newbie
 
Angeleyes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 17
I justed heard from my doctor. I was feeling really crappy and noticed a lot of my hair falling out... so went to get a blood test. The doctor said since I had thalasymia(sp?) as a child I cannot take iron or Vitamin B (I think) supplements and therefore I HAVE to start eating meat.



I can't do it... I need help!! Any suggestions on what I can do?
Angeleyes is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#2 Old 07-16-2006, 02:54 PM
Newbie
 
GhostUser's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 0
Quote:
Originally Posted by Angeleyes View Post

I justed heard from my doctor. I was feeling really crappy and noticed a lot of my hair falling out... so went to get a blood test. The doctor said since I had thalasymia(sp?) as a child I cannot take iron or Vitamin B (I think) supplements and therefore I HAVE to start eating meat.



I can't do it... I need help!! Any suggestions on what I can do?

KICK YOUR NON-NUTRITIONAL KNOWING doctor in the nuts!

DOCTORS

LOL..sorry......doctors really tick me off when they make these statements!
GhostUser is offline  
#3 Old 07-16-2006, 02:58 PM
Veggie Regular
 
gas4's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,227
I just did a quick search for non-meat foods which contain iron and vitamin B and they do exist, you just need to find a good source and get a new doctor
gas4 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#4 Old 07-16-2006, 03:01 PM
Newbie
 
Georgia678's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 8
The disorder you have is "Thalassemia". It is a heredited form of anemia, with many varying degrees of severity and complexity. Since I had not heard of it before, I did a Google search and it's very important that people with this disorder get a high amount of iron. I did not find anything, however, stating why you can't take supplements for iron and B12, as most vegetarians do.



My advice for you is DON'T just take the doctor's advice blindly. Since you obviously have access to a computer, please use it to educate yourself. Do web searches for thalassemia, vegetarians, diet, and read as much information as you can. I'm speaking from experience, because my husband was recently diagnosed with cancer, and the computer has become our lifeline to medical information, treatments, options, and other people who have the same disease. It's made such a difference, and I hope it will for you too.
Georgia678 is offline  
#5 Old 07-16-2006, 03:08 PM
Veggie Regular
 
Amy SF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Southern California
Posts: 20,217
From The Tip of the Day Thread:



Plant Sources of Iron.

*this space not for sale*
Amy SF is offline  
#6 Old 07-16-2006, 03:14 PM
Veggie Regular
 
Blue Plastic Straw's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 3,388
I would definitely get a second opinion. You mentioned having thalassemia as a child. Do you still undergo blood transfusions or are you under some other course of treatment? There are certainly non-meat sources of iron, but if you have underlying health issues, no one on this board is qualified to give you proper advice. You sound like you're not exactly clear on why the doctor is telling you to eat meat (with thalassemia the problem is generally too MUCH iron rather than not enough).



Try to find a vegetarian friendly doctor and discuss your condition and health issues, making it clear that you would prefer to stay vegetarian. Also consider seeing a nutritionist to work out a diet that supports your health.
Blue Plastic Straw is offline  
#7 Old 07-16-2006, 03:46 PM
Veggie Regular
 
Seb_0810's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,320
Many fuits and nuts are an awesome source of B-vitamins, notably bannanas. Broccoli is great for iron, since broccoli contains iron, as well as a lot of vitamin C, and vitamin C helps the body absorb iron.
Seb_0810 is offline  
#8 Old 07-16-2006, 03:51 PM
Newbie
 
Angeleyes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 17
Well firstly, people with Thalassemia cannot take iron supplements because their bodies won't process it properly and it will slowly destroy their liver.



Secondly, I eat lots of spinach and broccolli for iron. I really never worried about B12 before! I do not have any underlying health issues... and I'm not sure why you ask:



Quote:
Do you still undergo blood transfusions or are you under some other course of treatment?



Because that is not something I've ever had to do (thankfully!). There is no treatment- I would just get bouts of extreme exhaustion as a kid. Healthy diet... and I was fine! That's all- nothing more serious than that. I really never thought of it to be serious for a day in my life!! However, I notcied a lot of my hair falling out of my head- my blood tests came out fine. The doctor basically told me that I could actually start loosing noticeable amounts of hair if I don't eat meat... but that just doesn't make sense to me.
Angeleyes is offline  
#9 Old 07-16-2006, 03:53 PM
Newbie
 
Angeleyes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 17
Too much IRON? I've been told the exact opposite for my WHOLE life. Where did you read that?
Angeleyes is offline  
#10 Old 07-16-2006, 04:13 PM
Unintentionally Kittened
 
faded_amaranth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: PA, USA
Posts: 683
hemochromatosis is condition that you have to worry about too much iron.



Although spinach has one of the largest amounts of iron of all foods, it has a compound in it that inhibits the absorption of iron. Vitamin C might help increase absorption a little, but try to find other high Fe foods to eat instead of spinach.



If you use dairy for a protein source try to find others to replace it b/c milk is iron deficient.

A plastic hutch is no substitute for a mother. Replace dairy, not mothers.
faded_amaranth is offline  
#11 Old 07-16-2006, 09:58 PM
Veggie Regular
 
Tesseract's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 5,691
I'd definitely speak to a nutritionist. Doctors are great if you have a broken bone or an infectious disease, but they're notoriously under-educated about nutrition. And don't take the nutritionist's word for it, either. Educate yourself on your condition!
Tesseract is offline  
#12 Old 07-16-2006, 10:47 PM
Veggie Regular
 
Irizary's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 8,749
This doesn't really make sense to me.



Why can't you take iron pills (if your stores are low, which isn't clear to me), and why can't you take the b-12 tablets, if you're low in that?



For people with real iron or b-12 problems - which includes a lot of meat eaters - simply eating meat/more meat is frequently not adequate. If there are absorption problems you may need shots/infusions.



I would get another couple opinions.



Hair loss in females is often very complicated; lots of people with low iron do not have hair loss; and lots of people who fix their iron problem still have hair loss. The connection is not clear.

"If you want to know where you would have stood on slavery before the civil war, don't look at where you stand on slavery today, look at where you stand on animal rights." - Paul Watson.

 

Every animal you eat
was running for her life

Irizary is offline  
#13 Old 07-16-2006, 11:14 PM
Veggie Regular
 
kpickell's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 16,090
That would suck.



I don't understand the reason you have to eat meat. You didn't really explain why. Does this condition inhibit the absorption of B12 and Iron from plant/dairy sources? I know not everyone can thrive on a vegetarian diet, but I think I'd be asking a lot of questions to make sure I understood exactly why I couldn't if that's what I was being told.
kpickell is offline  
#14 Old 07-17-2006, 12:25 AM
 
IamJen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 19,134
Thalassemia is not anemia, exactly. It's the inability of the body to produce enough hemoglobin (which can lead to symptoms of anemia).



Angel..did you Dr. do a blood test? The only way to know for sure if you have any sort of anemia/iron deficiency, etc. is through such a test.



Also, Thalassemia is fairly common in one of the Greek communities near where I used to live, and the folks I know who have this disease do NOT avoid vitamin B. In fact, they supplement with folic acid. Did the doc say why you're suppose to avoid this?

The ones I pity are the ones who never stick out their neck for something they believe, never know the taste of moral struggle, and never have the thrill of victory. - Jonathan Kozol
IamJen is offline  
#15 Old 07-17-2006, 01:03 AM
Veggie Regular
 
zoebird's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 8,451
there are differences between heme iron (found in meat, etc), non heme iron (found in plants), and iron salts (supplements, iron skillets, etc). there are also differences in absorption patterns and how the body uses these different forms of iron.



while i do not know the specifics of this disorder, it is plausible that nonheme iron and iron salts do not have the same effect on the production of hemoglobin as heme iron would. this is not to say that i think the doctor is right--i do not know. simply, it is to say that the doctor could be right.



also, beans tend to have more b vitamins than meat, so that one doesn't square very well.
zoebird is offline  
#16 Old 07-17-2006, 08:27 AM
Veggie Regular
 
Lothar M Kirsch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Cologne
Posts: 2,144
Thalassemia is a hereditary anemia, which comes in different forms. Hemosiderosis is a problem, which people with thalassemia develop in the wake of multiple transfusions. These people must avoid iron. If your iron level is down you may have to substitute it. Your doctor's advice is missleading like someone telling you to take the left lane but not to turn left! So you shouldn't take iron but meat????? Disgusting advice!



A couple of question for you to ask:

How is your iron level?

What is your ferrtin count (storage iron)?

How has thalassemia been diagnosed? Did someone do a hemoglobin electrophoresis to measure Hb A and F for instance?

Are you "anemic"? Measured by Hb, ery (red blood cells) and MCV. One could at least see if the Mentzer index in congruent with thalassemia.



IamJen observed right: Thalassemia is prominent around the people who or whose ancestors live/d arounf the Mediterrenean.

If I'm not answering quickly enough - leave a note on Twitter for @Rheumatologe
Lothar M Kirsch is offline  
#17 Old 07-17-2006, 06:35 PM
Veggie Regular
 
hopejoy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 265
Go to a veg friendly nutritionist. Alot of doctors don't know much or anything about nutrition. A professional can help you eat what you need to for your help and stay vegetarian.
hopejoy is offline  
#18 Old 07-18-2006, 07:23 AM
Newbie
 
Angeleyes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 17
To be honest- I don't remember much about how it was diagnosed. I will have to ask my mother. I remember being sick as a kid and my mom would make me eat really healthy food- then I was fine. I never had a problem again. Meanwhile, when my doctor took my blood he said everything came up just fine. So where is the issue? I definitely need to speak to another doctor- because I'm not settling for a "You have to eat meat" diagnosis.
Angeleyes is offline  
#19 Old 07-18-2006, 07:25 AM
Newbie
 
Angeleyes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 17
By the way I really appreciate all of your input. See the thing is, I may have jumped the gun with my concerns because my hair got thinner- I don't have bald spots or anything. Being young and taking pride in my appreance caused me to freak out over the fact that my hair wasn't as thick as it once was. However it started happening after a very stressful time in my life- so who is the doctor to tell me what it's from. I went to a dermatologist about the hair issue- she wants more blood taken.
Angeleyes is offline  
#20 Old 07-18-2006, 08:19 AM
Veggie Regular
 
Lothar M Kirsch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Cologne
Posts: 2,144
Could you send me the result of that blood test? My curiosity is killing me!

If I'm not answering quickly enough - leave a note on Twitter for @Rheumatologe
Lothar M Kirsch is offline  
#21 Old 07-18-2006, 09:13 AM
Newbie
 
Angeleyes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 17
I will- I have it at home... I honestly don't understand what everything means. I will scan it and upload it for you to take a look at.
Angeleyes is offline  
#22 Old 07-19-2006, 07:41 AM
Veggie Regular
 
Lothar M Kirsch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Cologne
Posts: 2,144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Angeleyes View Post

I will- I have it at home... I honestly don't understand what everything means. I will scan it and upload it for you to take a look at.

Great idea!

If I'm not answering quickly enough - leave a note on Twitter for @Rheumatologe
Lothar M Kirsch is offline  
#23 Old 07-19-2006, 07:51 AM
Veggie Regular
 
chiaraluna's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 3,704
Are you sure that your hair loss is related to your condition? Some vegetarians experience hair loss (myself included) because of B-12, zinc, protein, or iron deficiencies. If your condition is not contributing, it could be easily remedied by dietary changes.



Definitely, definitely find a veg-friendly doctor and/or nutritionist, and good luck!



ETA: Here's an interesting article about telogen effluvium (hair loss):

http://www.aocd.org/skin/dermatologi...effluvium.html
chiaraluna is offline  
#24 Old 07-19-2006, 08:10 AM
Beginner
 
surya's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 104
I know someone from school back in India who has the same condition, though hers was serious enough that she did need blood transfusions. She was definitely vegetarian, and it actually seems to pretty common in India, where lots of people are vegetarian: any doctor recommending meat as a 'cure' would have a hard time. I'll get in touch with her and ask what kind of treatment she had: she was really active and I never noticed any symptoms, and the only way I found out was that her parents encouraged mine to donate blood during a blood donation drive.
surya is offline  
#25 Old 07-19-2006, 01:20 PM
Newbie
 
Angeleyes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 17
Thank you so much for that article- it seems EXACTLY like when I have... how crazy.



and thank you Surya I would love to know what she tells you.



As for the blood tests- I'm sorry I've been busy... I'll post them when I get home.
Angeleyes is offline  
#26 Old 07-19-2006, 01:46 PM
Veggie Regular
 
kpickell's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 16,090
Maximus is adorable.

[/OT]
kpickell is offline  
#27 Old 07-20-2006, 01:49 AM
Veggie Regular
 
jetekiff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 278
I understand what you mean about Thalassemia possiby affecting your vegetarianism. I have it too. Mine is Alpha...is yours Alpha or Beta? I usually don't feel as bad if I eat mainly whole foods. A lot of fruits and veggies, when I go back to processed foods I feel some of the same symptoms you described (and my depression gets worse), even if they're veggie-type things. I'm also lacto-ovo. Its just easier (for me) to keep a balanced diet. I take B-12 pills (I've never heard or been told that they would not work for me, only iron, in fact they really DO help with the depression). My dad's a doctor and altho he doesn't really LOVE the idea and is concerned to make sure I get the proper nutrition, he isn't anti. I really don't think that the question for us is whether or not we can be veg, its really more of do we mind having to put more thought into our nutrition as veg*ns. I'm not going to tell you that its especially more healthy for us to be veg because I really don't necessarily think so. I still get symptoms of the thalassemia (I almost passed out at 6 Flags) But I think if you go the right way about it then it can be safe.
jetekiff is offline  
#28 Old 07-20-2006, 02:12 AM
Veggie Regular
 
Blue Plastic Straw's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 3,388
Quote:
Originally Posted by Angeleyes View Post

Too much IRON? I've been told the exact opposite for my WHOLE life. Where did you read that?



I suppose I shouldn't have been speaking generally based on my limited knowledge. The person I knew who had Thalassemia had to have regular blood transfusions, which resulted in excess iron (she had to take medication to help her body deal with it). If your condition wasn't serious enough to warrant transfusions, then you would definitely not have had that problem. Sorry for the confusion.
Blue Plastic Straw is offline  
#29 Old 07-20-2006, 08:04 AM
Veggie Regular
 
Lothar M Kirsch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Cologne
Posts: 2,144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Plastic Straw View Post

... Sorry for the confusion.



It is confusing, because thalassemia doesn't say anything about the degree. There are harmless forms like being a mere carrier, minor forms which are only detected while looking for other diseases and real serious forms, where the baby dies or even dies before being born. So it ranges from "nothing to bother" to frequent therapies.

If I'm not answering quickly enough - leave a note on Twitter for @Rheumatologe
Lothar M Kirsch is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the VeggieBoards forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off