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#1 Old 05-10-2005, 08:29 PM
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After years and years of insisting that I can get all the nutrients I need through diet alone, I've broken down and bought some vitamins.



The problem is, all vitamins with iron give me excruciating stomach cramps. Despite leafy greens, blackstrap molasses, and fortified cream of wheat, I still can't get enough iron to not be classified as anemic anymore. I bruise easily and get lightheaded. Ugh.



So I decided that if I have to take a vitamin and get stomach cramps, I might as well get a ton of iron, and I bought some vitamins with 100% iron in it.



Big mistake. If I thought the vitamins with 20% iron were bad, these are just killing me...



I took it in the evening so I wouldn't have to spend my day with stomach cramps, but now I'm not sure if I'll be able to sleep.



So.... do you think I'll build up a tolerance? I've never been able to go more than a month on iron before, but I'm willing to stick with the pain if it's going to make me healthier. Is there something specific I can eat with the vitamin to make it hurt less? Today I had pasta. I'm not sure what could be more filling than that.



Umm... I'm not sure what else I need to know. I just wish there were an easy way to get my body to absorb iron... ugh. I'll try to stick with this for a month and then go get some bloodwork done and see if it's worth all the pain.



Whine, whine, whine...



Also, since I'm taking a vitamin, I figure I might as well get the best for my buck... can you vitamin-savvy folks take a look at what I'm taking and tell me if there's anything I'm missing or should have more of? I was unable to find a vitamin that had 100% iron and 100% calcium.



Vitamin A 60%

Vitamin C 100%

Vitamin D 100%

Vitamin E 100%

Thiamin 100%

Riboflavin 100%

Niacin 100%

Vitamin B6 100%

Folic Acit 100%

Vitamin b12 100%

Pantothenic Acid 100%

Calcium 45%

Iron 100%

zinc 100%
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#2 Old 05-10-2005, 08:58 PM
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Do you take them with food? Also try cutting the pill in half. The dosage may be too high for you. If that still doesn't help, why not just go for iron-fortified foods like cereal or snack bars?
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#3 Old 05-10-2005, 09:17 PM
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The reason I'm taking it is because the iron-fortified foods aren't helping enough. I could try cutting it in half, but I'm not sure how that would be any better than taking a pill with 20% iron, which caused a nearly equal amount of pain. Grr...



This is a problem everyone in my family deals with. No one's found an answer yet, but I'm soooo tired of being anemic. Part of the problem is that supposedly we have trouble absorbing iron. I'm not sure what the deal is with that.
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#4 Old 05-10-2005, 09:22 PM
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Hmm. That does sound like quite the quagmire ... (and yes I'm excited to have an excuse to use such a fun word). If you can't absorb the iron in fortified foods, I'd also think it would be likely that you won't absorb the iron in the vitamin. It's unfortunate that your doctor can't help give you some better ideas. I hope you figure out something soon that not only works, but is painless Good luck!
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#5 Old 05-10-2005, 09:55 PM
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Yay! My thread helped you use a cool word!!!



The absorption thing is what led me to taking the 100% -- I figure maybe I'll get 50% or something.



Here's what worries me... this could be a symptom of celiac sprue, which is what my grandmother had. The complications eventually led to her untimely death. I know that celiacs is not at all fatal or even dangerous if it's diagnosed early, but I really want to be able to absorb iron, because if I can, then chances are I don't have celiacs. My cousin was recently diagnosed with it. The rest of us will be getting checked for it soon, since it's a genetic disease. I like my gluten. I really doubt I'd have much success as a vegetarian if it ended up that I couldn't have any wheat products, either.



An additional complication would be that I would very likely have to get my iron through an IV and that terrifies me since it was the stuff in the IV that put a magnesium deposit in my grandma's brain and then slowly, painfully killed her. It was awful to watch and I really don't want to go through something like that.



So... yeah. A little freaked out over here. Maybe I should have included that in my initial post.
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#6 Old 05-10-2005, 10:16 PM
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I heard, now I hope I get this right, that you can't put the Daily recommended intake for calcium in a multi-vitamin pill because the components are too large and it would make for an impossibly large pill. Does that sound right?
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#7 Old 05-10-2005, 10:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cinnamon toast View Post

I heard, now I hope I get this right, that you can't put the Daily recommended intake for calcium in a multi-vitamin pill because the components are too large and it would make for an impossibly large pill. Does that sound right?





That's pretty much correct. Calcium and magnesium are large minerals in size, so a pill with 100% of what you need would be huge. Also, your body can only absorb about 500 mgs at a time of calcium anyway, so divided doses are best.



As far as supplementing with iron, there is a non-heme liquid iron that is much more gentle on the stomach than the more common forms of supplemental iron. It's called Floravital (made by Flora) and it also has vitamin C in it to aid absorption. Floravital can be found at most health food stores, but if you avoid honey, then make sure you get Floravital and not Floradix (which is the same, but with honey added).
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#8 Old 05-10-2005, 10:36 PM
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Cool... thanks about the info on the liquid iron. I'll check it out.



And thanks regarding the calcium -- that reason didn't even cross my mind.
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#9 Old 05-11-2005, 05:59 PM
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Quote:
This is a problem everyone in my family deals with. No one's found an answer yet, but I'm soooo tired of being anemic. Part of the problem is that supposedly we have trouble absorbing iron. I'm not sure what the deal is with that.

My father's side of the family carrys a blood disorder called thalassemia. I suffer from anemia from thalassemia minor and there is nothing I can do about it.



Quote:
People whose hemoglobin does not produce enough beta protein have beta thalassemia. It is found in people of Mediterranean descent, such as Italians and Greeks, and is also found in the Arabian Peninsula, Iran, Africa, Southeast Asia and southern China.



There are three types of beta thalassemia that also range from mild to severe in their effect on the body.



Thalassemia Minor or Thalassemia Trait. In this condition, the lack of beta protein is not great enough to cause problems in the normal functioning of the hemoglobin. A person with this condition simply carries the genetic trait for thalassemia and will usually experience no health problems other than a possible mild anemia. As in mild alpha thalassemia, physicians often mistake the small red blood cells of the person with beta thalassemia minor as a sign of iron-deficiency anemia and incorrectly prescribe iron supplements.



That's what I got. Kinda sucks. I also have an enlarged spleen due to it.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinga View Post

If you can't absorb the iron in fortified foods, I'd also think it would be likely that you won't absorb the iron in the vitamin.

Yeah, and as I understand it, iron doesn't leave your body. I would instead of trying to take supplments go to your doctor and get tested for a blood disorder or another reason as to why you aren't absorbing iron.



also this might be of interest:

http://www.vitamins-nutrition.org/vi...-overdose.html

Quote:

The other thing to note is that hemoglobin is not iron! Yes, you are anemic if your hemoglobin is low but that does not necessarily mean your iron is low. Indeed, what might be happening is that the iron is collecting in storage instead of going into hemoglobin. You are actually iron-loaded and need iron removed despite the anemia. The anemia should be treated with B vitamins, especially B12, B6 and folic acid. Many patients with anemia are dying of iron overload, and some are hastened to their death by their physicians who give them more iron.



Even a small amount of excess iron can damage heart and brain and other storage sites in the body and lead to heart attack or stroke. There is exaggerated concern when hemoglobin falls temporarily, following surgery, for example. Blood transfusions are over-used. A study shows that surgery patients who do not receive transfusions survive better than those who do.1



Before taking iron you must test saturation and ferritin. Ferritin indicates storage iron, which is not essential to maintain life. If both saturation and ferritin are extremely low, you must find out why. Low iron is a signal that iron is being used by cancer cells or is feeding bacteria, or usually it means there is chronic daily blood loss. The bleeding could be from an ulcer or tumor, etc. The source must be found.



Iron is in just about everything. If you are not absorbing the one daily milligram, you are truly on a starvation diet, and low iron is the least of your worries. So, go for iron supplementation only when you need it and be aware of iron's toxic ability to harm you.

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#10 Old 05-11-2005, 07:06 PM
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Definitely try the liquid iron. I've heard that's loads better.



You should get tested for celiac ASAP. It's possible to have it an be asymptomatic, yet still have it affecting your vitamin/mineral absorption. Please don't wait. It is SO possible to have a fulfilling kitchen/eating life while still remaining veggie as a celiac. There are whole avenues you probably haven't explored yet. If it turns out you do have celiac, I will help any way I can!
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#11 Old 05-11-2005, 08:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MollyGoat View Post

Definitely try the liquid iron. I've heard that's loads better.



You should get tested for celiac ASAP. It's possible to have it an be asymptomatic, yet still have it affecting your vitamin/mineral absorption. Please don't wait. It is SO possible to have a fulfilling kitchen/eating life while still remaining veggie as a celiac. There are whole avenues you probably haven't explored yet. If it turns out you do have celiac, I will help any way I can!



I'm going to try to get testing in June. The HMO thing isn't fun.



Thanks for the offered help. Ideally I won't need it, but I'll keep it in mind.
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#12 Old 12-31-2005, 06:28 AM
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Get tested for Beta Thalassemia Trait.

I had the same problems for years. I continually went to my doctor because I was always anemic no matter how much iron I took. I complained of dizzyness, lack of energy, forcing myself to complete tasks before tiring absolutly drained me.

My doctor finally sent my blood samples to the University of Washington about 13 years ago and I discovered I have Beta-thalassemia. I learned there is no cure for this blood-cell disorder. My red bloodcells are deformed and so they cannot carry the oxygen I needed to make me feel well. I'm 39 yrs old and had this all my life. I tend to get "spacy" because my brain doesnt get enough oxygen.

I learned that I am very suseptible to "iron-toxicity" because my body cannot utilize the iron from my diet or vitamins. This can be very harmful. I sure wish I knew this a long time ago, when my doctor prescribed me large doses of iron before he knew I had this disease.

Its hereditary. I got it from my fathers side, (great-grandmother was from the Mediteranian area I guess). Most of my family members are fine with no problems, but there are a few of us, including myself who cannot overcome feeling tired and spacy. Even in photos, you can just see there's something "wrong".

A few other symptoms I have are: ringing in my ears; continual feeling of moving up & down in an elevator several minutes after exiting elevator; sensitivity to pressure; coldness, especially hands, arms, and feet; low blood pressure; high pulse rate; catch colds easily; and I crave salty foods (weird I know); nice skin (people think I'm much younger than I really am); and I think that's all. The worst part though is the fatigue. People confuse me as having depression, but it's my "tired blood" that makes it harder for me to do the things I want to do.



Take good care of yourself and ask your Dr. to test for beta-thalassemia trait.







Quote:
Originally Posted by Mskedi View Post

The reason I'm taking it is because the iron-fortified foods aren't helping enough. I could try cutting it in half, but I'm not sure how that would be any better than taking a pill with 20% iron, which caused a nearly equal amount of pain. Grr...



This is a problem everyone in my family deals with. No one's found an answer yet, but I'm soooo tired of being anemic. Part of the problem is that supposedly we have trouble absorbing iron. I'm not sure what the deal is with that.

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#13 Old 01-05-2006, 01:26 PM
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veggie as a celiac is doable, vegan is next-to-impossible (if not impossible).



i also recommend cooking with an iron skillet. it does help people with iron. the veggie diet can be high in heme-iron (found in dairy, eggs, meat), which is more easily absorbed than non-heme (found in veggies), but heme and iron from the skillet are similarly absorbable. definately worth checking out.
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