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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All!<br><br><br><br>
I just became a vegetarian December 1st. All was going well - I am making sure I eat lots of tofu, seitan, beans, lentil, tempeh - at least 2-3 times a day.<br><br><br><br>
The problem is that I feel more and more tired. I even skipped my period altogether this month. I feel depressed, exactly like I felt 8 years ago when I was a vegetarian. But back then, I did not do it properly - I did not eat enough protein. I know that this is not the case this time, and I am puzzled.<br><br><br><br>
Worst thing: for the past 2 weeks, I have been craving meat. ME, who did not even eat red meat before becoming a vegetarian.<br><br><br><br>
Could it be an iron deficiency?<br><br><br><br>
Thanks for your help,<br><br><br><br>
Isabelle
 

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oh i went through a phase where lifting my legs on the couch. i was getting my vitamins, my protien, my supplements, but nothing worked. I learned in my biology course that iron deficiency is predominant in vegetarian diets. within two days of an iron supplement, i was feeling 100x better
 

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I'm a fairly new vegetarian, made the final jump a month ago.<br><br><br><br>
I found an ad in vegetariantimes.com for a daily vitamin pack by vuru.com made specially for vegetarians or vegans to make sure they were getting all the appropriate amounts of the small things you might not necessarily get when you're trying to switch to a new diet AND working full-time, etc.<br><br><br><br>
I ordered mine last week... have to buy 4 weeks at a time, and right now it's about $1.30/day... figured it was a worthwhile investment!<br><br><br><br>
just my $.02 cents!
 

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You might want to go to your doctor for a blood test just to be sure that nothing serious is going on. There's nothing wrong with taking a daily mutivitamin just to cover all your bases.
 

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Im very new here and I hope its o.k. to post a cross-link to another thread on the forum. Anyway, I was reading the tip of the day thread and found a post (#32) made by Tesseract which you might find helpful regarding iron: <a href="http://www.veggieboards.com/boards/showthread.php?t=50249&page=4" target="_blank">http://www.veggieboards.com/boards/s...t=50249&page=4</a>
 

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I agree with Rabid Child. Get your blood checked by a doctor. While supplements (as in a multivitamin) are good advice, it is also possible for people to overdose by mis-diagnosing themselves.<br><br><br><br>
There are a lot of possible causes of depression...<br><br><br><br>
When I first became a vegan, I had about a 2 month adjustment period to get used to the new food style. I used to consume a lot of animal flesh and milk daily before being a vegan. I had weakness bouts, depression bouts, etc. A big part for me, was figuring out what to eat...
 

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I agree with others re: getting a check up. If the issue turns out to be iron then I would recommend combining your iron foods with a vitamin C supplement. Iron tablets make me nervous. You could have full iron stores and yet not be utilizing them because you are not consuming enough C. Adding tablets to such a situation isn't good. Iron from plant foods are in the ferric state (Fe3). The iron that we use needs to be Ferrous (Fe2). That's the iron animal products provide. Vitamin C will turn Fe3 into Fe2. And, there's no worry about vitamin C over load providing that you are generally healthy etc.
 

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I have anemia [iron deficiency] and it does wear you out a lot [I had it before going vegan].<br><br><br><br>
Taking a multivitamin twice a day will be your answer to that problem. However, like rabid_child said, get a blood test just so you know exactly where you stand.<br><br><br><br>
Cravings come and go. Mine was eggs [I didn't eat eggs a lot ... so it was weird, but bodies and minds just do that].
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you all so much for the insight... I have a doctor's appointment scheduled for Friday and I am going to have my blood tested, as well as my thyroid.<br><br><br><br>
And I had no clue about combining vitamin C and Iron so that it gets converted into the red kind of iron our body utilizes... Thank you so much once again. I will let you know the results next week!<br><br><br><br>
Hugs to all,<br><br><br><br>
Isabelle
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>tendramisa</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Thank you all so much for the insight... I have a doctor's appointment scheduled for Friday and I am going to have my blood tested, as well as my thyroid.<br><br><br><br>
And I had no clue about combining vitamin C and Iron so that it gets converted into the red kind of iron our body utilizes... Thank you so much once again. I will let you know the results next week!<br><br><br><br>
Hugs to all,<br><br><br><br>
Isabelle</div>
</div>
<br><br><br>
It's good that you're going to get a blood test. Good luck, Isabelle!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/broccoli.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":bobo:">
 

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It depends on which level you started. If your iron pool was low, then you might easier develop while changing you diet, but not necessarily so - if you see that you have enough iron in you meals, see that you increase vitamin C intake while tying to get iron absorbed and don't have black tea with your meals.<br><br>
But I agree, checking out what you ferritin count is, stops worrying and gives certainty.
 

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Good points have been made about the Vitamin C and iron absorption, and I noticed you hadn't mentioned eating any Vitamin C rich foods (maybe you are but didn't mention it), although you do seem to be eating plenty that contain iron. Anyway, be sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, as vitamin C really shouldn't be a problem to get plenty of on a vegetarian diet.<br><br><br><br>
BTW, there is a sense in which the non-heme iron that comes from vegetarian sources is much superior to the heme iron that comes from animal sources. Specifically, the body only absorbs the amount of non-heme iron that it needs, whereas with the heme iron, excess amounts of it can be absorbed beyond what the body actually needs, creating toxicity. So, believe it or not, its actually better that the vegetarian form of iron isn't as highly absorbable, because our body takes just what it needs, and no more. Excess iron causes oxidation, which causes us to deteriorate and age more rapidly, which is exactly what we are fighting against with all the 'anti-oxidants' that we get from our fresh fruits and vegetables.<br><br><br><br>
Claudia
 

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Just another thought. There are some other possibilities besides iron. One possibility might be that your blood pressure is dropping down to a more desirable range, in which case there could be a temporary adjustment period during which you will be pretty devoid of energy. There are a lot of detox type things that can happen when you make a major change in your diet that could cause you to temporarily feel very wiped out. I already forgot how long ago you said you made this transition. Anyway, just a thought.<br><br><br><br>
Ya know, the more I think about it, the more I suspect a detox situation. Sometimes cravings have a lot more to do with withdrawal from a toxic substance, than a true signal about something that our body actually needs. For example, if you quit smoking you will have a craving for cigarettes because you were addicted and are going through withdrawal. The fact that your body has that craving should not be taken as a signal that there is something in the cigarette that your body actually needs for its health. I see it the same way with meat. I think it is unhealthful substance, and that people go through some withdrawal when they give it up. If you stay away long enough, and then try to eat some, you may find that your body actually rejects it and makes you sick, because a healthy, unaddicted body will actually reject the things which are noxious to it.<br><br><br><br>
Claudia
 

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I agree with everyone who suggested seeing a doctor for blood tests.<br><br><br><br>
Self-diagnosis can be a very bad thing to do. Diagnosis and treatment suggestions from medically non-qualified people on a message board can be even worse.<br><br><br><br>
While iron deficiency anemia is certainly one possible explanation for your symptoms it is by no means the only explanation. And only blood tests can tell you if it is indeed iron deficiency.<br><br><br><br>
FWIW, and your mileage may vary, I suffer from chronic iron deficiency. I find that when I am eating a diet that contains meat my iron deficiency increases (I've correlated symptoms and blood tests to periods of veg eating and non-veg eating). I actually have better lab work when I'm eating a vegetarian diet.<br><br><br><br>
My doc and I figured it was probably due to a couple of factors. Namely that when I eat a plant-based diet I increase my vitamin C intake and decrease my calcium intake. Vitamin C increases absorption of iron and calcium decreases it.<br><br><br><br>
He also postulates that I have a hard time metabolizing the iron in meats so I'm not getting the "full benefit" from eating those sources of iron and I'm decreasing my consumption of non-meat sources of iron (because the meat has displaced them).<br><br><br><br>
The last part is purely speculation on the part of my doctor and I - but it seems logical.<br><br><br><br>
Iron deficiency is not an automatic effect of a vegetarian or vegan diet. Nor is iron supplementation automatically necessary for someone on a vegetarian or vegan diet (beyond perhaps the need for a daily multi-vitamin).<br><br><br><br>
So see your doctor. Have a complete, full spectrum analysis of your blood done and then see where you stand and what you should do.
 

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Having your blood checked is a good idea. It might not be iron deficiency, but it could help narrow down the culprit.<br><br><br><br>
I had mine checked a few months ago because I felt tired all the time. I'm slightly anemic (my level was 12.4), so I started eating better and taking a multivitamin. It helps, but I still feel sluggish a lot of the time. I'm starting to think it may be partly due to either being depressed, stress (work and marriage issues), and chasing around a very active toddler at home. I know that this is just my experience--but sometimes the reason you're feeling tired isn't because you have a diet deficiency--it could be other things going on in your life.
 

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Like HandcuffedAngel, I'm also anemic (also had it before going veg). I have to take a special iron pill from my doctor. I would get it checked out.
 

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I was actually going to suggest (in far less clear terms) the whole "detox" theory that VeganClaudia mentioned. While I dispise the term "detox" used for diets since it conjurs up colonics and cleansings and other radical and usually unproven dramatics, in this case, thats sort-of what MAY be happening as your body adjusts.<br><br><br><br>
Veg*an eating IS an adjustment, for some people more drastic than others - and it WILL affect how you feel. In the end you'll feel a whole lot better, but sometimes the in between can be an up-and-down experience.<br><br><br><br>
At any rate, ABSOLUTELY go to your Doctor.
 
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