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

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Angeleyes</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
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.<br><br><br><br>
I can't do it... I need help!! Any suggestions on what I can do?</div>
</div>
<br>
KICK YOUR NON-NUTRITIONAL KNOWING doctor in the nuts!<br><br>
DOCTORS <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/rifle.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":gun:"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/rifle.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":gun:"><br><br>
LOL..sorry......doctors really tick me off when they make these statements!
 

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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
 

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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.<br><br><br><br>
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.
 

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From <a href="http://www.veggieboards.com/boards/showthread.php?t=50249&page=7" target="_blank">The Tip of the Day Thread:</a><br><br><br><br><a href="http://www.veggieboards.com/boards/showpost.php?p=1190747&postcount=32" target="_blank">Plant Sources of Iron.</a>
 

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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).<br><br><br><br>
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.
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well firstly, people with Thalassemia cannot take iron supplements because their bodies won't process it properly and it will slowly destroy their liver.<br><br><br><br>
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:<br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Do you still undergo blood transfusions or are you under some other course of treatment?</div>
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<br><br><br>
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.
 

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hemochromatosis is condition that you have to worry about too much iron.<br><br><br><br>
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.<br><br><br><br>
If you use dairy for a protein source try to find others to replace it b/c milk is iron deficient.
 

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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!
 

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This doesn't really make sense to me.<br><br><br><br>
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?<br><br><br><br>
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.<br><br><br><br>
I would get another couple opinions.<br><br><br><br>
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.
 

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That would suck.<br><br><br><br>
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.
 

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Thalassemia is not anemia, exactly. It's the inability of the body to produce enough hemoglobin (which can lead to symptoms of anemia).<br><br><br><br>
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.<br><br><br><br>
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?
 

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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.<br><br><br><br>
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.<br><br><br><br>
also, beans tend to have more b vitamins than meat, so that one doesn't square very well.
 

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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!<br><br><br><br>
A couple of question for you to ask:<br><br>
How is your iron level?<br><br>
What is your ferrtin count (storage iron)?<br><br>
How has thalassemia been diagnosed? Did someone do a hemoglobin electrophoresis to measure Hb A and F for instance?<br><br>
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.<br><br><br><br>
IamJen observed right: Thalassemia is prominent around the people who or whose ancestors live/d arounf the Mediterrenean.
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
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.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
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.
 

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Could you send me the result of that blood test? My curiosity is killing me! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 
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