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To think that yes, a deficiency of this kind does need some supplements?

(33 Posts)
Focusfocus Sat 31-Jan-15 16:24:52

I have just started TTC and some recent bloodwork last week showed that I have low iron reserves. Note -not low haemoglobin so I am not anaemic, but low ferritin levels - so basically my blood making capacities are not great.

Apparently for TTC it should be 10 or over, to sustain uterine lining amongst other stuff. Mine is barely 7. So when gp told me this I said should I maybe have some supplements? She said no the lower limit of normal is 9 so since you are 7, just each some spinach.

Long story short - I have bought myself some spatone as I need easily absorbed iron and am having 2/3 sachets a day with my grapefruit or orange juice. But AIBU to think that the GP should really have given me some supplementation for that level or was she correct that eating spinach regularly would do it? I somehow didn't feel convinced.

PtolemysNeedle Sat 31-Jan-15 16:37:01

I'm not a nutritionist so I don't know, but then if you aren't either then YABU to automatically expect supplements when an improved diet has the potential to do the job.

Anyway, you e bought yourself some supplements now, so it's a non issue. If you want to take supplements then you should do as you have done and just buy them yourself.

Nomama Sat 31-Jan-15 16:51:15

Go back and ask. You won't know what the effects are until you do!

Focusfocus Sat 31-Jan-15 16:54:13

The thing is, as I told the doc, I eat a really healthy diet. It's an nhs copybook diet - whole grains, plenty of fruit and veg,healthy fats, fish, lean poultry, loads of water etc, and spinach as she mentioned is a key part of it daily. It's In that context that I considered supplements - wasn't expecting to be handed any - rather - given the far from optimal levels and the role it plays in conception - would have appreciated some advice on what kind to take. I've done my research now and gone for spatone, but of course I don't know if that was the right thing to do. The reserves are low no doubt.

Thanks for replying smile

TattyDevine Sat 31-Jan-15 16:58:07

Not sure about the GP side of things - perhaps they are duty bound to suggest diet first, etc - but if your diet is good and your levels are low then I think you've done the right thing with supplementation.

Which I'm sure you know!

Good luck grin

IssyStark Sat 31-Jan-15 17:00:47

Vitamins and minerals in pill form are frequently less bioavailabile than in proper food form. You should try making your diet richer in iron containing food, dark green veg, meat, beans and pulsesetc. Improving your diet is a better long term solution than taking supplements.

IssyStark Sat 31-Jan-15 17:01:39

Cross posted with your description of your diet.

BIWI Sat 31-Jan-15 17:02:42

Maybe you should ditch the NHS diet, and introduce more red meat then?!

ProfYaffle Sat 31-Jan-15 17:03:04

Didn't they recently find the thing about high iron levels in spinach was an error?

SunshineAndShadows Sat 31-Jan-15 17:04:32

Are you eating iron-rich foods though?

Fabulassie Sat 31-Jan-15 17:06:24

I was anaemic during pregnancy. I took iron tablets. Very quickly, the colour returned to my lips and I ceased to be short of breath. Obviously, tablets do work. If you already eat a healthy balanced diet then why not supplement? You may want to check and see if there is any reason why iron supplements are bad when you are TTC but there's really no reason to eschew them whilst trying to change a diet that isn't actually made up of chicken nuggets and cola.

However, I have heard that a good way to get iron into the diet is to cook in cast iron. Just an FYI in case that sort of approach suits you.

CrohnicallyCold Sat 31-Jan-15 17:11:16

I was told normal is 20, below 12 you're in trouble, mine was 8 and I was given iron tablets. However, I do have Crohn's so known absorption problems, maybe that's why?

Anyway, look at how you combine foods, vit C and caffeine both affect iron absorption but can't remember which helps and which hinders!

TestingTestingWonTooFree Sat 31-Jan-15 17:11:45

I took Spatone while pregnant and iron tablets after I had a baby. Spatone is very much preferable to me as it doesn't have the horrible side effects. Make sure you don't have tea at the same time as it.

TestingTestingWonTooFree Sat 31-Jan-15 17:12:25

I think vitamin C is good and caffeine is bad, that's why you mix Spatone with fruit juice.

Focusfocus Sat 31-Jan-15 17:23:46

Thanks you all! I do eat red meat but not more than 2/3 times a week at most. Eat an egg daily, am honestly surprised becayse I do combine my plant and animal iron food sources it's vitamin C - like you know dishes like spag Bol or chilli which brings in loads of tomatoes with the red meat - and if I make burgers set home will Kways have a glass of orange juice with it to aid absorption, so I didn't know I was that low down in reserves.

Reserves take a while to build don't they especially if diet is good already? Will spatone be too slow then?, never had it on tablets and would love to know some easy ones, suited for pregnancy.

FobDodd Sat 31-Jan-15 17:27:10

Don't drink milk within a certain time (2 hours)of having iron rich foods or taking iron supplements as it inhibits (completely?) it's absorption.

Can you tell I listened to my GP!

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Sat 31-Jan-15 17:32:31

Don't think YABU. My ferritin levels were about that level with normal HB level and I was given iron tablets to supplement. You probably could increase it by increasing your dietary intake of iron but it will take longer.

Eating iron rich foods with vitamin c rich foods will increase the amount of iron you absorb. Also avoid having tea, coffee and dairy products at the same time as you have iron rich foods as they can inhibit absorption.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Sat 31-Jan-15 17:36:17

Are you eating your spat bol, chilli, burgers etc with wholemeal grains. That can sometimes inhibit iron absorption even though wholemeal grains do actually contain iron.

Phineyj Sat 31-Jan-15 17:40:46

It takes absolutely ages to increase low iron by dietary methods alone. Stick with the Spatone and post-birth, if the large dose iron tablets upset your stomach, try the 200mg over the counter ones (I use these as a compromise as. I cannot tolerate any of the kinds the GP prescribes). If, like me, your iron loss is due to heavy periods, you could also consider taking tranexamic acid to reduce blood loss. Don't do what I did and let your iron get so low in the year after giving birth that it takes another year to fix it!

bonzo77 Sat 31-Jan-15 17:41:19

There's an iron supplement called Galfer. It's a syrup and non- constipating. It delivers far more iron than spatone.

Focusfocus Sat 31-Jan-15 17:42:11

Ahhhh, all my carbs are whole grain (wholemeal baps waiting as tonight's dinner burgers go in grill) - oops, is that why? Haven't bought white bread or white rice in eternity! Argh.

FryOneFatManic Sat 31-Jan-15 17:45:12

Spinach does contain iron, but also substances that can actually inhibit absorption of the iron. So you won't necessarily increase iron reserves by eating lots of spinach.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Sat 31-Jan-15 17:58:34

It won't cause iron deficiency, but whole grains contain phytic acid which can bind to iron and prevent it being absorbed. It just won't help you build up your iron stores quickly. Wouldn't avoid them completely because they are also very good for you. Perhaps get the carbs from some of your meals from potatoes (with skin, good source of vitamin C) though.

Focusfocus Sat 31-Jan-15 18:20:41

Ok, will just continue eating what I do then, but add spatone sachets daily as I have started today then?

TwoOddSocks Sat 31-Jan-15 19:57:57

YANBU. Spinach is actually a very poor source of iron as it also contains a chemical which inhibits iron absorption into the blood - much better to eat red meat combined with vitamin C e.g. orange juice if you're using your diet alone. According to my doctor unless you start off with a very poor diet increasing your iron supply with diet alone is incredibly slow - much better to take a supplement unless you have a specific reason not to (e.g. it can make constipation/IBS much worse if you suffer from either of those) . Floradix is apparently great - it's a liquid and very easily absorbed and doesn't cause digestion problems. Lay off dairy produce and tea particularly around the time you consume the most iron as they inhibit absorption.

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