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Anaemia and getting enough iron - confused

(12 Posts)
EnterFunnyNameHere Sat 22-Apr-17 09:16:47

Hi all,

I've just been diagnosed as anaemic and will be starting prescription strength iron supplements next week. Not sure on cause yet, but i suspect long term omeprazole use and therefore low iron absorbtion.

I'm reading up on dietary iron and am confused. So women of my age need 14.8mg iron per day according to NHS. But we presumably don't absorb 100% of the iron from our food (?). Does anyone know how much iron we should be trying to eat in order absorb as much as we need? Or is the 14.8mg how much we eat and eating that amount means you're likely absorbing enough??

So confused! TIA!

biddybid73 Sat 22-Apr-17 09:27:33

The 14.8mg is what (theoretically) you need to eat to have adequate intake of iron. But iron absorption is very individual and depends on your iron stores. So if you have low stores you should absorb more iron from your food.

I'm not familiar with your medication and whether that could be the cause of your anaemia. May be worth asking a pharmacist? You could also see a dietitian for more individual advice on food sources on iron and an eating plan.

Good luck!

EnterFunnyNameHere Sat 22-Apr-17 11:37:26

Thank you biddy! That makes it easier than trying to work out absorbtion rates. The omeprazole basically reduces stomach acid (to treat reflux) but it is supposed to be linked to lower absorbtion of vitamins etc, so can make you higher risk for anaemia.

I'm trying to come if it but the symptoms just come back, maybe at the end of my prescription supplement run i should ask for some more personalised advice... I'm thinking maybe i need to over-egg it a bit to hopefully adsorb enough!

esk1mo Sat 22-Apr-17 19:27:56

i have anaemia and i try to eat iron rich food ontop of my tablets. also ive started to drink lots of orange juice, as vit C aids iron absorption.

VLCos Mon 24-Apr-17 13:33:13

I take omeprezole have had low ferritin iron stores for a while and lowish B12. When I asked my gp if there could be a link she totally dismissed it but Dr Google says differently :-/

EllenRipley Mon 24-Apr-17 19:42:54

I would keep supplementing even when your anaemia is better. In order for you to become anaemic your iron stores (serum ferritin) have become completely depleted and even while you replenish those stores to ensure you have a healthy circulating level they will still remain low for a while and that can cause the same symptoms. Get it checked once you've done your prescribed course of iron and I'd recommend (tho obvs am not a doc or specialist, talking from own experience and online research!) continuing supplementation for another few months to get your stores up, then ask to be tested again. Your serum ferritin should be over 50, ideally 70. Then I'd say you could maintain that by just ensuring you have an iron rich diet unless things like heavy periods or your medication are causing depletion. Most prescription iron isn't very 'bio-available' though will raise your levels. Things like floradix or a supplement that contains 'elemental iron' have lower iron content but are better absorbed. Hope that helps! X

EnterFunnyNameHere Tue 25-Apr-17 14:21:03

Thanks Ellen - I'm thinking that depending on what the Dr suggests I might request some retests at 3-month intervals after my trial is done (assuming a good result) just to see if it maintains.

VLCos - that's interesting. I spoke to mine about the risks of being on omeprazole long term and she said they were negligible etc etc, but was happy to schedule blood tests for thyroid function (separate issue) and iron etc anyway just to see what the levels were looking like.

Not very helpfully during my appointment the Dr didn't mention possible cause, and I stupidly didn't ask... I will definitely be asking after my 3 month trial! Dr google certainly links the two though! It makes it really hard to know what to believe and who to trust doesn't it? I'd love to come off the omeprazole, but if I do my symptoms return almost immediately - what's a gal to do?! I hope you managed to get some treatment at least and feel better though flowers

VLCos Tue 25-Apr-17 15:18:05

EnterFunnyNameHere my doctor was like not sure what's causing this . Take some vitamins and we will RE-test in three months and if same then we will look further.
I don't know why GPS think it's good to take something long term.
I have looked online people say when coming of it it's worse first then gets better.

EnterFunnyNameHere Tue 25-Apr-17 17:10:31

VLCos yes I've read the same. When I got put on omeprazole the Dr was very much "oh - you can be on this for the rest of your life with no problems".

When I started feeling grotty and did some research there's lots of evidence that isn't true!

Although I suppose in some respects it's the lesser of two evils, as I certainly don't miss having reflux everyday! I have gone down to minimum dose (10mg per day) just recently and i'm hoping that from there I can go to every other day and then off. But there's never really a good time to think "ok this week I will come off completely and just feel crap the WHOLE TIME" is there?

t'is rubbish!

VLCos Tue 25-Apr-17 17:23:36

I know it's a hard one.
I am due to have my gallbladder removed soon. I hear that can make reflux worse. So maybe after that I will try come of it.
I'm on 10mg it's a low dose.
My doc said loose some weight it will help 3 stone later still same !

EnterFunnyNameHere Tue 25-Apr-17 19:02:27

Ugh nightmare! I hope your op goes well when you get there and that it makes you feel better! flowers

VLCos Tue 25-Apr-17 19:13:24

Ah thank you ! I hope you can get that iron up :-)

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