Iron deficiency advice(26 Posts)
I was just wondering if anyone has any advice regarding iron deficiency. I’ve got gradually decreasing iron levels that have now hit an all time low. I’ve tried Ferrous Fumerate 3x daily, Spatone 2x and now on Ferrous Sulphate but nothing seems to be working, I’m just not absorbing it!
Midwifes testing levels again next week and if there’s no change I have to be referred to hospital, really really don’t want it to get that bad.
I’m exhausted and have two tinys already to run round after so it’s proving difficult, throw in the dizziness and sickness and I’m totally desperate for a miracle cure!!
I had really bad anemia, I took iron tablets every day and drank lots of fresh pure orange juice and ate lots of leafy greens, even putting spinach in my smoothies helped. And eating lots of broccoli and things like kidney beans. Eating breakfast cereals and whole grain breads. I also tried eating more red meat too, its moslty you doin the hard work here, I used to get so fed up of cooking and making sure my food was containing plenty of iron but I had no choice. I wanted to feel better so I changed what I ate and I stuck at it even when I did start to feel better. Have a look online at iron rich foods I'm sure you'll find plenty on there. Instead of having my cuppa tea in the morning I would have my fresh organge juice because this helps absorb the iron, and drinking tea and coffee doesn't help at all. There's nothing major I can advise though apart from iron rich foods and orange juice and taking your tablets x
To improve your absorption of iron, eat it along with a good source of vitamin C -- such as orange juice, broccoli, or strawberries -- or eat nonheme iron foods with a food from the meat, fish, and poultry group. If you have trouble getting enough iron from food sources, you may need an iron supplement. (Google wrote this )
Mine was a 6 after my daughter was born. What I did was to take the high potency iron tablets (200 mg) ones, plus 500 mg of vitamin C (which you need to absorb the iron) and spatone at every meal (3x) a day. They may also offer you iron infusions. They did offer them to me, but I declined because I wanted to at least try to do it through diet and tablets alone first. You might also consider adding in Floravital (the high potency floradix 2-3 times a day as well). That brought mine up pretty quickly, but it was postnatally, so that helped as well.
I'm suffering with Anemia too and in addition to the advice above one of the things I've read is dairy prevents the absorption of iron. So don't have milk for two hours after you've taken your tablets.
I second the idea of lots of vit C to increase absorption. so fruit and veg with every meal.
And cut back on things that compromise absortion, eg calcium. So don’t have dairy within a few hours of your iron stuff. And easy on the phytates as they reduce absorption (that’s no bran and wholewheat stuff).
Also drinking caffeine with iron is supposed to inhibit absorption so take any supplements in a caffeine- clear window! I'm finding this easier said than done when what I want is a quick fix of energy!
Ferrograd c supplement works well, it has vitamin c with it to help it absorb!
I have been anaemic since I was about 10 years old and the iron infusions do work really well (if you aren't offered them). Not a quick fix as they take about 2 months to actually kick in but after that they seem to last for around 6 months to a year. I can't take iron tablets though so I didn't really have a choice but to accept iron infusions. They take ages though - about 8 hours!!
The dairy and lack of brews has been a toughy. I like to have cereal and a cup of tea in the morning but it’s probably less than an hour after tablets.
Ive not been throwing these ones up though so that’s got to be a plus.
I’ve been offered the infusions but getting my bloods tested again next week so really got to try anything to get the levels up.
Anything I can just nibble/snack on that you’d recommend?
Aren't dried apricots high in iron?
I've forgotten to take my spatone 2 days in a row and I feel like I can notice it straight away. Came home from work/school run today and had an accidental 3 hour nap while the kids ran feral 10 more weeks to go! And then the real tiredness begins arghhhh!!!!
Ooh I’ll try apricots then.
How much spatone are you on? And what are your levels? I’ve struggled to keep the spatone down.
2 sachets a day seemed to really help, but I also started taking vitamin d around the same time... And who knows about a placebo affect too! I just remember taking the iron tablets in previous pregnancies and they made me feel awful (backed up, iykwim!)
Haven't actually had my bloods again since I started taking spatone but before that I was very dizzy and kept blacking out at work and that hasn't happened since.
How far along are you? Sorry you're still struggling with sickness! Mine thankfully went sometime during the second trimester.
Gaviscon type liquids also inhibit the absorption of iron.
Another way to improve absorption is to cut out drinking milk or in cereal, yoghurt, cheese etc during the day. Perhaps only have in the evening. If cutting out totally make sure you take a calcium /magnesium vitamin in the eve and your antenatal tablet contains the rda of iodine which is really important in pregnancy. No tea either.
Sorry I realise others wrote about the dairy thing. I had issues out side of pregnancy and came off dairy for a month as the tablets had really irritated my stomach and I had lactose issues. In one month my iron went up as much just eating iron rich foods as it had on 3 months of the big iron tablets. (I was drinking milky red bush all day!) I also ate rare meat, which of course is a no no.
However, you do need dairy in pregnancy for calcium, magnesium and iodine. Iodine is v important for baby.
Thanks. I’m 33wks and to be honest I’m just struggling to have anything at all. I’ve not kept anything down all day today, including the iron tablets.
Blood results back tomorrow! Fingers crossed it’s up although I’m tempted to ask for the infusion anyway in case the sickness carries on. Do you think that’d be stupid, I don’t really know what it involves but I’m quite concerned about the alternative
What’s your Hb like and what sort of dose of iron are you on (the important thing here is actual iron content, not amount of iron sulphate or whatever).
Tbh if you’re on a high dose (RDA is 18mg) and your levels are still low, messing about with things to improve absorption is frankly tinkering.
Some people do just have low levels. if you’re female and pregnant it’ be blamed on pregnancy (despite the pregnancy ref range already being lower). If you’re female and not pregnant it’ be blamed on periods (even if like me they’re the lightest they’ve ever been). Poor intestinal absorption gets blamed for men and post-menopausal women, but never seems to be suggested for reproductive age women.
I've had an infusion and it was fine, levels shot up. Felt gluey for a few days after but not everyone does. If they are happy for you to have one while pregnant, I'd take it. There is a slight risk of allergy, but you are in hospital and monitored.
Longer term you may still need supplements to maintain your levels.
There are other types of iron supplements which are better absorbed such as iron bisglycinate and iron fumerate. These are easier to tolerate than the standard iron sulphate you get prescribed on the NHS.
The below are all good and contain other factors to help absorption and anaemia:
Florisene: www.lambertshealthcare.co.uk/florisene-for-women-p8440/ (marketed for hair loss but a good iron supplement)
I’m on 600mg Ferrous sulphate But it says that’s 195mg of Ferrous iron. I have no idea if that’s high or low dose? My levels have dropped down to a 6 whilst taking these (past 3months worth) and apparently my iron stores are low as well.
In all honesty I don’t have a clue what any of it means I just know I want to get them up and feel better!
Thanks they’re suggesting the infusion if there’s no change.
I’m on iron sulphate as neither fumerate or spatone have worked at all. I’m due 6weeks Monday so I need to be ‘normal’ in that time!!
That's a lot of iron, but in that form most of it won't be absorbed.
Building up iron stores is a slow process, especially if you don't absorb it well.
Haem iron (in meat) is more easily absorbed, but it's not easy to get the supplements and I'm not sure if advisable in pregnancy.
Sorry, I missed in your OP that you've tried fumerate. Bisglycinate is meant to be better. Here is the supplement that I couldn't remember earlier:
If you were in, for example, Australia, I'm sure you would have been given an infusion before now. May be ask for it, I think you have to push for infusions in the UK, they are not common. Whereas my GP in Aus does them in his clinic.
If you are decreasing on the sulphate and fumerate, I'd try the Hemo-plex or the one above (Viridian). Check with your HCP how much of these you can take.
Thank you I will do. I’d decided to ask for the infusion I was just concerned that it can take 8weeks to absorb and obviously I don’t have that.
I became very faint/weak in labour previously due to iron levels but they weren’t even this low and hadn’t dropped until the birth (i was tested before and was fine, then after and they were lower), which is why I’m so wary of feeling like that again.
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