Probably best to go to a doc. Taking too much iron can be dangerous. I was severely anemic and have to take the black pills until menopause but still have to get my hemoglobin, etc.. checked once a year now to make sure I don't get too much or that I am not taking enough. Levels drop fast but take months to build back.
Also, you can google to see that certain things will cause your body not to absorb iron as well: caffeine, calcium, alcohol.... I found it initially a pain to find a balance. You really should go to get checked out to make sure you don't have something bad (fibroids).
I agree with others who are saying to visit your doctor & get your blood checked. I just had mine done, hubby was sure that I was anemic or it was my thyroid causing my fatigue. I'm Vitamin D deficient.
You don't have to be over 50 to be concerned about too much iron. Both of my children had to be checked for Hemochromatosis in their teens because their iron levels were too high. And if you are wondering, no - it wasn't a hereditary problem.
Fitness Minutes: (3,792)
6/22/13 12:47 P
After having suffered from a severe iron deficiency caused by heavy menstruation, I urge you to go get your iron checked by a doctor. Many health issues for me were explained and therefore fixable after I understood what the root problem was. I had fatigue, spaciness/fogginess, heart palpitations...
Are you sure about the bananas having B12? All of the info I've seen has B12 only in meat and dairy products, with none in any kind of produce, and the database here shows 0% B12 in bananas. What they *are* really good for is potassium (another common deficiency).
You are absolutely right that a B12 deficiency could be the cause for fatigue, as could deficiencies in vitamin D, folate, or copper. Even a shortage in sodium could be the culprit, as it leads to chronic dehydration. That's why it's so important to see a doc and get a full panel to find out what is really going on.
It may not be an iron problem. It may be that you aren't getting enough B12. Banana's are good for that if you don't want to take a pill. There are other foods too that really help with that.
Fitness Minutes: (22,653)
929 6/22/13 3:47 A
You may want to consider taking a tablespoon of organic blackstrap molasses daily to help with iron deficiency. I found out about it from a website called earthclinic.com, where natural remedies for various ailments are posted.
Fitness Minutes: (4,358)
217 6/21/13 8:57 P
If you mix citrus/vitamin C with your spinach it will help your body absorb the iron. I just tried a new smoothie thats good with that. Couple cups spinach, canned pineapple with the juice, frozen mango and some grapefruit juice.
ICEDEMETER, your molasses/hoisin sauce sounds fantastic! I'm going to try it.
Edited by: CALLMECARRIE at: 6/20/2013 (15:04)
Fitness Minutes: (9,122)
6/20/13 2:50 P
There's something in spinach that actually blocks absorption of iron so it's not the best source for iron.
- Try other leafy greens in your salads: kale (either curly or dinosaur - just remove the stems, wash well, and hand-massage the dressing into the kale leaves so it's not as stiff), chard, collards, etc.
- Pump up your salads with nuts, seeds, and fruit. Nuts and seeds tend to be high in iron and vitamin c helps absorption.
- Add mushrooms to your salads.
- Cook in cast iron pans.
- Don't drink tea or coffee within 2 hours before or after an iron rich meal as they block absorption.
- Add broccoli, brussell sprouts, beans, lentils, etc. to your meals and snacks.
- If you're desperate, you can make "molasses tea". 2 tbsp of blackstrap molasses in hot water. Or some people mix a tbsp of molasses with a cup of orange juice and chug it down.
Definitely get blood work done and then again in 6 months to see if your levels have changed. If they haven't, you may have to get an iron supplement. I don't take one in the summer when i can pay more attention to my meals, but in the winter when i'm busy with school, i take one 3-4 times a week.
Please do get in to your doctor for a full check-up, including a complete electrolyte and vitamin panel. There can be so many different causes for fatigue, and it's best to know what you are really dealing with.
That said, I am now successfully maintaining my iron levels by diet alone. The only "supplement" I use is having cheerios most mornings (which are supplemented up to 25% of the RDA). My main iron sources, besides meat, are:
cocoa powder: a good dutch processed cocoa like the one I use has 15% RDA per tablespoon (30 calories, 2g fibre, 1g fat). Although calcium does block some of the absorbtion of iron, I add this to my plain yogurt every day, and make a cup of cocoa with skim milk and 2 Tbsp cocoa every evening (I just make sure to have some fruit with it, as Vitamin C aids in the absorbtion of iron). It seems to be working for me.
blackstrap molasses: 19% RDA per tablespoon (47 calories). I make a sauce using 3 Tbsp blackstrap, 3 Tbsp hoisin sauce, 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, garlic, and ginger. I use this to cook chicken or pork in, and as my base sauce for stir-fry at least a couple of times each week.
hemp hearts: 10% RDA per tablespoon (57 calories). These are also a good source of healthy fats. I sprinkle a Tbsp in to my yogurt, or on my cereal.
Hope your doc can find the cause of your fatigue and get you to feeling better soon!
There can be many different causes for chronic fatigue so I agree, it would be good to get a checkup. But if low-iron is an issue, here's one of my favorite iron-rich breakfasts (makes 2 servings)
1/3 c. dry Malt O Meal or Cream of Wheat 1/2 c. plain wheat bran 2 Tbsp. raisins 2 Tbsp. chopped toasted almonds 2 1/4 c. water pinch of salt 2 Tbsp. blackstrap molasses
Boil salted water. SLOWLY add Malt O Meal or Cream of Wheat so it doesn't clump; add bran. Cook a few minutes with raisins. Top with toasted almonds and blackstrap molasses. Yum!
This is 250 calories and is rich in iron and has 7 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein.
Here's one of my other solutions to the low-iron problem, which I've struggled with periodically: Buy a couple of good quality lean New York steaks and make my husband cook them on the grill for us. I usually don't have to beg too hard. :) Lean beef is one of the best sources of good, absorbable heme iron and if you don't eat it too often, it's delicious.
Fitness Minutes: (34,683)
6/20/13 9:52 A
Thanks for the tools and advice. I really appreciate the quality feedback available at sparkpeople.
You MAY be getting more iron than you realize, because the nutrition labels don't have to show it. There are many other causes of tiredness, so if this is ongoing, and you are eating quality food and enough calories, including enough quality carbs (from foods such as whole-grains, NOT processed foods), and you are getting in some exercise and plenty of fresh air, then perhaps it might be beneficial to make an appointment with your Dr to see what is going on! Too much iron can cause problems, just as too little can, and only a blood test will determine if yours is normal or not.
Fitness Minutes: (34,683)
6/19/13 10:50 P
I am tired all the time, and recently read that low iron intake can cause fatigue. Sure enough, I added iron to my nutrients that I track and found I was only getting 50-75 a day when the recommended range in 100-150. I prefer to eat my nutrients from natural sources rather than popping a vitaming, or some other pill. I eat spinach based salads several times a week, and meat at all my meals. Please give me some more ideas for iron rich food that is low calories. Thanks!
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