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The Real Benefits of Iron

The Essential Energy Booster

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  • I just wanted to say that when I was having a lot of problems that were getting bad, including no energy, not sleeping well, and what appeared to be low sugar attacks, I was not evaluating intakes such as iron or B-12, which we only get from meats (or beans) or anything where it is added in. Iron wasn't the problem, it is actually rare to have low iron when you are heavy (I don't see why, but so I heard). However, B-12 deficiencies are very common. Recently my sister was diagnosed with the same problem (of course I thought it was because of her diabetes).

    When I started taking a B-12 supplement (because I reviewed my eating habits using the Spark counters), I started feeling better. Everyone should look at that. I wasn't even getting half the B12 recommended for 100% daily value, let alone the 200% that fitness and health advocates speak for.
  • If your physician has prescribed iron, PLEASE talk with her/him before deciding not to take it. Most won't prescribe something unless there's a good reason for it. In the case of anemia, it really can have VERY serious consequences, so don't make a decision on your own based on one brief article. If you are seriously anemic you may have to take more than the usually recommended amounts for a while to build your levels up again. If you have problems with iron tablets upsetting your system there are many different formulations that are easier on the stomach, etc. - talk with your doctor about options.
  • I bought a cast-iron skillet, and started using it to cook meats. Not only does the meat come out nicer with more roasty flavor then my non-stick, I found that microscopic transfers increases iron in food too! Just take care of the pan, keep it well seasoned and it will last for years.
  • TAFFIN2000
    I have low iron for many years. I use to take suppliments, but they never seemed to bring my iron up to where it should be. Now I add blackstrap molasses to my coffee once or twice a day and my iron is much better than when taking pills! I am amzaed and pleased!
  • Wondering if there will be any followup to this article. There was a lot of good discussion points brought up by different people..
  • Choice, personal choice is important in issues of sources of protein.
  • I object to the photo included with this article because it just reinforces the myth that you need to eat red meat in order to be healthy - when quite the opposite is true. Further eating leafy greens and whole grains such as millet and quinoa is not only much healthier for the consumers but also for the planet.
  • This scares and confuses me... I was just diagnosed with very low iron, the doctor says I should have between 80-300mg in my blood, and I only have 27... so I was prescribed a daily iron vitamen, and the daily dosage of it is THREE HUNDRED mg!!!! Much more than what many of you are saying is harmful!!

    I think the high dosage is given with an assumption that you're going to continue your old eating patterns... I think I'm going to not take the vitamen, and just change my eating patterns to drinking less milk after high iron meals.
  • I am severely anemic. I actually have to go to the hospital and have iron infusions in order to get my iron to a decent level. I'm borderline blood transfusion. I was anemic when I gave birth to my daughter and received blood in the hospital. We haven't been able to get it up since. I've been thru a huge amount of testing and colonoscopies (up & down) to see if I'm loosing blood. Can't seem to figure it out. This is going on for 4-1/2 years.
  • I caution people over iron and assuming they are lacking. I have too much iron and it's a genetic disorder. I have heard that 1 in 4 people carry the gene that causes hemochromotosis (I need to verify) and there is an assumption for women that they are lacking.

    If you suspect, please get tested for iron and serum ferritin before taking iron supplements. If you have too much iron in your system, it becomes toxic. For people with hemochromotosis, the liver is not able to eliminate the excess iron and when iron starts overloading, your liver gets saturated and then the iron has to go elsewhere like your heart, kidneys, pancreas, etc. A very dangerous and potential life-threatening occurence.

    Most doctors will tell you it is rare. But, I think and believe that's a fallacy. I think the problem lies with the results of the disorder like infertility, heart disease, chirrosis of the liver, diabetes. Those get treated but not the iron.

    I just created a new group for those who have hemochromotosis or if you have family with it. If you have hemochromotosis or know anyone on sparkpeople with it, please direct them to this goup. http://www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/groups_
    individual.asp?gid=31038
  • OUCI81TOO
    I've been told by the blood centers that men (and women) with high levels of iron in their blood have a higher risk for heart attack and stroke. Donating blood is an excellent way to reduce iron and help others. My hemocrit levels are at 38 to 41. Below that and you could be considered anemic. I donate blood every 2 months. Something to consider. And as the article states - you can get all you need by eating healthy. You don't need supplements.
  • I really don't think a vitamin is a good way to get iron. It is sooo easy to get iron from food -- I get most of mine from green leafy vegetables like spinach and chard. If anyone wants to look at my tracker to see go ahead. Green vegetables are the best way to get iron and the conventional wisdom that meat is good for iron is often wrong. I am anemic and have gotten much better iron in my diet since I stopped eating meat a couple months ago.
  • TNOTTINGHAM
    I take half the dose of iron - in carbonyl or (slow Fe brand) so it isn't hard on my system. Ferrus Fumerate was really hard on my system. I was anemic and I have felt great ever since I started taking the dose of iron. You can buy it inexpensively at Walmart. I was a fitness instructor and I had many women who were trying to live on carrot sticks and celery sticks - this article was correct in saying that many do not get enough iron in their diets!! There is actually an enzyme in red meat that helps you absorb the iron..
  • I'm a medical student and I had no idea you could actually sweat out iron! I looked it up - it's actually a very, very small amount. You'd have to sweat a gallon a day to come close to affecting your daily intake. The body is very good at recycling its iron stores, and in general once iron is in, it's very hard to get it out. Iron toxicity can cause a myriad of problems. So I would add a caveat that you definitely shouldn't exceed the recommended daily amount in the article.
  • GRANNYSUSAN
    This is a case where two screen pages is not enough info. Men can get too much iron and have serious consequences. So i suppose the same can happen to post menopausal women. My vitamins, because of my age, have very little iron, since I'm not menstruating. But it was interesting to read about the aching feet and legs with iron deficiency. Hmm. Need to check into this.
    But we all know how to use Google, right ? So we can go out and get more information.
    Personally, I also supscribe to Nutrition Action Healthletter from Center for Science in the Public Interest, and to Consumer Reports on Health. With the latter, a subscription gives you searchable online access to articles. I also give both to my sons and their spouses as part of their holiday gifts. Subscriptions beyond the first are at a reduced price. But, anyway you look at it, preventive knowledge and maintenance is cheap health care ! ! ! !

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