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The Real Benefits of Iron

The Essential Energy Booster


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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. Report
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.
individual.asp?gid=31038 Report
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. Report
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. Report
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.. Report
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. Report
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 ! ! ! ! Report
This article was good- it could have listed iron-rich foods for those of us who prefer to get most of their nutrients through food as opposed to taking a lot of vitamin pills. Report
I spent a year feeling depressed, lethargic and with aching painful feet and legs before being diagnosed with severe anemia. 2 months and 4 iron infusions later I was on my way back to good health. Now, 2 years later, I'm healthier than I've been in many, many years with loads of energy! The cause of my anemia? Over use of OTC anti-inflammatory coupled with alcohol intake (not all that much either!). So read the labels, follow directions. OTC doesn't mean harmless. Report
I've got low iron for another reason not mentioned. In addition to being a premenopausal woman, I'm also a blood donor. I end up needing extra weeks between donations to build back my blood count. Since I want to keep donating, my doctor has recommended I take iron supplements to reinforce my stores. Report
Great article. Report
I never get close to enough iron in my diet. What I really need is a detailed list of the best iron rich foods. Report
I had a surgery cancelled because of iron deficiency. So I've had intravenous iron treatment. Pretty drastic, so this article was timely for me. Report
I agree with CARL15. The issue is confusing. Too much can cause toxicity, however the iron supplement I found at the store contained 65mg tablets. If only 18 is needed for women and less for men, what is the reason for the increased dosage? I figured that it's just because some people with low iron have a hard time absorbing it. Depending on my daily intake of iron through my food, I will either take a whole pill or cut one in half as well as drink some orange juice (to help with absorption) when I take the pills. I am grateful for SparkPeople because otherwise I wouldn't be able to view my iron intake as easily as I do. Report
This issue can be so confusing ... some time back, I remember much talk of people consuming too much iron & that it was thought to be equally harmful to the heart as low hemoglobin counts. To this day, supplement manufacturers have decreased the amount of iron in multivitamins and minerals. Report

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