Low iron

5Katey Posts: 371 Member
Had several blood tests over the past couple years all indicating low hemoglobin. It seems every time I cut calories, it goes down more. I eat a good amount of spinach to increase iron levels, is there anything else I could add without dramatically increasing calories? Iron supplements make me feel sick, so I really don't want to take them.


  • quiksylver296
    quiksylver296 Posts: 28,140 Member
    I used a liquid iron supplement when I needed one. It's less constipating than the pills. Amazon has it.
  • capops
    capops Posts: 7 Member
    There are some good iron fortified food options too!
    I live in Canada, Presidents Choice (which you can get at superstore or shoppers drug mart) has maple brown sugar oatmeal which has 40% iron in one packet- 160 cals. Probably the best thing I’ve found as far as low calories go. Some protein bars/ protein powders/ cereal have iron. Anyways check for that stuff in the grocery store. My mom is constantly sending me care packages of random foods she has found with high iron haha.
    **talk to your doctor and see what they suggest** if you are very anemic eating iron rich food alone probably won’t build up iron stores in your precious bod! Most people I know have had to try a few iron supplements before they found one that worked for them, it’s not one size fits all but there are lots of options for supplements that are easier on the stomach!!
  • emmabrookes1
    emmabrookes1 Posts: 67 Member
    Has your doctor investigated why it keeps dropping?
  • VeryKatie
    VeryKatie Posts: 5,866 Member
    edited May 2020
    Red meat. Mollusks. Chicken liver. Pork.
    The body has an incredibly hard time absorbing iron from plant sources. And a much easier time from blood sources.

    You can try cooking your food (rice, pasta, potatoes) with a lucky iron fish too.

    When eating your high iron food, yes to pairing with citrus, NO to pairing with calcium sources (milk, cheese, etc). Citrus helps absorption. Calcium blocks it.
  • 5Katey
    5Katey Posts: 371 Member
    Thank you @janejellyroll @quiksylver296 @capops @Terytha @VeryKatie for all the helpful suggestions! Very appreciated😊
  • VeryKatie
    VeryKatie Posts: 5,866 Member
    Oh one more thing... i know you said no iron pills. But if you do decide to try... a slow release one helps a lot with stomach discomfort. Such as feramax150. They are pricey though ($50 for 100 vs $8 for old style ones). Worth it in my opinion.
  • 5Katey
    5Katey Posts: 371 Member
    @emmabrookes1 , yes, he says that what's showing in my hemocrit is related to iron deficiency. I think when I was consuming more calories than I should, I managed to get more trace amounts. When I cut back in calories, I get really deficient. I'm really not much of a meat eater, not vegetarian, but just never loved the taste.
  • yirara
    yirara Posts: 7,358 Member
    Have you tried taking iron tablets with your meal? Then it's generally easier on the stomach. Do you feel tired or out of breath easily? Then you, or rather your GP really should do something.
  • Terytha
    Terytha Posts: 2,074 Member
    5Katey wrote: »
    I'm really not much of a meat eater, not vegetarian, but just never loved the taste.

    How about eggs? Eggs are a decent source of iron. Seafood is also good.

    Otherwise citrus will help the absorption of non-heme iron. I guess that's why my spinach salad at restaurants usually has oranges in it.
  • whitpauly
    whitpauly Posts: 1,483 Member
    I'm in the same boat, horrible ferritin level of 8 and all these months trying different supplements and I can't get it to raise, all these people say ask the doctor but he's no help and just gives me Feosol and tells me to just deal with the side effects, I'm a huge meat eater so I'm thinking I'm just not absorbing it for some reason or it's from heavy periods, I fell for you though cuz low iron sucks the life outa you😔
  • hawksgirl229
    hawksgirl229 Posts: 468 Member
    I had a ferritin level of 6...the doctor had me take slowfe (over the counter).I never had any iron pill side effects..I had to return in 3 months for another blood draw..reason being to ensure my level was rising..that was important because if it wasn't they would need to find out why..I was lucky my level started responding..they attributed my low levels to my frequent blood donations..I since have had to dial that back..I agree with everyone..see a doctor for your "why"..iron supplements are not to be experimented with..good luck..
  • 5Katey
    5Katey Posts: 371 Member
    @yirara yes, I have tried with meals, it does help a bit. I sometimes feel very low energy, especially right after my TOM.
  • 5Katey
    5Katey Posts: 371 Member
    @Terytha thanks for the tip. I had totally forgot about eggs being an iron source.😊
  • kiela64
    kiela64 Posts: 1,448 Member
    When I lost 45lbs a couple years ago over ~6months I was a little too aggressive, and low iron caused me to lose a lot of hair. My dr prescribed 300mg iron tablets daily with vitamin C. To counter the constipation, I also took a tablespoon of psyllium daily, and prunes when needed (I found also taking omega3 tablets helped, not sure if that is a thing for anyone else). Drinking lots of water helped too.

    For me, lower calories just made an existing problem worse - I eventually realized the fatigue/dizziness I've always experienced on my period was related to low iron, and it's not nearly as bad when I'm treating it. I don't take the 300mg anymore (I also regained and won't be eating as low as I did when losing now), but I still take the "easy on your stomach" over-the-counter version (and take the psyllium).

    I recommend staying in contact with your doctor, they will test your blood to see if what you do is working.
  • 5Katey
    5Katey Posts: 371 Member
    @kiela64 thanks for sharing! It's nice to know I'm not the only one struggling.
  • pink_mint
    pink_mint Posts: 102 Member
    Have you tried a supplement called blood builder? I've taken it for low iron for about 10 years now. I have bad menstrual cycles, so I suspect it's that. I am never without a bottle of blood builder. It's different that the typical iron pill. You can get it at Sprouts if you're in the US 🙂