how much does coffee/caffeine affect anemia?

lightenup2016
lightenup2016 Posts: 1,051 Member
edited July 2020 in Food and Nutrition
I've just been diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia, and I suspect part of the issue is that I gave blood in late April. My hemoglobin was fine at that point, and also last June when I had some bloodwork done. I do run, and have been increasing mileage a bit, and speed a little, too. I've also been sweating more with the summer heat, and I've read that you lose iron in sweat. Since having given blood in April, I've been feeling really tired, with dead legs from going upstairs, awful runs with constant leg fatigue, tired arms from doing simple things, and even my jaw has gotten tired from chewing a few times. So when I went to give blood again and they said my hemoglobin was too low, it all kind of made sense!

So I'm wondering why I didn't "recover" from giving blood. In looking at my diet, the only thing that changed recently is that I began drinking regular coffee. I usually drink decaf, but had recently been having 1-2 cups of regular in the morning. Would that 1-2 cups of caffeinated coffee make much difference in iron absorption?

I'm cutting out the regular coffee now, taking iron pills, and I'll try some fortified cereal as well (although someone on here mentioned that might not be high-quality iron, and I had wondered about that?). Just wondering if others on here who have had anemia/iron issues as well might have some tips. Thanks!

Replies

  • HeidiCooksSupper
    HeidiCooksSupper Posts: 3,830 Member
    Be careful with iron pills and only take them under a doctor's care. It's very easy to overdo it and the fatigue, heavy legs stuff is also caused by too much iron. Caffeine can have a small effect on iron absorption but simply drinking coffee an hour or two after eating iron rich food rather than with it erases the effect. Look for naturally iron rich foods and make sure you are include them in your diet. WebMD has a good, multipage list of iron-rich foods at https://www.webmd.com/diet/iron-rich-foods. And, since you spoke of donating blood, here's a link to the Red Cross list of iron-rich foods https://www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/blood-donation-process/before-during-after/iron-blood-donation/iron-rich-foods.html
  • lightenup2016
    lightenup2016 Posts: 1,051 Member
    Thank you, yes I'm following my doctor's advice on how much iron to take. My ferritin level was pretty low at 6 (should be 12-200). Since I think donating blood depleted me and I never replenished, I think food alone will take a long time. I am eating a bit more iron-rich food just for extra, but I think the iron pills will help more. And I'm to follow-up with my doctor in 1 month to recheck levels. The only thing that had changed for me diet-wise since donating blood was the addition of caffeinated coffee, so I was wondering if that had helped prevent me from replenishing my iron. Now I'm back to decaf :smile:
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 25,611 Member
    edited July 2020
    I'm anemic and don't worry about taking my supplement around the same time as my tea. I do take it on an otherwise empty stomach, and with vitamin C.

    What form of iron are you taking? The VA keeps trying to give me ferrous gluconate, which does raise my ferritin levels, but not my energy levels, and also put me in Urgent Care July 11 with terrible pain, which was misdiagnosed as GERD - the hematologist I saw July 16 said was more likely the supplement.

    Normally I take iron bisglycinate, but due to two unending menstrual cycles recently (one three weeks, the other six weeks) all my iron levels crashed and on June 29 I ended up in the ER for an blood transfusion. Immediately afterwards, my primary sent me the ferrous gluconate and wanted me to take it three times per day. The hematologist I saw Thursday for an iron infusion wants me to take one pill, every other day, which new research shows is more effective.

    I see you are female - are your menstrual cycles heavy? Did they recently become heavier?

    I was first diagnosed with anemia when I tried to give blood in the late 80s, but it didn't become a problem for me until many years later, when I was mostly vegetarian, and not thinking about my iron, and then later, when my periods got really heavy due to fibroids.

    With a normal-for-me menstrual cycle with only two super heavy days, my anemia was under control with two iron bisglycinate (280% RDA) plus about 100% RDA from food*.

    *Food ***naturally*** iron rich - I doubt ***fortified*** food has much value.
  • lightenup2016
    lightenup2016 Posts: 1,051 Member
    kshama2001 wrote: »
    I'm anemic and don't worry about taking my supplement around the same time as my tea. I do take it on an otherwise empty stomach, and with vitamin C.

    What form of iron are you taking? The VA keeps trying to give me ferrous gluconate, which does raise my ferritin levels, but not my energy levels, and also put me in Urgent Care July 11 with terrible pain, which was misdiagnosed as GERD - the hematologist I saw July 16 said was more likely the supplement.

    Normally I take iron bisglycinate, but due to two unending menstrual cycles recently (one three weeks, the other six weeks) all my iron levels crashed and on June 29 I ended up in the ER for an blood transfusion. Immediately afterwards, my primary sent me the ferrous gluconate and wanted me to take it three times per day. The hematologist I saw Thursday for an iron infusion wants me to take one pill, every other day, which new research shows is more effective.

    I see you are female - are your menstrual cycles heavy? Did they recently become heavier?

    I was first diagnosed with anemia when I tried to give blood in the late 80s, but it didn't become a problem for me until many years later, when I was mostly vegetarian, and not thinking about my iron, and then later, when my periods got really heavy due to fibroids.

    With a normal-for-me menstrual cycle with only two super heavy days, my anemia was under control with two iron bisglycinate (280% RDA) plus about 100% RDA from food*.

    *Food ***naturally*** iron rich - I doubt ***fortified*** food has much value.

    Right now I'm taking iron bisglycinate, and I'm taking about 180 mg/day (60mg 3 times per day). My doctor recommended 195 mg, but this is how it worked out with the numbers. I am also trying to get more in my diet, but mostly through fortified cereals. Do you know for sure the fortified foods are low quality? I haven't been able to even find out what kind it is they use.

    I do have heavy periods, but that's always been the case. This problem only came up after I gave blood in late April, so I think it started with that. Combined with running, sweating more with the recent heat, and not making a point to eat more iron (I felt fine running for a couple of weeks, then it hit me), I guess I just never added enough back. I honestly thought I was going to have to argue with my cardiologist about my beta blocker, because I was feeling so fatigued, and my legs were absolute toast just going up one flight of stairs. Four mile runs were really difficult, whereas a few weeks before I was cranking out a good 10-mile run even in the heat. So anyway, I only found out about the anemia issue when I went to give blood again and it was too low. It didn't really make sense that it would be the beta blocker anyway, since I've been taking that since 4/2019.

    Anyway, I already feel better after 4 days of taking the iron, which seems crazy. I would say it's a placebo effect, but there would be no mistaking the dead-leg feeling I was having. Yesterday I went on a hard 5-mile trail run and felt great, and I'm also less tired at the top of the stairs. So I'm hoping this was a temporary thing, and I'm either going to have to cut out the blood donations, or give plasma or something!

    I hope your iron supplementation gets sorted out, and you don't have such a hard time again!
  • Womona
    Womona Posts: 1,065 Member
    Glad you’re on the road to recovery, OP! I hope caffeine doesn’t affect iron levels, I could not get through my mornings without my 4 cups!
  • TwistedSassette
    TwistedSassette Posts: 5,114 Member
    I'm not sure about caffeine, but calcium inhibits the absorption of iron so if you're having a latte/cappucino/other milk-based coffee or other foods high in calcium at the time you're having iron-rich foods or your supplements, you may not be absorbing it. I read a story the other day about a toddler who was drinking like a litre of milk a day, and even though she was eating other foods, she became anemic simply due to the amount of milk she also had. Obviously I'm not suggesting that you would be drinking that much milk, but the timing might be something to bear in mind!

    On the other hand, vitamin C helps with the absorption of iron, so I always take a vitamin C supplement along with my iron supplement.

    One other thing my doctor told me when I was pregnant and had slight anemia, is that one of the major factors in iron absorption is actually your stored iron levels. I don't know much about the hemoglobin/ferritin tests, what the difference is, but you may need to look into getting an injection or an IV supplement to boost your stores if you're not getting anywhere with your diet & supplements alone.
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 25,611 Member
    kshama2001 wrote: »
    I'm anemic and don't worry about taking my supplement around the same time as my tea. I do take it on an otherwise empty stomach, and with vitamin C.

    What form of iron are you taking? The VA keeps trying to give me ferrous gluconate, which does raise my ferritin levels, but not my energy levels, and also put me in Urgent Care July 11 with terrible pain, which was misdiagnosed as GERD - the hematologist I saw July 16 said was more likely the supplement.

    Normally I take iron bisglycinate, but due to two unending menstrual cycles recently (one three weeks, the other six weeks) all my iron levels crashed and on June 29 I ended up in the ER for an blood transfusion. Immediately afterwards, my primary sent me the ferrous gluconate and wanted me to take it three times per day. The hematologist I saw Thursday for an iron infusion wants me to take one pill, every other day, which new research shows is more effective.

    I see you are female - are your menstrual cycles heavy? Did they recently become heavier?

    I was first diagnosed with anemia when I tried to give blood in the late 80s, but it didn't become a problem for me until many years later, when I was mostly vegetarian, and not thinking about my iron, and then later, when my periods got really heavy due to fibroids.

    With a normal-for-me menstrual cycle with only two super heavy days, my anemia was under control with two iron bisglycinate (280% RDA) plus about 100% RDA from food*.

    *Food ***naturally*** iron rich - I doubt ***fortified*** food has much value.

    Right now I'm taking iron bisglycinate, and I'm taking about 180 mg/day (60mg 3 times per day). My doctor recommended 195 mg, but this is how it worked out with the numbers. I am also trying to get more in my diet, but mostly through fortified cereals. Do you know for sure the fortified foods are low quality? I haven't been able to even find out what kind it is they use.

    I do have heavy periods, but that's always been the case. This problem only came up after I gave blood in late April, so I think it started with that. Combined with running, sweating more with the recent heat, and not making a point to eat more iron (I felt fine running for a couple of weeks, then it hit me), I guess I just never added enough back. I honestly thought I was going to have to argue with my cardiologist about my beta blocker, because I was feeling so fatigued, and my legs were absolute toast just going up one flight of stairs. Four mile runs were really difficult, whereas a few weeks before I was cranking out a good 10-mile run even in the heat. So anyway, I only found out about the anemia issue when I went to give blood again and it was too low. It didn't really make sense that it would be the beta blocker anyway, since I've been taking that since 4/2019.

    Anyway, I already feel better after 4 days of taking the iron, which seems crazy. I would say it's a placebo effect, but there would be no mistaking the dead-leg feeling I was having. Yesterday I went on a hard 5-mile trail run and felt great, and I'm also less tired at the top of the stairs. So I'm hoping this was a temporary thing, and I'm either going to have to cut out the blood donations, or give plasma or something!

    I hope your iron supplementation gets sorted out, and you don't have such a hard time again!

    Thanks!

    There are many different forms of iron, with varying degrees of bio-availability. How much incentive do FOOD manufacturers have to use a form that is actually well absorbed?

    1lahhf.jpg

    I'm not in the business of making food, but I was in the dietary supplements business, and we would often add ingredients just so we could say that it was there, with complete disregard for the actual level of effectiveness.
  • lightenup2016
    lightenup2016 Posts: 1,051 Member
    I'm not sure about caffeine, but calcium inhibits the absorption of iron so if you're having a latte/cappucino/other milk-based coffee or other foods high in calcium at the time you're having iron-rich foods or your supplements, you may not be absorbing it. I read a story the other day about a toddler who was drinking like a litre of milk a day, and even though she was eating other foods, she became anemic simply due to the amount of milk she also had. Obviously I'm not suggesting that you would be drinking that much milk, but the timing might be something to bear in mind!

    On the other hand, vitamin C helps with the absorption of iron, so I always take a vitamin C supplement along with my iron supplement.

    One other thing my doctor told me when I was pregnant and had slight anemia, is that one of the major factors in iron absorption is actually your stored iron levels. I don't know much about the hemoglobin/ferritin tests, what the difference is, but you may need to look into getting an injection or an IV supplement to boost your stores if you're not getting anywhere with your diet & supplements alone.

    I actually drink my coffee black, and I hate milk, so no problem there! I do take half of a vitamin C chewable when I take the iron. Thanks!

    My hemoglobin was 11.5, and my ferritin was 6, which apparently is pretty low, with normal ranges being 12-200 for women. I’m supposed to go back after one month of supplements, and if it’s not much higher then, I’ll ask about the injection.
  • lightenup2016
    lightenup2016 Posts: 1,051 Member
    kshama2001 wrote: »
    kshama2001 wrote: »
    I'm anemic and don't worry about taking my supplement around the same time as my tea. I do take it on an otherwise empty stomach, and with vitamin C.

    What form of iron are you taking? The VA keeps trying to give me ferrous gluconate, which does raise my ferritin levels, but not my energy levels, and also put me in Urgent Care July 11 with terrible pain, which was misdiagnosed as GERD - the hematologist I saw July 16 said was more likely the supplement.

    Normally I take iron bisglycinate, but due to two unending menstrual cycles recently (one three weeks, the other six weeks) all my iron levels crashed and on June 29 I ended up in the ER for an blood transfusion. Immediately afterwards, my primary sent me the ferrous gluconate and wanted me to take it three times per day. The hematologist I saw Thursday for an iron infusion wants me to take one pill, every other day, which new research shows is more effective.

    I see you are female - are your menstrual cycles heavy? Did they recently become heavier?

    I was first diagnosed with anemia when I tried to give blood in the late 80s, but it didn't become a problem for me until many years later, when I was mostly vegetarian, and not thinking about my iron, and then later, when my periods got really heavy due to fibroids.

    With a normal-for-me menstrual cycle with only two super heavy days, my anemia was under control with two iron bisglycinate (280% RDA) plus about 100% RDA from food*.

    *Food ***naturally*** iron rich - I doubt ***fortified*** food has much value.

    Right now I'm taking iron bisglycinate, and I'm taking about 180 mg/day (60mg 3 times per day). My doctor recommended 195 mg, but this is how it worked out with the numbers. I am also trying to get more in my diet, but mostly through fortified cereals. Do you know for sure the fortified foods are low quality? I haven't been able to even find out what kind it is they use.

    I do have heavy periods, but that's always been the case. This problem only came up after I gave blood in late April, so I think it started with that. Combined with running, sweating more with the recent heat, and not making a point to eat more iron (I felt fine running for a couple of weeks, then it hit me), I guess I just never added enough back. I honestly thought I was going to have to argue with my cardiologist about my beta blocker, because I was feeling so fatigued, and my legs were absolute toast just going up one flight of stairs. Four mile runs were really difficult, whereas a few weeks before I was cranking out a good 10-mile run even in the heat. So anyway, I only found out about the anemia issue when I went to give blood again and it was too low. It didn't really make sense that it would be the beta blocker anyway, since I've been taking that since 4/2019.

    Anyway, I already feel better after 4 days of taking the iron, which seems crazy. I would say it's a placebo effect, but there would be no mistaking the dead-leg feeling I was having. Yesterday I went on a hard 5-mile trail run and felt great, and I'm also less tired at the top of the stairs. So I'm hoping this was a temporary thing, and I'm either going to have to cut out the blood donations, or give plasma or something!

    I hope your iron supplementation gets sorted out, and you don't have such a hard time again!

    Thanks!

    There are many different forms of iron, with varying degrees of bio-availability. How much incentive do FOOD manufacturers have to use a form that is actually well absorbed?

    1lahhf.jpg

    I'm not in the business of making food, but I was in the dietary supplements business, and we would often add ingredients just so we could say that it was there, with complete disregard for the actual level of effectiveness.

    Yeah, I totally see that. I would like to know what they’re adding. I wonder if what you’d absorb would still be more than the comparatively lower amounts of iron in meat and beans? I was surprised that a serving of red meat is still only 10% of your daily requirement (albeit, more absorbable of course). I just can’t eat 10 servings of meat and beans a day! So if the fortified cereal is less absorbable than non-heme iron, maybe eating 100-200% RDA would still give you maybe half of a daily amount? Who knows.
  • lightenup2016
    lightenup2016 Posts: 1,051 Member
    edited July 2020
    kshama2001 wrote: »
    I'm anemic and don't worry about taking my supplement around the same time as my tea. I do take it on an otherwise empty stomach, and with vitamin C.

    What form of iron are you taking? The VA keeps trying to give me ferrous gluconate, which does raise my ferritin levels, but not my energy levels, and also put me in Urgent Care July 11 with terrible pain, which was misdiagnosed as GERD - the hematologist I saw July 16 said was more likely the supplement.

    Normally I take iron bisglycinate, but due to two unending menstrual cycles recently (one three weeks, the other six weeks) all my iron levels crashed and on June 29 I ended up in the ER for an blood transfusion. Immediately afterwards, my primary sent me the ferrous gluconate and wanted me to take it three times per day. The hematologist I saw Thursday for an iron infusion wants me to take one pill, every other day, which new research shows is more effective.

    I see you are female - are your menstrual cycles heavy? Did they recently become heavier?

    I was first diagnosed with anemia when I tried to give blood in the late 80s, but it didn't become a problem for me until many years later, when I was mostly vegetarian, and not thinking about my iron, and then later, when my periods got really heavy due to fibroids.

    With a normal-for-me menstrual cycle with only two super heavy days, my anemia was under control with two iron bisglycinate (280% RDA) plus about 100% RDA from food*.

    *Food ***naturally*** iron rich - I doubt ***fortified*** food has much value.

    Soooo, I was feeling better after about 5 days of taking the iron every day, but a pretty heavy period started Friday, and since then I've felt the exact same as before--really exhausted and muscles tired/weak from stairs or lifting anything. Would a heavy period wipe out any iron gains I had from the supplements last week?

    I had also read the studies about taking iron every other day, so I'm starting that today (skipped yesterday). This morning I took 120 mg all at once, and now I'll skip tomorrow. I just hope this works more quickly and I don't go backwards every period I have, or I'll end up needing an iron or blood transfusion myself!
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 25,611 Member
    kshama2001 wrote: »
    kshama2001 wrote: »
    I'm anemic and don't worry about taking my supplement around the same time as my tea. I do take it on an otherwise empty stomach, and with vitamin C.

    What form of iron are you taking? The VA keeps trying to give me ferrous gluconate, which does raise my ferritin levels, but not my energy levels, and also put me in Urgent Care July 11 with terrible pain, which was misdiagnosed as GERD - the hematologist I saw July 16 said was more likely the supplement.

    Normally I take iron bisglycinate, but due to two unending menstrual cycles recently (one three weeks, the other six weeks) all my iron levels crashed and on June 29 I ended up in the ER for an blood transfusion. Immediately afterwards, my primary sent me the ferrous gluconate and wanted me to take it three times per day. The hematologist I saw Thursday for an iron infusion wants me to take one pill, every other day, which new research shows is more effective.

    I see you are female - are your menstrual cycles heavy? Did they recently become heavier?

    I was first diagnosed with anemia when I tried to give blood in the late 80s, but it didn't become a problem for me until many years later, when I was mostly vegetarian, and not thinking about my iron, and then later, when my periods got really heavy due to fibroids.

    With a normal-for-me menstrual cycle with only two super heavy days, my anemia was under control with two iron bisglycinate (280% RDA) plus about 100% RDA from food*.

    *Food ***naturally*** iron rich - I doubt ***fortified*** food has much value.

    Right now I'm taking iron bisglycinate, and I'm taking about 180 mg/day (60mg 3 times per day). My doctor recommended 195 mg, but this is how it worked out with the numbers. I am also trying to get more in my diet, but mostly through fortified cereals. Do you know for sure the fortified foods are low quality? I haven't been able to even find out what kind it is they use.

    I do have heavy periods, but that's always been the case. This problem only came up after I gave blood in late April, so I think it started with that. Combined with running, sweating more with the recent heat, and not making a point to eat more iron (I felt fine running for a couple of weeks, then it hit me), I guess I just never added enough back. I honestly thought I was going to have to argue with my cardiologist about my beta blocker, because I was feeling so fatigued, and my legs were absolute toast just going up one flight of stairs. Four mile runs were really difficult, whereas a few weeks before I was cranking out a good 10-mile run even in the heat. So anyway, I only found out about the anemia issue when I went to give blood again and it was too low. It didn't really make sense that it would be the beta blocker anyway, since I've been taking that since 4/2019.

    Anyway, I already feel better after 4 days of taking the iron, which seems crazy. I would say it's a placebo effect, but there would be no mistaking the dead-leg feeling I was having. Yesterday I went on a hard 5-mile trail run and felt great, and I'm also less tired at the top of the stairs. So I'm hoping this was a temporary thing, and I'm either going to have to cut out the blood donations, or give plasma or something!

    I hope your iron supplementation gets sorted out, and you don't have such a hard time again!

    Thanks!

    There are many different forms of iron, with varying degrees of bio-availability. How much incentive do FOOD manufacturers have to use a form that is actually well absorbed?

    1lahhf.jpg

    I'm not in the business of making food, but I was in the dietary supplements business, and we would often add ingredients just so we could say that it was there, with complete disregard for the actual level of effectiveness.

    Yeah, I totally see that. I would like to know what they’re adding. I wonder if what you’d absorb would still be more than the comparatively lower amounts of iron in meat and beans? I was surprised that a serving of red meat is still only 10% of your daily requirement (albeit, more absorbable of course). I just can’t eat 10 servings of meat and beans a day! So if the fortified cereal is less absorbable than non-heme iron, maybe eating 100-200% RDA would still give you maybe half of a daily amount? Who knows.

    Different cuts of red meat have different amounts of iron :)

    f9a3669381b6c441f0f63366bca870aa.png

    Wellshire liverwurst is the highest iron food I eat. I normally eat it for 4-5 days during my period. Boar's Head brand is easier to find, but provides less iron. Wellshire is only sold at Whole Foods or directly from the manufacturer. If you are near New Jersey, the shipping cost is considerably less than what it says on the website. I bought a case a few months ago when meat shortages were predicted.

    The molasses probably has non-heme iron, but I still throw it in the mix.

    The lentil salad is my recipe - 100 servings = 100 grams.
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 25,611 Member
    kshama2001 wrote: »
    I'm anemic and don't worry about taking my supplement around the same time as my tea. I do take it on an otherwise empty stomach, and with vitamin C.

    What form of iron are you taking? The VA keeps trying to give me ferrous gluconate, which does raise my ferritin levels, but not my energy levels, and also put me in Urgent Care July 11 with terrible pain, which was misdiagnosed as GERD - the hematologist I saw July 16 said was more likely the supplement.

    Normally I take iron bisglycinate, but due to two unending menstrual cycles recently (one three weeks, the other six weeks) all my iron levels crashed and on June 29 I ended up in the ER for an blood transfusion. Immediately afterwards, my primary sent me the ferrous gluconate and wanted me to take it three times per day. The hematologist I saw Thursday for an iron infusion wants me to take one pill, every other day, which new research shows is more effective.

    I see you are female - are your menstrual cycles heavy? Did they recently become heavier?

    I was first diagnosed with anemia when I tried to give blood in the late 80s, but it didn't become a problem for me until many years later, when I was mostly vegetarian, and not thinking about my iron, and then later, when my periods got really heavy due to fibroids.

    With a normal-for-me menstrual cycle with only two super heavy days, my anemia was under control with two iron bisglycinate (280% RDA) plus about 100% RDA from food*.

    *Food ***naturally*** iron rich - I doubt ***fortified*** food has much value.

    Soooo, I was feeling better after about 5 days of taking the iron every day, but a pretty heavy period started Friday, and since then I've felt the exact same as before--really exhausted and muscles tired/weak from stairs or lifting anything. Would a heavy period wipe out any iron gains I had from the supplements last week?

    I had also read the studies about taking iron every other day, so I'm starting that today (skipped yesterday). This morning I took 120 mg all at once, and now I'll skip tomorrow. I just hope this works more quickly and I don't go backwards every period I have, or I'll end up needing an iron or blood transfusion myself!

    Yeah, I always need a few days to recover after the heavy days of my period :(

    Until the two unending menstrual cycles recently, I was keeping my iron counts up with 280% RDA from pills and > 100% RDA from food during my period and < 100% RDA from food the rest of the month.
  • lightenup2016
    lightenup2016 Posts: 1,051 Member
    kshama2001 wrote: »
    kshama2001 wrote: »
    I'm anemic and don't worry about taking my supplement around the same time as my tea. I do take it on an otherwise empty stomach, and with vitamin C.

    What form of iron are you taking? The VA keeps trying to give me ferrous gluconate, which does raise my ferritin levels, but not my energy levels, and also put me in Urgent Care July 11 with terrible pain, which was misdiagnosed as GERD - the hematologist I saw July 16 said was more likely the supplement.

    Normally I take iron bisglycinate, but due to two unending menstrual cycles recently (one three weeks, the other six weeks) all my iron levels crashed and on June 29 I ended up in the ER for an blood transfusion. Immediately afterwards, my primary sent me the ferrous gluconate and wanted me to take it three times per day. The hematologist I saw Thursday for an iron infusion wants me to take one pill, every other day, which new research shows is more effective.

    I see you are female - are your menstrual cycles heavy? Did they recently become heavier?

    I was first diagnosed with anemia when I tried to give blood in the late 80s, but it didn't become a problem for me until many years later, when I was mostly vegetarian, and not thinking about my iron, and then later, when my periods got really heavy due to fibroids.

    With a normal-for-me menstrual cycle with only two super heavy days, my anemia was under control with two iron bisglycinate (280% RDA) plus about 100% RDA from food*.

    *Food ***naturally*** iron rich - I doubt ***fortified*** food has much value.

    Soooo, I was feeling better after about 5 days of taking the iron every day, but a pretty heavy period started Friday, and since then I've felt the exact same as before--really exhausted and muscles tired/weak from stairs or lifting anything. Would a heavy period wipe out any iron gains I had from the supplements last week?

    I had also read the studies about taking iron every other day, so I'm starting that today (skipped yesterday). This morning I took 120 mg all at once, and now I'll skip tomorrow. I just hope this works more quickly and I don't go backwards every period I have, or I'll end up needing an iron or blood transfusion myself!

    Yeah, I always need a few days to recover after the heavy days of my period :(

    Until the two unending menstrual cycles recently, I was keeping my iron counts up with 280% RDA from pills and > 100% RDA from food during my period and < 100% RDA from food the rest of the month.

    Okay, thank you kshama! It's nice to talk to someone with experience with this. Although I have to say, you obviously don't know me if you're suggesting I eat liverwurst... :lol: I'm not that desperate yet!
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 25,611 Member
    kshama2001 wrote: »
    kshama2001 wrote: »
    I'm anemic and don't worry about taking my supplement around the same time as my tea. I do take it on an otherwise empty stomach, and with vitamin C.

    What form of iron are you taking? The VA keeps trying to give me ferrous gluconate, which does raise my ferritin levels, but not my energy levels, and also put me in Urgent Care July 11 with terrible pain, which was misdiagnosed as GERD - the hematologist I saw July 16 said was more likely the supplement.

    Normally I take iron bisglycinate, but due to two unending menstrual cycles recently (one three weeks, the other six weeks) all my iron levels crashed and on June 29 I ended up in the ER for an blood transfusion. Immediately afterwards, my primary sent me the ferrous gluconate and wanted me to take it three times per day. The hematologist I saw Thursday for an iron infusion wants me to take one pill, every other day, which new research shows is more effective.

    I see you are female - are your menstrual cycles heavy? Did they recently become heavier?

    I was first diagnosed with anemia when I tried to give blood in the late 80s, but it didn't become a problem for me until many years later, when I was mostly vegetarian, and not thinking about my iron, and then later, when my periods got really heavy due to fibroids.

    With a normal-for-me menstrual cycle with only two super heavy days, my anemia was under control with two iron bisglycinate (280% RDA) plus about 100% RDA from food*.

    *Food ***naturally*** iron rich - I doubt ***fortified*** food has much value.

    Soooo, I was feeling better after about 5 days of taking the iron every day, but a pretty heavy period started Friday, and since then I've felt the exact same as before--really exhausted and muscles tired/weak from stairs or lifting anything. Would a heavy period wipe out any iron gains I had from the supplements last week?

    I had also read the studies about taking iron every other day, so I'm starting that today (skipped yesterday). This morning I took 120 mg all at once, and now I'll skip tomorrow. I just hope this works more quickly and I don't go backwards every period I have, or I'll end up needing an iron or blood transfusion myself!

    Yeah, I always need a few days to recover after the heavy days of my period :(

    Until the two unending menstrual cycles recently, I was keeping my iron counts up with 280% RDA from pills and > 100% RDA from food during my period and < 100% RDA from food the rest of the month.

    Okay, thank you kshama! It's nice to talk to someone with experience with this. Although I have to say, you obviously don't know me if you're suggesting I eat liverwurst... :lol: I'm not that desperate yet!

    :lol:

    I DESPISE liver, but was able to eat liverwurst, until my two unending periods, and now I am so sick of it. So I have it at the time of the day when my appetite is the strongest.