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Why is my 6-yr old anemic? Update #25 - Page 3

post #41 of 50

You mention several different things. Grouchiness, stomachaches, possible reflux, as well as the anemia. So even if you work on the anemia AND take out gluten, you may find the answer to all of them. So if you took out gluten and they all went away, wouldn't that be a bonus? Anemia certainly isn't a normal thing, so there must be a reason. And if he's showing other symptoms of food intolerance than it's likely it's something. Dairy is the other (and more common) one though gluten intolerance and/or celiac are more often associated with anemia. Even if you work on the anemia, he's still got the other things going on, so are you going to wait while you work on the anemia before you tackle the other things, or tackle them possibly all at once? What about a game plan of going off gluten and dairy for 1 month and see where you are in terms of all of the symptoms he's got? When is your next appointment?

post #42 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kjbrown92 View Post

You mention several different things. Grouchiness, stomachaches, possible reflux, as well as the anemia. So even if you work on the anemia AND take out gluten, you may find the answer to all of them. So if you took out gluten and they all went away, wouldn't that be a bonus? Anemia certainly isn't a normal thing, so there must be a reason. And if he's showing other symptoms of food intolerance than it's likely it's something. Dairy is the other (and more common) one though gluten intolerance and/or celiac are more often associated with anemia. Even if you work on the anemia, he's still got the other things going on, so are you going to wait while you work on the anemia before you tackle the other things, or tackle them possibly all at once? What about a game plan of going off gluten and dairy for 1 month and see where you are in terms of all of the symptoms he's got? When is your next appointment?



The stomachaches and possible reflux are DS1, my 8-yr old.  DS2, my anemic guy just has the anemia and the episodic grouchiness/ tendency toward meltdowns in the evenings which could be explained by the anemia.  He isn't typically a grouchy kid but has been having these episodes recently for several months which makes me think its more a factor of the anemia than whatever food is the problem.

 

The anemia is a clue, but I'm not comfortable letting it drop right now.  If his iron level was higher we could eliminate gluten and eliminate the supplement and watch what his iron level does.  

 

We see the holistic practitioner in early March (our ND wasn't available til end of April).  GI at the end of April.  We could have the hp check his iron in March and if it is better eliminate gluten at that point and check him again in April.

post #43 of 50

I don't understand why his iron needs to be higher in order to eliminate gluten?  His iron is not going to go down by eliminating gluten so you can only help the situation by eliminating the gluten AND supplementing.

 

Also, sounds like DS1 might have some kind of food issues going on as well.

 

ETA:  I just want to point out that you already know your DSs iron level will rise with supplementation.  So the issue is not getting it up.  The issue is why it keeps going down.  

post #44 of 50
Thread Starter 

How will I know that eliminating gluten makes a difference if I do it while I'm also working to resolve the anemia?  If I supplement with iron to correct the anemia chances are good his behavior is going to improve.  If I supplement with iron and eliminate gluten, chances are his behavior is going to improve.   

 

If I supplement with iron, his iron levels will go up.  If I supplement with iron and eliminate gluten, his iron levels will go up. 

 

If I supplement with iron to resolve the anemia, see how he looks when he's not anemic, and then eliminate gluten and see what changes in terms of behavior then I will know whether gluten affects behavior.  If I supplement with iron to resolve the anemia, then remove the supplement and eliminate gluten we can see if without gluten he is better able to hold his iron in a good level.  That way we'll know if gluten makes a difference in absorption of iron.  I could eliminate gluten and not supplement - if his iron levels rose that would be pretty telling, but I don't want to risk them falling.

 

For the anemia piece we could eliminate gluten at the same time and then see after he was in a normal range with iron, but for the behavior piece I don't see how I will know doing it at the same time.  We don't have stomach aches, stool issues, nausea, etc to base it on.  Just the behavior, which could be explained by the anemia.

 

And yes, I know DS1 probably also has food issues.  We've done eliminations, IgG testing, etc but nothing gives us clear answers on him.  So for the minute we're working on balancing his gut and building his immune system which seems to be helping.

 

Edited to clarify.

post #45 of 50

hmmm, maybe just looking at it from all the angles will be helpful?  I personally don't generally like to supplement iron.  It is fairly toxic, you can overdo it easily, and more often than not the problem isn't how much iron is going in, but what you're able to use of what's there.  I would look to correct absorption issues before supplementation with that particular nutrient.  But YMMV.  Just another perspective.

post #46 of 50

If your child is sensitive enough to gluten that it is damaging the gut, then simply supplementing with iron will not be enough, because it will not be absorbed. You could try supplementing alone for a few weeks, and see if it goes up. But as the pp says, most iron supplements are pretty toxic, and really can mess up your digestion (I was anemic in pregnancy and had to be on a high level of iron, and even though I was using a supposedly gentle form, I still got major constipation).

post #47 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pookietooth View Post

If your child is sensitive enough to gluten that it is damaging the gut, then simply supplementing with iron will not be enough, because it will not be absorbed. You could try supplementing alone for a few weeks, and see if it goes up. But as the pp says, most iron supplements are pretty toxic, and really can mess up your digestion (I was anemic in pregnancy and had to be on a high level of iron, and even though I was using a supposedly gentle form, I still got major constipation).



I would think so, too.  Which is one of the reasons I'm not completely convinced we're on the right track with the gluten theory and why I would really like to have some sort of clear sign that gluten is the issue before I eliminate it long-term.  The only thing we really have on gluten is the tTG, which is of questionable validity.

 

The reality is that he seems to be absorbing the supplemental iron pretty well.  The last time he was anemic (age 4) we gave him a multivitamin + juice plus gummies for 2-3 months and that was enought to bring his hemoglobin and hematocrit back into a normal range.  This time his 1st blood test was 12/30 and his hemoglobin was 11.1.  On 1/17, after taking just flintstones chewables (we just ran out and got something we knew he would take with the intention of finding something better later) + JP gummies for those few weeks his hemoglobin had already come up to 11.3.  Low end of normal is 11.5.  So he does seem to be absorbing the iron in the vitamins pretty well.  It has me questioning whether it really is just that he avoids his veggies.

 

Also, if he was so sensitive to gluten that his gut was damaged and not absorbing well don't you think he would have other clear symptoms of food intolerance?  DD, for example, very obviously is food intolerant.  DS1 has a lot of signs - if someone said "he's sensitive to a, b, c" I would say okay, I see that.  But DS2 is just not like that.  Maybe things will become obvious once we eliminate gluten.  

 

On the other hand there are reports of people with CD who have few symptoms.  Maybe gluten sensitivity is the same.  There are just so many other things it could possibly be - I really want to have something concrete telling me we're on the right track with the gluten.  I'd take it in the form of a test ahead of eliminating (a second tTG with similar results would do, or something else pointing toward CD or gluten intolerance) or in the form of post elimination (like clear behavioral changes).  But worst case scenario is we *think* we should keep him off gluten but never really know for sure.

post #48 of 50

but you could try it for a month and see what changes you see. Not saying you have to do it forever, but you could try it out. And I thought iron was from meat, not from veggies, right?

post #49 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Panserbjorne View Post

hmmm, maybe just looking at it from all the angles will be helpful?  I personally don't generally like to supplement iron.  It is fairly toxic, you can overdo it easily, and more often than not the problem isn't how much iron is going in, but what you're able to use of what's there.  I would look to correct absorption issues before supplementation with that particular nutrient.  But YMMV.  Just another perspective.


Good point.
 

post #50 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kjbrown92 View Post

but you could try it for a month and see what changes you see. Not saying you have to do it forever, but you could try it out. And I thought iron was from meat, not from veggies, right?



 Right.  True. 

 

There is more iron in meat than veggies, but some question as to what form is most bioavailable.  Breastmilk, for example, has very little iron but is super absorbable.   So there is some evidence that iron might be better absorbed from veggies than meat.  In our experience when he was little DS didn't seem to absorb the iron in supplements or in the meats - he had kind of plateued for awhile - but once we added the juice plus there was a significant spike in his levels.  So I tend to think the veggies are an important piece.

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