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The Dangers of Iron in Multi-Vitamins

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
The dangers of taking multivitamins or vitamins with iron have been suspected for a long time. One person who did some research on it started realizing that women were storing iron in their system and it was harming them. He said, on the topic of menopause: "The accepted explanation was estrogen, but that didn't seem adequate lain the discrepancy. The other major gender difference I noticed was in the levels of stored iron. Post-menopausal women have heart attacks at the same rate as men.”

Excess dietary iron can also increase the risk of bacterial infection. Studies in South East Asia and in Africa reveal that even low doses of iron supplements can be harmful if one is not iron deficient. When iron supplements were given to the Somali and Masai people, their rates of infection increased - even though their iron deficiency was corrected.

Iron, in the form of pills, interferes with zinc absorption and actually aggravates a zinc deficiency. A high phosphorus diet, poor digestion, ulcers, excessive use of antacids, and the consumption of coffee and tea can also cause iron deficiencies. Drinking a glass of orange juice with a meal or eating a fruit that is high in vitamin C - such as kiwis, citrus or berries - can increase absorption.

The most common iron pills contain 60 - 300mg of iron, even though the recommended daily allowance (RDA) is 1.7 - 7.8mg for infants, 6.1 - 8.7mg for children, and 8.7 - 11.3mg for men. In the U.S., the main sources of dietary iron are: grains, meat, poultry and fish. American foods are also routinely fortified with iron; but depending ones' level of deficiency, only 15 - 45% of the iron is utilized.

Extra iron is initially stored in the liver, with excess amounts being stored in the pancreas, lungs, spleen and heart. These excess amounts build up and destroy the tissues of the storage organs. In fact, iron supplements are the most common cause of pediatric poisoning in the U.S., despite the fact that they are usually meant for consumption by adults. Ingestion of 10 - 50 iron tablets (ferrous sulfate) within a few hours can cause poisoning.

About 1 in 300 Americans of European origin have hemochromatosis - a genetic abnormality of excessive iron stores. A normal man will absorb 1mg of iron daily. But in cases of hemochromatosis, the absorption level is 3mg and causes damage to the storage organs. This excessive absorption can lead to anorexia, diarrhea, hypothermia, metabolic acidosis and vascular congestion of the gastrointestinal tract, liver, kidneys, heart, brain, spleen, adrenal glands and thymus.

It can also lead to impotence in men and amenorrhea (abnormal suppression or absence of menses) in young women. Doctors recommend that in order to ensure optimum absorption and minimal storage of iron, one should include foods containing copper, folic acid, phosphorus and vitamin C.

Women with chronic candida or herpes are susceptible to iron deficiencies and those who have cancer or rheumatoid arthritis have difficulty assimilating it. People with sickle cell anemia, thalassemia or hemochromatosis should not take iron and it should be used carefully during pregnancy.

One should also avoid synthetic iron (ferrous sulfate) and use only organic iron. A lack of vitamin B-6 or B-12 can also cause iron deficiencies. Comprehensive lab tests should be performed before taking any supplements and any ingestion of iron should be done under the supervision of a doctor.



Taking multiple vitamins can actually deplete the body of nutrients. Taking a pre-packaged multi-vitamin, no matter how high quality, is the same as eating foods that were made for someone else's type, or following a "universal diet." Each person's nutrient needs are personal and chances are that one multi-vitamin will not fit everyone's needs. When this occurs, rather than help a person, the vitamin throws the body off balance. Furthermore, vitamins should be varied with need and not taken "forever." Companies selling these vitamins say there is no harm in taking a "multi" as "insurance." But, every mineral and vitamin a person consumes needs another mineral or vitamin to be assimilated into the body. So if a person takes an excess of one or two nutrients they do not need, they are at the same time depleting their body of nutrients it may need! Many vitamins and minerals need sodium and potassium to assimilate into the body. So by taking a multi-vitamin, you could actually deplete your potassium and sodium sources, which you need during pregnancy.
post #2 of 12
Thread Starter 
By the way this is an article I received from my naturopathic teacher...I thought it was interesting so I thought I would share
post #3 of 12
Thanks for posting this. I may print ths out and send it to my dad. He thinks I'm insane for not taking prenatal vitamins.
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
well after researching myself and talking with my naturopath we came to the same conclusion!! If you want her name for credentials pm me
post #5 of 12
awesome info. thanks a lot
post #6 of 12
That is interesting to read. I would love to see some of the studies done. I'll google a bit when I am feeling up to it.

I do find it helpful to know that not everyone is taking prenatal vitamins. The nurse at my midwife's office pushes them hard and gave me a rough time when I admitted to not taking them. They just make me feel so awful and I tend to throw them up anyway. I have tried all kinds, so I think it is just my body.
post #7 of 12
Certainly getting all the nutrients you need from food is superior to taking a supplement, but I am unsure without seeing some sources/studies whether or not it is prudent to write off multi-vitamins altogether.
post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthiegirl View Post
That is interesting to read. I would love to see some of the studies done. I'll google a bit when I am feeling up to it.

I do find it helpful to know that not everyone is taking prenatal vitamins. The nurse at my midwife's office pushes them hard and gave me a rough time when I admitted to not taking them. They just make me feel so awful and I tend to throw them up anyway. I have tried all kinds, so I think it is just my body.
I have this same problem. During the first trimester, the prenatal vitamin makes me throw up more than anything else... if I avoid it like the plague for the first three months, I can actually keep solid foods down. I figure it's better to get nutrients from food, than to try to get extra nutrients from a vinamin and end up throwing everything up. I'll start taking the prenatals in a couple of weeks... after the nausea subsides.

Emily
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthiegirl View Post
That is interesting to read. I would love to see some of the studies done. I'll google a bit when I am feeling up to it.

I do find it helpful to know that not everyone is taking prenatal vitamins. The nurse at my midwife's office pushes them hard and gave me a rough time when I admitted to not taking them. They just make me feel so awful and I tend to throw them up anyway. I have tried all kinds, so I think it is just my body.
Yes I have the same problem! My body does not like prenatal vitamins at all and I have tried a bunch of different kinds even chewable ones...I think it is very important to have a healthy diet and make sure you are getting what you need like protein,calcium, etc... if not then some people may need a vitamin..

Folic acid is important but you can get what you need by eating right an excellent diet may help prevent many problems in pregnancy.

FOOD SOURCES OF FOLATE


Micrograms
(per 100 g of food-3.5 oz)

dark-green leafy vegetables 120-160

Broccoli,asparagus,peas 40-100

fruits (particularly citrus) 50-100

beans (legumes) 50-300

whole grains 60-120

breakfast cereals 100 or 400


Sources of Protein:


Beef

* Hamburger patty, 4 oz – 28 grams protein
* Steak, 6 oz – 42 grams
* Most cuts of beef – 7 grams of protein per ounce

Chicken

* Chicken breast, 3.5 oz - 30 grams protein
* Chicken thigh – 10 grams (for average size)
* Drumstick – 11 grams
* Wing – 6 grams
* Chicken meat, cooked, 4 oz – 35 grams

Fish

* Most fish filets or steaks are about 22 grams of protein for 3 ½ oz (100 grams) of cooked fish, or 6 grams per ounce
* Tuna, 6 oz can - 40 grams of protein

Pork

* Pork chop, average - 22 grams protein
* Pork loin or tenderloin, 4 oz – 29 grams
* Ham, 3 oz serving – 19 grams
* Ground pork, 1 oz raw – 5 grams; 3 oz cooked – 22 grams
* Bacon, 1 slice – 3 grams
* Canadian-style bacon (back bacon), slice – 5 – 6 grams

Eggs and Dairy

* Egg, large - 6 grams protein
* Milk, 1 cup - 8 grams
* Cottage cheese, ½ cup - 15 grams
* Yogurt, 1 cup – usually 8-12 grams, check label
* Soft cheeses (Mozzarella, Brie, Camembert) – 6 grams per oz
* Medium cheeses (Cheddar, Swiss) – 7 or 8 grams per oz
* Hard cheeses (Parmesan) – 10 grams per oz

Beans (including soy)

* Tofu, ½ cup 20 grams protein
* Tofu, 1 oz, 2.3 grams
* Soy milk, 1 cup - 6 -10 grams
* Most beans (black, pinto, lentils, etc) about 7-10 grams protein per half cup of cooked beans
* Soy beans, ½ cup cooked – 14 grams protein
* Split peas, ½ cup cooked – 8 grams

Nuts and Seeds

* Peanut butter, 2 Tablespoons - 8 grams protein
* Almonds, ¼ cup – 8 grams
* Peanuts, ¼ cup – 9 grams
* Cashews, ¼ cup – 5 grams
* Pecans, ¼ cup – 2.5 grams
* Sunflower seeds, ¼ cup – 6 grams
* Pumpkin seeds, ¼ cup – 19 grams
* Flax seeds – ¼ cup – 8 grams

Calcium you should get about 1200 mg/day
(important during pregnancy as calcium helps: nervous system and muscle function;bone tooth and skin formation;blood clotting mechanisms;muscle function and relaxation(prevents leg cramps);strengthens the uterus for birth;promotes heart healthy activity;helps maintain strength of a womens skeletal system.)

Food Quantity Amount of calcium(mg)
Dairy
Ricotta cheese 1 cup 669
Yogurt Low fat plain 1 cup 415
yogurt low fat fruit kinds 1 cup 350
Milk low fat 1% 1 cup 300
Milk whole 1 cup 288
Swiss cheese 1 oz 272
Provolone cheese 1 oz 214
Cheddar cheese 1 oz 204
Vanilla ice cream 16% fat 1 cup 151
mozzarella cheese 1 oz 185
American cheese 1 oz 124
Cottage cheese 4 oz 70
FISH
Sardines 3 1/2 ounces 437
Salmon 3 oz. 133
BEANS
Tofu, firm made with calcium sulfate 4 oz 255
Soymilk 1/2 cup 175
Miso broth 1/2 cup 140
kidney beans 1/2 cup 130
Chickpeas 1/2 cup 40
LEAFY GREENS
Collard greens 1 cup fresh 357
Spinach 1 cup cooked 278
Mustard greens 1/2 cup cooked 183
Beet greens 1/2 cup cooked 100
Broccoli 1/2 cup 40
SEA VEGETABLES
Wakame 2 T. 325
Dulse 2 T. 142
Nori 2 T. 100
SEEDS AND NUTS
Sesame seeds 2 T. 176
almonds 2 oz 100
SWEETENERS
blackstrap molasses 2 T. 274
HERBS
Red Raspberry leaf/nettle tea steeped for 20mins 1 cup ~600
Parsley raw 2 T. 50
post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by starry_mama View Post
Thanks for posting this. I may print ths out and send it to my dad. He thinks I'm insane for not taking prenatal vitamins.
i also haven't taken a prenatal. my entire family quit taking multivitamins last year sometime, because of a concern about synthetic vitamins. last week i got guilted into purchasing a prenatal because i haven't been able to keep down the right foods. after reading this i question taking it again. i wish i didn't feel like vomiting all the time so i could just eat right and not worry about taking a vitamin. i wish i had someone to just tell me what to do on this one.
post #11 of 12
Interesting. I'm not sure where I stand on the issue since I haven't done any research, but now I will have to research the topic!

I have taken a chewable all-natural multivitamin for a couple of years, but when I got pregnant I had an aversion to the vitamins, wouldn't take the prenatals my doc prescribed, nor did I take my normal vitamins. I have only started taking them again in the last week. I think I will skip every other day until I have completed the research.
post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by frogleymom View Post
I have this same problem. During the first trimester, the prenatal vitamin makes me throw up more than anything else... if I avoid it like the plague for the first three months, I can actually keep solid foods down. I figure it's better to get nutrients from food, than to try to get extra nutrients from a vinamin and end up throwing everything up. I'll start taking the prenatals in a couple of weeks... after the nausea subsides.

Emily
I think I will do as you do and try them again in a few weeks. Right now, my stomach is still very touch and go and I do most of my throwing up in the late afternoons and evenings. Everyone says to take the vitamins before bed, but there is no way I can horse em down after an hour or two of vommitting.

I should at least try a couple of these things -- I just spent $60 to get the super high quality, food-based, organic ones. They are still unopened.
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