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Very low Ferritin and B12 levels

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
So, what's the most efficient way to bring my levels back up?

I have a Rx for B12 shots. I've been advised by the Dr. to take 1 shot 1x/week for the first month, and thereafter 1x/2 weeks.

I've been asked to up my level of heme iron. I'll be eating chicken livers, but not sure how much and how often.

What else should I do?

I eating pretty healthy otherwise (soaked whole grains, nuts, seeds, little to no artificial stuff etc.), though we typically don't eat much meat.

I feel like curd. Always tired, constantly in survival mode, and somehow getting through day after day, though some days I just want to curl up in to a ball and sleep for week.
post #2 of 8
Thread Starter 
Here are my results from June 2008:
B12 80 pmol/L [not deficient >150]
Ferritin 21 ug/L [not deficient 101 - 300]

ETA: Results from April 2008:
Folates,ERC 781 nmol/L
Folates,S i 23.7 nmol/L
Vitamin B12 i 135 pmol/
post #3 of 8
Liver is probably best....I'd want your RDA of iron or above each day.
Chicken liver can have some yucks if it is grain fed; I think arsenic. Just to let you know.

If you want a supplement to make up some difference in your needs vs. intake ferrochel ferrous bis-glycinate form of iron taken with vitamin C at very low levels (RDA or slightly above) will get iron back to normal very quickly. http://www.indianpediatrics.net/aug2004/table1.htm But I'd take it away from the liver source. In general, whether with meat (heme) source or non-heme source of iron, you can't absorb really large amounts at the same time. Because you are so deficient you will probably absorb better at least initially. But if you can space out doses that will help. http://jn.nutrition.org/cgi/content/full/133/7/2214#T1

I would do vitamin C (sodium ascorbate or food source) with every meal or snack for the time being. That will help you maximize iron in grains and other non-heme sources.

You need to avoid iron inhibiting foods with your iron. Those include eggs (yolk and white), red grapes and raisins (most dark fruits are going to contain inhibitors), nuts and seeds and legumes (including soy), calcium containing foods or supplements including dairy, spinach and some other greens (not all--those containing oxalic acid). A few of those foods are so bad that in enough quantity they can block iron all day so I would avoid them completely--especially egg. Dairy just keep away from the iron. Use vitamin c to take care of other inhibiting factors. I can't find my really good link showing that egg will block the entire iron in the diet (if you eat enough) but this link shows it does block iron--even more than dairy or soy which are known inhibitors. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17995699

B12 shots are the way to go for that deficiency.

I bet with those numbers you do feel awful. I hope it all improves soon.
post #4 of 8
I agree shots are the way to go for B12. should get those levels up quick and I bet you start feeing better soon.

If you do supplement iron you can take ferrous fumarate or ferrous glycinate around 100-200 mg elemental iron a day if your stomach can handle it. It can be constipating for some - but if you take Vit C that should help.

You can read more about food & herbal sources here:

Understanding B12

Understanding Iron

I bet you'll feel better fast after getting those levels up.
post #5 of 8
I've heard good things about Floradix Iron + Herbs. It made me feel a lot better but my iron wasn't very low. Might be worth looking into though.
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks mama!

sbgrace, I didn't know eggs reduce absorption of iron.
The livers I eat are from grain fed organic chickens - I am yet to find pasture fed here I'm going to pick up some oranges soon, and look up other Vit. C rich foods

FrannieP, I am yet to read those links fully, but I definately need to understand their relation better.

lindberg99, I am looking in to Floradox again. I used it througout my last pregnancy because my Ferritin levels were low (but no where as low as they are now). It seemed to work for me.

Regarding Vit. C, will "Natural Calm" help? {Cal/Mag combo.} I have some of that already, so I'd rather use that if I can than invest in sodium ascorbate. If I need to get the latter however, so be it.
post #7 of 8
So glad to have found this thread. The last two times my ferritin has been tested, it's been in the 10-12 range. The doc prescribed Tandem last year which I took for a while and it did nothing to raise my levels -- it actually went down. I've tried iron picolinate too. I'm tired and dizzy a lot. I didn't get my period until 17 months after I had my son and my ferritin was 29 at that point. Each month I just feel more fatigued --my flow is very heavy. I had no idea about the egg-absorption connection and although I don't eat more than 2 a week, I found that fascinating.
post #8 of 8
Originally Posted by Siana View Post
Thanks mama!

Regarding Vit. C, will "Natural Calm" help? {Cal/Mag combo.} I have some of that already, so I'd rather use that if I can than invest in sodium ascorbate. If I need to get the latter however, so be it.
I wouldn't use it. Magnesium could decrease iron uptake/absorption. Generally minerals are better taken away from each other. Exception would be Magnesium with calcium. But keep those (and zinc) away from iron.
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