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Anemia questions

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Well, the OB/mw's office just called and said that I'm anemic and should start taking iron. It explains a lot because I have been just fuzzily tired and out of breath in spite of exercise and a decent diet, not veg, by the way. Also headaches and dizziness. So...any brands that anybody would recommend? I don't think I will be disciplined enough to get all I need with my diet, and I know there are other supplements which I will ask the mw about at my next visit...she is great with herbs. But until then I think I will take the iron. I took slow FE after dd was born, big time anemia then, and I think it was okay. Any other suggestions?
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I don't recommend any specific brand-I forget which ones I took last time. But, I brought my levels up from 6 to 10 in a few weeks. I took a supplement twice a day, ate spinach and red meat, and drank orange juice at the same time. There is something in OJ that helps the iron bind to your blood, or something like that! Anyway, it helps to drink OJ when you eat iron rich foods.
Good luck and hope you're feeling better!
I highly recommend Floradix liquid iron supplement from the Vitamin Shoppe. It kinda has a fruity taste I thought it was good, my kids take it. It's not cheap though and because there are no preservatives bottle on lasts for about 2 weeks.

My MW has prescribed chromagen for me in the past. I found that easy to take and it did not cause me to be constipated.

Vit. C helps to boost iron uptake so you should take the supplement with soemthing citrusy, OJ is an easy option. Do not take iron with milk, it inhibits iron uptake.

Same situation here, but the nurse tried to get me to take the ferrous sulfate supplements...I just don't think I could handle 180mg of iron washing through my system at once!

Instead, 1/2 cup of Grape Nuts with a little milk in the morning with a glass of OJ, and sweeten my afternoon and evening kefir smoothies with 1 Tbsp molasses each! Works great, has increased my energy, and is super-easy (I have a harder time remembering to take supplements than remembering to eat).

Sorry, if I knew of a good supplement, I'd pass the name of it along.
I say take the Floridix with iron and herbs. I have to take it every pregnancy, and it brings up my iron count in just 5 days. It taste good, and it works. Take right before eating. I love this stuff.
My midwives told me that I should absolutely not take an iron supplement--they said it was dangerous, but for the life of me, I can't remember why. I need to get my low iron up for a homebirth so they told me to do the following:

-Take 6 spirulina tablets every day, NOT with any form of dairy. This will help increase the absorbtion of iron

-Eat a lot of iron rich foods, but not at the same time as dairy. Watch out for things like spinach, that are high in iron, but also don't allow absorbtion. DH makes me a loaf of Brown Bread every couple days that I work through--it has blackstrap molasses, prunes, and raisins in it, so there is a lot of iron. Some examples are raisins, prunes, red meat, oysters, clams, etc.

-Put blackstrap molasses in smoothies, etc. A tablespoon of BS molasses has a whole lot of iron in it...

-Take a prenatal vitamin with 100% of the iron you need, but not at the same time as the spirulina and not with dairy.

-She also mentioned chlorophyll, but I haven't tried that yet. I'm trying to see if the other stuff will work first... I was looking at the floridix, but they only sell the version with gluten in it here, and I can't have gluten...
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Wow, thanks so much for all the info!

I have a call into the midwife to see about Floradix, because that better to me than herbs. I also don't know just how low my levels are so don't know how much to take either. Good to know there are alternatives to just the pills! And I had no idea Grape Nuts had so much iron! Thanks mamas.
If you levels aren't that low, then you could probably get away with just chlorophyll, or adding spanich leaves to your salads. If you aren't taking a prenatal start taking one. With my last pregnancy I quit the prenatal, and when I was found to be slightly anemic, just taking that again did the trick. Which is my plan this time around too. LOL
My favorite piece of nutritional knowledge that I've picked up in all my pregnancy related reading is that watermelon is a good source of iron - equal to spinach. Who knew?! Plus it has the vitamin C built in.

Here's a link with some other food listings & information:
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I found out my levels are low too, they measured 34 and I guess 35 is acceptable. My mw wants me to take a supplement every other day. I'm going to try molasses though. It is odd, because my iron was sooooo... high at the beginning of my pregnancy that she asked what I did. She said it was the highest count she had seen in a year. I guess I better go back to eating ginger snaps with molasses, which is what I was probably doing, and cooking in an iron skillet, which I can't now because of a glass top stove I just got. Iron skillet really does help. So, does adding pumpkin seeds to things -- ground up. My son was anemic and all of this helped him.
that's strange...they just called back and said my levels were 11 and they like them to be 12 or above? Maybe different measurements or something. Anyway, I'm off to get lots of interesting iron-rich food, and hopefully feel better soon!
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Originally Posted by sweetred
Iron skillet really does help.
This is so true. My levels are way, way high, and the only thing I can figure is that it's the pans I use. I cook almost everything on iron skillets - adding something acidic to whatever you're cooking (lemon on your sauted greens for example) ups the quantity of iron, apparently.

Good Luck!

Originally Posted by mamabeth
that's strange...they just called back and said my levels were 11 and they like them to be 12 or above? Maybe different measurements or something. Anyway, I'm off to get lots of interesting iron-rich food, and hopefully feel better soon!

One is hemocrit and the other one is hemoglobin... When they test your iron, you usually get a low number (around the teens), and a higher level (in the 30's). I can't remember which number is for what though.
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When your talking ONE POINT...that's pretty normal for pregnancy. When I was anemic my level was at 11. I think it's Hemoglobin, a finger stick...oh heck I can't remember either. Anyway, I started off eatting more iron rich foods, then took the prenatal (that I wasn't taking before)

I'm pretty freaking tired too, but I doubt I'm anemic, I just can't get comfortable to fall asleep!
With the finger stick, 11 usually isn't considered anemic. What I've always heard (from working at WIC and asking my midwife) is that they want the level to be above 10.
mamabeth, 11 is not low. Right around 28 weeks your iron levels are supposed to drop, according to my mw. I forgot to ask why, but she made a comment to me about that just yesterday. They go back up at around 32 weeks & you start feeling more "normal" again. It's important for your levels to be up around 12 or so when you deliver so that the chance of pph is lower.

I've had some issues with slightly lower levels (10.5-11.3) & being tired all the time. It was recommended that I try taking liquid chloraphyll (sp) or alfalfa seed tablets. I guess taking the alfalfa will increase your #'s the fastest, only taking a few days as opposed to a few weeks to a month with a OTC supplement like slow fe. I've heard really great things about Floridix too, & have tried it, but the taste/smell of it to me are enough to send me over the edge. Just nasty, imo!! I can't describe the just didn't agree with me so I won't be going that route.

I've been taking the alfalfa for a while now & it really does work well.


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Yeah, the mw said they like them to be around 12. Whatever...I think more iron rich foods and citrus won't hurt in either case. And I do want to be proactive because I was anemic after my daughter was born to the point of passing out, etc. Thanks again mamas, I'm learning so much!
I'm tandem nursing through pregnancy, which should basically be sucking the iron out of my system, but my iron levels, according to my midwife, are great. I, too, think cooking in a cast iron skillet has a lot to do with it. I cook my pasta sauce in one, which is ideal as the tomatoes are acidic so the sauce absorbs a lot of iron! I can't stomach vitamins w/ iron, so I'm glad!!!
Okay, the funny thing about all this is that I have had my eggs every morning out of a 100-year-old cast iron skillet. They are dh's great-grandmother's and he is obsessed with them, so basically they're all we eat out of.
So my levels would probably be a lot worse if not for that!
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Here's another vote for the Floradix. My midwives suggested it when I was borderline anemic with ds. It was liquid so I didn't have to take a whole dose and on days when my iron intake was high I skipped it. Hated the taste. Took me back to my tequila drinking days... I actually poured the Floradix in a shot glass and chased it with a glass of orange juice. That is all the action those poor neglected shot glasses have seen in 3 years!
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