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Need to raise my iron

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Hey everybody,

I give plasma regularly (I'm broke and am trying to pay off my credit card debt). Lately, I've been finding that my red blood cell count is just barely high enough to give - a couple of times, I've been rejected because it's been too low, meaning I'm mildly anemic.

I'm not underweight by any means (I'm 5'6", 145 lbs), and I'm not restricting my calories severely either (aiming for about 1700-1800 per day).  I try to eat a fairly balanced diet. However, the plasma center tells me I'm probably not getting enough iron, and that's why my red blood cell count is too low.

Does anyone have any tips for things I can eat with lots of iron that will help out my red blood cell count? I'm not a huge meat fan - I'm not vegetarian, but I just don't care all that much for meat. I can eat more of it, but I'd prefer not to have to eat steaks and burgers on a regular basis. I do enjoy fish.

Also, are there any bad habits that will LOWER my RBC count, or block absorption of iron? Diet soda, for example?

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I have the same problem. I used to be able to donate blood but after trying a diet a few years ago I found out via unrelated blood work that I was slightly anemic. I've improved and have gotten back to within the healthy amount of iron. Unfortunately the healthy range for women does not overlap with the necessary amount to donate blood, so while healthy I'm still too low to donate. It's probably a good idea for you to get blood work done with a doctor to see if you're slight anemia is a health problem or not. Also keep in mind that women have low iron counts during their period due to, well at the risk of sound gross, blood loss.

The suggestions I got to improve my iron were to eat iron rich foods like lean meats (beef, turkey etc), seafood (mussels, tuna, salmon etc), basically any kind of beans (soy, kidney etc), any kind of dark green (spinach is my fav), and nuts and veggies (asparagus, brussel sprouts etc). You can easily google for more options.

The key is that vitamin C helps you absorb iron, so it's good to pair the two together. Even if you're having fortified breakfast cereal, have it with a glass of OJ. Throw some fruit in a spinach salad, or just simply have fruit for dessert after an iron rich dinner!

You've had excellent advice.... particularly the part about getting vitamin C with the iron.   The one thing that can block iron absorption is caffeine.  So if you drink much Coke or coffee then you should try to cut back.

Another thing I just remembered... changes in your iron level can take a little while to correct, so don't expect that if you eat iron rich for a few days you'll be all set to go. Depending on how low you are it could take weeks or months to get back to a healthy level.

I have to take iron supplements because of my anemia, you could try that. Only issue is they can make you constipated

Need iron?  Eat a bowl of Kelloggs nonfrosted miniwheats. (The Blue box.)   NOT POST.  The Kelloggs has 90% of what you need on a daily basis, like 2g refined sugar and the rest is good stuff.  The POST version is more processed and has 10% iron needed for the day. 


Iron suplements can realy upset your stomach.

Check out this page. It shows food high in iron - meat sources and non-meat sources.  It also gives you a list of foods that helps your body absorb the iron in the food.

I have been so aneimic I had to have a blood transfusion.  My red blood count was like 9.  I couldn't take the Iron supplements because they made me vomit.  So I got the regular womens day type supplements with Iron, I could take those.  And I bought an Iron skillet.  Truth is, I would rather cook with Iron than anything.  Any food you cook that has an acid in it will pull Iron out of the pan.  Tomato sauce and Juice are the best.  Because they have the vitamine c as well as the acid.  It helped me more than anything did.



multi grain cheerios- 1 cup is 100% iron for the DV... oh spinach is good... haha

So i was seriously anemic to the point were all i wanted to do was sleep, and couldnt really keep up to my daily activities. I know this sounds really gross which it is but it worked for me, I ate 2 tablespoons of molasses a day, its really high in iron and it absorbs properly into your body. It really helped, if you feel like nothin is working give it a try. Best of luck to you. =))

Fergon...You can find in the isle with multivitamins! My doc recommended it for me when I had similar issues!

Hope it helps!

I also have taken iron supplements.  However, I would check w/ a dr before you start taking them because anemia is not always caused just by iron deficiency, but sometimes (as in my case) an underlying problem. 

Also - for me at least, according to my dr - the amount of iron that is in a multivitamin is basically not even worth it if you are anemic. 

There are different types of iron supplements too - your dr would tell you what is best for you to take.

Thanks so much for the suggestions everyone! I'll give them a whirl!

I thought I would jump into this thread because I help people with anemia quite a bit in my job. I am a midwife. Anemia can be caused by many different things so it is always important to check with your health care provider about your own particular situation. But with that disclaimer I would like to share some of the things I have seen work many times with many different people.

  1. My all time favorite treatment for anemia is liquid chlorophyll. And no it doesn't actually contain much iron. Actually no one know how it works but it does work. I tell women who are anemic to take 1/4 cup a day. In most cases I see the hgb raise rapidly using chlorophyll alone. It can be mixed with water or juice and I do recommend getting mint flavored. The capsules are not as effective as the liquid.
  2. It is important to be getting enough vit C. I not only recommend this but also a balanced B complex. I usually recommend the "Balanced B-50" to my clients.
  3. Herbs that help with anemia are yellow dock, alfalfa and nettles.
  4. If you take an iron supplement, I recommend a vegetable source iron. It is the easiest to absorb. The iron content may not be as high in the vegetable source pills but they still work better. You will have to take more pills though. The problem with some iron supplements is they don't absorb. In fact, if your supplement is causing constipation, this is most likely the reason. So in fact it isn't doing you much good anyway if you are getting constipated. The things I have mentioned will NOT cause constipation. In fact, many of my clients have told me that they correct constipation (especially the chlorophyll).
  5. Along with iron rich foods, make sure you are getting lots of DARK leafy green vegetables. They have iron and help you absorb the iron.


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I donate plasma twice a week and was just barely making the cut even though I took a daily vitamin with more than 100% of the iron I needed and made sure to eat eggs and spinach right before I donated. I found an iron supplement for about $5 at Target with 300% of the daily requirement, and it's been much easier. I haven't experienced any of its negative side effects either in 3 weeks of taking it. Best of luck.

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