Weight Loss
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Iron issues and weight loss...

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Does anyone know how iron supplements affect weight loss, or if they cause weight gain. My doctor has me on an iron supplement,  and it seems like it stalls my weight loss. I am at a healthy weight and in the process of increasing my calories to move towards maintenance calories, but I am afraid that if it's stalling weight loss on the lower calories intake, it will cause weight gain when I'm on maintenance calories. Does anyone really know?

 Also, I'm getting a lot of mixed information about how to increase iron in diet - I would love it if anyone has any real, tried and true suggestions, or professional knowledge about it. I'm 20 and my iron is super low and I want to get it back up fast so I can move past all the symptoms it's causing and feel normal again! Thanks so much!

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I think I've heard that iron can cause constipation (at least until your body adjusts) - so that could cause weight loss to stall.  But as far as I know, it shouldn't change your actual calories burned, so it isn't stalling fat loss.

I've never heard of iron causing weight gain (although I would suspect that feeling anemic and run-down would make one disinclined to exercise, which could cause weight gain!).  My multivitamin has iron in it and, yes, it can cause some, um, intestinal quirkiness, so I don't take it every day.  Don't skip it, though, if your iron is that low.

If you've lost enough that you're near maintenance, you're not going to lose weight as fast, anyway.  Thinner people lose more slowly.  My guess is that it's that, and not your iron supplement.

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I have iron issues as well and taking the iron doesn't seem to affect my weight loss, but it did cause my digestive tract some trouble.  But after a while my body got used to it.

I felt terrible when my iron was really low and I didn't know what was going on.  I feel much better when I am taking my iron, so keep it up.  It is worth dealing with the digestive issues to not have the hair loss, fatigue and other symptoms of low stored iron.

Also, take your iron with Vitamin C...it helps it to absorb better and avoid dairy for a couple hours before taking it.  I found that if I took it right before bed it didn't upset my stomach so much.

Sweet! thanks! Yeah, I already have the constipation problem, which makes having to take more iron a read bother for me haha. I will try taking it before bed to avoid the upset stomach. And I've heard about Vitamin C helping from so many sources and nothing against it, so you must be right! I'll try it.

 @cckarose - when your iron was really low, was there anything you could do while it was building back up in your system to help you get through each day? Sometimes my energy is so low and I get dizzy and stuff and barely handle going to work. Do I just have to wait it out for however long it takes to get my iron levels up (my doctor says a few months)?

I was extremely anemic (hospitalized twice in 2 months for it) and I found that the iron supplements were horrible on the stomach. I saw a gastroeneterologist recently and he told me about liquid iron supplements (the one I take is called Fer-In-Sol). Since I started using that I haven't had any of the negative digestive symptoms. Perhaps you could ask your doctor about giving that a try? I definitely wouldn't stop taking iron altogether if you are very low, what I went through from being severely anemic was not pleasant.

How low is anemic? Ok, yeah, I'll consider the liquid if this gives me any more problems. I'm thinking it was a contributing factor to some really annoying nausea I was having while taking the supplement last month...

I had really bad nausea from the capsules too, I felt sick all day because I had to take it 3 times a day. I feel sick for maybe 20 minutes after the liquid but its a huge improvement.

I am not sure what is considered anemic exactly. My hemoglobin (red blood cells) was in the 70's and my ferritin (iron stores in blood) was 2. I think normal for hemoglobin is 120-160, but I don't know what is normal for ferritin.


Ok...I only know that they took my blood and found the iron count to be about 32. I don't know if that's the ferritin? I'm guessing it is. So you were wayyy lower than me! My doctor wants me between 60 or 100, but above 100 is preferable.

Here is a link I found helpful about low iron. There are a lot of dietary things you can do to help as well!

http://www.hamiltonhealthsciences.ca/document s/Patient%20Education/IronRichFoods-trh.pdf

Good luck! = )

Well, first of all, there are many, many causes of anemia and it can even be a symptom of something else. Depending on what kind of anemia you have, you may need a different form of supplement.

I was anemic during and after my second pregnancy. It took far more than a few months to get up to a normal iron level. I wasn't as low as you seem to be, though, and wasn't experiencing such severe side effects.

Avoid taking the iron supplement with coffee, tea or soda since caffeine can block the absorption of iron. I also agree with cckarose about the vitamin C. There are some iron supplements that contain ascorbic acid (a type of vitamin C) just to help with absorption. You may also want to try a B-complex vitamin to help with energy levels.

Some good sources of iron are enriched grains (rice, oats, quinoa, cereals, cream of wheat), beans (especially lentils, chickpeas and soybeans), spinach, pumpkin (canned pumpkin in oatmeal is awesome!), blackstrap molasses (also in oatmeal with pumpkin!) and beef.

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Hi there.  It sounds like the 32 count is your ferritin (stored iron).  Mine was 4....(yeah 4)...when I started.  But it climbed quickly when I was taking 325 mg iron pills twice a day.  I was able to get it to 50 in about six weeks. 

This is faster than most, so I was lucky that my body seemed to absorb the iron well.  I now take one 325 mg a day and it keeps me feeling good.  I guess I don't have a lot of suggestions on what to do on feeling crappy with the low iron.  But once I found out why my hair was falling out and I was feeling so bad, my mood improved knowing what I needed to do to fix it.

After about a week or two of taking iron I felt much better and wasn't so tired.  My doctor didn't want to check my iron for three months when I first started, but I pushed to have it checked after one month to see my progress and it was helpful to see I had increased quite a bit.

Are you still eating 1200 calories? You have stated you have some disordered issues. If you are under eating that will not help your anemia. Your body needs enough fuel to absorb then iron. Remember the aim is health. Good luck.

I, too, was anemic off and on for years and was prescribed iron pills. It turned out it wasn't an iron deficiency, it was another blood disorder. It can take up to six months to build up your iron stores in your body. If, after taking the pills for months, your levels don't go up make sure your doctor investigates further.

Fe! Fe! What a great element!

Here's the thing, make sure that you're not going over your daily intake of Iron. (This accounts for all metals absorbed in the body.  I'm currently taking a Zinc supplement and too much of it will cancel Copper which can cause glandular issues.)

Iron is very important and a lot of foods naturally contain it, but I'm certained when foods get processed a lot of that delicious nutrition is lost. 

Eat like Popeye and I think you will obtain a healthy balance of iron in your diet.  Or... you can eat spinach like a normal person and look up some interesting recipes.  I found a delicious fruit yogurt smoothy with spinach online.  There's a ton of creative recipes out there. 

Oh, and as for weight loss.  I don't really see how Iron could inhibit weight loss unless you're consuming too much and it's causing water retention. 

Make sure you are drinking plenty of water during the day to prevent water retention in the body. 

@puddykat - I've been at about 1250, I'm slowly pulling it up, Working on being at 1300-1350 right now.

 Ok, so yeah, my doctor has already said if my iron levels haven't gone up soon, she will find another way (intravenous treatment). I haven't been drinking enough water, Im really thirsty, but it just sounds gross right now, and my throat has been hurting and tight a lot so drinking isn't very fun right now...

Thank you all for the reassurance and advice!

Good. Hang in there and maybe try some juice or warm tea with honey those tastes better with a crappy throat, just avoid orange juice I find that hurts with a sore throat.

Hi! I am borderline anemic and also struggle with my frequent constipation...but not since I found a liquid iron supplement called "Floradix"! It is a fruit juice based iron supplement designed to not cause bowel trouble! Works like a charm!!

Awesome - you all are super helpful :) thanks!

I'm also anemic, especially when I'm pregnant. At the same time I have what my dr called iron sensitivity. So, taking regular iron supplements make me sick (super nauseated). My mom did some research and found these pills called Slow-Fe (think thats the name) and you can get them at walmart or have your dr give you a prescription for slow-release iron supplements. They are awesome because you get the iron without the sickness. I also started eating alot more mean (redmeat particularly) being a vegetarian (not a healthy one) is what caused my anemia in the first place. I also eat lots of green beans and other veggies with iron and drink protein shakes that have plenty of iron as well. Since I've been doing that I feel a lot less sleepy than I use to.

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