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Vegan / Vegetarian Discussion - All Things Veg*n Forum

I returned to being vegetarian earlier this year, thank goodness. However, it seems I am having trouble balancing my nutrients. I'm pretty sure I'm suffering from low iron levels now. Tired, cold intolerance, difficulty concentrating, leg cramps, insomnia, etc. Kinda seemed to be triggered when I donated blood last.

I did just buy a liquid iron with B vitamins supplement .. it seems to cause heart burn tho.

Suggestions on how to reverse this iron dilemma and prevent it from recurring?

(p.s. I absolutely refuse to eat meat as a solution)

Thanks so much

Responses (4)

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by happycowgirl at 12/30/12 11:41:12

    hi LilacBunny~

    Have u had a blood test yet? A quick visit to the doctor's office and a simple blood draw, your family practice doc can do a blood test of your iron levels and also your B12, cholesterol, the works.

    In any event, I've found the perfect solution to be sure I'm getting enough iron and I'd love to share it. It's House of Herb's blackstrap molasses. One tablespoon gives you 70% RDA of iron. One tablespoon a day and you're set! I make a glass of hot water, stir in the tablespoon and drink it as tea. You can order it on Amazon, here's the link:

    Lots of people, even many meateaters, are low iron. You're right, eating meat is not the solution. Hope this helps.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by happycowgirl at 12/30/12 11:42:49

    Here's some more info. As you may know, humans need iron to aid in the production of hemoglobin, a protein. Hemoglobin can be found in human red blood cells, and without it, oxygen isn`t properly transported throughout the body. Iron also assists in the function of cells and in proper brain functioning.

    Most often, when people think of iron, they think of meat sources (known as "heme iron"), but there are plenty of vegetarian, non-heme sources of this mineral as well. As long as a veg*n ingests plenty of vitamin C, non-heme iron is readily absorbed in the body. Fortunately, veg*ns usually get their vitamin C at the same time they get their iron, so that`s not a problem.

    • Good Sources of Iron
    Beans (Dried Peas, Dried Beans)
    Vegetables (Dark Green Leafy Vegetables)
    Beans (Green, Lima, Peas)
    Roots (Beets, White Potatoes)
    Sprouts (Bean, Alfalfa)
    Fruits (Dates, Prunes, Raisins)
    Enriched, fortified and whole grain breads and cereals are often high in iron content (check package contents).
    Grains (Wild Rice, Oats, Wheat, Bran, Macaroni)

    • Good Sources To Increase Iron Absorption
    Citrus Fruits (Oranges, Lemons, Limes)

    Helpful Hints:
    • Foods containing calcium and calcium supplements(TUMS) should not be used one hour before or one hour after the ingestion of iron supplements.

    • The intake of high fiber, cellulose foods (celery), caffeine (coffee, tea, cola), and anti-acid medications decrease iron absorption.

    • Absorption of the iron occurs in the upper part of the small intestine within four hours after eating.

  • Longdrive's avatar
    Report Abuse

    Posted by Longdrive at 12/30/12 16:08:06

    Lilac Bunny: You've been given some great advice (above). I would like to add an additional point to happycowgirl's advice: Many people (including me) are allergic to coffee etc. It was the cause of me almost being crippled with arthritis. Removing it from my diet enabled me to both wash my face in a morning and thereafter go on to successfully compete in international sport very late in life. Please also Google 'Top Ten Benefits of Zinc.' It may or may not be useful. Good luck!

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by LilacBunny at 12/30/12 18:22:24

    Wow, lots of help, thank you both!
    I'll call my doctor about the bloodwork and reread the above.
    I have received the "limited tea" suggestion from another also. Is that all teas or just black tea or just tea with caffeine? Anyone know?
    I don't drink coffee ... breaking myself of my diet coke addiction by switching to tea .. which I now wonder if its completely wise ...

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