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Tired, Not Enough Iron?

Posted by terrepruitt on December 15, 2009

Not too long ago I was feeling so tired.  I didn’t know why and I still don’t KNOW why, I think I know, but I am not sure.  I think I wasn’t getting enough iron.  I take Calcium supplements, they are Cal Complete so they have other stuff in them.  I understand and I like the idea of being able to get all the nutrients I need from food and not having to take a supplement.  But . . . I don’t think that is realistic for me.  I think that sometimes I just don’t eat all the nutrients I need.  Also, since our food is so altered who really knows if I am getting the nutrients I need from the food.  There are other reasons I food might not have all the nutrients we think, first of all the food can be altered (as I just stated), or it could be not as fresh as it needs to be for optimal nutrients, or I could be cooking some of the nutrients out.  Either way, I like the idea, but I don’t think it is entirely possible to get everything I need all the time from food.  And with calcium it is recommended to take a supplement anyway.

With calcium your body can only absorb so much at a time so it is recommended to take it twice a day.  I always take the “going to bed” one, but I was forgetting about the morning one.   And I think it was affecting me.  I eat a spinach salad almost every night so I thought I was getting enough iron through that, but apparently even though spinach has a lot of iron the body cannot absorb it that well.

 

 

 

 

There are two kinds of iron heme and nonheme.  Heme is found in meat and is most easily absorbed by the body.  Nonheme is typically found in plant sources and is not as easily absorbed.

I eat mostly chicken with about 1.1 milligrams per 3 oz. compared to beef at 2.2 to 3.2 milligrams per 3 oz.  Add my chicken to my salad, I have about 3.8 milligrams.  The total of the two is close to 20% of the recommended daily allowance.  So, if you add my two calcium pills with a total of 83% of the RDA you get 103%.  If I only take one then I am missing about 40%.  Now I don’t know if that is enough to make me feel like I did, but I thought, “Hey, let’s get back to my 83% and remember to take both pills and now I am feeling less tired.’”

Of course, only lab tests and a doctor can tell me what if it truly was low iron.  It could be a lot of things, but I just thought it was interesting that spinach doesn’t contain as much iron as I thought and absorbing it depends on what it is mixed with.  So I figure with the chicken I eat, the spinach I eat and the calcium with iron I take, in addition to anything else I am eating that might have iron in it, I really will be getting the RDA.

For a lot more information on iron:   (06.07.20 – sorry seems like this link no longer works)
http://dietary-supplements.info.nih.gov/factsheets/iron.asp

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