Sunday, December 26, 2010

Lack of Iron

I must say it can be quite difficult to be vegan at times to figure out what vitamins are needed from certain foods to keep your body healthy and strong.  Since becoming vegan, I have been exhausted and stressed trying to figure out why.  I am refusing to go back to meat for my protein and adding unnecessary vitamins, so I headed to the doctor to get checked.  They took a lot of blood samples to test for my thyroid amongst others.

It seems everything is checking out OK, except for my ferritin test.  Ferritin is a protein found inside cells that stores iron so your body can use it later. A ferritin test indirectly measures the amount of iron in your blood.
The amount of ferritin in your blood (serum ferritin level) is directly related to the amount of iron stored in your body.  My ferritin level was at 5.7 ng/mL and it should be in the range of 6.0 - 115 ng/mL. 

If the ferritin level is low, there is a risk for lack of iron, which could lead to anemia. Low ferritin levels (<50 ng/mL) have however been associated with the symptoms of restless legs syndrome, even in the absence of anemia and sickness.  Low ferritin may also indicate hypothyroidism or vitamin C deficiency.  Luckily, I haven't experienced any of these symptoms.

My doctor recommended that I take a multivitamin that included iron.  Well, if you know me, I had to do more research on this to see if that was the way to go.  From what I found, my best option seemed to be to take an iron liquid supplement.  The best seemed to be Floradix Iron + Herbs.  So off to Whole Foods I went this morning.  I must say it doesn't taste as horrible as I thought. 

Sure hope this helps, will keep you posted on the updates as the weeks progress.  Otherwise my next option will be to see a nutritionist and see why I am not loosing any weight with all the exercise and excellent eating habits I am doing.

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