Help me figure out how to maximize my iron uptake
May 5, 2014 9:36 AM Subscribe
My ferritin is low. Low enough to destroy my concentration and stamina and make my hair fall out among other things. I'm doing tons of research and apparently there is a bunch of stuff that inhibits uptake and Im having a hard time NOT cultivating anxiety and obsessive thoughts about this. help.
posted by lilnublet to Health & Fitness (20 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I've written this question three times, but I think I'm adding way too much detail which is really just underscoring the fact that I'm thinking about this way too much to be healthy.
I'm taking 100mg elemental iron twice daily - morning and night. Caffeine, calcium and tannins all inhibit uptake. How can I best arrange my diet to maximize iron uptake? Is there a threshold for calcium thats "safe" (like can I still eat 1/2 cup of yogurt for breakfast)? Is there a window if time I need to avoid these substances around my pills? (for instance, one study says coffee 1 hour before iron is fine, but up to 2 hours after will inhibit uptake.)
Most importantly - am I driving myself crazy for nothing? My doctor gave me NO specific advice other than to take the pills with orange juice (vitamin C enhances uptake, does this effect cancel out inhibitory effects of other substances??) and said to take on an empty stomach if I can tolerate it (what's the window of time for "empty"?). Does it not really make that big of a difference? Is that why they prescribe megadoses of iron - with the understanding that only a fraction makes it into the system? Can I build up stores faster if I micromanage this stuff? Real talk: Am I driving myself crazy for nothing?
I understand the easy thing to do would be to just eliminate dairy and coffee and green tea from my diet completely, but tbh this process is distressing enough and since I understand that I'm looking at a process that will take somewhere between months and forever, I'd like to just figure out how to schedule my diet appropriately.