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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Will taking a higher dose of iron pills bring my iron level up faster?

    I have been eating a particularly poor diet lately due to emotional stress & have been extremely tired and fatigued, to the point where I can only stay awake about 7 hrs a day.

    I found out my iron level is low (although not anaemic). I have started taking iron pills with vitamin c, one pill once a day. I have also started eating lots of steak and eggs.

    Does anyone know how long it will take to feel a bit better? Or if taking double the dose of iron will speed up the process?
    Also, are there any foods which might hamper the iron absorption, such as calcium or caffeine?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 14

    Thanks

    Lyn Christian

    Nutritionist

    As a Naturopath and Nutritionist I am passionate about the promotion of health using functional foods to correct nutrient imbalances.All health conditions need to be … View Profile

    When we are iron deficient, our red blood cells and muscles are not receiving enough oxygen. This causes the fatigue you are experiencing. Adequate iron levels are also required for optimal immune system function. As you say, your diet has been less than optimal, but other factors may be at play with iron deficiency. Poor digestion, prolonged use of antacids, long term illness and a diet high in phosphorus, strenuous exercise are all contributors.
     Taking an iron supplement will improve your iron levels plus you also need to follow an iron-rich diet. It is not advisable to take more than the recommended dose of iron due to the fact that excess is stored and causes the production of free radicals.
    Separate iron supplements and calcium and Vitamin E. That is, don’t eat a high calcium food along with your iron rich food.
    As you are aware, excessive amounts of Coffee, tea, bran and wheat germ inhibit iron absorption.
    Do take the supplement with Vitamin C and choose either ferrous gluconate or ferrous fumarate which are more easily absorbed. Haem iron sources include red meat, poultry, fish, eggs.
    Non haem iron, poorly absorbed , is mostly from plant sources. Green leafy vegetables-broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, whole grains, avocadoes, legumes, pumpkin, Nuts-almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, tofu, miso, dates, peaches, pears. Combining non-haem and haem iron foods will increase absorption.

  • 2

    Thanks

    Maria Nguyen

    HealthShare Member

    I am not a doctor, but I know for sure when you take anything in excess, it does not do any good. Please do not take more pills than it is recommended. Every prescribtion tell you exactly how much iron you need to take. Try to eat more vegatables such as broccoli, avocado, cucumber, lettuce, almonds to increase iron level in your body.

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  • 2

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    Elizabeth Newsham-West is committed to optimising the health and well-being of people across all ages within the Mount Tamborine community.  She works as a domicillary … View Profile

    It  can take a long time to improve your iron levels as much as 2-4 months for the iron in your blood to be higher and  a lot longer to replenish you bodies iron's stores. Both of these need to be restored. You can often start to feel better when concentrating on improving your iron levels through supplements or food before your irons levels come up to the normal range.
    It is important not to take more iron than you are prescribed, this will not make you feel better quicker and could be dangerous for you.

    Iron supplement should be prescribed by your GP who will prescribe the right amount you need and monitor your irons levels in your blood and the iron stores in your body.

    To improve you iron status with food and supplements take your iron supplement with the meal you have meat fish or chicken, eat lots of vegetables and finish with some fruit. Research show that those who have fruit with meals are less likely to be iron deficient. The vitamin C in fruit and your vegetables will assist in iron absorption. You do not necessarily need a suppplement to do this, food is excellent at doing this job. The haem iron in your protein ( meat, fish, chicken) will also do the same. You do not necessarily need to eat large meat servings, but eat these regularly through the week.  It is recommended not to take your supplement with tea or coffee.

    There are many things which can alter the absorption of iron. If you are low your body will absorb more, medications can affect this also , some fibres in food can do the same these should not be avoided as they have other health benefits. You may benefit from asking your GP to refer you to a Accredited Practicing Dietitian who will assess your whole diet to help improve your feeling of wellness and wellbeing. Iron is only one nutrient important in achieving this.
     

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