Vitamin & Mineral Deficiencies Considerations IBD Part 2: Iron

image-2-ironGood day everyone,
Happy Fall.  How did you bring in the new season?

I celebrated the Fall Equinox by first enjoying a nice walk through my village of Housatonic, MA. The air was crisp with the sun in full so as to welcome a light scarf and a hat; one of my favorite things about this season.  I walked and as I did gave thanks for the new season and for me being able to participate in it.  I collected a few leaves for their passages into their next turn.  The weekend brought me to a lovely evening of Kirtan music gathering.  I find it solidifies my body, mind and spirit in the now when I take the time to acknowledge the new seasons.  It’s also a nice way to stay connected with your environment.

Today I bring you the second half of the Vitamin & Mineral Deficiencies Consideration for IBD with a look at iron.

Minerals come from soil and water while vitamins come from plants and animals.  If any of you have been through a flare-up with IBD you have experienced a loss of vitamins and minerals due to increased bowels.  You may have had to see a nutritionist about getting levels back to normal.

Iron is one particular important to the body.   Iron is essential to creating healthy red blood cells called hemoglobin which make up two-thirds of the body’s iron.  Oxygen is carried by hemoglobin from your lungs to the whole body.  Without iron, no healthy red blood cells hemoglobin without hemoglobin no carriers for oxygen.

This is when we experience the signs of iron deficiency also known as anemia.  Symptoms include low energy and fatigue, cold hands and feet. You may notice your hair has become thin, your nails easily bend or your skin may be pale yellowish tint.    It can also make it difficult to concentrate as your brain lacks the oxygen it needs to function properly. As a woman you may also experience a lapse in your period. I have experienced these myself and it is really scary to have these physical symptoms manifest.

So what can be done:  

First you get a blood test.  

After which it will determine your course of treatment.  The levels of iron you need are determined by your age, gender, whether you are pregnant and what diseases you are managing with your body.  Your doctor will review for any supplements and over the counter medications you are taking that could be interfering with your body absorbing iron such as antacids.

Second begin a course of treatment.  

Iron supplementation comes in pill or liquid form.  You will want to see what you can tolerate.  I have found that liquid iron is easier on my body than the pill form which has made me feel nausea.  Best method to take iron is with vitamin C such as orange juice as it helps with absorption.  Also, taken between meals (on an empty stomach).

Your doctor may recommend an iron infusion based on your blood test and the condition of your body.  It is not unusual especially in a flare up for this to become necessary as you may be loosing blood already with the increase number of bowels.  Your doctor will direct you on this treatment.  I have had one myself and found it to be particularly helpful to regaining my levels back to normal range quickly.  There are a number of treatment options for iron iv therapies though they typically fall within two categories non-dextran and dextran.  You will want to review with your doctor to see which option is best for you.

Iron Rich Foods

Iron rich foods are plentiful.  For myself in my dietary routine of options for non-meat and shellfish allergy  I turn to sardines (in oil), and other fish like salmon and halibut and eggs.  I load up on lentils, beans and vegetables like dandelion and kale.  Added bonus is to take the tops of carrots that people typically throw away and chop up the leaf finely thin adding it to your cooking.

So may you find your way to iron rich health as you continue to bring in this new season with the delight of all fall has to offer.

In health,


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