I took the chance this winter to follow up on my thyroid panel with my doctor. On this visit, one test particularly struck me as interesting - ferritin.
What is ferritin? The amount of iron your body stores away in your bone marrow.
My lab results stated that my Ferritin result was 41.4. The range for a normal ferritin result is between 80 and 150.
This was both good news and bad news to me. Good, because this was not my lowest ferritin result I’ve ever had. In fact, it was one of my best. But bad, because I had still been tired an hour till my next dose of vitamins/meds and my hair was falling out, so if 80 is the minimum… HOW was I going to get it up and WHY was this number NOT going up if both the foods I eat and the supplements I take include a lot of iron? Strangely, the last time I had my iron checked, my iron was high and yet my ferritin was low. Odd sounding to you? It was to me too.
So I asked my doctor and I was amazed at her response.
She asked if I have suffered from heavy menstrual periods in my life. My response was a resounding “yes!” She explained that this condition makes it very difficult to keep iron reserves stored up. She compared it to getting a bath running for my toddler and leaving the room for the bath to fill. Except, when I got back, I realized that I had forgotten to plug the drain and all the water I had hoped was plugged was now down the drain. In the same way, this is what happens to the iron I take all month long…. it pretty much goes down the drain each month during my cycle. No doctor I’ve ever had has ever known how to get ferritin up or shared this knowledge with me. In fact, I learned just a few consecutive heavy periods can cause iron losses that are difficult to reverse without supplementation.
This made me scratch my head. What could I do to prevent my iron from draining each month? My doctor recommended several methods to eliminate my cycle all together. After researching this, I realized I am not ready for that. Secondly, she informed me that it is not the milligrams of iron that I receive every month that increases the storage of ferritin – it is the number of milligrams of elemental iron received. As long as I received 29 grams of ELEMENTAL iron a day, then this would boost my ferritin significantly. Lastly, she suggested that if I didn’t up my elemental iron by supplementing, the only other option would be for me to increase my organ meat consumption. Gulp… if you haven’t guessed by now, this means eating liver.
Okay y’all. I have NEVER eaten liver in my life. But the look on my doctor’s face said to me that it really would help. Naturally, I turned to the best person I knew who was knowledgeable about eating organ meat – my husband. In his Chinese culture, eating most parts of the animal is perfectly normal and acceptable. In fact, pork liver is his mom’s favorite kind of soup. Not only is it something they enjoy eating, but the Chinese believe that if there is a part of your body that is ill, it is very beneficial for you to eat that part of the animal to help your own body to heal. After I thought about it, I realized that one of the greatest places my Hashimoto’s disease afflicts me, is the liver. The liver is where the thyroid hormones are converted to bring energy throughout the body.
After talking with my hubby about “Operation Increase Ferritin”, I had totally forgotten about it. I didn’t think he remembered our conversation either. But lo and behold, at our next trip to the Chinese grocery store, my husband spotted the pork liver and encouraged me to get my courage up to give it a try. I felt so loved by him and sick just thinking about eating it all at once. I found myself agreeing to try…
Totally coincidentally, on Valentine’s Day, my thoughtful hubby very patiently and thoroughly made me his pork liver soup. On this day, 12 years prior, my husband asked my hand in marriage with a filet mignon dinner he personally torched for me. How ironic is it that now we have two kids and he’s lovingly making me pork LIVER soup??? I would have never believed you folks, if you had told me! You’re probably wondering if I ate it. Yes, I ate every bite. My kids did too! My daughter, who eats barely anything, liked it. My son GOBBLED it and asked for seconds. Me? Not so much. The aftertaste is something I can’t handle… though I actually thought the texture is what would get me. That wasn’t bad at all. I thought it was going to be a regular meal I could incorporate into our routine…
Well then? What to do? I was happy to discover that the VitaLea I have already been taking is the most excellent source of ELEMENTAL iron that is out there – ferrous fumarate, which is 33% elemental iron (see below). I just needed to take more of it. I also discovered that Shaklee has another iron pill that stands alone to add to the VitaLea I also take. I have now been taking my doubled dose for several weeks. And guess what? My menstrual cycle was not filled with horrible PMS and was NOT as heavy! I am very excited! I have also noticed that my brain has been clearer and I have had more energy.
Having Hashimoto’s Disease displays symptoms like extreme fatigue and weakness, memory loss, and poor immune system function. But did you know that low iron is also related to proper brain, muscle and immune system function? Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding are also particularly in need of proper iron.
That was last month. Since then, I have doubled my iron dose. And who would’ve guessed it? My cycle was more normalized and I wasn’t smacked down like I often am every month! I am so thankful for Shaklee’s Vita-Lea and the extra Iron Plus C-Complex that I’ve added to my normal routine.
Be sure you check out the PERCENTAGES of iron below. It is very important that the scientific name of your iron is listed below. You’ll want your iron to be at least 33% elemental iron, (Shaklee does). For instance, there is a product called Floradix that sells for $36 at the Vitamin Shoppe and Whole Foods. But when you look closer, you can clearly see the iron inside their product is only 12% elemental. Shaklee’s scientists have intentionally chosen Ferrous Fumarate as the iron in Vitalizer, Vita-Lea, and Iron Plus C-Complex because it is the most absorbable form of elemental iron.
For Iron to properly be absorbed, please know that you MUST have Vitamin C with it – to take without food. Thankfully, not only has Shaklee created their iron with the greatest amount of elemental iron – they have taken the guess work out of remembering to take your Vitamin C at the same time and have included it already in the same pill. It’s also inexpensive. If you already have a multivitamin, then the Iron Plus C-Complex might be for you at the low member’s price of $8.65!
You will feel better. That’s a promise or your money back. Any purchase of Vitalizer comes with *free* membership and a 15% lifetime discount.
If you are still unsure about taking iron because of usual side effects, don’t worry! Check out the list below. The best part about any of the 3 products is that there are NO side effects. You only feel great! NO gas. NO bad aftertaste. NO constipation.
Why Shaklee’s Iron? What’s the difference?
- no aftertaste
- does not cause belching
- free of artificial colors and flavors
- Always Safe
- Always Works or your money back, no questions asked.
- Always Green & Non-GMO
- Formulated for Maximum Absorption with C to properly absorb
- 33% Elemental Iron in the from of Ferrous Fumarate
- Vegetarian Formulated
- Gluten Free, Certified Kosher
I hope you choose Shaklee. Your support means so much to me as I am working while homeschooling. Click on the above links and go to my store. Please subscribe to my blog, TheWholeDeel, by clicking on the envelope icon on the top right. Also be sure to like me on Facebook by clicking on the FB icon or here: https://www.facebook.com/TheWholeDeel
H O W M U C H ELEMENTAL I R O N I S I N T H I S P I L L ?
To calculate how much elemental iron is in an iron supplement:
Ferrous fumarate = 33% elemental iron
(i.e., 100mgs contain only 33mgs elemental iron)
Ferrous gluconate = 12% elemental iron
Ferrous sulfate = 20% elemental iron
Ferrous sulfate, exsiccated = 32% elemental iron
Ferric ammonium citrate = 18% elemental iron
Ferrous bisglycinate = 20% elemental iron
Heme-iron polypeptide= 100% elemental iron
Polysaccharide-iron complex = 100% elemental iron
Carbonyl iron = 100% elemental iron
Some Other Tips:
- Stomach antacids and reflux medicines reduce iron absorption. If you need them, take them separately.
- Foods rich in tannic acid (e.g., black coffee, black or green tea), or in phytates (e.g., bran, sesame seeds), reduce iron absorption. Don’t use them at the same time as iron supplements.
- It is okay to also increase iron-rich foods in your diet: organic organ meats, whole grains, organic dried fruits, and acidic foods cooked in cast-iron pans (e.g., tomato-based sauces).
- Dark leafy greens contain iron, but their oxalic acid content can make it too hard to absorb iron, so they may not be the best source of iron.
- (Note: Iron tinctures and homeopathic iron preparations do not contain elemental iron.)