Multivitamins are not a good idea

Question

An iron question….I give blood in the UK, I am a pescatarian (eat fish but no meat) and a woman of child bearing age. They always do a blood drop test for iron when you give blood here. Most of the time I pass, but quite a few times I have failed. They then do a follow up blood test to see your iron levels. They need to be 125 to give blood and mine are usually only a little below that, so not high enough to give blood but also not low enough to need to see the doctor. Therefore I have been taking a multivitamin with iron tablet daily to try and boost my iron levels. However I keep reading on here that multivitamins are not a good idea. Any natural alternative? I eat a reasonably balanced diet so think it’s unlikely I’m lacking other vitamins. Thanks.

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Clare 3 years 0 Answers 342 views 0

Answers ( No )

  1. I have donated over 7 gallons and years ago had one or two times when I was low iron. I have been using a cast iron skillet and haven't been low recently. The form of iron in multivitamin supplements is generally iron sulfate which is not optimum. Greens and lentils are good sources as well as my favorite, chocolate, which has magnesium and iron together.

  2. Iron is very hard to absorb. The best iron supplement I know is produced by Designs For Health (www.designsforhealth.com). I can remember the name of it exactly but I think it has "Ferritin" in it.

  3. Are you sure they're testing iron in that drop of blood? Is it not hemoglobin? Requiring a Hemoglobin level of 125 would make sense, but I think iron doesn't have to be that high for blood donation.

  4. Just looked it up yes it is the Haemoglobin level that needs to be at least 125g/l for women and 135g/l for men prior to donation. On the website it says that some people normally have a 'low-ish' level but that another reason could be low iron stores. Maybe I just have a naturally low level. I don't have anaemia symptoms.

  5. My sister (half sister genetically) last year was diagnosed as not absorbing iron. She had to have injections as GP said no point supplementing as it was an absorption problem. She had pins and needles in her feet.

  6. Hemoglobin can be low/lowish for several reasons, it's risky to try to raise iron levels without being sure iron is needed, indeed.

    Pins and needles are, usually, indicative of B12 deficiency.

  7. Is B12 different to iron? Sorry for my ignorance.

    Once my Haemoglobin levels were lower than usual and I was referred to GP and they just gave me iron tablets. Did not run any more tests as far as I remember. Was probably 10 years ago now though so can't exactly remember what happened. I had a year off giving blood then went back to it. Have had 6 months off this time but that was due to travel to a malarial area. Next appointment is 1st March and hopefully will be my 25th donation

  8. Yes, they are different. B12 is a vitamin, iron is a mineral.
    No one should be prescribed iron unless a full iron panel reveals a definite deficiency, and then the treatment should be natural – whole food vitamin C, and iron rich food. Synthetic iron is not our friend 🙂

    Iron deficiency can cause hemoglobin to decrease, but so can low vitamin B9 (folate) and low vitamin B12, as well as infections.

    I think you're doing your body a lot of good with all those donations! It's not only other people's lives you're saving 🙂

  9. Very interesting thank you. I think I'll ditch the daily multivitamin with iron then and see how I get on. If my haemoglobin goes low again I will insist on some proper tests to see whether it is definitely an iron deficiency. An unintended benefit of giving blood is the regular haemoglobin tests

  10. To increase my iron levels after a miscarriage in 1983, I ate wild Alaskan deer liver almost daily, added about one cup of steamed spinach daily and one or two TSP of molasses daily in herb tea. Three weeks of that and my doc was surprised with my blood work results.

  11. And caffeine inhibits absorption so no tea/coffee with your spinach, have an orange juice
    Thanks for that I don't eat meat do won't be up for the liver. You have reminded me I read about black strap molasses being good for iron though

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