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And I say healthy freaks because I donated today at a Red Cross drive at a large research university, and literally nine out of ten people in the large room (dozens of volunteers and donors) were obese or overweight. I'm not exaggerating. Not being judgemental here, either, but I could have shot a photo. Nearly everyone -- even the sweet volunteer removing my blood -- was fatso city. So we may have "healthier" blood since we're apparently eating less and eating healthier, or is that a stretch? Does eating well matter to blood donation quality? I donated 2-units of double red cells which makes things easier and quicker for blood to get it to those who need it. They had trouble locating a vein on me, and it took them awhile to get what they needed out of me, which was awkward. Also my iron levels were low bottom end -- 13.2 ml -- and range for males is evidently 13.5 - 20 (they said). WebMD says 12.5. My 13.2 was a level after more than 24-hours of (my daily) intermittent fast, and not eating is supposedly when iron levels outta be highest? You know more than I do, dear reader. I'm wondering if I should supplement iron to avoid anemia? I eat no meat, am a practicing longterm vegan, but do eat loads of legumes, spinach, nuts, seeds daily. Apparently veg sources of iron are less than optimal? Also my pulse was only 42; temp 96.9; blood pressure was low 99/69; weight was 148 (which is up for me -- I've recently been eating more). All these numbers (?) caused people to ask questions, and kinda look at me. Maybe I'm paranoid from coffee. Stop drinking that poison, Sthira... I donated blood to help people who need it. I gave double red after a 4 hour (rigorous) ballet rehearsal (lots of jumps, lifts, high energy crap...) and despite giving up 614 ml of blood (I think that's the amount) I strangely didn't feel any lightheadedness, which I expected...
Dean Pomerleau posted a topic in General Health and LongevitySeveral of us CR practitioners, particularly those who eat little or not meat and therefore get most/all of their iron from plant sources, tend to have low iron levels, sometimes bordering on (or progress to) outright anemia. This new study , might help understand why. For the purposes of dietary recommendations, the USDA uses estimates of nutrient absorption, but according to this study, the estimated rate of iron absorption (based on a single human study) is too high, at 18%. The found that total iron absorption from heme and non-heme sources in the US diet to be somewhat lower - at 15% rather than 18%. But what really caught my eye was how much lower non-heme iron absorption was - 3.5% in non-hispanic whites. That's 5x lower than the absorption rate the USDA uses in its estimates to set the RDI. I know there is some cushion built into the RDI numbers (which is 8mg/day of iron for adult men), but if one gets all their iron from non-heme, plant souces, it would seem like we might need to consume 5x that 8mg per day to reach the RDI. Even with my rather large calorie intake , I'm getting only around 30mg/day of non-heme iron from my vegan diet. So it is perhaps not surprising that I need to supplement with additional iron to avoid anemia. Am I interpreting this study, and its implications, correctly? --Dean ------------  J Nutr. 2015 Nov;145(11):2617-21. doi: 10.3945/jn.115.210484. Epub 2015 Sep 16. Total Iron Bioavailability from the US Diet Is Lower Than the Current Estimate. Armah SM(1), Carriquiry AL(2), Reddy MB(3). Author information: (1)Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition and. (2)Department of Statistics, Iowa State University, Ames, IA. (3)Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition and email@example.com. BACKGROUND: Total (heme and nonheme) iron bioavailability from the US diet has been estimated to be 18% based on a single human absorption study. New data, however, suggest that it may be time to revisit this estimate. OBJECTIVE: We estimated total iron bioavailability from the US diet with the use of our recently reported algorithm that estimates nonheme iron absorption and a conservative value for heme iron absorption. METHODS: We used dietary intake and biomarker information from the NHANES 2001-2002, MyPyramid Equivalents Database, and Food and Nutrient Database for Dietary Studies. The survey package in R software was used to estimate means and CIs, taking into account the strata, primary sampling units, and appropriate survey weight. We implemented 2 different approaches to estimate total iron absorption. In the first approach, we included all survey participants but adjusted the geometric mean of nonheme iron absorption to 15 μg ferritin/L serum to mimic values of individuals with no iron stores; in the second approach, absorption was estimated for only nonanemic subjects with no iron stores. A total sample size of 6631 was used based on availability of dietary and iron status biomarker data and C-reactive protein concentration ≤6 mg/L. RESULTS: The geometric mean (95% CI) of unadjusted nonheme iron absorption for all subjects was 3.7% (3.6%, 3.8%), higher in female subjects [5.6% (5.4%, 5.7%)] than male subjects [2.6% (2.5%, 2.7%)] (P < 0.0001). Nonheme iron absorption was lower in non-Hispanic whites [3.5% (3.4%, 3.6%)] than Mexican Americans [4.5% (4.2%, 4.8%)] and non-Hispanic blacks [4.4% (4.1%, 4.7%)]. Estimated total iron absorption was 15.5% or 15.1%, depending on which approach was used to carry out the calculations. CONCLUSION: This study provides useful data for evaluating the current value of iron bioavailability from the US diet. © 2015 American Society for Nutrition. PMID: 26377760
Several people have recently asked me (via email) about my supplement regime. So I figured I post it here, both to share it with a wider audience, and to get people's feedback & suggestions, if they are so inclined. Several things to note in general about my supplement strategy: I'm a vegan, so several things I take because they are harder to get in a vegan diet (e.g. B12). I eat a very high fiber, unprocessed and mostly raw diet, meaning absorption of vitamins and minerals is likely to be lower than on a typical diet. I've definitely found this for iron. I've become anemic on two occasions in the past when not supplementing with iron. Now, for the last few years, supplement 300% of the RDA of iron per day, my hemoglobin and ferritin levels stay near the bottom of the reference range, and I'm able to donate blood regularly. Based on my 23andMe genetic testing results, and some observations from my eye doctor, I'm at increased risk (5-7x normal risk) of macular degeneration (AMD), so I take Lutein and Zeaxanthin, per the AREDS study that found these two antioxidants in the doses I take to be protective against progression of AMD. Sorry if the formatting isn't very good, and the lines wrap on a small screen. I've included a screen capture below in case its easier for people to read. Supplement Quantity Notes (Brand) --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Vit B12 1 Tab/6 Days 100mcg/6 days = ~800% RDA/day as cyanocobalamin. Nibble 1/6th tab/day. Missing in vegan diet. Solgar Vit D3 1200 IU/Day 1000IU/day (+ D in calcium supp. below). Sundown Calcium 1 Cap/Day 250mg Ca / day, + about 175 IU vit D. Bone health. Source Naturals CCM Calcium Vit K2 1 Cap/2 Days 2.5mg / day. Bone health. Carlson Strontium 1 Cap/2 Days 340mg / day. Bone health. Vitacost Iodine 1 Tab/Day 150mg = 100% RDA / day as kelp tablet. I don't eat iodized salt or processed food. Good 'N Natural Iron 1 Cap/Day 300% RDA / day as Ferrous Sulfate (65mg). Low absorbable sources in vegan diet. Nature Made Zinc 1 Tab/Day 50mg / day Low in vegan diet. NOW Lutein/Zea 1 Cap/Day 25mg Lutein & 5mg Zeaxanthin. AREDS dosages for macular degeneration (AMD) prevention. Trunature DHA/EPA 1 Cap/3 Days Each cap has 320/130mg DHA/EPA. ~1 serving fish/wk, Prevent AMD - I'm at high risk. Ovega-3 Selenium 1 Cap/4 Days 75% of RDA / day. To make up for diet shortfall. Replaced 1/2 brazil nut on 10/23/15. Now Probiotic 1 Tab/2 Days Gut health. 5 billion CFU. 15 strains, slow release. Hyperbiotic Pro-15 Milk Thistle 1 Cap/2 Days 200mg/day. Liver health. Had liver issue (high ALT/AST) for a while in early 2015. LEF Here is the same table as an screen capture image (click to enlarge): --Dean