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Shezian

Haemoglobin levels

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Hi

All my life l have had slightly lower than normal haemoglobin and normal iron and ferritin.  After investigation it was found found that 25% of my haemoglobin in my body is a different structure, in other words a variant of some kind, well its called Tulon, which is very rare. But since going vegan with fish/seafood 3 times per week, my haemoglobin has dropped a bit more, and my Iron is normal but on the lower side. Have been sick a few a times this year with colds and the flu,  and sore neck glands thats seem to stay sore. Its quiet unusual for me to be  sick this often, but could the lower haemoglobin levels also be a result of the body fighting infection? Does anyone else have low haemoglobin?  My doctor sais that if my iron is normal, then nothing to worry about. So l guess even taking an iron supplement is of no point correct? Thanks heaps for reading and would love to hear. your thoughts.

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I'd try to get iron from food, rather than supplements (learn to like cumin :)

If you don't have significant symptoms, such as shortness of breath, heart palpitations, etc., I would go with your doctor says and not worry.

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Shezian,

I've been vegan for ~18 years. My serum iron is always in the normal range, but both my haemoglobin and ferritin tend to be near the bottom of the reference range (e.g. ~13.2 g/dL for haemoglobin and ~30 ng/mL for ferritin). I do supplement with iron (65mg elemental iron twice per week), mostly because I donate blood every 3 months and if I don't my haemoglobin will be too low to qualify, especially for double red donation.

After I donate (esp. after double reds), I definitely notice that my aerobic capacity is reduced for a week or so while by haemoglobin regenerates. But I never get sick.

If your haemoglobin is lowish but near the bottom end of the reference range and you aren't experiencing symptoms of anemia (e.g. low energy, unusual shortness of breath / "heavy legs" climbing stairs), I'd say your illnesses and lower haemoglobin are probably unrelated.

On the flip side, as pesco-vegan with weird haemoglobin, I don't think it would be unreasonable for you to consider modest iron supplementation - e.g. an RDAs worth of iron ever couple days.

--Dean

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How much zinc are you getting?

I started taking zinc picolinate 3 years ago and I've not been sick at all with any cold or flu. I'm barely getting any sleep right now due to working 3 jobs but even though everyone else is sick here and lots of people in work, I'm totally fine.

It's probably the best supplement I've ever taken for my immune system. I started taking zinc (again) after I was constantly getting sick with colds and flu (3 times in a row and ended up with a burst eardrum.) But even a few years prior to that (and after going vegan) was getting sick more than usual... I also ended up with obvious signs of zinc deficiency like months of bad acne, some hair loss, athlete's foot, among other issues. Everything cleared up very fast after supplementing.

I'm also taking Allicin Max which is quite helpful. 

http://www.crvitality.com/2019/01/feeling-sick-after-going-vegan/

 

Edited by Matt

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On 12/8/2019 at 10:44 AM, Dean Pomerleau said:

Shezian,

I've been vegan for ~18 years. My serum iron is always in the normal range, but both my haemoglobin and ferritin tend to be near the bottom of the reference range (e.g. ~13.2 g/dL for haemoglobin and ~30 ng/mL for ferritin). I do supplement with iron (65mg elemental iron twice per week), mostly because I donate blood every 3 months and if I don't my haemoglobin will be too low to qualify, especially for double red donation.

After I donate (esp. after double reds), I definitely notice that my aerobic capacity is reduced for a week or so while by haemoglobin regenerates. But I never get sick.

If your haemoglobin is lowish but near the bottom end of the reference range and you aren't experiencing symptoms of anemia (e.g. low energy, unusual shortness of breath / "heavy legs" climbing stairs), I'd say your illnesses and lower haemoglobin are probably unrelated.

On the flip side, as pesco-vegan with weird haemoglobin, I don't think it would be unreasonable for you to consider modest iron supplementation - e.g. an RDAs worth of iron ever couple days.

--Dean

thanks Dean, I asked my doctor if l should take Iron supplements and if they my haemoglobin was under normal range because of my diet, she said no. Would it harm me if l took iron supplements twice per week or am l better off eating small amount of red meat? What are the name of the supplements you take Dean?

thanks heaps. 

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On 12/9/2019 at 12:27 AM, Matt said:

How much zinc are you getting?

I started taking zinc picolinate 3 years ago and I've not been sick at all with any cold or flu. I'm barely getting any sleep right now due to working 3 jobs but even though everyone else is sick here and lots of people in work, I'm totally fine.

It's probably the best supplement I've ever taken for my immune system. I started taking zinc (again) after I was constantly getting sick with colds and flu (3 times in a row and ended up with a burst eardrum.) But even a few years prior to that (and after going vegan) was getting sick more than usual... I also ended up with obvious signs of zinc deficiency like months of bad acne, some hair loss, athlete's foot, among other issues. Everything cleared up very fast after supplementing.

I'm also taking Allicin Max which is quite helpful. 

http://www.crvitality.com/2019/01/feeling-sick-after-going-vegan/

 

thanks so much, but can l overdose on Zinc? Just worried it may be too much. 

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8 hours ago, Shezian said:

Would it harm me if l took iron supplements twice per week or am l better off eating small amount of red meat?

I don't think it would harm you, but I'm no doctor and I don't know you or your specific condition so I wouldn't want to second guess your doctor. As for the second part of your question - as an ethical vegan concerned about the suffering of animals and the health of the planet, I think supplementing iron (if necessary) is far preferable to consuming red meat.

8 hours ago, Shezian said:

What are the name of the supplements you take Dean?

I take this iron supplement from Nature Made twice per week.

--Dean

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How much zinc are you currently getting? Vegetarians and vegans need more than the RDA.

Of course you can overdose on zinc, but it would take very high doses for many months to cause an imbalance of copper and zinc. If I remember correctly (it's been a while!) I took 100 mg per day for about 2 months. This is proven safe for 2-4 months, but I'm not suggesting you need that kind of dose. I was pretty sure that I had a deficiency.

Might be worth trying 50 mg zinc picolinate for a month or two and then lower it to 22 mg per day.  The upper limit is set at 40 mg per day. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-zinc/art-20366112

This month working an extra job has been terrible for me and my sleep... many nights with just 2 or 3 hours sleep. Still not caught anything and others have been sick around me. Pretty sure that it's because I started supplementing zinc... (and obviously in combination with things I was already taking and eating helps too.)

Can't really overstate how life-changing it has been for me.  Anyway, just throwing it out there in case you want to give it a try 🙂

Edited by Matt

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Thanks so much Matt and Dean, so very helpful. I eat 6 oysters once per week and a can of mussels once per week, along with all the other vegan foods. Is this enough or do you think l still need to supplement? 

BTW, my haemoglobin level is 104, and it should be 115-130. I am in Australia and this is the measurements they use. 

It has been even lower when sick of a cold or flu. 

Normally it stays around 110-113, but for some reason it has been on the lower side. Not sure if its because l have been unwell with flu and colds, as l know this can lower the reading. 

 

Thanks Guys

On 12/8/2019 at 9:34 AM, Ron Put said:

I'd try to get iron from food, rather than supplements (learn to like cumin 🙂

If you don't have significant symptoms, such as shortness of breath, heart palpitations, etc., I would go with your doctor says and not worry.

Ron, thanks, but how much Cumin would I need to eat? I have never heard of this increasing your iron.

Edited by Shezian

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2 hours ago, Shezian said:

...

Ron, thanks, but how much Cumin would I need to eat? I have never heard of this increasing your iron.
 

According to Cronometer (NCCDB), taking 4g of cumin powder supplies about 33% of your iron RDA. I mentioned cumin, because I noticed that it is usually high on the list. But thyme, spearmint and marjoram are right up there, too.

Are you tracking nutrients with Cronometer? What are your ferritin levels? Are you are questioning your doctor's advice because you think you have anemia, or simply because you are largely plant-based eater?

If the latter, I wouldn't worry too much. I am effectively vegan, yet here is my Cronometer list of iron intake and sources for today (the disclaimers about absorption notwithstanding):

 

321792953_ScreenShot2019-12-15at17_44_15.png.2157b3a6e3cfbe762d72165febef4107.png
 

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Wow, thats a lot of cumin powder. How do you take some much?

Yes l do log on cron, but l have the basic version and don't use it interactively, it only tells me the basics. My ferritin and iron levels are normal range, thats why my doctor thinks l don't need to take iron supplements, and the reason l am questioning her is because l have been feeling tired and dazed and floaty, lately and wondering if my low haemoglobin is the cause. As my haemoglobin has always been just under normal range,  this year it has dropped the lowest ever, which is concerns me. Not sure if its because l have had the flu. and cold, or some kind of infection.  She keeps saying l don't need to take iron as my ferritin is normal range and Iron can do more harm than good. So now l feel like l need to eat some red meat to see l will feel any more alive. Its the least risky as l can't overdose on red meat. 

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Imo you're way overthinking this... Just supplement zinc and iron bisglycinate (every other day for iron) and see how you feel.  

Basic CRON-O-METER should show you your micronutrient intakes... How much Zinc, Copper, and B12 are you getting? And what is your calorie intake?

Zinc does play a role in iron metabolism by the way.

Supplementing for a month or two is not going to hurt. It's just not and there is nothing to worry about.

Edited by Matt

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On 12/17/2019 at 2:03 PM, Matt said:

Imo you're way overthinking this... Just supplement zinc and iron bisglycinate (every other day for iron) and see how you feel.  

Basic CRON-O-METER should show you your micronutrient intakes... How much Zinc, Copper, and B12 are you getting? And what is your calorie intake?

Zinc does play a role in iron metabolism by the way.

Supplementing for a month or two is not going to hurt. It's just not and there is nothing to worry about.

Thanks again, the reason for my concern is that my doctor said that l don't need iron supplements, so worry that too much iron may do my harm than good. Can this be the case if l take iron supplants a few times per week? 

Cheers

 

On 12/17/2019 at 2:03 PM, Matt said:

Imo you're way overthinking this... Just supplement zinc and iron bisglycinate (every other day for iron) and see how you feel.  

Basic CRON-O-METER should show you your micronutrient intakes... How much Zinc, Copper, and B12 are you getting? And what is your calorie intake?

Zinc does play a role in iron metabolism by the way.

Supplementing for a month or two is not going to hurt. It's just not and there is nothing to worry about.

Wow, thats a lot of cumin powder. How do you take some much?

Yes l do log on cron, but l have the basic version and don't use it interactively, it only tells me the basics. My ferritin and iron levels are normal range, thats why my doctor thinks l don't need to take iron supplements, and the reason l am questioning her is because l have been feeling tired and dazed and floaty, lately and wondering if my low haemoglobin is the cause. As my haemoglobin has always been just under normal range,  this year it has dropped the lowest ever, which is concerns me. Not sure if its because l have had the flu. and cold, or some kind of infection.  She keeps saying l don't need to take iron as my ferritin is normal range and Iron can do more harm than good. So now l feel like l need to eat some red meat to see l will feel any more alive. Its the least risky as l can't overdose on red meat. 

Edited by Shezian

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