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TOPIC: Couldn't donate blood - low iron

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August 30, 2012 5:06 AM
There was a blood drive at work yesterday and since I hadnt donated in a while (8 years!) I decided to donate. Unfortunately, I didn't pass the blood test to check my iron so I couldn't donate. They said my iron count had to be 12.5 to donate and my counts (they repeated it just in case) were 10.8 and 11.9. I've been turned away before (somewhere within those last 8 years) for the same reason.

I know low iron can make you feel tired (and I do, but assumed it was 'just' lack of sleep, which I need to work on resolving), so I want to increase my iron intake.

I checked out the list of foods high in iron, and frankly most of them do not sound good to me (except turkey and black beans). I'm considering just taking a supplement for it, and am curious what others do to get enough iron.
  3579343
August 30, 2012 5:10 AM
I would check with your dr first. Iron is not something that should be supplemented on a daily basis. I would opt for more iron rich foods or a multi with iron. Cook in a cast iron skillet.

How do I know? I have a blood disorder that keeps my iron at dangerously low levels. I would give ANYTHING for 10.5! lol
Edited by redhousecat On August 30, 2012 5:13 AM
August 30, 2012 5:11 AM
Laugh if you will, but I take a Flintstones vitamin for now.
  26882553
August 30, 2012 5:13 AM
I agree with redhousecat. See your doctor. If there is a reason behind your low iron your doctor should be able to help you out. It could be from a number of reasons. For example, I am anaemic because of period problems and also I have coeliac disease which stops me from absorbing nutrients properly.

Also, some people are just anaemic because they are.
  16882309
August 30, 2012 5:14 AM
I always have this problem when I try to donate blood. I have my whole life. My doctor has me on a multivitamin that contains iron. In the past I would refuse to take it because it made my stomach upset, but now I just take it right before bed. Talk to your doctor to see if that's an option or if you should just increase iron rich foods.
  450989
August 30, 2012 5:16 AM
QUOTE:

Laugh if you will, but I take a Flintstones vitamin for now.


Good advice ^^

I have low iron in my blood as well. My OBGyn recommended I take Rx pre-natals or two Flintstone vitamins a day. However, I would recommend seeing your doctor first.
  19996602
August 30, 2012 5:20 AM
Definitely see your doctor, they will be able to tell you how much (if any) iron you should be taking. I have anemia and my iron has been so low that my dcotor has me taking 3 iron pills a day.
  24773781
August 30, 2012 5:21 AM
I would say to check with doctor, but also consider your absorption of iron. I had a few problems with not being able to donate blood and then found out that the amount of green tea I was drinking was affecting iron absorption.
August 30, 2012 5:21 AM
I have the same issue, too. My iron was always around 10 and they turned me away because of my weight alot. They said the minimum was 110. I've only been able to donate once. I would just try to eat more iron rich foods.
August 30, 2012 5:21 AM
Plenty of spinach and half a pint of guiness a day... Was what my doctor ordered when I refused to take the tablets
  28331526
August 30, 2012 5:22 AM
Broccoli is my favorite one with lots of iron that isn't a red meat or bean!

I'd see the doc too but you can have low iron just sometimes and it not be a big issue. My mom and I donate EVERY time we can and once and awhile she's low on iron but it's only occasional.

I'd start a multivitamin too!
  1652718
August 30, 2012 5:23 AM
While I was pregnant I had dangerously low iron. I took an iron supplement twice a day. It help immensly. I would have it confirmed by your doctor.

Just remember that Iron and calcium do not get a long so when you are taking your iron supplement you cna't have any milk products for 2 hours befor or after. Your body is only able to absorb one of them and it will always absorbe the calcium first. I always took mine with a glass of orange juice as it helps your body to absorb it.
August 30, 2012 5:23 AM
QUOTE:

I would say to check with doctor, but also consider your absorption of iron. I had a few problems with not being able to donate blood and then found out that the amount of green tea I was drinking was affecting iron absorption.


wow I didn't know green tea affected iron absorption! I drink three cups of that a day. also another white and detox tea.
August 30, 2012 5:25 AM
QUOTE:

There was a blood drive at work yesterday and since I hadnt donated in a while (8 years!) I decided to donate. Unfortunately, I didn't pass the blood test to check my iron so I couldn't donate. They said my iron count had to be 12.5 to donate and my counts (they repeated it just in case) were 10.8 and 11.9. I've been turned away before (somewhere within those last 8 years) for the same reason.

I know low iron can make you feel tired (and I do, but assumed it was 'just' lack of sleep, which I need to work on resolving), so I want to increase my iron intake.

I checked out the list of foods high in iron, and frankly most of them do not sound good to me (except turkey and black beans). I'm considering just taking a supplement for it, and am curious what others do to get enough iron.


1. I just donated double-reds. You have to be ultra healthy to do so. I used to be anemic. I eat 1250-1400 calories a day.
2. I can usually get enough iron from beans, spinach, etc. but on days that I don't max out I eat fortified cereal at night (Special K varieties).
3. If all else fails, take a supplement (with a meal).
  8089860
August 30, 2012 5:25 AM
Check with your doc.

I have perpetually low iron. I hang out right around 11.5.

I take a multi-vitamin (prenatal right now because I am breastfeeding) and then a slow release iron (like Slow Fe). I take one in the AM and one in the PM. If you do supplement iron, make sure to eat a lot of fiber too!
August 30, 2012 5:25 AM
I've been turned away at blood drives before, too, for "low iron". I had my doctor check my blood and, guess what? My iron levels were fine. I'd definitely check with your doctor before you started supplementing, because you may not have to supplement at all.
  27502898
August 30, 2012 5:27 AM
Don't worry too much about it. The Red Cross standards for Iron are higher than say "average" iron levels. I would talk to the dr next time you go in. I don't like iron supplements, as let's just say, they screw up my gut. You know, in Ireland, for low blood iron, the dr's recommend a Guiness a day. No joke! it has a lot of iron in it!
  7169350
August 30, 2012 5:28 AM
I have to get infusions every few months since I cannot absorb iron through my food or through supplements. I looove spinach, brussel sprouts, beets, kale, eggs, quinoa, among many other things. You can find a lot of things that have a good iron content, eggs and meat are among the best ways to absorb it. Plants do not offer the same level of absorbtion. Good luck. Feel free to message me if you have any questions. I tried absolutely everything to no avail :(. But getting infusions beats a daily vitamin in my opinion. I also get B12 in an injection once every 3 months. Low iron causes anemia and so does low B12.
  14463935
August 30, 2012 5:32 AM
Just to sound like a broken record, but check with your doc. A simple blood test, and they'll be able to prescribe you iron pills, make suggestions, etc.

We learned in nutrition that Vitamin C helps with iron absorption, so that might also help if you are trying to increase your intake from your diet!

(Edited for spelling error)
Edited by nc90 On August 30, 2012 5:32 AM
August 30, 2012 5:35 AM
I've been anemic my whole life and always had issues whenever I've tried to donate.

I take ferrasorb and vitamin c supplement together in the mornings with my breakfast.
my doctor said my reserves are at better levels, but she still suggests I don't donate blood.
  12662643
August 30, 2012 5:36 AM
I have suffered with extremely low iron for years always 9 or less. I refuse to take the iron supplements because of the side effects, I tried and hated them. I have no issues\symptoms with my iron deficiency that I can notice, so my doc has given up even suggesting the supplements to me. He does however push an iron rich diet and suggested that I cook as many things that I can in cast iron pans because it actually adds iron to the food? Not sure if this is true but I am doing it. Haven't had my blood retested since I started using cast iron, but cannot wait until my next physical to see if this actually worked.
I try to eat a lot of tuna, broccoli, beans, strawberries and look for cereals and stuff that have higher iron counts.
  21564085
August 30, 2012 5:36 AM
QUOTE:

Definitely see your doctor, they will be able to tell you how much (if any) iron you should be taking. I have anemia and my iron has been so low that my dcotor has me taking 3 iron pills a day.


Ive been like that a few times. I know when im low as i crave ice cubes to eat, which is a common sign.

My oh has been turned away a few times for low iron but the next time he tries he's fine. He takes a general multi vit every day.

Def have a chat with your doc.
  22218775
August 30, 2012 5:37 AM
QUOTE:


We learned in nutrition that Vitamin C helps with iron absorption, so that might also help if you are trying to increase your intake from your diet!



This too, great idea! Look for any foods that help absorb iron so that any of the iron that you are getting is being absorbed!
  21564085
August 30, 2012 5:39 AM


Ive been like that a few times. I know when im low as i crave ice cubes to eat, which is a common sign.




OMG I haven't found anyone else who does this. I eat ice every day all day!!
  21564085
August 30, 2012 5:39 AM
I'm a vegetarian, so my iron count tends to run a little lower, and it's never failed me if I want to donate blood to eat bowls of Mini Wheats for a few days before.

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