Hey there...it sounds like we're in the same situation. They still don't know the cause of my anemia either, and I've had ALL the tests done as well. Regarding the iron supplement question...this is what I was told by my hematologist...I was taking the same supplement you are, 3 times a day with food. I told this to my hematologist, who then told me that I'd be better off taking ONE supplement on an empty stomach vs. three on a full stomach...apparently iron's absorbed better on an empty stomach; however, he also added that he hasn't had one patient yet that can tolerate those pills on an empty stomach. And you're right, iron is absorbed better when taken w/vitamin C...I'm sure you've read the posts on this board talking about things that help/hinder iron absorption.
The supplements pretty much always upset my stomach and left me without much of an appetite, which for me isn't good since I'm a recovering anorexic, so that was the last thing my doctor's wanted me to have - lol! I now get IV iron from my hematologist whenever things are really low...
If ferrous sulfate is too hard on your stomach, you can switch to ferrous gluconate. It's easier on the stomach. You'll find it to be more expensive than the ferrous sulfate at the drug store just for that reason.
The reason it says to take with food is because it does hurt the stomach. The reason it says to take on an empty stomach is because it is absorbed better. Taking 500mg of Vitamin C with the ferrous sulfate or gluconate will increase the time it takes to absorb the iron.
However not all anemia is classified as Iron-Deficient. It's important to know what type of anemia you have been diagnosed with.
[This message has been edited by Thadius (edited 10-13-2003).]