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Old 02-11-2009, 11:37 PM   #1
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Maximum safe daily dosage of iron supplement?

I've been experiencing mild but very stubborn fatigue in the last several years. I've tried coffee, testing for hypothyroidism, testing for ADHD, etc. to no avail. Tried changing my diets - no results..

Tried sleeping more/less - no results..

I've also been chronically but mildly depressed during mornings before 12pm, regardless of the amount of sleep I get or when I get up.

On a whim, I experimented with iron supplements. I took a 25mg tablet before I went to sleep one night and I woke up feeling very refreshed (despite waking up after only 6 hours of sleep.) I felt normal in the morning for once. But once the day went on, I felt fatigued again so I popped another iron tablet and 1-2 hours later, I returned to normal.

I've never been diagnosed with Anemia by a doctor.. all of my tests come out "normal" at every annual checkup (including blood.) But I've been feeling considerably better after taking these iron supplements.. and I'm afraid of taking more than 3 tablets a day (since I've read somewhere I should never exceed 100mg/day)..

What is a good rule-of-thumb limit to the daily intake of iron supplements? I don't wish to see a doctor right away for Anemia testing since I'm only marginally covered by health insurance right now.. I think these supplements should suffice if my current dosage is safe..

Last edited by blackomen; 02-11-2009 at 11:37 PM.

 
Old 02-12-2009, 10:37 AM   #2
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Re: Maximum safe daily dosage of iron supplement?

blackomen--A good rule of thumb is; one should *never*, ~ESPECIALLY A MALE~, begin iron supplements without the DX of low iron/anemia/ferritin by a doctor. What you are doing could be dangerous, I'm sure if you have read around that you too have read this information. What you have read as far as an amount, doesn't make sense to me because the need for replacement is not a universal measurement, although, I'm sure that you did indeed read that. It is based on how anemic and/or low ferritin you may be, or how well you absorb because there may be a greater demand. If you search the net you can read just about anything, but what is accurate information? I also don't think that you wouldn't react that quickly to iron in your system, perhaps this is possible. I can remember a time that I would take a multivitamin and I always seemed to have much more energy those day, it's hard to say how each person as an individual responds. It does take a while for iron to get into the system and working. Many diseases also share symptoms, so without a blood test who knows what you are dealing with, you really don't.

This is just an example of what I am trying to say. I never knew before that men should NOT take iron even in a multivitamin. Now, I am going way back LOL, to the information that I had in my 20's. My husband has always been a health nut when it comes to eating the right foods, very well balanced. So, every morning as part of his routine he drank OJ (which increases iron absorption a lot), and took a multivitamin and YES, with iron added. This is since he was 26 yrs. old. I just thought he was perfect! Fast forward 27 yrs later, (2 yrs ago) he went in for a complete physical, blood work revealed high liver enzymes. Subsequently, he was DX'ed with Hep-C. Sent to a GI specialist to evaluate. The first thing the GI doc said is that this doesn't mean that you have Hep-C infact, it's probably not, we were in disbelief. The GI doc ran further tests and discovered what he already knew, which was Hereditary Hemochromatosis, an iron overloading disease. This untreated can lead to many terrible things, but is *usually* easily treated for most individuals. Needless to say that he was misdiagnosed by the GP. His ferritin was just under 3,000 when found on labs. Through blood letting for 2 yrs, his ferritin is now 27. I know that's a crazy story, that would never happen to you. I can tell you first hand that I never thought I would have a problem with anemia and lowered ferritin either, it would never happen to me, but it did. Some symptoms are very much a like for iron overload and anemia as well i.e., being tired, cold and anemic. So, please be very careful in what you do, it can and does make a big difference for some people. If you absolutely cannot have blood labs done, then I would settle for a multivitamin WITHOUT iron and call it a day! Sometimes if you explain to the doc that you no longer have insurance, they may help you. At the minimum you can have just a Hgb and Hct done to see if you are anemic. They can pull those out of the CBC without doing the whole entire panel. You might want to make it a priority to try to get full labs done. If something is going on it's easier to treat in the early stages verses waiting. If my husband had waited he may need a liver transplant, but no he only needed phlebotomy weekly for over a year. Keep us posted.
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Last edited by FLFLOWERGIRL; 02-12-2009 at 10:51 AM.

 
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Old 02-13-2009, 04:22 PM   #3
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Re: Maximum safe daily dosage of iron supplement?

I drink green tea for breakfast which I found out (just today) actually inhibits iron absorption.. guess that could be one of the culprits.. Let's see if cutting the tea but not taking iron supplements anymore would achieve the same effect.

I'm a bit skeptical about the the claim that iron in a simple multivitamin is harmful. Millions of people have been taking these multivitamins for many years without those adverse effects. Although it's something to watch out for, how would you determine if your husband's Hemochromatosis was directly caused by the iron dosage alone and not other medical conditions?

 
Old 02-13-2009, 06:58 PM   #4
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Re: Maximum safe daily dosage of iron supplement?

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackomen View Post
I drink green tea for breakfast which I found out (just today) actually inhibits iron absorption.. guess that could be one of the culprits.. Let's see if cutting the tea but not taking iron supplements anymore would achieve the same effect.


Yes, I think tea is a culprit; tannins and phytates both inhibit iron absorption. My husband drinks tea with his main meals for this reason. Also, red wine inhibits iron absorption, and white wine increases it. I have wine occasionally with my main meal for this reason.

The only way to know for sure if you achieve this goal is to test your CBC and ferritin.


I'm a bit skeptical about the the claim that iron in a simple multivitamin is harmful. Millions of people have been taking these multivitamins for many years without those adverse effects. Although it's something to watch out for, how would you determine if your husband's Hemochromatosis was directly caused by the iron dosage alone and not other medical conditions?
Oh! Goodness no, I was not in any way saying that his HH was caused by iron supplement dosage. It is a blood disorder. But IF you have this disorder you absorb something like 3X the amount of iron than a normal person. If this was enhanced with OJ each morning these are not normal doses any longer they can be lethal and almost were. We don't even eat red meat. Iron is in almost everything we eat to some degree. When my husband was DX'ed with HH his spleen had already enlarged. When he was officially DE-ironed it went back to normal size and liver enzymes went to normal readings as well. Sorry if I lead you to believe that it was due to a multivitamin alone. It is absolutely the disease, they do not metabolize iron and it becomes a free radical if not dealt with oxidizing in the organs leading to premature death. Men should NEVER take iron without a doctors advice. Not even in a simple multivitamin, because men do not usually experience blood loss. This is why it is in the multi for women due to monthly periods. I was just trying to give you an example of what iron can do when not needed. Keep us posted.
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Best of luck to you! FLFLOWERGIRL
*****************
Hashimoto's Thyroiditis
Moderate Anemia (resolved) Low Ferritin-- Work in progress! Hiatal Hernia--GERD
Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

 
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