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Problems with iron and copper metabolism?


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Old 07-24-2018, 08:09 PM   #1
skt77
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Question Problems with iron and copper metabolism?

I was never a vegetarian or vegan, but about a year and a half ago, I discovered that my diet was too high in copper relative to zinc. I emphasized plant-based foods in my diet because it seemed healthier. The high copper ended up causing issues with my nutrition in general, among other things, as I gained ten pounds when I adjusted my diet to balance copper and zinc. I eat a better balance of plant and animal foods now. I started having issues shortly after eating meals balanced in copper and zinc, and it took a long time to realize that the cause was from iron excess over vitamin E. The one mistake I made was cutting out my supplements because I thought they were causing the symptoms I was having. I ended up becoming anemic and very iron-deficient. I started back on my supplements and am feeling better. What I'm wondering now is if there are others out there like me who are very sensitive to imbalances in nutrients, particularly copper/zinc and iron/vitamin E. For example, my multivitamin contains 250% of the RDA of vitamin D and only 50% of the RDA of vitamin A. I don't necessarily have to consume 200% of the RDA each day of vitamin A to keep these nutrients in balance, but I feel like I have to keep copper and zinc as well as iron and vitamin E as close to a 1:1 ratio as I can. Just recently, I'd been taking 65 mg of iron along with 100 IU of vitamin E twice a WEEK with my other supplements to try to increase my iron stores. I was around three weeks in when I began having symptoms. I actually feel a lot better NOT taking the extra iron and vitamin E. My hematologist doesn't think a multivitamin with iron is enough to resolve my iron deficiency and anemia, but I guess we'll have to wait and see, won't we? She wasn't too keen on me doubling up on my multivitamin because of the fat-soluble vitamins in it, and it doesn't seem like taking the iron and vitamin E only once a week would really add that much more. It just seems crazy when people with iron deficiency and anemia take much more than that each DAY. It seems like when I bring this up with doctors and other groups, it's as if I'm speaking another language. I get little to no response in groups, and one doctor I discussed this with couldn't say much more than she was glad I figured it out and that I should be in med school. I actually really like this doctor, but still, why have they not encountered others like this or seem to know what I'm talking about? It's really hard to do an internet search because I don't know which search terms to use. I've read up on copper toxicity, but I haven't seen much out there concerning people who have had problems with iron that were resolved by adding vitamin E supplementation. What I really want to know is if there are others out there like me who seem to have particular issues with these nutrients and if there is a condition or syndrome to explain them, or maybe it's explained by one or more genes. I would love to know what to search so I can get more information on what's happening. It would also be wonderful not to feel so alone in this. This aspect of my health has been the hardest to deal with because I just don't know what it is. I can't put a name to it.

 
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Old 08-07-2018, 02:06 PM   #2
skt77
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Re: Problems with iron and copper metabolism?

I wonder if I got too carried away describing my own situation. I guess these are the issues I wonder if others are dealing with.

1. Issues with copper/zinc balance and iron/vitamin E balance. Could the cause be a problem with the body processing heavy metals?
2. Issues with ANY kind of extra iron supplementation, besides multivitamins. I can't seem to take extra iron in any form outside of a multivitamin, even with vitamin E to balance, as described above. Even at 65 mg twice a week, I had issues within three weeks, I think due to nutrient depletion. This seems crazy to me as many others have no issues taking dosages much higher than this on a daily basis. The only way I've been able to take extra iron safely is in a multivitamin form.

Hopefully I didn't blather on incessantly in my original post, but just in case, I thought I'd try to get to the heart of the matter here.

 
Old 08-08-2018, 11:09 AM   #3
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Re: Problems with iron and copper metabolism?

Dear skt77,

I believe natural food sources are the best way to nourish and support the body rather than trying to reach an exact chemical balance with supplements. The main reason, as you found, is that the body does not always appropriately assimilate substances, esp. minerals, from a pure form. Many times the mineral or vitamin source in pills are not even digestible by humans, no matter what the advertising says.

There is no way to fit the daily requirement of minerals, vitamins & nutrients into a pill form so that a pill can be taken instead of eating food. The pills are for supplementing food, not replacing it.

Your body can easily absorb appropriate iron by chewing and swallowing cooked spinach, liver, meat, fish and poultry. Non meat sources are dried beans (must be soaked before cooking), peas, lentils. There is some iron in some fruits and vegetables.

Multivitamins, in my opinion should never be sold. They are least likely to have the appropriate balance that any one person uniquely needs for personal health.
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Last edited by YaYagirl; 08-08-2018 at 05:24 PM.

 
Old 08-10-2018, 06:11 PM   #4
skt77
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Re: Problems with iron and copper metabolism?

Quote:
Originally Posted by YaYagirl View Post
Dear skt77,

I believe natural food sources are the best way to nourish and support the body rather than trying to reach an exact chemical balance with supplements. The main reason, as you found, is that the body does not always appropriately assimilate substances, esp. minerals, from a pure form. Many times the mineral or vitamin source in pills are not even digestible by humans, no matter what the advertising says.

There is no way to fit the daily requirement of minerals, vitamins & nutrients into a pill form so that a pill can be taken instead of eating food. The pills are for supplementing food, not replacing it.

Your body can easily absorb appropriate iron by chewing and swallowing cooked spinach, liver, meat, fish and poultry. Non meat sources are dried beans (must be soaked before cooking), peas, lentils. There is some iron in some fruits and vegetables.

Multivitamins, in my opinion should never be sold. They are least likely to have the appropriate balance that any one person uniquely needs for personal health.
I do eat a varied and balanced diet now that I have corrected the dietary imbalance that I had with copper and zinc and with iron and vitamin E. The multivitamin I take in addition helps to prevent deficiencies, as I was anemic and very iron deficient before starting it, and it seems to complement my diet well. I just can't handle EXTRA iron, even with vitamin E to balance it, and from what I've seen and read so far, this seems to be unheard of. I was wondering if there were any others out there who have experienced similar and knew the reason, whether a certain health condition or gene may be involved.

 
Old 08-10-2018, 06:32 PM   #5
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Re: Problems with iron and copper metabolism?

Dear skt,

Extra iron sits in the body tissues, which causes other problems. I have iron sitting in my legs.

I have no idea if you may have a gene or some such causing an imbalance problem, but unless that has been discovered, it is much better to allow your body to balance its chemicals with real food, than to supplement human-created substances. Most often the body uses what it needs, and often doesn't need what we might give it.

Assuming that your body knows what to do with the iron supplements is a huge assumption. It might not be the type your body requires, plus it is easy to get an overload of iron and iron is not secreted or used up like other substances. It sits there causing complications. I know because I have had iron overload just from natural iron that is in food.

You may think your balance is just right and it may not be what your body actually needs. If so it won't be easy to get it rebalanced. Even researchers admit that don't know everything there is to know about how and why the body works. And there is the fact that no two bodies are exactly alike. So what you read may not fit your own needs at all. How do you know?
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Last edited by YaYagirl; 08-10-2018 at 06:36 PM.

 
Old 08-10-2018, 07:05 PM   #6
skt77
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Re: Problems with iron and copper metabolism?

My supplements are to prevent and correct deficiencies that diet alone could not fix. Even after correcting the copper/zinc and iron/vitamin E imbalances, I became iron deficient and anemic. Going back on the multivitamin, along with calcium and magnesium, has been very helpful. Blood work done on August 1st showed that my anemia is improving. I hope that along with feeling better in general indicates I'm on the right track with what I'm doing.

 
Old 08-11-2018, 03:51 PM   #7
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Re: Problems with iron and copper metabolism?

Dear skt,

Eating the appropriate foods does the same, but if you prefer to take a pill and it works for you, that's fine, of course. General feeling better is a good indicator.

Make sure to have your levels checked to be sure they match up appropriately.
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