View Full Version : low in iron and zinc
after months feeling low energy/tired on 100% raw, i decided to get a blood test. im low-normal in both iron and zinc which could explain the lack of energy.
zinc: 12.2 (normal is 10-20)
iron stores: 28 (normal is 15-165)
my doctor wasnt worried but when i told my naturopath she was, so im now on zinc and iron supplements.
my question is just - how on earth could i be low in iron? i have green smoothies everyday - literally 7 days a week - with a HUGE bunch of greens and i rotate them - i then usually have another bunch of greens at night, sometimes 3 bunches a day (smoothie, lunch, dinner) - i eat way more greens than i ever did when i was just cooked-food vegan. how could i be low?
also re zinc, i eat pumpkin seeds everyday - perhaps i need to eat more? what else is zinc rich?
has anyone else had these experiences? i also wonder how 811ers get their iron if they eat smaller amounts of greens as they eat more fruit.
any advice appreciated!
if you make sure to have greens with citrus it can help absorption. "chewing" juice and smoothies to ensure a good digestive start is good too. making sure hydrochloric acid production is adequate, you can start the day off with a glass of water and lemon juice to aid this. just be careful of your teeth as the lemon is quite acidic in your mouth (use a straw, rinse with water afterwards).
are you eating beets? red fleshed fruit is supposedly high in iron as well, strawberries, red plums, watermelon. though i don't know if i entirely believe that one...
plant iron is harder to digest than that from flesh foods, it's true, but i also think that low-normal is perfectly fine considering what those "normal" levels are based on. it may very well be that you're low in something else like b vitamins or iodine or who knows what. maybe try an online nutrition tracking website and see how you're doing all around. that and reading prescription for nutritional healing, that's just loaded with incredible information.
09-03-2009, 07:50 AM
I too was low in iron when my blood work was done earlier this summer. And I have a green smoothie almost everyday, and a huge salad almost every day.
I was diagnosed with anemia a few times when I was younger, so I have to wonder if mine is more an absorption problem rather than not actually getting enough.
Haven't really worried about since.
09-03-2009, 08:39 AM
I was also low in iron after about 4mnths of raw even though I ate iron containing foods, so I added Black Strap Molasses (just like 1tbsp) to my banana smoothies with greens (spirulina, wheat grass, & kelp powder---its very yummy by the way :)), & it helped out within just a few days. I'm not as religious with taking my multi or iron supp- actually I'm very sparatic but I have a my banana greens smoothie with black strap molasses & I find that works for me!
Interesting, I was just reading last night how many vegetarians become low in iron, zinc and something else...can't remember just now.
09-03-2009, 08:54 AM
i also wonder how 811ers get their iron if they eat smaller amounts of greens as they eat more fruit.
We eat a lot of fruit containing vitamin c which aids the absorption of iron. Many of us still eat greens, too. All that vitamin c fruit along with those greens is a great combo for getting the required iron.
09-03-2009, 09:08 AM
Blackberries, kiwi, strawberries, tomatoes, bananas, and grapes contain iron. Blackberries and kiwi are also significant sources of zinc.
Raw Angel Mom
09-03-2009, 09:22 AM
Is your B12 level is consider to be normal or low. If low, this will explain why you are low in iron. As for the zinc, any stress eat up your mineral.
Try to soak goji berry and add them in your smoothie, they have 8-9 time more iron then a steak as per my nutritionist. If you supplement with mineral, i recommend that you only take angstrom size mineral. This particule is the only size that our body cans absorb.
You need the vitamin c to absorb the iron. There are already c in green and goji but you can always add a citrus in your smoothie.
Try to find why you are low in those minerals, again stress, leaving in poluted environment will do that.
09-05-2009, 12:58 AM
Maybe it's not how much iron you get but rather you are not absorbing it.
perhaps the 811'ers are absorbing iron better because they do not do lots of fats like nuts to clog up their system and make their bodies produce mucus resulting in poor absorbtion. Try doing low fat (811) for a few months and see if it helps. Possibly even cutting out nuts all together. Let you body absorb the iron.
09-05-2009, 07:32 AM
The iron in plants is different from the iron in meat (blood) in the way it is absorbed. You need acid (i.e. citric acid in lemons and oranges) to improve the absorption. My favorite green smoothie is banana, an orange (citrus), frozen blueberries and greens. On salads I'll add either lemon juice or ACV (vinegar has acetic acid) to improve absorption of the iron in the salad greens. Tomatoes are also a good acidic vegetable to add to salads. If you're taking iron supplements, its a good thing to add a vitamin C tablet for the same reason.
09-08-2009, 05:51 PM
Your Zinc and Iron are not really low they are just in the lower range. I was told by a very good docter recently (because I have 30 for my iron stores as well) and she said that she rarely sees higher than 30 in menstrating women.
As I have vitimin challenges too (Zinc, B12), another doctor told me that it's because I have too much bad bacteria and need probiotics to allow me to absorb my food better. I am not fully raw yet and have been taking the probiotics for a few days now.
What is 811ers? Anyone? Now I'm curious.
09-08-2009, 06:50 PM
What is 811ers? Anyone? Now I'm curious
They're people who follow the 80-10-10 diet. 811 is the shorter way to type it. Google it for more info on what it is.
09-09-2009, 01:32 PM
From what I have heart, the level of iron in the blood is only partially significant when it comes to analising the iron supply of the body. The body may reduce the iron level during illness injuries or during your period in order to minimise the risk of inflammation. Maybe your fatigue has another reason and the low iron level is just a reaction of the body.
thanks for all your responses.
- ive been doing the black strap everyday for the past week, thanks!
im aware of the vit c issue, but it still doesnt make sense as whenever i have big green salads i always have something with vit c, and whenever i do big green smoothies its with vit c rich fruit. i also eat kiwis almost everyday, plus grapes etc....which makes me think it may be an absorbtion issue, also considering ive been feeling pretty shit and not reaping all the benefits of raw - i.e. tired, bad skin, actually GAINED weight, low energy, no mental clarity etc. but i eat so well! way better than most raw foodists let alone newbs, so i should be buzzing with good health.
which leads me to - if it is an absorbtion issue, what would everyone reccommend? ive been taking digestive enzymes for about a month, and i also did a detox herbal pill which took care of the posibility of parasites (im constantly hungry).
should i do a juice fast? green smoothie fast? banana island? how long for?
thanks everyone :)
09-13-2009, 10:03 AM
it takes time for your iron levels to raise... but mine did.
here's my question for you. are you 100% raw? cause if you aren't... it's what you are eating that isn't raw that's causing you the problems. it slows down the process of regaining your health.
i fasted for 262 days in a year and during that time my iron levels came waaaaaaaaay up. i drank primarily fruit juices as that's what my body resonated with. watermelon (with the rind of course), apple/parsley/ginger, tomato every single night, and pineapple with spirulina were my primary juices.
above all... relax and take it one meal at a time (or one juice at a time if you decide to fast)... it's what you are eating in this moment that matters... not what you eat over a month!
hey aleesha, thanks for your advice
yes, i am 100% raw.
one thing that i think could be inhibiting my absorbtion of minerals is my fat content - ive been eating 2 avos a day for the past month or two? - which i know isnt good, but it took me so long to even get to the stage where i knew i had to have 2 everyday otherwise i would go to bed hungry, and it was such a huge relief to be over that, but now ive realised ive actually gained weight! i dont think its the fruit issue as i eat heaps of fruit, i way exceed 3,000 calories in a day - in my gs which i have every morning i usually have 6 or more nanas and then added fruit on top of that.
im going to try to cut down to one avo a day, and today is my first day, but im hungry after a huge dinner already (its 9:30), and i also had heaps of nuts and seeds today. i also take coconut oil and flaxseed oil.
come to think of it, i was feeling low energy/wasnt reaping the benefits of raw before i started the superhigh fat intake, so its probably nto the avos actually..
09-14-2009, 04:20 PM
What you are eating is really a lot. It's not unusual to be eating a lot when transitioning but if you gain weight although you shouldn't, it's probably too much. Eating tones of food can also stress your digestion and cause health problems.
You say you feel hungry all the time. Is this real hunger or do you just miss the feeling of being stuffed that is typical for a SAD diet? If you are constantly thinking of food, try to occupy yourself - sport is perfect for that.
As for the fats - I don't share the panic about fats some rawfoodists have. But 2 Avocados + nuts + oils, ect. is really too much.
im over the feeling of cooked foods, i dont crave them or the feeling of 'fullness' they give - ive been 100% raw for over 4 months now so i know what the raw full feels like - but the hunger is REAL hunger.
i do feel like 2 avos plus nuts and oils etc is too much fat but if i dont eat 2 avos i have to eat at least 10 bananas in one day to feel full. and thats not really economical for me at the moment, plus i dont want to eat 10 bananas everyday....so i dont know what to do. im on veggie digestives to help to curb my appetite but ti doesnt seem to be working..
09-16-2009, 10:28 AM
flea, 4 months is a blip in time compared to how long you have lived on a SAD diet.
here's my suggestion... follow what Alissa says... eat what your body asks for as long as it's raw and allow the process to work itself out. if you've only been raw for 4 months... then of course your body hasn't gained a lot of iron stores. it takes a time for iron levels to rise. gift yourself a year... and then consider re-evaluating your diet.
cause i believe that your body will begin to ask for different things in that year and you'll find you won't even need to reevaluate, your body will have already done the work for ya! (((hugs)))
09-16-2009, 10:30 AM
ps my iron levels were still very low at the 6 month raw point but when they were checked at the 18 month raw point they were super high!!! (as were all my other levels)... your body took years to build up/fall down/create dis-ease... gift it longer than a few months to recover/heal.
I like how you said "gift" instead of "give" right there. What a fitting slip!
09-16-2009, 04:25 PM
i write gift on purpose... because that's what it is ... a gift.
you either gift yourself that gift... or you don't.
10-26-2009, 12:33 PM
811 is short for 80/10/10 which is a raw food way of eating that is very low in fat
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