Iron and bowels (possibly TMI!)

Posted , 11 users are following.

I have quite low ferritin so have been taking iron supplements. I try and get plenty of iron in my diet (no red meat though as I'm veggie) but I don't think I'm absorbing it well. However combined with the constipation I get from hypothyroid, the iron tablets are "bunging me up" horribly! Does anyone know of a supplement I can take that might help with this, or a veggie food that's a really good source of iron? Thanks!

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17 Replies

  • Posted

    Have you taken a probiotic vitamin to help with everything
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  • Posted

    Hi Alice, iron supplements are terrible for causing constipation as I have experienced in the past.

    Even though you are a veggie if you have a balanced diet you should not need to take extra iron, there are lots of good things that are high in iron, mushrooms, dried apricots, green leaf veg, haricot beans, soya beans pulses there are lots of choices. You do need to have plenty of vitamin c as this helps the absorption of iron.

    maybe you should ditch the supplements and look at your diet as constipation is not good and can get you down as well, and also getting iron from the food you eat is better than taking supplements.

    Another very important thing is to drink plenty as our poo has alot of water in it and if we get dehydrated that can also cause constipation.

    I am not medically trained but i am very interested in diet.

    There is alot of info on the internet or in books avilable at the library.

    Good Luck

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    • Posted

      I'm no allowed to eat dairy anymore, so I miss my plain yougert, but doctor said take probiotic in pill form that has atleast 12 billion active cells and refrigerated is more potent.  They stay truly helping me.  Says to take with every meal, I often forget for lunch, but still they are helping.

      sometimes one can test their skin for dehydration by pulling up skin on back of your hand, if skin stays up for a bit then drink more water. If it doesn't at all, not even a split second then perhaps you are hydrated.  But for very young skin not sure this test works, wink

      Once I was really constipated when I was younger and nurse said drink orange juice with pulp in it. 

      good luck. 

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  • Posted

    Hi Alice.  Yes I would agree that a good probiotic will help.  Along with a glass of warm lemon water every morning before you eat or drink anything else.  I suffered from severe constipation for years and found that is the only thing that gives me relief.  You need to use fresh lemon.  You can cut a half of lemon and squeeze it into a glass of warm water and drink it every morning.  It has to be warm though.  Not only will it help move your bowls, it will help speed up your metabolisim, clean out toxins in your body, help your liver, help your gallbladder clean out and give you more energy.  It took me about 4 to 5 days before seeing an improvment in my bowls.  I use to go once a week if I was lucky, but now I go every other day.  Good luck.  Oh..  yes, but make sure you use a good probiotic with it also.  Hope this helps!
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  • Posted

    I take pitted prunes - 3-4 when i have problems.  one a day thereafter will keep you fit.  good luck.
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  • Posted

    I know that this is not very useful information but I cut out red meat, for moral reasons - I can't stand the thought of killing animals. However, I got awfully aenemic (sp) and I had to start eating it again. It seems that heme iron (i.e. from red meat) is the most effecient and absorbable way to get iron. I feel very guilty about doing this and feel horrible going to the butchers but I feel wonderful after having a small steak for my dinner.
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  • Posted

    Shrimp has lots of iron in them also.  I usually come a little low on iron and can't tolerate the iron pills like you.  So now I take the flinstone vitamins with iron, which I can handle and try to get alot of shrimp in my diet.  Actually around new years, I ate about 2 punds of shrimp in a couple of days and then had blood work a day later.  Well it came back in the middle of the range for the first time ever.  So..  yes, shrimp is another good way to get iron levels higher.
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  • Posted

    Wow thank you for all the responses! Some great ideas to try here, and I love lemon water so that'll be easy. I didn't know shrimp were high in iron, I live by the sea so hopefully I'll be able to get some local and sustainably caught which will help my conscience. Thanks all smile
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  • Posted

    Here is an interesting little article:

    (FYI, Heme iron comes from meat, non-heme comes from veggies)

    The Magic of Iron-Food Pairing

    The absorption of non-heme iron can be improved when a source of heme iron is consumed in the same meal. In addition, the iron absorption-enhancing foods can also increase the absorption of non-heme iron. While some food items can enhance iron absorption, some can inhibit or interfere iron absorption. Avoid pairing these iron-inhibiting foods when you're eating iron-rich foods in the same meal.

    Iron Absorption Enhancers


    Fruits: Orange, Orange Juice, cantaloupe, strawberries, grapefruit etc

    Vegetables: Broccoli, brussels sprouts, tomato, tomato juice, potato, green and red peppers

    White wine

    Iron Absorption Inhibitors

    Red Wine, Coffee and Tea

    Vegetables: Spinach, chard, beet greens, rhubarb and sweet potato

    Whole grains and bran

    Isolated soy ingredients, like products made with soy flour and isolated soy protein concentrate.

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