Iron Deficiency Anemia
1) Cause of Symptoms - Iron Deficency Anemia.
2) Symptoms of Iron Deficiency Anemia - hair loss especially at the temples but also all over such as thinning scalp, etc. Soft or brittle fingernails that just won't grow. Vertical ridges on nails. "Greenish" tint to skin - subtle. Yellowish whites of eyes - jaundice. White inside of lower eyelid when it should be pink. "Raccoon Eyes" - dark circles that look sunken, around the eyes. Very pale skin. Weakness, tiredness. Muscle weakness, inability to withstand exercise, walking long distances, etc. Gasping for breath during exercise or at night. Inability to run. Inability to withstand cold. Spastic or uncontrolled movements of muscles, either Restless Leg or Periodic Limb Movement Disorder. Tics. Heavy period bleeding. For Women - Menstrual cycles that come too soon, 21-23 days instead of 30+ like normal. (the heavy bleeding is a vicious cycle - the blood is very thin from anemia so "falls out" of the uterus during menstruation in a way that it's not supposed to, leading to worse anemia. Blood should be slightly gelotinous, not thin. Fibroids from not enough progesterone therefore Estrogen Dominant condition due to low iron. Upper or Lower back pain that can't be relieved by massaging, hot bath etc. Upper back/neck fragility and inability to tolerate normal activities such as lifting, etc. Heart palpitations. PMDD, bad cramps before/during period. Inability to focus/concentrate/accomplish things. Pica (craving and chewing on ice). Beeturia (urine stained red from eating beets).
3) How Iron Deficiency Anemia is often aquired - For Women, Fertility events that cause the person to lose a lot of blood such as Pregnancy and Misscarriage. Long stretches of Vegetariansim and Veginism. This deprives the person of Heme Iron which is the most easily absorbable form of iron. The iron from plants such as spinach and beets is not as easily absorbed as Heme iron from beef, chicken, fish etc. Or it could just be from a poor diet. It can also be from more serious conditions so you should see your doc if you suspect Iron Deficency Anemia and get cleared of these things.
4) Once Ferretin (stored iron) is low, it doesn't just "go up" again during a period of rest which is what you would expect. Other things in the body kind of right themselves, but with iron you must make a big effort to make it go up again or else the level will stay low.
5) Mechanism of Iron Defficency Anemia: most of our iron is stored in our bone marrow. It is used to create red blood cells and fill them with oxygen to transport to all the areas of our body. When our stored iron is low, our red blood cells instead of being filled with oxygen for our body, are "flat" not plumped out, and can't deliver the oxygen. The body reserves the oxygen for the brain and essential organs and stops sending them to places it considers "superfluous". This includes the skin. The hair follicles reside in the upper layers of the skin. Hair affected is all over the body including the head. Hair is slow to grow in general compared to what it has been in the past, including leg hair, body hair and eyebrows. It may change texture. In additon, the thyroid is affected by low iron and can't make it's hormones enough. This also causes hair loss and thin, sparse eyebrows especially thinned on the outer third of the arch. For women, The body's ability to make progesterone is also hit by low iron, so the body goes into an Estrogen Dominant state. This can encourage the growth of fibroids and other tumors. The answer is not to lower Estrogen, it's to raise Progesterone naturally by restoring Feretin levels not taking fake hormones.
6) How not to restore Ferretin level: Taking Hemaplex, Flouridex and other liquid iron preparations or Blood Builder pills, drinking vegetable juices like spinanch or beet, or eating high iron foods. These things help augment an Iron Protocol but can't replace it, there is not enough iron in these supplements and foods to restore iron level once it has crashed. These things temporarily raise iron but don't keep it up, so that the level falls back down again once you stop taking them. They are good for maintaining an iron level that is already established, not raising a low Ferretin score.
7) how to restore Ferretin and fix Iron Deficency Anemia: The Iron Protocol is a protocol designed to raise ferretin. The Iron Protocol Facebook group gives detailed step by step instructions on how to raise Ferretin. Use Ferrus Bisglycinate ELEMENTAL iron which means that iron is the only ingredient in the pill. Often manufacturers add cheap B vitamins, ascorbic acid etc in an attempt to make the iron absorb. But 50% of people have the MTFHR mutation which means they can't tolerate the cheap B vitamins and it makes them feel sick. In addition, Ferrus Sulfate is known for making people feel sick to their stomach and constipating people. The reason people stop taking Iron preparations and pills is because they make them feel sick. Elemental Iron Bisglycinate won't do that. Most people need about 150 mg of Iron per day to fix their Iron deficency anemia. it must be taken with a Cofactor to make it absorb. The cofactor is Whole Food Vitamin C preferably by Vitamin Code. Ascorbic acid also works but it doesn't do the job as well. Try to get the Vitamin Code. Take these 2 kinds of pills on an empty stomach right when you wake up in the morning. Start with a small amount and work your way up. You might feel "bumps" at first such as stomach upset etc but it will pass. Eventually your system will get used to the iron and vitamin C. Take a lot more C than iron. It requires a lot of C to make the iron absorb. Don't eat for an hour after taking the pills on an empty stomach in the morning. Many foods and drinks block iron absorption so it's just not worth it to eat right after taking it. There is a certain part of the intestine that absorbs the iron so you want the iron to hit that part and have the best chance to absorb. Do not bother taking the iron at night - at night the liver secretes Hepcidin which is a substance that blocks iron absorption. Any iron taken at night will be wasted. Only take the supplements in the morning and at noon.
In addition to taking Iron Bisglycinate and it's cofactor Wholefood Vitamin C, raising vitamin D3 is essential. Vitamin D3 blocks the activity of Hepcidin which blocks the absorption of Iron. Vitamin D3 must be raised if it's too low. Take Vitamin D with it's cofactor Magnesium Glycinate or Chloride to make it absorb. D3 controls a lot of essential body processes so it's essential to have enough. Vitamin D3 is a form of Calcium (calciferol) so it should be taken in the morning and then K2 taken at night, to make sure the calcium goes into the bones where it belongs and isn't free floating in the system to clog arteries. D3 and K2 can't be taken together, D3 must be taken in the morning and K2 at night. I personally eat Natto beans which have K2 in them rather than take the pills. You have to be careful and study K2 pills to see which one is right for you.
8) Can you start to take Iron on your own? It's best to establish first that iron is indeed your problem. Ask your doctor to give you a Complete Blood Count, or a Ferretin/Hemoblobin test. The Ferretin is the stored iron and the Hemoglobin is the free floating iron available in your system. It is possible to have a normal Hemoglobin but a depleated Ferretin, depending on your eating habits and life events. On a scale of 1-100, your Ferretin should be 100. It's not ok to be at a 30, but docs often tell people they are "ok" if they are at 30. This is not ok to have less than half of the iron you should have. Anything below 30 is an "Absolute Iron Deficiency" and can cause the most severe symptoms. You need to be ready to see your score and act on it by taking iron if you are below 100, regardless of if your doc tells you that you are "ok", if you are suffering any of the symptoms described above. You can also order your own test online. For a supportive group of individuals who are healing their low ferretin levels, join The Iron Protocol group on Facebook. It's free and really informative. If you have been very low on iron, it's best to get your level to 125 and keep it there for about 6 months before allowing it to fall to 100. This will "switch on" the mechanisms that have been switched off by the body due to iron conservation.
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