Posts tagged Iron
I don’t get sick. Other than my random endometriosis and kidney stones issues, which I’ve learned to deal with, I stay quite healthy. Unfortunately, for the past 2 weeks I wasn’t “right”. It’s the hardest thing to explain to people. I didn’t necessarily feel sick, but I didn’t feel 100%. I’d been thoroughly exhausted to the point of not being able to move. The only thing I can compare it to was when I had mono back in high school. I knew I needed/wanted to do something but didn’t physically have the energy to get it done. In the meantime I had nausea, had a little appetite, and when I did eat I could only eat small amounts. My “sickness” then started producing flu-like aches, then a cough. All the while, I still didn’t feel sick, just off.
Although I woke up feeling a tad better yesterday morning, I finally broke down and made a doctor’s appointment. I didn’t think antibiotics were needed, but I did feel that my issue needed to be addressed. Was this mono? What this an issue having to do with my B12 deficiency? Am I just crazy? The bottom line, with such little energy I was unable to exercise. That’s a deal breaker on many levels!
After quickly being poked, prodded, and asked a multitude of questions I received my tentative diagnosis: my B12 and iron deficiency compromised my immune system, allowing some sort of virus to take hold, and now I’m on the mend. It’s quite ironic that I found out last week that I am B12 deficient. The good thing, I guess, is that I found out I was deficient after I started have signs/symptoms…meaning I’m not psychosomatic. Thankfully I’ve been supplementing B12 for just under a week. My doctor also talked to me about supplementing with iron so I added in an additional supplement.
I must admit, I’ve always been hesitant to be a supplement taker or pill popper. I just not a fan of putting thing into myself that may not be necessary, hence why I’ve never supplemented prior. As I stated in my last post, I knew that supplementing would be highly likely due to my diet and activity level at some point. With that being said, I now have a baseline to work off of, and it’s obvious that it is time to do some supplementing.
So what’s my gameplan? B12 recommendations (depending on what you read and what type of B12 you take) are 25-100 mcg once daily or 1000 mcg 2-3 times per week. Since I’m already deficient and consider myself a raw vegan (meaning I have little intake of “fortified” foods) I’ll start by taking 2000 mcg sublingual methylcobalamin B12 once daily for 2 weeks, then back down to 1000mcg once daily. I’ll also be taking 25 mg ferrous fumarate (iron) once daily. Next, I’m going to take a few more days of rest to allow my body to recuperate from this virus (which is the hardest thing for me to do!). Lastly, after 3 months I will have my blood work rechecked to see how well I’m absorbing/supplementing. As with many things everyone’s body reacts/absorbs differently so I will check my values and adjust accordingly.
Now, if I could just be blessed with a bit more patience before getting back to pounding the pavement. -_-
Back in 2009 I was diagnosed with calcium oxalate kidney stones and then later in the year had a laparascopy to diagnose endometriosis. Needless to say 2009 was a rough year. I have stayed on top of my disorders, especially through diet, and for the most part have been able to keep my symptoms at bay. The unfortunate issue is the disorders rear their ugly heads randomly and it’s often hard to discern what disorder is causing the pain. I can guarantee I will discuss these disorders in the future, however, in the meantime, check out my previous blog to read on about my process of diagnosis and treatment of both disorders.
Due to my history I have bloodwork and urine collection performed every 6-12 months. This past collection I also had bloodwork performed to see if I was having any issues in regards to my vegan diet. I had my testing performed in late August and received the results within the past several weeks.
Urine results: In the past it was shown I do not produce enough citrates, which are known to inhibit calcium oxalate stone formation. Due to that, I am currently on potassium citrate supplement to raise my citrates. With that being said, my citrates looked great. The bad? My oxalates are now high, which is a first. Given my diet is plant/fruit based, this is no big surprise. If I wanted to reduce my oxalates I would reduce my plant intake and up my animal-based food intake. Another option is to watch the types of foods that have higher/lower oxalates. I will be choosing the latter. Thankfully, my doctor fully understands and supports my views on animal-cruelty/diet. He believes that given my fluid intake/output is high (I target drinking 3 liters of water a day) and my uric acid, citric acid, and calcium are within normal limits, I should be able to keep everything in check. Basically, there’s nothing the oxalates can bind to, to call for further stone formation. In addition, the citrates should inhibit formation. It is known that I have more stones located in my kidneys. These are only visible on CAT scan…not radiographs. This may sound like a good thing, but this was the case with my first stone, which presented a big problem. My fingers are crossed that my proactive approach will prevent further stone formation and if/when the known stones dislodge, they will pass easily.
Bloodwork results: For the most part everything checked out fine. However, my iron and B12 levels were low. I did not have any outward signs of B12 deficiency, but I have already started supplementing for B12 with sublingual tablets. My plan is to take 2,000 mcg once daily for 2 weeks and then back off as directed. I’m still in the process of researching iron supplementation.
I’m sure most everyone will say, “You’re deficient because you’re vegan.” Ah, not so fast. Surprisingly, B12 deficiency isn’t a vegan/vegetarian specific problem. For humans the problem isn’t that people don’t eat B12, it’s that we oftentimes do not absorb it. So, if a random person is tested, there’s a good chance they may be deficient.
Since I was never tested for B12 prior to becoming veg 3+ years ago I don’t know if I was deficient. Something that is known: if I wasn’t deficient prior to my lifestyle change, I only had so many reserves before it came time for me to supplement. So I knew supplementation would be coming. Yes, in hindsight I think it would have been better to supplement from the get go, but as with so many things hindsight is 20/20. Living the vegan lifestyle has been a huge learning experience so it’s no surprise that I’ll have “mistakes” along the way.
I absolutely love when my doctors discuss my lifestyle. The look on their faces is priceless. They are so impressed. “Wait, you don’t eat fast food?” “You only eat fruits and veggies?” “You run everyday?” “You’ve signed up you a Half-Ironman??” And when they say, “Would you like to sit in my lobby and tell every one of my patients that walks in, ‘This is how it’s done’?” I take that as the highest compliment. I may not have been blessed with the best body or health, but I try my best to maintain the healthiest lifestyle I can attain.