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Since my allergist discovered my low ferritin serum, I’ve been trying to figure out how to increase my intake of iron. First, I tried adding a 27 mg ferrous gluconate supplement. In the beginning, I felt great, but I later started having the usual side effects of iron supplements. After doing some research and finding out that carbonyl iron is gentler on the digestive system and doesn’t cause the harsher side effects that other types of supplements cause, I decided to give it a try. Two tablets a day eventually brought on the same side effects. Taking one a day was just not enough. I began to feel weak and tired from the lack of iron. I went back to researching. I found that iron competes with other minerals for absorption, namely zinc. I’d read that taking extra iron could actually worsen a zinc deficiency if a person was also deficient in zinc. I’ve had trouble in the past with taking supplements out of balance. I could not handle iodized salt at all until I found a multivitamin that provided sufficient amounts of iodine and selenium. Now, I have no trouble at all with iodized salt. I also could not handle fish oil supplements, ones that contain only omega-3. I didn’t feel well at all after only a couple of days of taking just an omega-3 supplement about two years ago. I decided to give that a try after the drug store where I purchased my triple omega supplement stopped carrying it. I can’t take just any triple omega supplement; it must not contain flax oil. I ended up finding the triple omega supplement online and ordered it. I also stopped the fish oil supplement and rode out the miserable feeling until the triple omega supplement arrived. Once I got back on it, I felt great again. I began to wonder if I was dealing with a similar situation with the supplemental iron. Taking the extra iron out of balance with my other vitamins and minerals could have been causing the effects I was experiencing. In order to keep everything in balance and get the extra

The supplements I take in the morning, along with my daily Allegra for seasonal allergies

The supplements I take in the morning, along with my daily Allegra for seasonal allergies

iron I needed, I decided to double up on my multivitamin, my calcium supplement, my magnesium supplement, and my cod liver oil supplement. I’m still only taking one a day of the triple omega supplement and still only take two probiotic capsules a day. I dropped the vitamin D supplement and the iron supplement since these were being provided in adequate amounts by the multivitamin and cod liver oil. I started on this regimen three weeks ago today, and so far I feel a lot better. My digestion seems to be better, and my skin seems to be clearer. I’ve not experienced any side effects from the additional iron like I was experiencing with the standalone supplement.

It’s hard for me to understand at times why I have to rely so much on supplements. I know that I would feel horrible if I didn’t take them. A few years ago, I stopped taking my multivitamin to see if it would help clear my skin. I’d read that some people got acne from their multivitamins. Within a few days, I was miserable, and I had to ask my supervisor if I could leave to run an errand, where I went to a drug store to buy and take a multivitamin with orange juice. When I switched to Nature Made’s multivitamin, I was shocked at the improvement in how I felt. As previously stated, I need some kind of omega supplement, one with a balance of the different types. I was miserable without one at all and with just an omega-3 supplement. Supposedly, healthy people don’t even need to take supplements at all and can get what they need from the food they eat. I’m sure my diet isn’t perfect and can stand some improvement, but I know people with much worse habits than mine that seem to do okay with no supplements at all. Perhaps they have need for them and just don’t know it yet, but who knows. The person who took my iron supplements has other health problems distinct from mine and yet can handle the extra iron supplements without the side effects. As hard as I’ve felt I’ve worked to build healthy habits, to try to eat right and exercise regularly, it blows my mind that I cannot get what I need from my diet. All I can wonder is that something in my life is causing my body to require more than what it gets from food. Is it all the allergic reactions, where my body is almost constantly fighting off wheat/gluten exposures? I’m so sensitive, and it seems like no matter how hard I try to avoid it, I’m getting exposed way more often than I would like. Is it my exercise regimen? I do intense workouts, but it’s not like I’m training for the Iron Man competition or for a marathon. Is my digestive system just damaged from all the exposures to wheat/gluten and possibly other allergens, or even from undiagnosed celiac disease, and needs to heal? I just don’t know.

Time will tell if this regimen will continue to work. I have yet to have my iron levels retested, and I hope to find out more when I go to my primary care physician for my annual physical. Hopefully the change in my regimen is truly working. Will things ever get to a point where I can back off the amount of supplements I’m taking now, where I can truly get what I need from diet alone or just from the normal dosage of supplements? I guess all I can do is wait and see what the future holds.

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