I am a thirty year old woman who has been struggling with anemia for several years.
Q. Dear Terry, “I am a thirty year old woman who has been struggling with anemia for several years. I have very heavy menses each month, which makes me very tired. What kind of iron should I try?” — Aly K., Valdosta, GA
A. Dear Aly, Anemia can be due to a variety of causes, but a very common one is iron deficiency. In fact, iron deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies in the United States. Over 7 million women in the U.S. are estimated to be iron deficient. Women with heavy menses can lose significant amounts of iron each menstrual cycle.
Iron is a critical component of hemoglobin, the protein carried by red blood cells that delivers oxygen throughout the body for energy. Aside from hemoglobin, iron is a requirement for the production of erythropoietin (EPO), which is a hormone needed by the body that also plays a role in helping to make red blood cells.
Many factors can affect our iron levels including intense exercise, certain foods and beverages, and medications like NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory-drugs), which many people use on a regular basis.
To replenish our iron safely and effectively, I recommend heme iron that comes from beef liver concentrate. This specific form of iron is attached to hemoglobin – the protein that transports energizing oxygen to muscle cells. The great thing about heme iron is that up to 33 percent of the quantity of heme iron ingested can be absorbed, compared to as little as two percent absorption of iron salts.
The best liver extract comes from beef cattle raised on the grassy plains of Argentina without any chemical sprays, pesticides, or antibiotics. Look for a “predigested” form of liver extract, meaning it has been broken down to be more readily absorbed by the body.
To aid in the absorption of iron, I think folate (as 5-methylfolate), iron bisglycinate chelate, and vitamin B12 (as methylcobalamin) can be very useful.
I would take these ingredients once or twice daily.
Terry . . . Naturally