Q. Dear Terry, “My daughter has a really heavy menstrual flow. She’s anemic and has been taking iron, but she is still really tired and her labs haven’t changed that much since starting the iron. The iron also makes her really constipated. Is there a different type of iron she can take?”– Y.S., Los Angeles, CA
A. Dear Y.S., Anemia can be due to a variety of causes, but a very common one is iron deficiency. 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.
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. This means your body is better able to use the iron, without causing constipation.
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 and vitamin B12 can be very useful. I would take 5 mg of iron (as iron bisglycinate chelate) with 1,300 mg of liver fractions, plus 340 mcg of folate (as 5-methylfolate) and 1,000 mcg of vitamin B12 (as methylcobalamin).
Additionally, 20-30 mg of zinc bisglycinate chelate can also help with iron’s absorption.
I would take these ingredients once or twice daily.
To help increase energy levels – physical and mental – I think red ginseng (Panax ginseng) can be very beneficial. In a usage study with a red ginseng containing high levels of noble ginsenosides, within 10 days, the ginseng group noticed more energy, better physical health, improved cognitive performance, better sleep, and overall satisfaction.
I would take 200 mg of ginseng twice per day.
Terry . . . Naturally
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