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My teenage daughter has low red blood cells.

Q. Dear Terry, “My teenage daughter has low red blood cells. Her doctor thinks it’s the reason why she is so fatigued and is likely from her heavy menstrual periods. She doesn’t really like red meat. What type of iron supplement should she take?” – Holly B., Lansing, MI

A. Dear Holly, Anemia (low red blood cells) 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) once or twice daily.

Additionally, 20-30 mg of zinc bisglycinate chelate can also help with iron’s absorption.

I recommend she take these ingredients twice daily.

Healthy Regards!

Terry . . . Naturally

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Terry is happy to provide his opinion on diet and nutrition, supplements and lifestyle choices. This information is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the advice of your physician and is not to be considered medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Should you have any concerns please contact your physician directly.
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