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Hi Kerry,

I wrote a response earlier, but the boards have been acting a little funy with the new format. So, I will try again. I have actually been anemic from blood loss and my iron levels haven't been monitored as much as my hemoglobin and hematocrit, so I am not entirely sure about low iron levels. I am guessing you are talking about ferritin. Mine is always low and my TIBC should be high to try to get more iron.

Anyways, being deficient in iron - if it isn't from diet - is usually caused by one of two things. Either the iron is being used up to make more blood because of blood loss somewhere, or your body doesn't absorb it well. In your case, it seems like they are trying to search for a source of blood loss. With IBS, it seems like a good idea to check out your digestive system for any source of blood loss. And, to help your body build up it's iron stores, slowing down your periods can help a lot. I don't think having more iron will help you with your IBS. I would think it would be the other way around since it would seem that IBS can lead to blood loss somewhere along the way. I can't say that I know that much about IBS, but it does seem tough to treat. That may be a good place to focus on.

Eventually, with low iron levels, I believe you will become anemic, especially since you don't take iron tablets. There won't be enough iron to help in the production of red blood cells. You can at least work on your dietary iron for now. Make sure you are eating good meat sources of iron because they absorb better than the vegetable sources. You can mix the two for optimal absorption. Also, add vitamin C whenever you are eating iron and keep calcium out of your stomach when you are trying to absorb iron. I like milk with my meals, but I have had to insert it at snack time to make sure I am getting it, but not getting it at the same time as the iron. I have also decided that chile beans made with pinto beans, red meat, and actual red chile are an optimal meal. The meat helps the beans absorb and the vitamin C in the chile helps them both. Maybe the rest of you could try a recipe with tomatoes or red peppers if you can't get red chile.

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