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My teen age daughter has been battling iron deficient anemia for 2 years now. Over the last year, she has gotten IV iron 5 different times (working up to 300 mg of iron at a time). Her hemoglobin has been holding fine (between 12-13.6), but her ferritin continues to go up to 80 then fall back to 19 a couple of weeks after the IV iron. She is also taking ICAR-C 350mg of oral iron to see if her body will "wake up" and begin working on its own. We believe the initial iron def. occurred due to heavy periods so she has been on birth control pills to control her periods successfully. Today, the hematologist tested her B12 and folate because her hair is falling out (alot!). The results came back as B12 143 and folate of 4.4, which the doctor said were below normal levels. He thinks with a low iron, B12 and folate, that it is all nutrition related and she just needs to eat a better diet, but I am wondering about low stomach acid and if that might be affecting all of the absorption levels. Can anyone help here? I know that my daughter is not eating any vegatables, but she is eating beef, chicken and some diary product. She also eats nutri-grain bars or bananas for breakfast periodically. He casually told me he would consult with the Gastroenterologist, but he still felt it was mal-nutrition. He has set an appointment up next week for her to get a B12 shot and put her on a multi-vitamin.

I don't know much about B12 - like how long does it take to get the levels up? Should they stay up once there if no malabsorption is going on? What test are there for low stomach acid?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
As far as getting the B12 level up it varies from person to person. It's interesting, your daughter is the only one that I've heard of yet that is a teen and has low B12. I am only 18. Your daughter's diet sounds a bit like mine, but I have a lot of dairy products in my diet.
I've been to the gastroenterologist, and it did me no good. The severe abdominal pain I was experiencing was caused by medications. Putting her on multi-vitamins is a good idea. Hopefully she has the stomach for it, b/c they always made me ill. I think there is a test for low stomach acid, but I can't remember what it is.
Best wishes towards you and your daughter,
Thank you for your reply. My daughter has been on oral iron for two years now and seems to tolerate that well - even though it has not helped her ferritin - so I think she should be able to tolerate a multi-vitamin. What is your condition that you have low B12 and your only 18? How have you treated the B12 deficiency?
With poor malabsorption like that, you might want to make sure her gastro checks her for celiac (wheat/gluten sensitivity). It can cause malabsorption problems due to damage of the intestinal wall (?).

There is a test to check for low stomach acid, but don't remember what it's called. You could have her drink a little water mixed with either the juice of a lemon or some apple cider vinegar about 30 minutes before she eats; this should stimulate gastric juices.

With her health problems, it'd be great if you could improve her diet. What goes into the body is SO important (but I remember being a teen and not caring about "good" food, so good luck!).

Hope you get it figured out soon. Good luck to you both.

I have malabsorption, and yes, I am 18. I just found out this last summer that my low B12 levels were causing my daily migraines, which I've had for the last three years. I started out having a B12 injection every two weeks, but then when my level was even lower, so then I started giving the injection to myself weekly for seven weeks. I've had about a 50% reduction in my migraines/headaches, and I only have my injection once a month.
Best Wishes,

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