Iron and Potassium Deficiency

by Emily
(PA)

Hello,


I was diagnosed with Crohn's about 6 months ago. My GP just told me that I have anemia and a potassium deficiency. She put me on a potassium supplement. She recommended that I take iron supplements, but I taking adult multi-vitamins causes me to have bad, crampy pain. I've been told that iron is difficult to digest. I asked a pharmacist today and she recommended trying Iron EF (iron that's supposed be gentle on your stomach). The ingredients say that it has lactose and I seem to get diarrhea with dairy products. It seems like I can eat red meat (98% lean) and a couple other foods with iron, but I'm still tired all the time, so I'm not sure if I'm absorbing it. Does anyone have any suggestions?

My GP also referred me to a nutritionist, but my insurance doesn't cover it. It costs $150 for the first visit and $50 for supplemental visits. Has anyone gotten a lot of help from a nutritionist? Do you think it's worth paying this much?

Thanks,
Emily

Comments for Iron and Potassium Deficiency

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Iron and Potassium Deficiency NEW
by: Annette Young

Hello,

Thank you for your comment.

A great many people with Crohn's disease are also lactose intolerant so yes you do have to be careful with the supplements that you take. Iron can be very hard to digest, I used iron supplements in liquid form which was very easy to absorb into the system, as far as I'm aware there was no lactose present so it might be worth you looking at the liquid supplements. It certainly made a difference to me in many ways including that less fatigue as a result.

Most people should find that they get enough potassium from their diet however this is only if their diet is rich in nutrients and many people these days do not eat well. Potassium is quite important and is associated with heart disease, arthritis, infertility and digestive disorders so it can cause problems if you are deficient.Certainly deficiencies will be more common in those who have physically demanding jobs, have demanding exercise regimes, take certain medicines,have eating disorders, smoke or who have digestive problems such as Crohn's disease.

As you eat meat, you should have little problems absorbing iron supplements, but for those who are vegetarians, vitamins C aids absorption too.

Sadly, fatigue is a part of Crohn's disease and it can make you feel completely exhausted. If you are bleeding internally, this may account for the anemia and is something that the doctors need to check up on.

I have heard mixed reviews about nutritionists. I guess there are some who know more about the effects of Crohn's disease and before you spend out a lot of money, it might be a good idea to ask the question prior to booking the appointment.

I hope this helps.

Annette









My GP also referred me to a nutritionist, but my insurance doesn't cover it. It costs $150 for the first visit and $50 for supplemental visits. Has anyone gotten a lot of help from a nutritionist? Do you think it's worth paying this much?

Thanks,
Emily

Nutritionist
by: Anonymous

I also have not had luck with nutritionists. Saw one on my own when first diagnosed. Like the others she recommended a heathy diet for a healthy person. I had seen her because I was so confused with diets, ie; anti-inflamitory, SCD. Started the SCD when I continuted to have flares. Threw out all the stuff she had me buy. Went to a 2nd dietition on the recommendation of an Internest the recommends SCD. She was trying to have me buy a medical food by Xyomen that contains carageenan (from seaweed, also found in almond, rice, and hemp milk)whick is an imflamitory agent. Another $200 plus down the drain. I am now seeing a holistic/chinese medicine doctor, on SCD, off all meds other then homeopathic herbs and doing very well.

hang in there :)
by: Andi

Hi Emily- I was diagnosed in 1996 and have since gotten a B.S. in Nutrition. That being said, I would not waste money on seeing a dietitian. We literally had 2 paragraphs about Crohn's disease in our Medical Nutrition Therapy text. So, those of you who saw a dietitian, sorry - they are simply not trained for it.
It's a difficult thing because all of our diseases are so different and the current thought is that since diet can't cause a flare-up, there's no cause and effect. Though we all know that diet can change what our flare-ups look like and often how long they last.

With regards to Iron- absorption is normally the biggest issue with Crohn's. Do a web-search of foods high in iron and definitely try to increase that, but we need vitamin C to improve absorption. Most 100% juices are a good source iron, so having any kind of meat with juice will improve your body's absorption of the iron. A slower released FE supplement would probably help. Equally, some things that further reduce iron absorption are caffeine, black and green tea, milk, and spinach- so avoid these around 1 hour before and after taking your supplement.

As a multivitamin- Flinstone Complete chewable vitamins have been my godsend. When I'm in a flare-up, I actually take 2 a day. I've spoken with many other Crohn's patients who do the same.

nutritionist
by: Anonymous

I went to a nutritionist...what a waste. She suggested a diet for a normal, healthy person.
Instead of following her direction I began following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. It's not a miricle but I'm doing better. It takes time to heal.

Thanks
by: Emily

Thank you for your post, it was helpful. I have this new book called the Crohn's and Colitis Diet Guide. It taught me that I should try oatmeal b/c it's a soluble fiber. It's been amazing, so hopefully it will keep working. I guess eventually I'll add veggies to my diet again.

Thanks so much!

NUTICIANIST
by: BARBIE (ENGLAND)

TO BE HONEST I SAW A NUTRICIONIST AND BASICALLY SHE JUST ADVISED AN ALL ROUND HEALTHY EATING PLAN WHICH WE ALL KNOW ABOUT ANYWAY.

I THINK IT IS A CASE OF ILLIMINATING FOODS THAT WE KNOW AFTER TIME THAT DO NOT SUIT US.

OH AND SHE DID SAY NOT TO EAT TOO MUCH FIBRE BUT AFTER A WHILE GRADUALLY INCLUDE IT IN THE DIET.

Iron and Potassium Deficiency
by: Anonymous

My children had this same problem growing up. I would give them cooked liver and fresh tomatoes. The doctor would tell me that was the best source of getting iron. I have the same problem and I eat a lot of fresh vegetables. I can't have any foods with milk in them because I will start vomiting. I can't have any thing that has oil in it. So no gumbo or graves without getting very sick. Good luck I have been living with this for 9 1/2 years. You will learn a lot. Be careful with books that you read on Crhon's,. When I frist was told I had Crohn's I got every book I could get my hands on. And found that the more that I read the more I got confussed. Each Auther had a different approch to treat Crohn's. Keep your head up you will may it though this.

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