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Do Vegans Need to Take Iron? How Dairy And Meat Can Cause Iron Anemia

Dr. Nick Delgado

Dr. Nick Delgado

Helping people with their journey to health, happiness and their goals in career, relationships and longevity.

There is a common misconception that you need meat to maintain iron levels and that a plant-based diet will lead to a deficiency (anemia). But here’s the thing, you don’t need to consume any animal products to meet your iron needs – even menstruating women can meet the recommended intake on a balanced, plant-based diet. And I actually prefer plant-based iron sources because plants contain vitamin C and other essential nutrients that help encourage the absorption of iron. And these absorption enhancing nutrients are crucial – you can eat all the meat in the world and still be iron deficient if you aren’t absorbing it properly. 

Anemia Symptoms

Fatigue is one of the most obvious and common symptoms of anemia, however, you may also notice difficulty concentrating, paleness, leg cramps, chest pain, weakness, light-headedness, irritability, cold hands and feet, insomnia, rapid heartbeat (particularly with exercise), shortness of breath and headaches.

The Best Diet for Anemia Prevention and Reversal

While most men do not need to worry about low iron levels, iron deficiency anemia is common in American women, affecting approximately 10% of non-hispanic white women and 20% of black and Mexican-American women. Making sure to eat a variety of iron-rich plant foods such as beans, seeds, lentils, dried fruit, beets, and dark leafy green vegetables will help support healthy iron levels. 

Avoiding dairy is also recommended because dairy interferes with the body’s ability to absorb iron and can cause the intestines to lose small amounts of blood. When you lose blood you lose iron and overtime, this can lead to severe anemia. In fact, milk products have been found to be the cause of more than 50% of juvenile iron deficiency anemia cases.

Anemia is Not Just About Iron

Iron deficiency anemia is the most well-known type of anemia but anemia occurs when there aren’t enough red blood cells and it takes several nutrients to create those cells. You can get anemia if you have a deficiency of the B vitamins – B12, B6, and folic acid. You can also get anemia from blood loss, from an inability to absorb iron or B vitamins, or if your body destroys your red blood cells. 

The Dangers of Too Much Iron

Men and women past the age of menstruation should never take iron supplements unless they are diagnosed with a deficiency because they are susceptible to iron overload. When the iron builds up in the tissues and organs, it leads to hemochromatosis and increases the risk of cancer, arthritis, diabetes, liver problems, and heart failure. Consuming a diet high in red meat can also lead to iron overload, whereas a plant-based diet can help protect from it.

Anemia Supplements

If you consume a healthy, balanced diet and still have anemia, supplementation may be necessary to help support your red blood cells. You need to be mindful when you choose a supplement though, especially if it is just providing iron because many iron supplements either contain levels that are too high or they provide the iron in a form that your body is unable to absorb. Most also lead to troublesome side-effects such as constipation, stomach pain, and nausea. 

Stay Young Am – The Ultimate Blood Builder

Stay Young Am is a clinically formulated, wholefoods derived a formula that fights to age, optimizes energy and promotes healthy red blood cell production. It contains B12, B6, and folic acid in their most bioavailable forms, as well as kale and red spinach (natural sources of iron) and vitamin C for added absorption. Because the nutrients are all derived from whole foods, it doesn’t produce side-effects as most iron supplements do. 

In addition to supporting healthy red blood cells, Stay Young Am also provides a variety of antioxidants and other anti-aging nutrients, to help you look and feel younger, lose weight and sleep better. It contains the immune system and energy-boosting herb Astragalus root. Astragalus is according to history in regions were it grows believed to help people live longer “Eat that herb and you will live longer.” 

New science shows Astragalus actually lengthens the ends of chromosomes derived extracted from white blood cells analysis from immunocompromised patients.  To make matters better we include a 200 to 1 concentration of Astragalus in Stay Young tasty chewable tablets and it’s likely that this will assist those who take this product daily will benefit from an improved immune system and other anti-aging benefits. Added to the quality formation of Red Blood Cells.  

And finally, it contains beets, which helps to release a special molecule that widens and relaxes the arterial walls and enhances the flow of blood and nutrients throughout the entire body. Thanks to these effects, many report an improvement in exercise and sexual performance and an increase in desire, pleasure, and arousal when they take Stay Young Am.

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