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Question
Posted by: Zzzz | 2010/10/15

tired

Hi, I am a female in my late 20s, been a vegetarin since I was 10 and I have a 1 year old child. The doc has told me that i sometimes have low bp around 90/50 and low iron.
I am having trouble staying awake at work especially during meetings
I get 7-8 hours sleep and work normal 8-4 job
I am not particularly stressed
I wanted to know if this could be related to the food I eat? I am constantly snacking cos it helps me stay awake. Should see a dietitican or what kind of tests do i need to do?
Thanks for your help!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear ZZZZ
Your tiredness is most probably related to your low body iron levels, which is relatively common in vegetarians. You need to return to the doctor and ask him/her to test your serum ferritin levels and vitamin B12 levels which will indicate if you are suffering from iron-deficiency or vit B12-deficiency anaemia. The prime symptoms of both anaemias are overwhelming tiredness, inability to concentrate, irritability and paleness. Plant foods are not a good source of fully available iron and they do not contain vit B12. If you do have one of these anaemias the doctor will prescribe an iron-folic acid supplement or a vit B12 supplement. You may need to take the supplement for a long time because it can take 3 months or longer for depleted body iron stores to be replenished. You don't indicate if you are a strict vegetarian or an ovo-lacto-vegetarian. Foods that contain iron include egg yolk, dried fruit like raisins, iron-fortified breakfast cereals and all maize meal and wheat flour/bread/products sold in SA (maize meal and wheat flour are fortified with iron in SA). Have a glass of orange juice or half a grapefruit with your iron-fortified breakfast cereal or maize meal porridge because vit C in citrus and other fruits helps the absorption of iron. If you have a vit B12 deficiency then you may need to use vit B12 supplements permanently.
Best regards
DietDoc

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: DietDoc | 2010/10/15

Dear ZZZZ
Your tiredness is most probably related to your low body iron levels, which is relatively common in vegetarians. You need to return to the doctor and ask him/her to test your serum ferritin levels and vitamin B12 levels which will indicate if you are suffering from iron-deficiency or vit B12-deficiency anaemia. The prime symptoms of both anaemias are overwhelming tiredness, inability to concentrate, irritability and paleness. Plant foods are not a good source of fully available iron and they do not contain vit B12. If you do have one of these anaemias the doctor will prescribe an iron-folic acid supplement or a vit B12 supplement. You may need to take the supplement for a long time because it can take 3 months or longer for depleted body iron stores to be replenished. You don't indicate if you are a strict vegetarian or an ovo-lacto-vegetarian. Foods that contain iron include egg yolk, dried fruit like raisins, iron-fortified breakfast cereals and all maize meal and wheat flour/bread/products sold in SA (maize meal and wheat flour are fortified with iron in SA). Have a glass of orange juice or half a grapefruit with your iron-fortified breakfast cereal or maize meal porridge because vit C in citrus and other fruits helps the absorption of iron. If you have a vit B12 deficiency then you may need to use vit B12 supplements permanently.
Best regards
DietDoc

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