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33 weeks pregnant, vegetarian with allergy to milk products, nuts. Low iron levels, hypothyroid. How to increase iron ?

I am 33 weeks pregnant and a strict vegetarian with a hate for cheese, milk and mushrooms and a nut allergy which limits my diet.. My iron levels are currently at 10 but no matter which tablet or supplement I take I cannot get one that agrees with me.. I have an under active thyroid and low b12 { mum has pernicious anemia ) so am taking 150 mg thyroxine and now on a once monthly b12 shot.. Pls help me get my iron levels back up as I feel lousy
Asked On : Fri, 16 Nov 2012
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Emergency Medicine Specialist 's  Response
Hello and welcome to Healthcare Magic. Thanks for your query.

Since you mention that iron tablets or supplements do not agree with you, you can try natural foods which are rich in iron. You have also mentioned that you are vegetarian and allergic to milk and milk products, and nuts. So, I would suggest the following iron-rich foods:

- Dark green leafy vegetables, like spinach, collards, etc.
- Dates, prunes and raisins
- Beans, lentils, chick peas and soybeans
- Pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds (which can be roasted, powdered and added to dishes while cooking)

- If taking direct iron supplements causes gastric irritation or other problems, then you can try food which are "fortified" with iron. For example certain cereals and legumes (check the labels), corn flakes or oats which are fortified with iron and minerals, etc.

Also, eating foods rich in Vitamin C (like citrus fruits, papaya, broccoli, kale, etc.) will be helpful, since Vitamin C increases the absorption of iron.

Best wishes,
Dr. Sheeba Stephen
Answered: Fri, 16 Nov 2012
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