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Ferritin levels help...

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created October 18, 2012 at 5:35 PM

My 13 year old son has celiac disease. He takes 2 x 28mg iron tabs ad yet his ferritin levels are still low. I need to change his diet. CAn you please let me know if you think the Paleo Diet would work for him and would this increase his ferritin levels?

089dd41b18fbb95ebb5347cded708d98

(5635)

on November 03, 2012
at 02:53 PM

i disagree, stephen, but to each his own.

1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

(10904)

on November 03, 2012
at 01:20 PM

+1 for GAPS or Specific Carbohydrate diet

121a16aded2bed8dca492d3c9662ef4c

(1327)

on November 03, 2012
at 08:37 AM

This may be appropriate for an adult, but limiting starches in a 13 year-old is a sure path to stunted growth. We need to be careful with our advice, here.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on October 19, 2012
at 07:09 PM

Okey dokey, cool, I'll have to study up on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. It makes sense on the surface, I was thinking along the lines that starch feeds bacteria, but thinking about it feeding beneficial bacteria to even out the numbers game and give the gut a fighting edge against bad bacteria. If pathogenic bacteria are present in overwhelming numbers it would make a lot of sense to starve them out.

089dd41b18fbb95ebb5347cded708d98

(5635)

on October 18, 2012
at 09:39 PM

this is from the SCD site: "The allowed carbohydrates are monosaccharides and have a single molecule structure that allow them to be easily absorbed by the intestine wall. Complex carbohydrates which are disaccharides (double molecules) and polysaccharides (chain molecules) are not allowed. Complex carbohydrates that are not easily digested feed harmful bacteria in our intestines causing them to overgrow producing by products and inflaming the intestine wall. The diet works by starving out these bacteria and restoring the balance of bacteria in our gut."

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on October 18, 2012
at 07:23 PM

If he is doing all of his eating at home, I don't think you even need to tell him you are changing anything, it is stew season anyway. Being a growing teenager, I wouldn't give him just broth, I would stuff that stew with everything at your disposal that is gluten free, potatoes, meat, vegetables, something really hearty. You can also use a fair amount of broth in chili, which is as about as filling as it gets. I serve that with cheese and sour cream on top, and baked potatoes on the side for my son and husband on a fairly regular basis.

49b8a11dfa3366663ccffa8dabab2d97

(0)

on October 18, 2012
at 06:15 PM

Just bought this book online. Thank you...

49b8a11dfa3366663ccffa8dabab2d97

(0)

on October 18, 2012
at 06:12 PM

Thank you for the prompt reply. He is 13 - and has been on a gluten free diet for 2 years. We never eat out with him and are very careful with cross contamination. He has his own pots/pans etc. For some unknown reason he is having a flare up for the past 3 weeks. The broth is a great idea I shall try that. I just hope it will keep him full. Teenage boys eat continuously..thank you again..

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on October 18, 2012
at 05:55 PM

No starches to heal the gut, that is a new one to me, please explain.

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5 Answers

2
8d3cb0be5f31c75a05f853cb3b5c245a

(1601)

on October 18, 2012
at 09:13 PM

hi Michele, has your son been seeing a doctor? how long ago was he diagnosed as celiac? I'm sorry about that. But Please do your own research and don't just blindly accept what people here tell you. That being said, "paleo" - or eating a lot of grass fed hamburgers plus potatoes, or steak and potatoes, liver, etc. might help him a lot. However, it is likely he is deficient in other vitamins and minerals as well.

There are some other threads on here, but please research these terms as well: GAPS diet (gut and psychology syndrome) chris kresser's view on iron supplementation (iron is tricky because it can cause a lot of inflammation and can also feed gut dysbiosis, or basically bad gut bacteria)

Please, instead of looking for a quick fix, keep in mind it took him a while to become sick enough to get tested and confirm his celiac status, and now it's going to take some time for him to feel better. I don't think you can go wrong with a whole foods diet - lettuce, beef, fish. But it's going to take time, and he might find he has other allergies to some of these new foods, so go slow and try to find something he likes instead of introducing a bunch of crazy new foods. he might be ok with rice but not cauliflower rice, or white potatoes but not sweet potatoes, etc. etc.

ALSO gaps can be helpful if he does have other food allergies. keep an eye out for them.

and might i suggest - maybe he needs to sleep more? that can certainly distort your appetite, and that is a huge tenet of "paleo" or whatever you want to call a diet.

1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

(10904)

on November 03, 2012
at 01:20 PM

+1 for GAPS or Specific Carbohydrate diet

1
61ea4896b1ef898345051dcfadd70073

(193)

on October 18, 2012
at 05:53 PM

I just read the book. It Starts With Food and it was eye opening to say the least.

http://whole9life.com/itstartswithfood/

49b8a11dfa3366663ccffa8dabab2d97

(0)

on October 18, 2012
at 06:15 PM

Just bought this book online. Thank you...

0
121a16aded2bed8dca492d3c9662ef4c

on November 03, 2012
at 09:02 AM

How much beef are you feeding him? Whatever you're feeding him, feed him more, it's one of the best sources of iron, and that iron is highly bioavailable (substantially more bioavailable than the iron in the supplement you give him). Liver is also good. If he dislikes the taste you can mix it into a stew, as others have suggested.

What kind of iron supplement is he getting? Iron sulfate, gluconate, glycine-sulfate, fumarate? When you say "28 mg", is that the elemental (ionic) iron, or the amount of the compound? (Explanation: Sometimes the supplement will list the amount of compounded iron, such as "325 mg ferrous gluconate", but the elemental iron will be 35 mg, for example.)

When do you give him the supplement? It should be

  1. on an empty stomach, and
  2. at least an hour before the next meal.

Mornings are best; I can see how that could be difficult with a school age child, but you have to be absolutely fastidious if this is going to work; lots of foods bind iron.

Do you give it to him with vitamin C and lots of water? That increases absorption also.

Here's a biggie: is he still drinking milk or eating dairy products? If he is, that would be the first thing I would fix. Milk is terrible if you have iron deficiency. It is both poor in iron (despite what the dairy industry would have you believe) and it binds iron from other sources in the gut so that it can't be absorbed. Are you doing breakfast cereals with milk? Dump them! Lose the cheese, too!

And don't be frightened off iron supplementation by some of the people here. Iron deficiency is the world's most common nutritional deficiency and at your son's age, it must be treated aggressively, because failing to fix it can have life-long consequences. He is not at risk of iron overload, and being chronically iron-deficient can reduce his life expectancy and overall quality of life.

He is 13 years old. His iron needs are huge. If he has absorption problems, that makes the situation even trickier. Make the changes I've suggested, and talk to his doctor about bumping the dose up. I've had an iron deficiency with intermittent anemia that didn't improve until my ferritin was over 220 µg/L; I have to stay on a maintenance dosage of 70 mg Fe/d (two "green" tablets), and that only really works if I take them both at the same time, on an empty stomach, in the mornings long before breakfast. But just to get to this point took more than 7 months and much larger daily dosages.

There is lots of room upwards, here. Talk to your doctor, and don't be afraid to be bold.

0
089dd41b18fbb95ebb5347cded708d98

(5635)

on October 18, 2012
at 05:50 PM

i've been doing paleo a little over two months, but my iron levels are still very low, too. i go in for iron infusions every week... which doesn't really help either. i had 5 this summer and am now going for 6 more.

i agree with Happy Now about healing the damage in his gut. he needs to do strict no starches for this to occur.

089dd41b18fbb95ebb5347cded708d98

(5635)

on November 03, 2012
at 02:53 PM

i disagree, stephen, but to each his own.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on October 18, 2012
at 05:55 PM

No starches to heal the gut, that is a new one to me, please explain.

089dd41b18fbb95ebb5347cded708d98

(5635)

on October 18, 2012
at 09:39 PM

this is from the SCD site: "The allowed carbohydrates are monosaccharides and have a single molecule structure that allow them to be easily absorbed by the intestine wall. Complex carbohydrates which are disaccharides (double molecules) and polysaccharides (chain molecules) are not allowed. Complex carbohydrates that are not easily digested feed harmful bacteria in our intestines causing them to overgrow producing by products and inflaming the intestine wall. The diet works by starving out these bacteria and restoring the balance of bacteria in our gut."

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on October 19, 2012
at 07:09 PM

Okey dokey, cool, I'll have to study up on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. It makes sense on the surface, I was thinking along the lines that starch feeds bacteria, but thinking about it feeding beneficial bacteria to even out the numbers game and give the gut a fighting edge against bad bacteria. If pathogenic bacteria are present in overwhelming numbers it would make a lot of sense to starve them out.

121a16aded2bed8dca492d3c9662ef4c

(1327)

on November 03, 2012
at 08:37 AM

This may be appropriate for an adult, but limiting starches in a 13 year-old is a sure path to stunted growth. We need to be careful with our advice, here.

0
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on October 18, 2012
at 05:47 PM

I had ridiculously low ferritin levels for a long time, still low, but less scary now, I didn't manage to move the number with normal iron tablets, but with Thorne Ferrasorb twice a day the number started to creep up.

Although if he has damage from celiac disease, no supplement is going to do a ton of good until he is able to heal the villi in his gut, and that is going to require absolute strict avoidance of things even containing minor amounts of gluten, and avoid eating in restaurants that could have cross contamination. And a lot of time, at least a few months, but likely closer to 6 months.

You don't say how old he is or how strict he is with a gluten free diet. Personally, I wouldn't overwhelm him by saying "you need to go paleo" if he doesn't seem receptive, but I would nudge him in the direction of something like a GAPS protocol in the name of healing the damage that was done. Start making him soups with bone broth, and mixing gelatin into everything to get that gut healed.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on October 18, 2012
at 07:23 PM

If he is doing all of his eating at home, I don't think you even need to tell him you are changing anything, it is stew season anyway. Being a growing teenager, I wouldn't give him just broth, I would stuff that stew with everything at your disposal that is gluten free, potatoes, meat, vegetables, something really hearty. You can also use a fair amount of broth in chili, which is as about as filling as it gets. I serve that with cheese and sour cream on top, and baked potatoes on the side for my son and husband on a fairly regular basis.

49b8a11dfa3366663ccffa8dabab2d97

(0)

on October 18, 2012
at 06:12 PM

Thank you for the prompt reply. He is 13 - and has been on a gluten free diet for 2 years. We never eat out with him and are very careful with cross contamination. He has his own pots/pans etc. For some unknown reason he is having a flare up for the past 3 weeks. The broth is a great idea I shall try that. I just hope it will keep him full. Teenage boys eat continuously..thank you again..

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