18yr Pescatarian Trouble Digesting Meat - Low Iron

Answered on August 24, 2014
Created June 20, 2014 at 12:39 AM

A female client of mine has been a pescatarian for 18 years. She now has low iron if she doesn't get regular injections. She would like to be able to get her iron from meat but whenever she has any chicken, beef, turkey, she gets diarrhoea 30 min later. She eats, and has no problem with seafood. She's on Life brand digestive enzymes (1 pill with every meal that has meat). It's not doing the trick though.

Her doctor has also given her an iron pill which results in her vomiting almost immediately. She has no issues with other pills.

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6 Answers

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on August 24, 2014
at 05:31 PM

I wonder if she could handle eating liver? You get a lot more iron in a very small amount of meat, so it might be easier for her to handle. It's also more bioavailable than a pill.

A lot of the time, I'll grind liver up and put it in a vegetable-based stew. It's much more paletable.


on August 23, 2014
at 03:28 AM

When I had to take iron. It would make me sick. So what I did was take it after dinner and right before bed. Did the trick for me. I still take vitamins at bed time. I don't feel any of the sickness they may give me. She also needs vitamin C at the same time as her Iron. Lastly has she thought of the liquid form? Which is easier and better for the body.



on June 22, 2014
at 11:41 PM

30 minutes is a bit too fast to be due to inability to digest. Perhaps it's psychosomatic. I know all too well how real psychosomatic effects are. I've got a psychosomatic trigger food, and like your client, within 30 minutes, I experience much of the same effect.

As for iron pill, she's taking it with a meal, right?

Alternatives? Pescatarian? Oysters. Done deal.


on June 22, 2014
at 11:36 PM

Here's what popped into my mind:

Quantity/Type: Is her reaction quantity-sensitive? Does one bite of meat do it or does she have to eat a full portion? Does she react evenly as violently to chicken as opposed to pork or beef? You may be able to have her eat one bite of meat a day and work up from there. Maybe even start with less than a bite.

Stomach Acid: Has your client tried taking a stomach acid supplement when she eats meat? Betaine HCl has helped me quite a bit.

Gut Microbiota: Consider getting her on a quality probiotic like Prescript Assist or Megaspore along with resistant starch. A gut-healing regimen similar to the Autoimmune Protocol in combination with the probiotics and resistant starch just might be the reset button she needs to press. I'm currently entering the home stretch with this type of regimen and it has eliminated numerous digestive issues concerning both the upper and lower GI, among other health issues.

Best of luck!



on June 20, 2014
at 06:58 AM

"Her doctor has also given her an iron pill which results in her vomiting almost immediately"...most likely a crap form of iron. when i looked at iron supps a while back, Ferrochel (ferrous bisglycinate chelate) looked like a good option. supposedly easier on the stomach & absorbed well etc. they link to studies on their web site (which i guess they may or may not have ties to, idk).

to find out dose/product options, do a iherb search for ferrochel. i would go for caps rather than tablets. & iron is best taken on an empty stomach (apparently). & do not take any zinc supps at the same time.



on June 20, 2014
at 06:31 AM

Not sure how to answer this one since you actually need to ask a knowledgeable doctor or dietitian in my opinion, but (just guessing here) how is her stomach acid? Usually people who have low stomach acid have problems digesting meat. Can she undergo a special test (it is given after digesting meat)?

By the way, digestive enzymes did not do anything for me either.

Two more guesses:

1. Has she tried eating meat that has been previously marinated in natural / live apple cider vinegar or lemon juice or dry wine? Is it easier for her to digest or not?

2. Does she take sauerkraut (1 or 2 teaspoons) with every meal?

If she has low stomach acid after digesting meat, that's a different story. Also, if she needs to eat meat, can she start with beef liver? That would be my choice since it is full of nutrients.

One more thing to try (although she might not like the idea) - has she tried eating raw meat? Sound disgusting to some, but it is very delicious (if you find good quality fresh meat) and if she tries it, she might change her mind. I found consuming raw meat is better for me in terms of digestion.

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