First, are you certain you have anemia? It would be very hard to be a hardcore fitness and weight trainer if you were truly anemic enough to need iron supplementation -- you would be fatigued. I suppose an individual could do this, but when you're anemic, your blood is weak and when that happens energy goes way down. Have you been tested repeatedly, or just once? So, let's assume you're just incredibly strong and can function this way without strong blood cells, that you don't have bags under your eyes, and you're not tired all the time, but you're still after repeated testing -- not just once, which might have been an aberration -- low enough in iron to be considered to be anemic. When doctors prescribe iron, it's not usually in a form that is well-absorbed. High levels aren't usually needed, what's needed is absorption. Plant based iron is much better absorbed generally in supplement form than the ones your docs prescribe, which are very poorly absorbed. The best two ways to get iron levels up is to eat a variety of foods high in it, which would include beets, leafy greens such as parsley, nettles, dandelion greens, and watercress as examples. There's also the older way, which is to eat organ meats. There is a supplement called Floradix that is plant based -- but it has very low levels of iron in it. It is, however, usually considered the best absorbed supplement. Another way to battle anemia is to focus on hemoglobin. Chlorophyll has almost the same structure as hemoglobin, and the body can take it up and use it to strengthen blood cells. Foods like spirulina and wheat grass are very high in chlorophyll, so that can help as well. Now, the coffee and tea thing I don't know anything about and don't have time to research it -- but it would seem the two would not have the same effects. Coffee is a very limited food with few nutrients. The only reason to consume it is because you're addicted to caffeine and would go into withdrawal for awhile without it, which would include feeling tired. Tea, on the other hand, is a very complex plant with tons of antioxidants, relaxants, and other nutrients along with the caffeine, so I'm wondering if they truly have the same effect in any way on anything. And, of course, if you must have your coffee, you can consume it at a different time than you take your iron. Iron, as with minerals generally, is best taken with a meal. Minerals are hard and need an acidic stomach to break them down, so that's the reason for that. You can drink coffee anytime you want and still get a caffeine high. But keep in mind that coffee is a very popular drink while anemia is quite rare, so if it was that inhibiting of iron absorption one would expect all those several cups of coffee a day folks would all be anemic to some degree, and I don't think that's true. That doesn't do you a lot of good because you might just have a problem absorbing iron that others don't have, but it's probably not the coffee having a large impact. If it did, again, there would be a lot more anemia going around then there is. And consider tea -- it's even more widely consumed than coffee, but I don't remember reading that Asians who drink it all the time are not absorbing their iron. Something more is going on. My main advice, though, is if you're taking a supplement and not showing results, it might be the supplement you're using, not all supplements. Don't know, just an idea for you to consider. And if all else fails, if quitting coffee is necessary to stay alive, then it seems the choice is an easy one. I'm just not sure it's the issue here. And note that taking too much iron increases the risk of heart problems and digestive problems, especially for men, so take care. Hope you work this out.
Thanks for detailed response. Yes, I have been tested repeatedly throughout my life. My father and mother are also anemic-- cause never found. That's what they are saying about me too-- idiopathic; "that's just how I am".
It's true I've not necessarily felt any of the symptoms of anemia, but how can I really know since I've been this way my entire life. I feel like I constantly have bags under my eyes and pale skin.
RBC: 3.99 (ref. range = 4.2-5.4)
Hemoglobin: 118 (ref range = 135-170)
Hematocrit: 0.35 (ref range = 0.4-0.5)
Ferritin: 85 (ref range = 24-444)
That ferritin level is after 4 months of me taking approximately 450 mg of iron a day.
@ MedicalHelpUser. I really like the logic of your question. lol. You are using math to solve and outsmart an iron absorption problem! What I've read about coffee and iron absorption is that it prevents it BUT if you take the iron pill an hour before you drink your coffee or an hour plus adding any time you can after you drink coffee, that effect is likely negated. I like coffee too but I could reasonably do that at some point during the day.
Question-- do you work with a doctor? Are you self treating your anemia/low iron or is this under doctor supervision? They may change your dose, allow two pills depending on the strength of the iron, etc. if you still are low on iron even with one pill supplementation. Remember, drink a glass of orange juice with your supplement for better absorption. And what about the other things that help with iron? Are you a meat eater, eat dark leafy greens and vegetables, beans, quinoa, dried fruits, etc? (there is a healthy cooking forum here and that would be a great topic! I'll add a post to share iron rich food ideas). And here is something else to do if you can . . . drink a glass of prune juice a day if you can stomach it. Helps digestion too! I personally have a hard time with prune juice as . . . well, ick. (to me).
But the big thing is to wait that hour before or after coffee and maybe that would help. And it can take several months to right low iron/anemia. If you are drinking coffee for more energy due to caffeine, by the way, that may compound the fatigue. Did for me when I drank more than I do now. Caffeine is a vicious up and down cycle when you depend on it for energy. That's off topic but am throwing it in.
Here is a really easy read on iron supplements https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/features/iron-supplements#1