Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Iron-Less Maiden

One morning I was reaching for the tub of oat bran when my left hand began to tingle. 

I am a special form of hypochondriac. While the standard species frantically seeks out medical exasperation, I opt for a simpler method. I reasonably conclude that death is nigh, fret in silence, and hold off on shoe purchases.

When the tingling spread to my right hand, then right foot, followed by left foot, I was committed to the worst. My nights were restless as I made my peace with this world, the prickling migrating from limb to limb. 

Eventually, I could stand the suspense no longer, and googled with shaking fingers. Apparently there are a myriad of conditions, not necessarily fatal, that can cause such odd sensations. I initially settled on Carpal-Tunnel, but that wouldn't explain the thrumming in my feet. 

With just a tad more scouring, I found a more likely suspect: Iron deficiency. 

I am prone to touches of anemia (I have been turned away more times by blood drives than participated in), ergo severe iron depletion was all too possible. I have supplements for it, but I pop the pills sporadically, fearing potential metallic overdose. 

But what I couldn't understand is that after years of iron-less blood, what kicked the deficit into hypodrive?

The internet enlightened me. 

(1) Iron should be taken on an empty stomach

I usually take any supplements following breakfast, as most bottles recommend. Oops. 

(2) Iron should not be taken in proximity to dairy (two hours!) 

Well, most of my breakfasts involve a bisselah of milk. Second oops. 

(3) Certain drinks like tea and coffee can inhibit plant-based iron absorption by 60%. 

Now there's the real culprit. As of a few months ago, I've been drinking green tea nearly every day. Third oops. 

I eagerly flung myself at the supplement cabinet. I usually cut my iron pills in half so the body can absorb it at a decorous pace, which is about 70% of the daily value. 

I went to bed with my heart in my mouth, fearful if my self-diagnosis was incorrect. But already the tingling was mellower. After another half-pill in the morning, the sensation had subsided considerably in my hands, limited to an occasional idle jab, although my right foot still zinged. With the evening dose, however, it had disappeared.

Weepingly grateful, I happily finalized the purchase of sneakers I had bookmarked.  


Daniel Saunders said...

Glad you're OK! I had iron deficiency when I was a young child. I was getting headaches and had to have a blood test to check it out (for years I proudly kept the certificate telling me that I was brave at the doctor's). I think in the end I was told to eat more spinach and other iron-rich foods.

Altie said...

:) glad to hear you're not dying. I love how you end off, I see more shopping in your future!

Anonymous said...


Have been enjoying your blog for a couple years! Very glad you're feeling better, but as convenient as the internet can be, I would encourage you to see a physician if symptoms like that persist for longer than a week or two. Be well, and keep up the good work!


Princess Lea said...

Altie: Had a lovely shopping outing yesterday . . .

Rebecca: I know the internet will probably kill me, but I'm terrified of doctors. I mean TERRIFIED. Like "Curl up into a ball whimpering with a teddy" frightened. I know I should . . . one of these years.

I'm tingle-free now, thank the G.

Thank you for following!