Saturday, October 27, 2012

Iron tips

A old friend of mine was a naturopath, and one of her hobbies was educating women on the right iron supplement and taking it at the right time during the day. 

Here are her tips where I'd like to share:


  • Avoid anything that is a sulphated form of iron (e.g Ferrous gradumet, FeFol etc). - These are very poorly assimilated and poorly absorbed in the gut. It 'dumps' a huge dose of this type of iron and the gut suffers all this grief (nausea/constipation) for not much iron intake in the end. Most of these iron supplements are cheap and nasty in my humble opinion.
  • My favourites are Metagenics 'Haemagenics Intensive Care' (a patented form of amino acid chelated iron that doesn't dissociate in the gut and is a lot more stable than others) but it’s is a 'practitioner dispensing only' product so may have to see a naturopath to get it or the retail version is Ethical Nutrients 'Iron Plus' (identical product made by same company). For a Hb that low I'd suggest 1 tab 3 x day separately and ideally in-between meals. Best to check the ferritin levels too. (This friend is based in Melbourne, Australia so these may not be available but just look out for the general iron level specifications).
  • Liquid irons work better for some women - I find the liquid irons work better with some women than others; Floradix 'Floravital' is good - take 20mls 3xday for Hb that low too. It does get expensive though and bottles are either 250ml or 500ml. Sometimes I suggest a course of liquid iron, then tablet iron, etc.
  • Beware of taking iron with other minerals (such as calcium) - It's also important to take iron away from other mineral rich meals eg. calcium (dairy or fortified non-dairys usually a biggie as breakfast), as the two minerals will naturally compete for absorption and you won’t be making the most out of your supplements. If you are having an iron-rich meal then you can take your iron with it too boost the meal up.
  • Don’t take iron with tea/ coffee – Don’t take iron foods or supplements with tannin-rich drinks (tea, coffee, some herbal teas).
  • Red meat is a good source of iron - Red meat is a very good source of haeme-iron (the redder the meat, the more iron in it) and eating this alongside vitamin C rich foods is even better - steak with mixed salads etc.This is generally pork, beef, lamb, etc. 
  • Non-haeme (non-meat) sources - The non-haeme iron sources are the 'vegetarian' types of iron; green leafies : herbs, chorella, spirulina, legumes, pulses, beans etc. These are good 'sources' but the absorption is affected by other naturally occuring compounds in the foods e.g. phytates and oxalates etc, these will often bind to the iron and form insoluable salts/compounds which are not absorbed via gut wall and end up in bowel for passing.
  • Overall suggestion - I suggest a balance of everything both non-haeme; haeme iron sources, a liquid and or a quality iron supplement.

Prayer as a form of meditation

Have you ever thought about the way people pray? It's been something I have always thought every time I see someone pray. The way they find a nice quiet spot and then put themselves into a position and give themselves a moment of silence to speak to their God.

I believe prayer is a similar action to meditation. Where you are in deep silence, you keep still, you concentrate. I see it almost as an opportunity for you to find oneself. To make peace with yourself and the world around you.

In movies they always talk about making peace with yourself, so to me, it seems that prayer and meditation is one way for people to do that. It's something that most (if not all) religions have in common. So regardless of whatever religion you believe in, it's a time to take a step back from the world and to reflect in silence.

So take the moment to pray (or meditate) in silence. For it is the common action that helps make peace with yourself and the world around you...


Teaching the reasons, aids learning

When you explain the reasons behind why something is done a particular way, it aids in the learning for the individual you are teaching. 

This is as it gives them more context and information to help them to understand what and why they are doing in that way. 

I have found it the case in one of my past jobs where I worked as a swim teacher. In the beginning, I would teach by example and demonstrating the exact movement, positioning and style of each swimming technique. At times, there were some children who were able to pick it up from just that, that is, from seeing and then doing - but not everyone learns like that.

What I found even more useful to them (for those children who had were able to understand me then - directly or through analogies and examples) was that when I taught them the technique and then the reasoning behind it they were able to have the insight they needed to do it. As this helps them to think about the technique more and to tailor to their own needs as they understand what a particular stroke may be aiming to achieve. They may even do it better and show me a better way of doing it.

Looking back over my earlier years, I have found that knowing the reasoning behind things has personally aided in my learning. So the next time you are teaching or showing someone something, don't just show or tell them how it's done, tell them why as well. That way they may learn it that little bit more better - or even teach you a thing or two!