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Consistently eating a whole30/paleo diet may slowly improve your iron. Gut inflammation from grains and dairy lead to poor absorption, so once your gut begins to heal from eating this anti-inflammatory diet, your body's ability to absorb the iron you consume will hopefully improve. I used to also have very low iron and B12 levels. I got B12 injections every 3-6 months and required iron transfusions regularly (oral supplements didn't help). I haven't needed them in a long time and have the best iron and B12 levels I've ever had. I have heavy periods too---had endometriosis since forever and have had surgery for it and been on loads of different hormone therapies. Continue to have very heavy periods, but the change in eating has helped me to maintain a good iron level.

Maybe read up about introducing some probiotics to help with the gut healing as well. In the meantime, eat plenty of iron rich foods and maybe try cooking in cast iron pans.

Also, have you had your thyroid checked?

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Thanks so much for your help Lisa - everything you've mentioned resonates for me:

I'm guessing years of undiagnosed food allergies (cows dairy, beans, wheat) resulting in gut inflammation have contributed to the problem originally. And it hasn't quite resolved itself yet - the first week of my W30 I still felt really bloated, so I think I'll have to look into adding a pro-biotic to my supplements.

I had thyroid hormone testing on the recommendation of my naturopath about 4.5 years ago - but my tests came back subclinical and my GP nixed the idea, diagnosing me with depression and putting me on medication instead. I'd like to go back to him and suggest B12 and iron injections to get me on top of it but I'm worried he'll insist I go back on the medication I've stopped taking...

I'm STUNNED by how much of an improvement I see in my mood (which, to be fair, has been consistent with depression symptoms at times) when I make a concerted effort to eat healthy food. If I could just get on top of the iron I think I'd be feeling a million bucks!

Thanks for your thoughts!

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When I was younger, my iron levels were always really low. In fact they gave me a transfusion when I was pregnant just to get the iron levels up. I was finally tested for pernicious aneamia (lack of intrinsic factor so I can't absorb B12) I was put on B12 injections and this, I can't explain why, seemed to really help my iron levels as well so it might be worth getting it checked.

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