At 20 weeks pregnant with my 9th baby, I knew that something was wrong when just sweeping my kitchen floor left me breathless and tired. I also started to notice heart palpitations, chronic fatigue, insane cravings for ice and a nagging feeling of apathy.
Since I usually start feeling better during the second trimester, a talk with my midwife was in order. She told me that most women start out with a sufficient store of iron going into pregnancy, but that number can drop when blood volume begins to increase.
Of course, iron-deficiency anemia can affect both men and women at any time in life. However, the pills typically prescribed can upset your stomach, cause constipation, and be harder to absorb. Are there easier and more natural ways to bring your iron levels up and start feeling better?
Here’s what’s worked for me to get iron levels back up, and to start feeling better again.
Unsulfured “Blackstrap” Molasses
This is an inexpensive, time-tested and easy to take remedy for boosting iron naturally. Make sure you get this particular variety, though. Plantation is my go-to brand. Blackstrap is not very sweet, but it is packed with vitamins and boasts the highest amount of iron per dose to reverse low iron levels. It also contains beneficial nutrients calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6 and selenium.
I take 1 tablespoon each morning and chase with water. Some people like to mix it with decaffeinated coffee or tea. The flavor is very rich, with caramel tones, and will appeal to some but not others.
This herbal remedy gets my iron levels up faster than anything I’ve tried yet, although it’s not as cheap as other remedies. Floradix is a natural source of organic iron in liquid form. You take 10 ml twice a day, which equates to two tiny little medicine cups and delivers 15 mg of iron. Made in Bavaria, Floradix stands apart from other iron supplements. It includes herbs, fruit juices and Vitamins C and B to help combat fatigue as you build up iron.
After just one week on Floradix my blood levels were up from 7 to 10. It has a strong iron taste, but mixing with grape juice helps a lot.
If the idea of eating molasses or drinking Floradix doesn’t appeal to you, I have another remedy! This one is in capsule form (but you can buy it as a liquid, if you like, and mix with a drink). Chlorophyll (sodium copper chlorophyllin) is extracted from alfalfa through natural processes and can help to fortify the blood.
Since alfalfa tea isn’t something most people feel like drinking on a daily basis, NOW Foods’ Chlorophyll superfood tablets are a great way to consume this iron-boosting nutrient.
This is a time-tested, nourishing tonic, very popular for expectant mothers, because it helps with kidney function, reduces varicose veins and can prevent hemorrhage. Vitamins A, C, D, and K, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron and sulphur are particularly abundant in the leaf of the stinging nettle plant. The infusion is a dark green color approaching black. The taste is deep and rich.
I like the Good Nature brand best, because it’s in a convenient tea bag format, and you don’t have to fool with a strainer. You get 20 tea bags for just $5.00.
If you are suffering from anemia, or symptoms of low blood iron, I encourage you to talk with your health care provider and get to feeling better soon!
This post was originally published at Tots Family, but has been revised and updated.