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Health Update

Health Update

Hey friends! I’m here with a quick health update.

Quick FYI: I’m currently 24 weeks pregnant.

Last time I talked about this back in July, I had found out that I was super low on CoQ10 (a substance that every cell in you body needs to function properly).  I had been suffering from chronic fatigue. Basically I could cook food and lay in bed all day, and that was it.

My doctor prescribed desiccated beef heart, which is one of the highest food sources of CoQ10 (thank you ever so much to Anna W. for recommending beef heart). Within a few days of adding that supplement, I started to get better! I have never experienced such a drastic change in health from taking a single supplement. It was amazing!

Fast forward 3 months. I went in to get more blood tests done so we could see how effective my supplements were. Here’s what I found out:

THE GOOD NEWS:

  • I more than doubled my CoQ10 levels! I’m still on the low end, so my doctor had me 1.5x my dose of the beef heart.
  • I increased my Vitamin D levels slightly. It’s still on the lower end, so I’m upping my dose of Vitamin D drops.
  • My Vitamin B levels are still really good! This made me happy since I stopped taking the methylated folate supplement.
  • My thyroid levels also got slightly better, but my doctor would like to see more improvement. So I’m doubling my dose of Thytrophin.
  • My DHA levels are still great.

THE NOT SO GOOD NEWS:

  • My omega 3 levels have dropped below optimal range (the baby is stealing all of my omegas!), so I’m going to double my cod liver oil dose.
  • I’m not getting enough protein, so I’ll be doubling my dose of collagen peptides.
  • My potassium is on the low end, so I’ll be trying to eat more avocados and potatoes.
  • The scariest thing that I found out: I’m anemic. My doctor said I’m not horribly anemic, so I guess that’s good. My Ferritin (an indicator of iron levels) dropped from 72 to 18. ? My doctor would like to see it at 80. Also, my overall blood levels are down, so I’m in the red zone for RBC (red blood cell count), Hemoglobin (a protein found in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body), and Hematocrit (the ratio of red blood cells to the total blood cell count).

Health Update

Supplement Update

  • As I mentioned above, I’m going to 1.5x my dose of beef heart, increase my Vitamin D drops, double my Thytrophin, cod liver oil, and collagen peptides dose, and try to eat more avocados and potatoes.
  • Since I’m now anemic, I’m going to try to eat more iron-rich foods. On my list so far are blackstrap molasses, beef liver, pumpkin seeds, beet powder, and dark chocolate. The iron from animal-based sources is more easily absorbed, so I’ll try to eat more red meat and shellfish as well.
  • If you watch my Instagram Stories, you know that I was dealing with some cramping and contractions the other day (thank you to all who prayed for me!). My doctor suggested that I start taking pregnancy tea, so I’ve been trying to drink a cup every day. My midwife suggested that I take more calcium and magnesium for cramping.

So that’s my health update for fall of 2018!

Have any of you ever suffered from anemia? I’d really like to cure it before the baby comes. Any advice would be much appreciated – please leave a comment with your suggestions!

xoxo
Erica

Cait

Friday 9th of November 2018

Oh, and I recommend nettle as well - get some in bulk and brew it with raspberry leaf or other tea you like, since it tastes like grass on its own (ginger is great to add postpartum). Nettle is very high in iron! All of my midwives have recommended it - totally pregnancy safe.

Erica Kastner

Friday 9th of November 2018

I thought I remembered some herb being high in iron, but I couldn't remember which. Haha! Thank you so much for the recommendation!

Cait

Friday 9th of November 2018

It's amazing that you're seeing such results from especially that first supplement! I've always kind of wanted to see a drastic result. I should be thankful not to have had major issues, but there are still things I struggle with that I feel like typical remedies haven't followed through for me. I had a crazy low ferritin number in my first pregnancy. It's funny, none of my subsequent midwives have tested for it (except when I asked, and then it was always fine). That first midwife had me take Floradix and I was ok. She also totally overhauled my diet and we say she changed our lives. So my following pregnancies were probably better dietwise even when struggling. Your doctor sounds fantastic! I wish I could see someone like that. There are some amazing NDs here but it would cost hundreds of course.

Erica Kastner

Friday 9th of November 2018

Yes, it felt good to see some positive changes!

That first midwife sounds amazing! Very proactive. :) I'll have to ask my midwife if she thinks Floradix would be a good idea for me as well.

My doctor is a naturopathic doctor. It does cost a good amount (though not horrendous) every time I see her, but it's so worth it. It's been life changing for me!

Mai

Friday 9th of November 2018

Hi Erica, please excuse me, if my language is somehow awkward- I‘m not a native speaker? I have 3 children and so here‘s what you get told in Germany about anaemia/ iron supplements: Every second woman has low iron levels (pregnant or not), most of them still feel healthy. The peak of your baby‘s need for iron is between weeks 8 and 22 so if you‘re low on iron now that means your baby took all it needed and is healthy. If you take your dose of iron (supplements or food), be sure to add Vitamine C (a bit of orange juice for example), it helps your body absorbing the iron. And be very sure to leave a gap of about 2 hours between your dose of iron and your dose of magnesium and dairy as well. Both dairy and magnesium prevent your body from absorbing the iron properly. Hope this helps a bit- have a safe, happy, healthy last third of pregnancy?

Mai

Erica Kastner

Friday 9th of November 2018

Hey Mai,

I think your English is stellar, especially for not being a native speaker! I wish I was articulate in another language. :)

Thank you for the recommendations! I had heard about calcium blocking iron absorption, but not magnesium! And it's nice to have a concrete time for how long I need to wait between consuming calcium/magnesium and taking my iron-rich foods. All of the info is much appreciated! ❤

xoxo Erica

dianewenric

Thursday 8th of November 2018

Hi Erica,

I'm sorry to learn that you are having some issues with your health. When I was expecting my youngest, I had premature contractions and had to take magnesium tablets 3x a day to stop them. As for anemia, I have had low iron most of my life and have to take care to eat dark leafy greens and beef. It's a hereditary problem in some families, and it certainly is in mine.

If you can tolerate organ meats, chicken livers are an inexpensive and tasty way to get both your iron and a protein boost. You can make a pate with them to eat with crackers or on toast. Or, you can dredge them in seasoned flour and fry them up nice and crispy to serve with whipped potatoes and cream gravy. Here's their nutritional breakdown: There are 99 calories in 3 ounces of Chicken Liver. Calorie breakdown: 38% fat, 0% carbs, 62% protein. Best of all, they are incredibly inexpensive. A quart or so is less than $2.00.

Here's hoping you feel better soon!

Diane

Erica Kastner

Friday 9th of November 2018

Hi Diane,

Thank you for the recommendations! I do eat beef and dark leafy greens, but I should try to increase my "dose." :)

Maybe I'm not cooking it correctly, but I just can't enjoy liver. I should give pate another go - I know many people really enjoy it! Maybe if I could convince someone else to make if for me so I didn't have to smell it while it cooked. Ha!

Amy

Thursday 8th of November 2018

When my nieces iron was low, the Doctor told my sister to cook everything in an iron skillet. Cooking in an iron skillet also adds iron to your foods (as well as taking supplements and eat more red meat. Just thought I would pass that along. :-)

Erica Kastner

Friday 9th of November 2018

Thank you for the tip, Amy! I love cast iron, but I should make a point of cooking in it as much as possible! :)

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