Iron deficiency anemia is a serious and common public health problem for people eating all different kinds of diets. While vegans don’t seem to develop anemia any more often than people who eat meat, we do have higher iron needs. It’s hard to know just how much higher those needs are for individual vegans, though, since requirements depend on a number of other factors—including how much iron you have stored in your body and what the rest of your diet looks like.
You probably already are eating a diet rich in this mineral, but the key is to make sure you absorb as much of it as possible. My newest vegan nutrition primer on iron provides guidelines for meeting iron needs and improving its absorption from plant foods.
Do you recommend using the lucky iron fish? Also, should young female vegans avoid giving blood? Thank you for all your great work!
My family has been using a Lucky Iron Fish for almost a year (http://(www.luckyironfish.com/).
What is your opinion about such a tool?
Thank you very much for this post! After reading it I realized that adding coriander almost with every meal is not a good idea.
And do you think that the benefits of calcium supplements outweigh the risks to the cardiovascular and other deseases?
Alex, low-dose calcium supplements aren’t related to disease risk. If you need to take a small supplement to meet needs, then I think this is fine. I would limit it to 300 mg per day.
Chantal and Werner, I’m not too familiar with the Lucky Fish, although I know it’s been used very successfully to treat anemia in Asia. I think of it basically as a supplement. The first approach should always be to get nutrients from food, but if you can’t meet needs, then low-dlose supplementation is fine. I would just caution you to use it only once a day so that you aren’t getting more iron than you need.
This is madness! I just needed this information
You are wizard!
If “iron deficiency” in vegans is not associated with a higher prevalence of anemia (or other pathophysiological consequences of iron deficiency) is it really a deficiency?
Thank you Ginny, as usual valuable information.
I have to say I had never heard of a lucky iron fish before, just googled it and it sounds very interesting, especially since iron-deficiency anemia is so common around the world.
Always learning something new!
PS Ginny, I recommended your site on the DIFM DPG for someone that was looking for a vegan resource.
So scared! Just diagnosed on borderline of osteoporosis. Have been low fat vegan for 7 years. Am afraid of calcium supplements due to family history of heart issues. You said however a low calcium supplement would be safe. Do you have a recommendation for one? Thank you..after reading your information I realize I have been deficient in protein and calcium for years!!!