Hello! I recently tried to give blood and was turned away due to low hemoglobin. I’ve been enjoying a 100% Plenny Shake 3.0 diet for a while now, but it seems that in doing so I’ve developed an iron deficiency. I’m a bit stubborn, so is there anything I can do to maintain my Plenny-only status while increasing absorption?
I have a couple explanations for the low readings:
My shakes have just been around too long - they expire next month which means they’ve been around for 11 and a lot of the iron has oxidized
The anti-nutrients in the oats are working their magic. Phytates block iron absorption, so even if on the bag it says 100% of my needs are met I’m not getting it.
Any other ideas or suggestions?
Did they tell you that your hemoglobin levels didn’t meet the required values to donate or did you receive the hemoglobin values? It is possible that your levels are not as required to donate but still in the healthy range even if they are low. If you were diagnosed with anemia, visit a doctor immediately.
Please, know that we perform periodical analysis of our meals to ensure that the nutritional content remains constant throughout the course of the shelf life and that all micronutrients are still active and bioavailable at 12 months. There is a slight decline in the amount of some vitamins just after the end of the Plenny Shake’s shelf life.
It is true that certain phytonutrients can influence how well some micronutrients are absorbed. In the case of oats, the phytic acid would stay if you consume e.g. overnight oats but if the oats are heated and milled —which is the case of our oats— most phytic acid is removed (same case for the soy).
We have had some customers sharing with us their blood test results showing healthy values for the biomarkers and nothing to be worried about. However, we understand that every person is different and there might be a particular reason for you to have low hemoglobin levels.
There is some evidence showing that some polyphenols might affect iron absorption, such as the ones in tea, coffee, and wine. If you consume these, it is better to consume them 2 hours before or after your Plenny Shake or iron-rich food.
Yet, if you were informed that your levels were under healthy limits, consult your GP.
I greatly appreciate your quick response!
Why are you on a 100% Plenny Shake diet? Isn’t that a bit extreme? I understand the convenience of it and I personally love the product and have it every day for breakfast or a quick snack, but not eating normal food sounds a bit crazy to me
To test the efficacy of it. If I can’t depend on a food to provide me the nutrients it’s supposed to then why would I eat it? My country doesn’t conduct research that’s honest as much as it should, so I’m picking up the slack.
I agree that it’s extreme, but that’s why I’m having blood tests. Maybe the title is a bit too dramatic, but the low hemoglobin caught me off guard because I didn’t get the results from my regular tests; I was turned away from a blood drive and it scared me a little.
All is well though. I was only a little lower than you’re supposed to be.
Please, can I ask you for your blood test results, if you don’t mind sharing them with us? It can also be via email if you prefer
Sure! It’ll have to be a couple weeks from now; I decided to eat a lot of spinach-tuna sandwiches so I could donate
Does calcium block the absorption of iron?
It can, and that’s a good point. Thanks for bringing it up!
Thanks, no problem. Maybe it could explain the low hemoglobin?
I have forwarded this to Laura for review. She is with leave at the moment but will get back to you on this when she’s back.
Thank you. It is not urgent and can wait, no problem
After eating enough iron-rich foods to get my hemoglobin up to donate I went back to 100% plenny for ~3 weeks. When my blood iron was tested after this time the hemoglobin was at 11.7, which is 3.3 points below “normal” blood iron content according to my doctor (14-18). I’ve noticed that my hands are pruning up as though I’ve been in the shower for a long time, even with no contact with water. The calcium competing with iron for absorption is possibly a culprit, but what’s concerning is my dietician didn’t test for magnesium or zinc which also compete with calcium. I’m not sure if you can test for that kind of thing to begin with honestly.
Probably going to eat regular food for a while. I wish having regular blood tests was more comprehensive and accesssible.
According to short-term studies, calcium supplements can reduce the absorption of iron depending on the amount, timing, and presence of hem or non-hem iron in the diet. This has raised concerns about the effects of calcium supplements on iron absorption. HOWEVER, more evidence indicates that continuous calcium supplementation administered with or after meals has little influence on the status of iron.
Each individual is unique, and bodies change with age. To improve your hemoglobin levels, remain in contact with your physician or dietitian and follow their advice. The different causes of a low hemoglobin count will be properly assessed based on your symptoms and blood tests.
Your dietician won’t test for more biomarkers unless they believe it is vital for your health, but if you are interested in finding out more about those minerals, there are home blood test kits and more in-depth blood tests available on the market. It depends on where you are, though, as not all countries have these kits.
Thanks for your response Laura. I wasn’t able to reply myself due to changing shifts, but I would like to know which studies support the longer term pattern between calcium and iron. I was eating only Plenny Shakes for two weeks or so, and would expect this period of time to be considered more long-term than short term but I don’t know for sure.
No worries! You can check the following studies:
Even though data suggests that taking calcium in normal doses has no influence on iron status in the long term, talk to your doctor about the best supplements or diet to take to boost your hemoglobin levels.