Staying Healthy

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It is important to maintain your health while you are receiving therapeutic phlebotomies. You should be careful about the types of vitamins and supplements that you take. Generally, you should make sure you are not taking any vitamins or supplements that contain iron. Taking iron supplements or multivitamins with added iron can be very dangerous for people with hemochromatosis. In addition, some experts suggest avoiding ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). Large doses of Vitamin C can increase iron absorption. Ask your medical care provider before you start taking any vitamins or supplements. He or she may recommend taking anti oxidants such as Vitamin E and Lipoic Acid. You may also want to visit facilities that sell natural supplements. Remember, be extremely careful to avoid supplements that contain iron.

A regular balanced diet is important to maintain your health. You don’t have to eliminate all iron containing foods from your diet, but people with hemochromatosis should avoid large quantities of iron rich foods, such as red meats, and iron fortified food products.  Especially avoid eating liver as it contains high levels of iron.  Many foods have been fortified with iron.  Read nutritional labels on foods before you consume them.  Cereals, breads, and other products made with flour are often times fortified with iron. Some breakfast cereals have 100% of you recommended daily allowance of iron! Avoid heavily fortified foods and chose those with less iron.

Hemochromatosis is one of several disorders that increases the risk of certain bacterial blood infections caused by bacteria found in raw fish and  shellfish.  Avoid eating raw fish and shellfish and be sure to follow safe food handling rules.

Most importantly, if you have hemochromatosis you need to follow your doctor’s orders.  Make sure you are getting your therapeutic phlebotomies as directed by your doctor.  Controlling hemochromatosis through diet alone is not advisable.


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