Apparently I need to stop eating bolts for breakfast and canned spinach (cans included) for lunch: My iron levels are high.
I got this surprising news because I had a bunch of blood tests done in order to get a lower health insurance rate. Though I don’t really like being stabbed with a needle, and I did NOT like fasting for 12 hours and driving 75 minutes yesterday morning without coffee, I was really interested in seeing the results — especially if my increased potassium intake would have any bearing on the test.
But the potassium result, while proving my theory correct, was actually not the most interesting one. As I scrolled down the list of results today, only one had a big red stop sign symbol in the “alert” column: My iron levels are definitely too high. I hadn’t noticed anything too out of the ordinary in my body, but symptoms of high iron include fatigue, weakness and joint pain. Joint pain! That’s the last thing a runner needs! Especially a runner who has had knee, ankle and foot issues. Shortness of breath is another possible symptom, and I was certainly out of breath on a run this weekend (though the elevation gain may have been a factor). Oh yeah, and it can eventually cause heart failure.
So I racked my brain and did some Googling and tweeting (Twitter people are so helpful!) in an attempt to figure out what had caused this iron issue. I don’t eat much red meat, spinach, fruit juice or other foods that have a lot of iron. I don’t cook on cast iron pans. I don’t actually eat tin cans for lunch. I considered the glucosamine/chondroitin/msm that I take to make my knee happy, but I ruled that out after a couple responses on Twitter.
And I considered the multi-vitamin I take, because I know I don’t get enough nutrients in my diet. I’d figured a name brand like Women’s One-A-Day would be a sure-fire way to get what I needed. Well, I’ve been taking 18mg of iron — or 100 percent of my daily needs — every day for years. I have half a bottle of the vitamins left, but I’m throwing them out immediately. The test results show that I probably do need the multi-vitamin in some areas, but if something could be affecting my joints, there is no way I’m going to keep taking it.
If anyone has other thoughts on this, I’d love to hear them. Meanwhile, I’ll make a concerted effort to do a couple blog post updates about the status of my running injury recovery, my upcoming move, and a couple “race” reports. I make no promises, though, because the next few weeks are going to be quite busy.