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Poor absorption of iron irrespective of intake can lead to anaemia, says best female nutritionist.


Name: Sanjana B
Age: 23
BMI: Overweight
Case History: Sanjana had been struggling with a few health issues when she approached us. As she joined the corporate world, she had a hectic work schedule and dealing with her health conditions was contributing to more stress. She complained about poor energy levels, and the need to rest constantly after meals to work again.

For the last 14 years, she had a heavy period cycle, lasting for at least 7-10 days accompanied by severe abdominal pain and cramps. Furthermore, she had to take medications to stop her periods. This was majorly because her iron absorption levels never improved even though she was on iron supplements for many years.
Analysis by top clinical dietitian in India: We analysed her food diary and identified that she was consuming food that were largely comprising of quick digesting carbs like South Indian tiffin such as idlis & dosa for breakfast and dinner, for lunch, it would typically be white rice, dhal, curry & curd. In her mind, these were light food and were healthy. Since the food group was limited largely to carbs, her body was not getting the vital vitamins and minerals that were needed to maintain a healthy microbiome. The overall nutritional deficiency in the whole day reduced the absorption levels in the body and therefore she was required to constantly depend on iron supplementation and even after the supplementation, her iron & ferritin levels were just below the range every month.
Approach: Our focus was to improve her nutrition density by diversifying her food sources consistently which included diversity of vegetables, adequate protein, whole grain cereals, legumes and lentils that improved gut microbiome which further elevated the absorption levels.

Though she was a meat eater, she never preferred non-veg protein but for someone with poor iron levels, animal protein like organ meat, mutton, etc., works the best. There were several coaching processes to explain to her the importance of such food & ideas to make it more palatable and fun for her.

We designed a meal plan rich in iron & ferritin like green leafy vegetables, dates, figs, animal protein, tofu, etc. & food that increase iron absorption as well. We gave her efficient animal protein in every meal with adequate vegetables and whole grains to improve her energy levels.

Results: During the first phase, even though she had a heavy period cycle, she didn’t have to take medications to stop her periods anymore along with improved energy levels throughout the day.

After 2 months, there were no period pains or cramps, her period lasted only for 5-6 days without any medications.She works straight for 10 – 12 hours without feeling lethargic and now enjoys her food. Further, her iron and ferritin levels have also increased.
Deepika Chalasani is a Clinical Nutritionist, Mind and Body Transformation Coach and co-founder of Fit4Life India, an integrated nutrition and wellness organization for Indians that provides complete solutions, addressing health and wellness challenges of individuals by working on their overall well-being. Deepika, best nutritionist in Hyderabad for weight loss and online dietician can be contacted via email or Mobile +91 9491011202
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