Keto and anemia


About seven years ago, I ended up in the hospital for severe anemia. Once the doctors had eliminated such factors as ulcers, internal bleeding, certain diseases, they threw up their hands and gave me a bottle of iron pills. No advice.

Since starting keto and learning more, I suspect that I have difficulty absorbing iron from my diet. I even in the past had symptoms when taking the supplement.

Iron is a supplement that can be harmful if you get too much.

My stool, in the past, was dark green-black which is normal when taking the pills. Lately, I’ve noticed that my stool is often not dark. This makes me wonder if I’m absorbing more of it.

I’m going to the doctors next week and I will ask about it. I’m thinking about discontinuing the iron as a test but I live alone and am afraid of collapsing. The “attacks” can be very sudden. I have not had one since starting keto.

Has anyone had success in treating anemia on the keto woe? I’m hoping I’ve improved metabolic syndrome enough that perhaps I don’t need the iron. I don’t know if there is a specific test I should ask for.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

(Bacon is better) #2

One possibility to consider is that if you are eating more meat and less carbohydrate, you might be getting more heme iron, which the body can absorb better. The iron supplement pills are not always in the most bioavailable form.

(Karen) #3

Keto is how I found out I had celiac disease. It causes malnutrition, among other things. Anemia is very typical. is a good source of info on this. Until a person quits wheat, they may not even realize it is the cause of the trouble. Now I react very strongly to it. When I ate it every day, I had mild chronic symptoms, and I didn’t know wheat was the problem.


That might be true. I had a large serving of liver last night, which is what started me thinking that maybe I’m now getting too much. I’ve also read that a lack of copper can affect iron absorption. So liver, chocolate and shellfish are good sources.

I have far more energy than before so I hope there is a test. However, I test the oxygen in my blood with an oximeter and that level is usually low. I don’t know if that is anemia or something else.


Thank you, I went to the site. I don’t have any of the symptoms except anemia. However, it noted people may not have symptoms. Fortunately, by following a keto diet, I should avoid the problem causing foods.


Are you getting enough vitamin C? Supposedly it helps in absorbing iron.

I had low iron levels and began eating canned mackerel and took care of it.


I take vitamin C with my iron. I’ll definitely try mackerel.

I’ve also heard a lack of copper can be a reason for anemia. My doctor did not do a ferritin test last time. I go in next week so I’ll ask for a test to see what my levels are. When I was hospitalized it was less than 7.

The oxygen levels in my blood tend to be low. This could be because of anemia or something else.
Hope to know more soon.

Thank you for the suggestion.


I had low copper last time I tested. I use “walkinlab” to get tested for various things. I am still anemic too, and I have a low white blood cell count in addition to red blood cell count but my iron is going up very well with the mackerel. Hope you find a solution to your problem.


I looked it up and you’re right mackerel is high in iron. Tuna is also but not as high. I should know in a few days what my iron count is. Hopefully, I too will be able to get enough iron from food.


Are doctor’s visits supposed to be character building exercises? When I visited three months ago my Hba1c was 6.6 down from 8.6. I told him I hoped for further improvement. He said he would be happy if I stayed at 6.6. He thought it was great. That’s still diabetic. He saw the look on my face and said he knew that would not satisfy me.

I didn’t come down as much as I hoped but I’m now in the pre-diabetic range.

I test three times a day. He told me I shouldn’t bother, once would be enough. Furthermore, Medicare does not consider me diabetic enough to allow for enough test strips to test the three times. So it will be out of pocket.

I asked to be tested for iron levels as I want to(have) stop the supplements. He said I was tested 6 months prior and so can not be tested for another 6 months.

Thank goodness for this site. I definitely don’t feel the medical establishment is working with me.