View Full Version : Total cereal as a multivitamin - major improvement in hair?

November 18th, 2016, 12:02 AM
Hey everyone! I’ve posted before about my iron deficiency. My ferritin last time it was checked was 4. My serum iron is low, my % saturation is low, and my TIBC is high. But my hemoglobin is normal, it is 13.8. I know you guys know about the effects that low ferritin has on hair so I wanted to ask you guys a couple questions.

When I was first diagnosed with anemia, my doctor wanted me to take 2 Flintstones chewables a day (36 mg of iron – 200%) to correct it. I could not handle the taste of the vitamins. And I have difficulty swallowing pills. This has been going on for 3 years, and I want my iron up. I’m anemic because of malabsorption. I eat plenty of iron-rich foods in my diet, and my periods are light.

At one point, I got my ferritin from 5 to 16 by eating 3 servings of Frosted Flakes every day with OJ (13.5 mg – 75% iron) but it took 9 months. And my malabsorption is worse than it was then. Recently I started eating Total cereal. It has 18mg in one serving – 100% iron. I have it with OJ or strawberries but it has 100% Vitamin C in it already. I’ve only had the cereal 8 days total (and not all of them in a row). It’s been about 2 weeks, but I didn’t have it every day. And the bald patches that I have on the sides of my head are filling in and my hair is regrowing and getting thicker. They’re not bald patches like alopecia but it’s like thinning areas where you can see scalp and they're majorly filling in. Also, the pinkness has started to come back to my cheeks. I was very pale before. A little bit of pinkness has also started to come back to my nails. I'm very happy about that. But considering I’ve only had it for 8 days, I don’t see how it could be the iron because that wouldn’t have had time to start going up already, would it have? Is it something else in the cereal that I was likely deficient in too? The cereal has 15mg of Zinc (100%) and I’ve heard that is really good for hair and can even reverse certain types of hair loss. It also has 100% of all the B vitamins. If other vitamins in the cereal make my hair grow back, that's great but I'm not going to have my energy back until I get my iron up.

What do you guys think? Do you think it’s something else in the cereal? Do you think my iron has already started going up? I’m still really exhausted. I can tell a slight difference in energy on days when I eat it, but I’m still falling asleep constantly. Also, do you think 18mg would be enough to get my iron up or should I try doing 27mg (150%) which would be 22.5mg of Zinc (150%) and see if that helps? I’m worried because I’ve heard that too much Zinc lowers ferritin and in studies, it lowered people’s ferritin with 10mg and 20mg. And I’m also worried I might get too much Zinc, but I assume they wouldn’t put a cereal out there that people could overdose on, knowing that people will likely eat 1-2 servings of it? Thanks everyone!

November 18th, 2016, 03:02 AM
It sounds like you are on the right path; keep researching. If you want to checkout another food-based source of iron, do some reading about blackstrap molasses.

November 18th, 2016, 03:56 AM
You can't keep eating cereal 3x a day (or have I read that wrong) or you'll grow deficient in other areas. 1x a day seems more than enough and then maybe soup for lunch (very rich in nutrients) and dinner.

What does your doctor say to you not being able to take the pills. Can't they give you injections? Seems so odd that they don't come with a solution to that problem. Have you been back to discuss it with them?

November 18th, 2016, 06:53 AM
Zinc is a water-soluble mineral and your body will generally get rid of what it doesn't need.

There are also iron liquid supplements and tiny little iron tab supplements. Not sure if they are available where youre at but those might be something to look into

November 18th, 2016, 08:58 AM
Thanks everyone!

No I definitely didn't mean eating it 3 times a day lol that wouldn't be healthy. 1 serving is 18mg (100%) of iron. Not 1 bowl but a serving so 3/4 cup. But I could have 1 cup of the cereal and get 27mg (150%) of iron. Or 1 1/2 servings which would be 36mg (200%) iron. It's all one bowl, it's just the amount of servings I'm having. People generally have more than 1 serving of cereal because a serving isn't that big. I'm just worried about the extra Zinc cause I've read that too much Zinc depletes your iron stores and that too much Zinc (without Copper) can lead to a life-threatening Copper deficiency. I didn't realize Zinc is water soluble though. I always thought you could overdose on Zinc. And surely they wouldn't put an unsafe cereal out on the market for everyone to eat and their kids to eat without a warning on the box which there isn't one so I'm assuming it's okay.

Soup sounds delicious. I actually have a turkey sandwich with chips and a tangerine for lunch. I try to eat meat most days. If not for lunch, then turkey meat for dinner. But now you've given me a soup craving. Vegetable soup and cornbread sounds really good!

The doctors (I've seen many of them) have tried recommending iron injections/infusions and I had a bad reaction to them and went into anaphylactic shock. The hematologist told me they have had this happen before and that was enough for me to never want to do that again. They're out of solutions. I've even tried the tiny pills. I can't get them done. I've tried every pill swallowing technique there is. I just keep choking on it so I've given up. They referred me to a nutritionist who suggested Total, but I don't know how many servings would bring up my iron. Right now I'm getting the RDA - 18mg and 13mg started to bring my iron up before but it took 9 months. I want it up quickly.

November 18th, 2016, 08:58 AM
Here are some of Blondieee's other iron threads so she doesn't keep getting the same suggestions.


It is difficult to tell if the cereal helped at all and it does seem like it would be too soon to tell even if it did.

November 18th, 2016, 09:04 AM
What about crushing the tablets to a powder? And taking them in that way.

November 18th, 2016, 09:10 AM
Definitely something to ultimately discuss with your doctor. For the moment, I'd stick to a reasonable 3/4c to 1c of cereal.

Personally, I wouldn't worry much about the zinc vs copper thing. Check your plumbing - most homes are plumbed with copper pipe, which will give you at least some. Maybe a lot, if you notice green-blue stains associated with your water. I looked into it a while back, and it sounded like copper deficiency doesn't tend to be a problem for most Westerners, IIRC.

November 18th, 2016, 09:52 AM
Thanks everyone! And thanks chromis for posting those threads. I didn't know how to find my old threads. Do you mean that you think it's too soon for the cereal to have helped my iron or helped in general? I know it's definitely helped in general. The bald spots are filling in and the color has come back to my cheeks. And the Total is the only thing I've changed. But as far as iron, it might be too soon for it to have brought my iron up.

Crushing the tablets is a good suggestion, and I've asked my doctor about that and she said I can't do that because iron supplements can't be crushed or broken. They have to be swallowed whole. I called a pharmacist and asked just to confirm and she said the same thing. I even googled it and it says they have to be swallowed whole and not broken or crushed. I think it has something to do with the iron being released all at once and causing a reaction or causing damage to the lining of the stomach. And that's good to know about the copper, thank you! I didn't even think about copper plumbing.

November 18th, 2016, 09:58 AM
I have no idea if this has been suggested to you or not... but what about switching to cast iron cookware?

November 18th, 2016, 10:32 AM
What about crushing the tablets to a powder? And taking them in that way.

I used to do this mixed in pineapple juice. I used to be really iron deficient, but luckily it improved with age. I took it like a drink for well over 3 years. Somtimes did diffrent juices, but DO NOT do apple, grape, or any kind of clear juicy-juice stuff because then it tastes nasty. Orange juice worked well too. So did Bolthouse farms juices. I am ranting now, lol. but for real I powderized them because I heard that makes the absorb faster, at least I was told this was the case.

November 18th, 2016, 04:24 PM
If you're looking for food sources, I've heard edamame is good for iron if you're looking for a non-meat idea, keeping in mind that the iron in meat is absorbed easier than that found in plants.
In terms of things to avoid, do you drink a lot of tea, especially black varieties? If drunk with meals or right after, that can inhibit absorption.

November 22nd, 2016, 09:54 AM
Spinach contain a lot of iron as well as a couple of the other suggestions listed. If the sautée or cook it, add a acidic element (lemon juice works well) to help release the iron.

November 22nd, 2016, 10:14 AM
Iron can be taken in liquid form too..but plenty of iron rich foods too,my doctor suggested i eat dry apricots as they are high in iron as i had this problem i even went very dizzy during the time of month and had pale gums,i was also instructed to eat the cereal Weetabix as they have a good iron source plus proteins and B vitamins..i had eaten them in the past and was fine and it made my hair grow like crazy i am back on them now and again i have frizz growing..not sure why but its well known for that particular cereal to affect the hair and its growth..
i do crush my iron tablets when not using the liquid but make sure i wrap it well in a piece of food..but if they told you not to then perhaps listen to their advice,iron levels do go up quite quickly with a good diet and supplements.

November 23rd, 2016, 08:24 AM
Iron can cause constipation lol! Dried fruit is supposed to be high in iron. Orange juice can help absorb the iron.

November 23rd, 2016, 09:12 AM
The icky edge in chewables is the iron.
Most health food or suppliment stores not focusing on body builders carry liquid iron.
But, keep consulting with your doctor as iron poisoning is nasty stuff.
I didn't change vitamins once I got a Mirena, which stopped my cyclical bleeding, and wound up with too high a level. And I'm not good at remembering to take something daily.
Yes, a vegetarian with too much iron.

Iirc, isn't it red meat that carries iron? Not birds or fish?

Can your absorption issue be addressed to help?
I do know that C and Iron is a good combination.
I make pineapple greens with lime juice paired with a lentil stew when I feel I'm low.

As for the regrowth, any improvement will show, but I'd say it's not just from the new cereal. Too soon.

December 6th, 2016, 12:47 AM
Thanks everyone! It has to be from the cereal because I have changed nothing else. And I got a virus and was unable to have the cereal for a few days and I was okay for the first and second day without it but after about day 3 and 4, I was so exhausted and pale again. I started the cereal again a couple days ago and the color is slowly coming back to my cheeks again. I'm still exhausted though.

I did want to share the good news. My ferritin was 4 last time I had it checked and I had about 2 periods after that before I started the Total so it's probably safe to say that my ferritin went down to 2. I got it rechecked a few days ago and it's 9.7. This was just 3 weeks of doing the Total with a glass of OJ plus all the Vitamin C in the cereal. And I didn't even have it every day. Some days I didn't have it. I'm so happy! I've also noticed I'm not as cold anymore. I'm finally starting to feel warm at times. My feet are normally ice cold and now they're only a little cold. My hair is regrowing nicely. And this is only 10. I can't wait to see results when I get it to 50 and then 70! I've been anemic for 3 years and I'm finally getting some relief. I still have shortness of breath but not as bad. And I just realized I don't think I've had shortness of breath at all today. I just wish my doctor had told me about Total cereal 3 years ago.

One thing I am kinda worried about that I wanna ask you guys about is about my energy. I used to have so much energy. I could function on 2-3 hours of sleep even though it's not healthy and Ace an Essay test. I used to wake up at 5:30 in the morning to do my makeup and straighten my hair. I haven't worn makeup or done my hair in 3 years (other than for concerts) cause I haven't had the energy. And I'm still very exhausted! Still too exhausted to wear makeup. For those of you who have had low ferritin, at what ferritin level does your energy come back? I have this fear that I'm going to get my iron up to 70 and my energy isn't going to come back and I'm still gonna be exhausted. Is that an illogical fear? I've just been like this for so long, this has become the new normal for me so I'm scared what if I don't get my energy back? I also have (I'm not sure if this could be making me exhausted too) low B12 because that's not absorbing well either. My B12 is 400. I was surprised because my B12 was 495 before and I thought since my iron went up with the Total, my B12 would have too since it also has 100% B12 plus there is B12 in the milk but it went down. That really puzzles me. Does B12 take longer to go up? I got my B12 up to 712 with cereal in the past so I don't know why it wouldn't come up.

December 6th, 2016, 05:12 AM
Was your doctor happy enough with your progress?

It puzzles me in this day and age that there aren't more options for anemia if you can't swallow pills. :confused:

December 6th, 2016, 05:56 AM
Was your doctor happy enough with your progress?

It puzzles me in this day and age that there aren't more options for anemia if you can't swallow pills. :confused:

She has already dismissed those options in past threads. We suggested liquid, chewable tablets, and even gummy vitamins previously.