Doctor's Note

More videos on dietary supplements include:
Heavy Metals in Protein Powder Supplements
Some Dietary Supplements May Be More Than a Waste of Money
Risk Associated With Iron Supplements
Dietary Supplement Snake Oil

Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the other videos on pregnancy. Also, there are 1,686 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos--please feel free to explore them as well!

Check out my associated blog post, How to Enhance Mineral Absorption.

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  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the other videos on pregnancy. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them as well!

  • Brandon Becker

    Women who eat vegan diets high in dark green leafy vegetables and other iron-rich foods can meet their iron needs during pregnancy without supplementation, right? It seems monitoring iron levels is a safer approach.

  • tduke

    please some advice on vegan iron sources- have been anemic since going vegan- I consume lots of dark leafy greens and vitamin C (in combination) and would rather not supplement if possible.

    Thank you! I love this website!

  • DrDons

    Anemia (low red blood cell count) has many causes (remember 2.5% of normal patients fall below the reference range and aren’t anemic). If you have iron deficiency anemia your iron level will be low. There are many reasons for having iron deficiency anemia. You need to work with your physician to make sure that the iron deficency anemia is not due to something that needs to be treated. A common cause in otherwise healthy individuals is menstruating women who lose iron each month. A good article listing the sources of iron in plants is “Iron in the Vegan Diet” by Reed Mangels on The Vegetarian Resource Groups website Spinach, beans and soy beans are good sources. Consuming the Vitamin C can help the absorption. Dr. Greger’s video in Jan 2011…. cautions against iron tablets in healthy patients but some patients do need to take supplements. Whole foods are the best way to go if possible. Good luck.

  • tduke

    thank you!

  • Wendy

    Is there any research to support a recommended ferritin level for vegan or vegetarian women? I’m still in my child bearing years and while my cholesterol level and blood pressure have improved on 2 years of a plant based diet I’ve had a lot of difficulty with fatigue, particularly as the 2 years have progressed. My labs recently showed that while I don’t have anemia my ferritin level is at 10 ng/ml. B12 levels were also good just taking a high dose supplement once a week. Taking iron supplements makes a huge difference in my energy level, but I’d like to know how long to continue this and what ferritin level to work towards.

    • Tania

      I’d love to know the answer to this too! Is the ferritin level of vegans naturally lower and still optimal for good health?

  • John V

    Dr. Greger, my wife is pregnant and I am confused on Iron supplementation as this recent study seems to indicate the opposite:

    Awaiting your help to clear the confusion!

  • Chrissy

    I’m not pregnant – but am mildly concerned about iron. I’m vegan, and a few years ago, a doctor told me my iron was low. I haven’t recently been tested but have since incorporated more kale into my diet in addition to spinach (the iron from which I understand isn’t easily absorbed). I also gave up caffeine (which I’ve read can hamper iron absorption), and added cauliflower to my kale/spinach stir-fries, thinking that that vitamin C would help with iron absorption.
    I’m not super concerned about iron since I feel good, but do you think these changes will help with the iron issue, and anything else you think I should do?

  • Dean

    I am a bean-loving sufferer of hemochromatosis. Any advice for limiting iron absobtion? Thanks

  • marta Dale

    My daughter is pregnant. She has a chron disease. I am worring about what she can eat. And I am worring what the doctor told her.
    She could have a hard time to feed the baby. My question is.
    Which kind of milk she should feed the baby?
    Do you work as a regular doctor . Do you have a office?
    Do you think you could give a directions for my daughter ?

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Hi Marta. Dr. Greger has some resources on crohns. Dr. ​McDougall has a “Find a Health Care Practitioner”​ page that may be helpful. We do not have a clinic or office, but a new promising medical center is opening in Washington, DC – the Barnard Medical Clinic, if that’s an option based on your location. Here is a factsheet on feeding infants. I also suggest she seek a dietitian. Her doctor should be able to refer one, or I can help, just let me know if that’s a route you’d like to take. I hope some of these links help.


  • Harriet

    Hi, I’m 4 weeks pregnant with my first child. I’m vegan/plant based. I’m already taking my folic acid/vitamin d supplement – should I continue taking my vitamin b12 and omega algae alongside these? Any further guidance would be great in terms of vitamins and supplements needed when pregnant. Thank you!