Thursday, November 25, 2010


I promise you, I am not making this up.  The word -- Beeturia -- sounds like a joke, like some futuristic word, perhaps. Actually, it's a medical term for people whose urine turns red after eating beets, and it's something that afflicts a small percentage of the population -- about 14 percent. Including me, apparently. I ate a few beets from the garden over the weekend, and whammo -- red pee!  Since I've studiously disliked and avoided beets until this point in my life, it's not something I've had occasion to notice before.

In and of itself it's apparently harmless, but is a good 'test' for insufficient iron in the body and can also be a sign of pernicious anemia, which my recent blood tests also revealed as a possibility (from my own research, as the doctor -- like most doctors before him -- shrugged it off).  For years I've been seeing abnormalities in my blood work, which all the docs suggested was 'mild' anemia.  Not one of them, including my naturopathic doc, ever wanted to make any efforts to solve the issue even though I've been fighting fatigue and lack of energy for many a long year.   I will give the naturopath credit in that he reacted swiftly to some real abnormality in my blood work last December and referred me to a hematologist.  My next test was normal (because I ate lots of good foods to boost it) but the last one was back to that low point and the current doc just said it was 'normal for me'. Sure it is. But, let's not allow this to become another diatribe against the medical community.  I can and will get more iron in my diet and continue to check the progress with more beets.  Once my body has enough iron, I should be able to eat beets with no red aftereffects.  It's a good test, and I have more of them out in the garden so I can gauge my progress.

It's unfortunate that we live in a world where good healthcare and blood work are accessible mostly and sometimes only to people with money.  Medicare doesn't consider blood work a necessity unless a diagnosis is involved, so I can't have it done nearly as often as I'd like or as I seem to need and because I have a $50 co-pay every time I have blood drawn.  My local doc is practiced and good at finding diagnosis codes to use on his lab orders so I haven't had to pay beyond that, but $50 is a lot of money to me, people.  Pointless anyway, unless I have access to a doctor who seeks root causes for bodily malfunctions, rather than treating the symptoms with drugs, or who just shrugs blood abnormalities away as 'mild' or 'normal'.  If it was so mild, why do I feel so tired and exhausted?  Preventive medicine doesn't seem to be in Medicare's lexicon, but they're happy to pay for serious diseases and surgeries that come about for lack of preventive care or from poor lifestyle choices.  But, I did say I wasn't going to let this become a diatribe against the medical community, did I not?

I've done a world of research on this during the past few days.  Learned about heme (animal) sources of iron and non-heme (vegetable) sources.  Heme sources are most easily absorbed by the body, and surprising to me was that iron-rich dark leafy greens, such as spinach, chard, and beet greens, actually inhibit iron absorption, which is an interesting contradiction.  One source says that this is the case primarily if these foods are eaten raw, and I generally cook them so I am perhaps OK to continue eating them.  I'll make an effort to not consume them at the same meal as iron-rich animal sources however, to be sure.

I've also researched iron supplements, to learn which of the various types is most absorbable by the body.  I have some on order from my usual source, but picked up a generic brand at WalMart last night so I could start taking it sooner.  That was when I thought my order was going to arrive next Tuesday, but since it left the UPS facility near Atlanta yesterday afternoon, I don't know how they can do anything but deliver it tomorrow even though they still give Tuesday as a delivery date.

No comments:

Post a Comment