T Nation

Hematocrit Levels

Should I worry about high iron containing foods when on trt? For instance I eat a lot of red meat and spinach, both of which are high in iron. Also thinking of taking liver tablets for the overall nutritional benefit when lifting heavy. What are your thoughts? Thanks in advance.

Only some guys have this issue. Seems to be genetic.

RBC production seems to be linked to anabolic state.

HTC and RBC can be ~43-45 with low-T and for most, increases of ~5 can be expected.

For those affected, they need to avoid higher T dosing that is fashionable with some docs and clinics the last two years. And avoid vitamins and ‘enriched’ foods - rice, flour, breads, cereals etc. Some will benefit from donating blood if they are able to do that.

Humans hoard iron because fertile women have blood loss every month and males are a small deviation from the female blueprint. Males do not need any extra iron. But if iron status is low, we need to consider that there may be a low level GI blood loss and the best way to rule that in/out is to do an occult blood test that looks for blood in your poop, that is not visible - occult means hidden.

Some males have a real problem with iron overload that can have serious consequences.

When you have a high iron meal, some nutrients and vitamins will be bound up and not bioavailable. Adel Davis wrote about such things over 40 years ago and described how high iron foods were given to volunteers too induce Vitamin E deficiency so the effects of that could be documented. But it seems like the negative effects would be a lot more wide spread than that.

Its an issue for sure, many just donate blood and that is what I have to do even though some people this it isn’t worth it. My hematocrit levels are always very high or hitting high levels

I also live in high elevation/mountain country and that will also contribute to elevated RBC etc…

I donate 2x a year to get my bloods within normal range at least

What is your iron intake typically? I know it is hard to determine from diet alone, but do you eat a lot of red meat and the like?

Not a lot of red meat actually, maybe once every few months. I’m mostly into seafood and poultry.

No issues with red meat I just don’t eat it often

One concern, I have supplemented with iron and vitamin e every once in a while so that can contribute as well