4 doctors weighed in:

Female 40, thin, vegetarian: Iron 23, WBC 3.8, RBC 4.55, HGB 11.2, HCT 37.2, RDW 18.6 — Is it normal to be anemic? How much should I supplement?

4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Ed Friedlander
Pathology
2 doctors agree

In brief: Get some iron

Vegetarianism is a moral choice, not a health-promoting one, and I admire you for your decision.
All vegetarians need to supplement if they're going to get enough iron. Unfortified foods promoted for vegetarians as "iron-rich" mostly aren't. With the low iron and high RDW, you're probably deficient. Your physician can check you to be sure you're not also losing iron, and recommend a daily dose.

In brief: Get some iron

Vegetarianism is a moral choice, not a health-promoting one, and I admire you for your decision.
All vegetarians need to supplement if they're going to get enough iron. Unfortified foods promoted for vegetarians as "iron-rich" mostly aren't. With the low iron and high RDW, you're probably deficient. Your physician can check you to be sure you're not also losing iron, and recommend a daily dose.
Thank
Dr. Gurmukh Singh
Pathology

In brief: Oral iron + vitamins

All laboratory results need to be interpreted in the clinical context and the doctor who ordered the tests is usually in the best position to do that.
Having said that, your blood iron level is low and it would help to take oral iron supplement with multivitamins. 100 mg tablet, three times a day, with meals will be sufficient. It is not normal to be anemic.

In brief: Oral iron + vitamins

All laboratory results need to be interpreted in the clinical context and the doctor who ordered the tests is usually in the best position to do that.
Having said that, your blood iron level is low and it would help to take oral iron supplement with multivitamins. 100 mg tablet, three times a day, with meals will be sufficient. It is not normal to be anemic.
Thank
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