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British Lung Foundation
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Watching a wildlife programme a few days ago I saw a report that seals/sea lions can stay underwater up to 45 minutes due to the rich haemoglobin levels in their blood. I have always had a tendency towards anaemia, and have severe COPD, so I wondered if taking iron tablets could help the condition? Any ideas?

6 Replies

Yes, absolutely, low iron or ferritin can certainly cause breathlessness, even in people with no lung issues.

I had low ferritin last year (that's the body's iron stores) and was put on iron supplements. They helped enormously, although it hadn't affected my breathing so much as general feeling in my body. Low iron or low ferritin can make you feel absolutely dreadful as you probably know having a tendency towards anaemia yourself.

Before supplementing it's crucial to test your levels though because excess iron is dangerous. Then test regularly to check.

As for ferritin, the range is too wide, good docs say it should be at least 70, with optimal around 100 although ferritin can be difficult: it increases with inflammation. My level was 16 Jan 12 and by the summer it was optimal.

I take 48mg ferrous bis-glycenate each day, that is kind to the stomach and doesn't cause constipation like other types of iron do.



Thank you, Koala, it's not something I'd really thought about up to watching the programme, but when I go to the chest clinic I'll mention it there.


I might try that. Ferrous fumarate constipates me and a liquid called styrcon or something made me queasy. So i don't take anything. I shall give yours a go. I did hear on Inside Health some Swiss reasearch which said you get better absorbtion with one pill every two days and there is no scientific basis for the two pills a day. My consultant said they are all much of a muchness so i am having more irony food


I can't edit: I meant my ferritin was 16 in January 2012


Having the correct level of iron as excess amounts are toxic with a blood test alerting GPs when a prescription is necessary koala avoiding seals body fat levels is another desirable.


Thanks, shrug.


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