Pernicious Anaemia Society
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Low Iron Levels

Hello. I have a treated case of Pernicious Anaemia. (Having injections for c. 2 years. I am 38). I have just been tested for iron which was found to be very low (8?) Along with a range of other things (haemoglobin, liver function, red/white blood cells and more...) which were all fine. Wish I'd asked for a printout but I forgot.

Bit perplexed because I am male, and apparently iron deficiency is quite rare in men. It's also perhaps strange that my haemoglobin levels were good but the iron levels were the only thing that was low.

The doctor wasn't really sure but asked me a few questions and felt my abdomen etc and couldn't see anything obvious.

So I'm asking you good people if anyone has any knowledge or experience of a link between iron deficiency and (treated) PA in men. E.g - could it be an absorption problem associated with the gastritis?

Obviously my mind jumps to the worst case scenario which is something like colon cancer.

Many thanks in advance for any help or advice.

7 Replies

A b12 deficiency can be caused frim h pylori induced gastritis. H pylori effects the absorbtion of b12 and iron.

The body knows h pylori (chronic infection) needs iron so the body attempts to reduce iron absorbtion and segregates the iron it does absorb.

The last thing effected by reduced iron absorbtion is hemeglobin as the body attempts to keep homeostasis in the red blood cells for as long as possible.

Please get checked for h pylori. I had h pylori with only nausea and feeling full sooner than i used to. I never had the most common symptoms of heartburn or pain.


Thank you KimberinUS. I did a test for H-Pylori (home test) and this showed a negative result so it doesn't look like it's that. Still, good to rule it out anyway.


PA is an absorption problem - as such it can affect vitamins and minerals other than B12 - most commonly B9 (folate) and iron.

Gastrointestinal conditions are, collectively, the primary cause of iron deficiency anemia in men and postmenopausal women and are second only to menstrual blood loss in premenopausal women

this was quite an interesting article on iron deficiency generally

also a few articles on links between iron deficiency and obesity

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Thanks for the advice and info - this is really useful and I will look further into these aspects.


The first article (in Gambit62's post) describes a link between iron deficiency and autoimmune atrophic gastritis (PA), but that such patients do not respond well to oral therapy and may require infusions (I'm paraphrasing but think that's the gist of it). I've been given iron tablets by the GP (210mg iron fumarate - 3x per day, to have blood retested in 3 months). If these don't help or I start feeling worse then perhaps infusions will be necessary. Thanks again for your help.


I have had something similar. Perhaps the iron measure is free iron, i.e. iron that is available for haemoglobin production, etc. I was told that this level regularly fluctuates. If this was the percent measure, 8 is very low, men should have a level above 45%, from memory. The fact that the rest of your blood chemistry appeared fine might indicate that this is a temporary issue. However, this said, I now take a multivitamin first thing with iron and at least 15 minutes before drinking tea. Tanin in tea blocks the absorption of iron.

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Thanks, I wasn't aware of the tea thing - good to know.


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