Low iron and my thyroid

I am on 200mg of levo and after a fight I finally got my iron level tested

it came back at 8 against a range of 15 - 300 but he said they treat anything below 40 (bit confused as the range is 15 - 300 so that would say 15 was wiithin range but he definitely said they treat below 40 - I made him write it down!)

I've been given iron tablets to take and repeat the test in 8 weeks but only been given 84 tablets to be taken 3 times a day so that's only a months' supply so confused really

Will the iron tablets help me feel better as I feel pretty hypo still or does my Fe level in my bloods have to be up in normal range (ie 15 or 40 - totally confused really!)

18 Replies

  • From personal experience I would say that raising your iron level will definitely help. Last time I was severely anaemic my result came back as 2. My GP said that "basically you don't have any iron left in your body". I felt absolutely pants.

    It's a long haul getting your iron back up - it took me well over a year. I likened taking iron pills to swallowing a brillo pad (most get constipated, for me it was the opposite!) I found the ferograd tablets the easiest to tolerate - they are slow release. You can buy them over the counter in Boots considerably cheaper than the cost of a prescription.

    You might also want to try the spatone water. It's a lot more expensive but much gentler on the stomach. Also look at food state iron pills from a health shop.

    PS - I was undiagnosed in those days, so wasn't on any thyroid or adrenal medication.

  • thanks for that - stuff to think about! I get free scripts as I live in Wales but in England I had medical exemption anyway

  • Hi there,

    So sorry to hear about the iron deficiency. I have a similar problem myself. In fact I am waiting to go into hospital for a blood transfusion. Depending on type of anaemia, you should notice a difference on taking iron tablets.. but it might be a slow process. GPs are very conservative with administering iron. You will need to ask for a repeat prescription to finish the course. If you do not notice improvements over next two weeks, or unhappy in any way with your treatment then ask for more tests and a second opinion. You may notice some side effects like bloating and if you do ask your GP for another type of iron tablet. I ]

    Hope all goes well for you and you soon start to feel better

  • Hi sorry but forgot to say that as there is a link with certain cases of hypothyroidism and pernicious anaemia you should request blood tests to ensure that you have inf act got iron deficient anaemia. I do not want to alarm you but finding out is good because you will then have the correct treatment. However,, your GP is the person to consult.

    Regards Lin

  • thanks for that - how do I get tested for iron deficient anaemia? Don't worry you won't alarm me! I know that anaemia can be caused by some nasty stuff!

  • Hi

    I hope you don't mind me asking what is your level? I was wondering at what level doctors decide you need a blood transfusion.

    My daughter ferritin is 9 and iron supplements from G.P. only brought it up to 15.

    Thank you browny

  • he said they'd do it if I wasn't able to get into the normal range which I assume is 15, but I don't know as we didn't discuss it

  • Hi. I'm not sure if your result is iron or ferritin (stored iron) but if it's the later it needs to be 70-90 at least.

    it is a good idea to take vitamin c with your iron and to get plenty of vitamin b2 (riboflavin) as this will help your body store iron.

    It may be that they have only given you one months supply but have authorised a repeat so it would be a good idea to check if you can get a repeat script a week or so before you run out.

    Iron is essential for your body to convert and use thyroxine so hopefully you will start to feel better once your iron/ferritin level is more reasonable :)

    Carolyn x

  • this was a result from 8 months ago when they estimated my Fe (dunno why I had an estimated Fe???)

    Mean corpusular haemoglobin (MCH) 25.6 which was LOW, didn't give lab range for some reason - range was given on other things and a lot were only just within range eg 123 when the bottom of the range was 121, that type of stuff - not sure if that MCH is relevent against Fe of 8 (15 - 300 range, treat at 40 - still makes no sense to me - surely the range should be 40 - 300 then!!!!)

  • my result today was Fe 8 (15 - 300), it was 8 months ago they gave me an estimated Fe and did an actual MCH which they didn't do this time - not sure my post was clear

  • I am just starting on the low iron/anaemia road too. I find this site helpful and was suggested to me by someone on this forum.


  • I think the result you were given was for ferritin. It is the usual thing that gets tested by the NHS. There are additional tests that would help to get a better picture of your iron but they are difficult to get done. With a ferritin of 8 you must feel absolutely dire! And with such low ferritin your thyroid medication is almost certainly not doing much at all. You need decent iron levels in order for your body to make use of the levo.

    Have you been given a prescription for ferrous fumarate or is it some other type of iron? Ferrous fumarate is what I was given and I have increased my ferritin from the low 20s to nearly 70 over the last 6 or 7 months. I definitely feel much better as a result. You need to get your ferritin up to around 70 - 90, or possibly even higher - I'm not absolutely sure with your reference range.

    Are you getting free prescriptions? If you aren't you ought to be, so you need to ask for a form from your surgery and get your doctor to sign it I think.

    If you can't be bothered to go back to your doctor for a prescription then you can buy packets of 84 pills of 210mg ferrous fumarate from Lloyds the chemist and other pharmacies. Just don't go to Boots - they insist on a prescription. One packet will cost you £4.14 from Lloyds, so they aren't expensive. Take your packet with you to make sure you get the right stuff.

    To get the best out of your iron pills and your levo, take your levo first thing in the morning on an empty stomach with a glass of water. Don't eat for an hour or so, then have breakfast. Don't take any iron until 4 hours after your levo. When you do take the iron take each pill with 500g - 1000g of Vitamin C - it helps with absorption. Build up the vit C over a week or so - some people get diarrhoea with it, although that never bothered me particularly. Spread out the three iron pills over the day, but eat some food with it - it can be irritating to an empty stomach.

    If you prefer to take your levo at night, I can't help with all the timings - I've never taken it then myself.

    Good luck, and hope you start feeling better very soon.

  • yes,Ferrous Fumarate but I was reading the leaflet that comes with them and it says to speak to the docotr if on levo so I'll go check with the chemist - assume its the 2 hours thing - I took the levo at 8am and then had brekkie with my iron at 10am so think that's all ok! Your help is much appreciated

  • Just wanted to say that I think it would be wise to leave a large gap between taking thyroid meds and iron supplements. When my GP issued me with iron meds he strongly emphasised the need to take them at opposite ends of the day to the Levo

  • our doctors only ever give a month's iron at a time, it's a right pain!

  • Hi there,

    My levels are 7 and dropping quite fast but I do have other health problems. I am waiting an email with blood tests taken on Tuesday. GP has problem reading them off the screen!!

    Will post when they come in.



  • Hi there,

    I found this link useful as it explains tests etc.


    Good luck



    ps if you do not find it get back to me and I will send you a word doc of the pages contents.

  • thank you

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