Thyroid UK
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Gp says pay for supplements yourself!

4 weeks ago I had bloods taken and all minerals and vitamins were very low in range but, in particular, serum ferritin was 16 (25-300). TSH was 4.61 (0.4-4.0) and I wasn't feeling as well as I would have liked. GP prescribed ferrous sulphate for 4 weeks and results today were 41 (25-300). I stayed on them right up to the blood test and didnt stop taking them 5 days before as recommended on this site (lesson learnt)! Today he told me he wasn't allowed to prescribe them any longer as I am now "in range" and nhs guidelines are that patients fund their own mineral/vitamin and dietary requirements! He suggested I get some from Tescos and take them for life as last three tests have shown low iron. But I'm guessing some people on here might be able to recommend some other form of bulk purchasing!

5 Replies

Hi Polly

You don't give any information on your Profile. Do you have a thyroid gland problem? Have you been diagnosed? I notice your TSH is on the high side.


Whatever you do, don't get iron pills from Tesco. They contain tiny amounts of elemental iron and it is unlikely you would raise your ferritin taking them if you have big problems with anaemia.

The ones I buy are called ferrous fumarate 210mg pills - I buy them in boxes of 84 - enough for 3 a day for 28 days. Each box costs me between £4 and £5. These pills contain 69mg of elemental iron per pill, and I take 3 per day. (The first time I got these pills I was prescribed them - and I just continued taking the same dose after I started buying my own. For comparison - a standard supermarket iron pill contains 14mg of elemental iron and the recommended dose is 1 per day.

I buy them from Lloyds Pharmacy.

I know that they also sell ferrous sulphate but I've never taken those, and I believe they are a bit rougher on the stomach than ferrous fumarate. I don't know how much they cost. And I don't know what other high-dose iron they might have available.

I take each iron pill with 1000mg (1g) of vitamin C - it is supposed to help the body to absorb the iron.

You can find info about the kinds of iron and the dosages that the NHS prescribes (when they feel like it) here :


Hi Ferrous Sulphate is the strongest iron/ferritin. GP `s will not prescribed unless main figure under 10. There is a better NHS test ( or private )which shows transference rate too, it should be high or you need more, it is the absorption %. It is important with all iron etc to take half a small vit C tablet dissolved in a little water, for the absorption. iron/ferritin treatment is normally for life, not a month! Also second test should be in 3 months. If seeing an Endo, their field, they will "sort out" the GP.It is important to be clearly in range. The max dose GP "allowed" to prescribe, with a lot of pushing is 630mg. it is especially important for the heart too.I do know of some one who bought it on e bay, but do be wary.

Best wishes,



Hi Pollydolly,

It is scandalous that your GP will not supplement your iron in particular. Ask him to investigate why you are iron deficient?

You need to have at least some of these tests

Serum iron



Total iron-binding capacity (TIBC)

Transferrin saturation (Iron saturation of transferrin)

Unsaturated iron binding capacity (UIBC)

Transferrin receptor (TfR)

Related tests[edit]

Complete blood count (CBC), especially:

Hemoglobin, EVF or total red blood cells (RBC count)

Mean corpuscular volume (MCV)

Mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH) or MCHCl iron profile of your blood carrid out.

The related tests are important as is serum iron and ferritin. Along side this a B12 is necessary. If you are hypothyroid and it sounds as if you are considfering the THS result, you may have either iron deficient anemia, anemia of chronic illness or pernicious anemia. There other kinds of anemia and blood tests will rule them out. If you have any kind of anemia your doctor should not refuse treatment. If he/she does then complain and change your doctor.

Meanwhile if you wish to supplement your iron levels then please see a nutrionalist or discuss which iron products are more readily bio-available than others with someone at a health food store. Cannot , should not advertise products here. Always take iron supplements with vitamin C, in the form or orange juice or other forms of juice with vitamin C (not concentrated). I take one of mine with 1000mg vitamin C capsule thus killing two birds etc. You should ask for regular 6 monthly blood tests. doctor take anemia far too lightly.

Are you vitamin D3 deficient if so you need to go back to him/her and find out if you are calcium deficient? If you are then really I have found (and I claim benefits) that it is easier and more palatable to buy my own. Come back on the forum or sent me a message for references.

It would also help to post your thyroid blood profile as well so TSH/T4 and FT3 if available.

I offer this advice because I have had to fight long and hard for all the iron tests. I have had three blodd transfusions now because of my GPs and have just sought help from a patient advocate service to make a very strong complaint and to seek compensation. I have also had a Vitamin D3 deficiency which caused Osteomalacia. My GP could have tested for verification levels and she did not.

I know you must be feeling quite low at the moment but plese do not worry we will try and help.

Kind regards


1 like

Hi everyone hoping i can get some help i've been suffering with an underactive thyroid for well over seven month probably even longer with out knowing but i sure know to it now its been swollen the last 7 months and im in absolute agony with it the only way i can describe the pain it that of chronic tooth ache ear ache and migraine all in one I'm on strong painkiller and due to see my specialist again soon after undergoing biopsy's and ultra sound scans plus being on the right levels of thyriod meds they dont know why it is still enlarged and causing so much pain so my first question is has anyone else suffered these symptoms ? And if so what did they do next ? also i have now been diagnosed with anaemia and am taking Ferrous fumarate 210mg Tablets 3 a day but they dont mix very well with my thyroid meds so my doc has told me to take all 3 at once after my evening meal to give my thyroid tablets time to work through the day as i take them first thing in the morning my consern is that reading up on Ferrous fumarate 210mg Tablets

should be taken 3 times a day not all at once my question is. Is it safe to take all 3 together like suggested by my doc ? Has anyone else been told to take them this way ? Many thanks naomi


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