Low Iron and ferritin levels is this a problem ... - Thyroid UK

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Low Iron and ferritin levels is this a problem when suffering hypothyroidism ?


My sister has been treated with thyroxine for over 20 years and is now 46 . she has for sometime been feeling breathless yawning and feeling more tired than usual . A blood test has flagged that iron and ferritin levels are low but Dr has said not a problem unless you are elderly !! I though ferritin was needed when you suffer with hypothyroidism , I would appreciate your thoughts. Thankyou

13 Replies

Can you get hold of your sister's results and post them? Ideally ferritin will be around 70 for optimal absorption of thryoxine.

Breathlessness, bone pain and fatigue are symptoms of low iron/anaemia which should be supplemented. It might be an idea for her to have vitD, B12 and folate tested too. Unless these are high in range one can feel very unwell indeed.

marmaris in reply to Clutter

Yet the doctors do not recognise this. I saw that mine were not high but doctor said B12 ok as I eat meat and not vegetarian. I take Vit D she prescribed these and gone from 23 to 78 but continuing.


Just off to bed - we are two hours ahead here in Crete. This website is so informative....lots to read and absorb...

I would run away from a doctor who believes that anaemia is only a problem for the elderly.

Val-55 in reply to humanbean

Some Drs seem so clueless !!!

I agree with humanbean-my level was 19 and doc thought it was low end normal!!!!!! I supplement now and feel so much livelier.

I had my foliate measured and it was below the range so my GP put me on a supplement for 3 months. At first felt good but now very tired again so asked for foliate to be retested. Can't remember the actual readings but off the top of my head the range is roughly 4-18 and my initial test was 2, it is now 6 and no comment from GP. I can't get an appointment before I go on holiday so just ordered some from Lambert's in the hope I get more enjoyment from my holiday and then sort on my return.

Clutter in reply to silverfox7

Silverfox it may be a good idea to supplement B12 with folate as they are co-dependant. Supplementing one without t'other can mask deficiencies in t'other. I hope you enjoy your holiday.

silverfox7 in reply to Clutter

Thanks Clutter! Its ok though, already taking B12. Blood Donor staff started me on that a few years ago as was just failing the finger prick test but was fine when they took a venous sample and they really wanted my blood! Its only recently though that I found they need to be taken together. I also have an allergy to Brassicas so my diet isn't that brilliant either!

Hello again sorry to add snippets of information. my sister spoke to her Dr today and she said her Ferritin level was 16 and the bottom of the range where they normally treat is 15 !!!! Also her TSH that is usually 1 or under is now 2.1. Her Dr has said she will giver her Iron but I think she should up her Throxine to 100 she is taking 100 /75 alternate. What is the best way to get Ferritin levels up ,should it be taken in eve away from Throxine . Her main symptoms have been breathlessness / yawning all the time , hair thinning ,tiredness ,all low thyroid symptoms too I know .i don't know if they did B12 she will get copy of print out Monday too busy today !! Grrr!! Thanks again Val

Anuba in reply to Val-55

Yes take it away from Thyroid meds.....later in evening probs. Goodluck

humanbean in reply to Val-55

What kind of iron has your sister been prescribed? What dosage and how many per day?

My ferritin was very low last year and I had the dreadful breathlessness, yawning and fatigue that your sister suffers from. I got a prescription from my doctor (very reluctantly and begrudgingly) for :

Ferrous fumarate 210mg, to be taken 3 times per day. The prescription was enough for 8 weeks. The pills come in boxes of 84 - enough for three pills a day for 28 days.

I discovered quite by accident when I collected the pills that I could buy the ferrous fumarate without a prescription. (I've since discovered that Boots insist on a prescription, but Lloyds and some other pharmacies don't.) Each box of 84 pills costs just over £4 from Lloyds.

Taking iron pills gives many people constipation. The best way of dealing with this is to take each iron pill with 500mg - 1000mg of vitamin C, because vitamin C loosens things up. The vitamin C also has the advantage that it helps your body to absorb the iron.

I would suggest your sister takes her levo first thing in the morning before breakfast. Then she could take her iron after lunch, after her evening meal and just before bed. Alternatively she could take her levo at night and take the iron earlier, but personally I always found that impossible to fit in. The important thing to be aware of is to keep the levo and the iron separated by four hours.

Building up iron can take some people a very long time. I had blood tests done after about 6 months and my ferritin had improved but still wasn't brilliant, and my iron and haemoglobin were still very low in range.

If your sister has problems tolerating the iron she has been prescribed, then be aware that there are many other ways of taking it, and other iron compounds which work. It is just trial and error to find what works.

Take iron with 100mg vitC to aid absorption and four hours away from Levothyroxine. I think it can take 3/4 months to increase. I think you're right about increasing her thyroxine as her symptoms and rising TSH indicate under medication.

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