Can Hashimoto's cause iron deficiency? - Thyroid UK

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Can Hashimoto's cause iron deficiency?

unlucky777 profile image
15 Replies

'Cos my ferritin has dropped steeply from 65 to 14. Haemoglobin is still normal at 13.4 (for now). Basically, to recap, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease last year. GP put me on Levothyroxine, couldn't stand the side-effects, and stopped taking it. However, my TSH went from 5.6 to 11.2 and I started up on 50mcg Levothyroxine again. Went through a month of feeling at death's door, then felt more normal. Have been on the Levy for 2-3 months.

A couple of weeks ago, my GP ordered some blood tests. (As an aside, can you request a printout of results at the doctor's surgery? This would have saved me a torturous 20-minute encounter with a clueless receptionist the other day.) Everything but ferritin was supposedly normal: B12 (291), folate (4.8), CRP (6.6) and TSH (4.57).

I'm a bit concerned about B12, because I keep on getting tingling in my feet, hands. lower limbs and even face. At night time I get burning feet. I do feel like I am having symptoms of B12 deficiency, even though my level is 'normal'. I'm not on any B12 supplementation, which I feel like I should be with Crohn's.

But my ferritin bugs me even more, because I spent years struggling with iron-deficiency anaemia. Never really got it under control until after my surgery for Crohn's in Feb 2013. For about a year my ferritin hovered around the 65 mark, but now it's dropped down to 14. I'm paranoid my Crohn's is back, but I do need to consider the Hashimoto's as a possible cause too - see thread title. Google hasn't helped much with this one.

In the meantime, have been prescribed ferrous fumarate. Would like to ask a few more questions, but I'll just stick with the iron stuff for now. Thanks folks. PS: Feel like crap at the moment, really.

15 Replies
Jessiepup profile image

Hi, I can't answer your question only to say I had an iron infusion last December which put my Ferritin up to 175 - last week I had a blood test which shows ferritin at 25!!! It had all gone and I have no idea why.

I don't have Hashimotos but an underactive Thyroid - it's a mystery to me, but I think we are looking for an answer to the same question.

Ps I had the iron infusion because tablets just weren't raising levels.

chihiro profile image

What jumps out at me is Crohns,it is very common to have absorption issues with gut disease.

Your b12 is causing the pins and needles,I wouldn't call your level normal! Your folate looks low too. I have hashi and pretty much the same problems with ferritin,folate and b12.

On my way out to work but I know others will comment too. I think you might need b12 shots and gp should look into low levels and check for PA. should supplement with folic acid too.

crimple profile image

I was diagnosed hypo 7 years ago and after feeling really unwell last November asked for a TPO antibody test in November. The number was very high and so I also have Hashimotos'. GP's do not know how to treat us, there doesn't appear to be any treatment, my levo was increased slightly and that was it. I started to read up on Hashi's and many books point to gluten and lactose in the diet affecting your TPO levels (increasing them) So I am now on gluten free and almost totally lactose free and for the moment seem better and my antibodies have come right down. (Books- Robb Wolf the paleo diet and Isabella Wentz the root cause, there are plenty of others) The evidence points to Crohn's- another auto immune disease and such things as diabetes all being interlinked. Doing the diet is not easy, you must read all food labels. I made all my meals from scratch so that I knew what was in them. The gluten etc damages your gut and affects how you absorb nutrients from your food. Prior to Hypo diagnosis I was told I had wheat intolerance but still ate barley, oats and rye and my health did improve. Again I think the issue then was absorption and almost certainly it affects iron/ferritin levels.You have to do your own research, most docs won't even give you a Hashi's diagnosis as they then have to offer a treatment!!!Food is not seen as being important, except possibly for coeliacs and they will probably diagnose IBS or something else. I always say you wouldn't put diesel in a petrol car, so it is vital to monitor your food intake. I hope this helps you on the road to recovery.

astroscopesuk profile image
astroscopesuk in reply to crimple

i read in your reply that food doesn't seem to be important,, surely food is very important!!! More so for folk with thyroid issues.

People seem to think that others with thyroid problems are some sort of nitpick hypochondriacs..

with odd food fads, until they eat something that is bad for their thyroid and have a few months of hell trying to recover!!

Life and food go hand in hand and as there are plants on the earth that harm and plants that heal there is food that harms and food that supports,,i wouldnt say heals in thyroids case as nothing seems to heal it at present, but just as a diesel engine wont run with the wrong type of fuel neither will a body with thyroid issues.

Im not a foody but this is basics!



crimple profile image
crimple in reply to astroscopesuk

I think you may have misread! I said others including medics don't see food or diet as important. I was trying to illustrate that in my case and probably for most Hashis food is very very important. Sorry if I confused you

astroscopesuk profile image
astroscopesuk in reply to crimple

sorry if i seem to have misunderstood..

i wish gps would wise up as food and life and health go hand in hand but gps seem to think that they are there just to prescribe painkillers!! or some rubbish drug that is going to make one really ill,, this thyroid thing is an area that they really need to get to grips with

!! sorry didnt mean to have this misunderstanding, i hope you feel better soon..

i hope we all do. this condition is really horrible.

all the best

very sorry


crimple profile image
crimple in reply to astroscopesuk

No problem, quite an involved thread to follow and some very interesting stuff, my Dad has Crohn's and his side of family is where I get hypo from so lots of interest in these threads

astroscopesuk profile image
astroscopesuk in reply to crimple

Glad we cleared that up and sorry to hear that about your family

id hate to upset anyone on this wonderful site full of earth angels x

Luvgojira profile image
Luvgojira in reply to crimple

Gave up gluten and dairy. Follow vegan diet and I do feel better.

As you have Crohns I think it is extra important that your mineral and vitamin levels are checked and supplemented whether necessary. Have you had your vitamin D levels checked too? I think your B12 levels look pretty low compared to mine - and I have had pins and needles in hands and feet too but was told mine are due to active RA. You should really push your GP to address the possible Pernicious Anaemia as soon as you can. Don't let them fob you off - as Chihiro says you probably have malabsorption issues from Crohns. Twitchy

gabkad profile image

unlucky, there's been a number of studies indicating that people with Crohn's produce antibodies to the yeast that is used to make beer, bread, wine, etc. It's so prevalent that they consider a positive test for these antibodies to be diagnostic for Crohn's. It takes about 9 months of yeast free to eliminate the antibodies.

The other thing you could check out is low dose Naltrexone. The Cochrane analysis tends to be extremely conservative. I took 4.5 mg naltrexone at night for neuropathic pain for almost a year. It worked for me and I had no adverse effects. I don't know why such a big deal is made of possible side effects from a very low dose of this medication when the side effects of the usual meds used to treat Crohn's are far, far worse. (Prednisone!)

TSH110 profile image

A TSH of 4.75 is way too high (unless the ranges are different to the ones I am basing this on) ideally it needs to be down to c1 or you will continue to get hypothyroid symptoms as you describe. I am not expert on all the vitamin stuff or the complications of Crohns but I hope you get the TSH level better and the vitamin deficiencies sorted out and start to feel better soon

unlucky777 profile image

Cheers, folks.

I have had a few iron transfusions (and one blood transfusion) because I couldn't tolerate oral iron in any form and it was useless anyway. I'm not as ill and anaemic now, so I guess I'll give the ferrous fumarate a go - would honestly just rather an iron infusion, which is so much quicker and more effective.

In my case, the Crohn's pre-dated the Hashimoto's by a long way. My GI was the one who picked up on my massively elevated TPO antibodies 3 years ago, not my GP. My GI is a good doc, but since the surgery I hardly ever see him. Should have seen him in May, that was put off to September because he wasn't in on the day of my appointment.

Should consider a gluten-free diet again, probably. Loads of people go on restrictive diets for IBD, but I didn't have any luck with diets in the past (including a gluten-free one). One of these days I will give my diet an overhaul, but right now I can't face it, tbh.

@Twitchytoes - My GP told me he wasn't "allowed" to order vitamin D tests, even though he's head of the practice now.

@gabkad - Yeah, I've heard of ASCA antibodies. I've never been tested for them (as far as I know), but am likely to be positive. At the risk of being nitpicking, a positive ASCA test is not enough to diagnose Crohn's in the absence of any other evidence, 'cos not all Crohn's patients have the antibodies. Yeast-free diet seems like it would be worth a try for Crohn's though.

Have heard of Low Dose Naltrexone, but it's hard enough to get prescribed regular drugs and vitamins prescribed sometimes, let alone anything your GP has never heard of before.

Not sure where to go from here :-/ GP is away on holiday, so it will be at least a 3-week wait to see him. Might phone the IBD nurse and ask her about B12 shots instead, since this is arguably a Crohn's issue anyway. About as looking forward to that as I am to having a hole in the head - she's not exactly overhelpful and I'm not exactly overgood at putting my point across, not even after 14 years of Crohn's.

Thanks again, folks.

Clutter profile image

Post your other questions, Unlucky, you aren't rationed here :-D

Can you post the lab ref ranges to your results. These are the figures in brackets beside your results.

Take each dose of ferrous fumarate to with 500mg-1000mg vitamin C to aid absorption and mitigate any constipaton effects.

It does appear that many hypothyroid and Hashi sufferers have low ferritin, vitaminD, B12 and folate and we undoubtedly do better when they are high in range. I'm afraid your GP lied to you about ordering vitamin tests. Of course GPs can order tests. How else do they determine deficiency? Show him the recently published guidelines below. If he still refuses I would change my GP. Vitamin status has a direct bearing on health and with Crohn's it is likely you have malabsorption issues and aren't converting.

Have you been tested for Pernicious Anaemia? Crohn's can predispose you to PA. Your B12 291 is not normal, on the contrary it is very low and your neurological symptoms indicate severe B12 deficiency. Neurogical damage can be reversed with B12 injections every other day until there is no more improvement and then by regular maintenance injectons. NHS is very mean with these considering how cheap the injections are and often restricts them to three monthly when monthly or weekly might be more appropriate.

Hashimoto's is an autoimmune disease thought to originate in the gut. You may benefit from gluten-free diet if you aren't already doing so for Crohn's and you might like to check out the Paleo diet.

Sickosmellin profile image

Hope u r feeling better. There's not usually a link between hypo or hyperthyroidism and I don't deficiency but there are several kinds of iron deficiency and we do need to narrow it down if it's strictly a lack of iron or a combination of the 12 for possibly something genetic hi why have I thyroid cancer even though my thyroid want to go I detest was cancerous and I'm ready for my second surgery my one my ironed 2% total hemoglobins at seven so on my been working I'm tired but not I don't know I know I pushed myself I'm trying to get by there taking me to Dawsons of iron and I have a livery fine even though I hate liver haven't had it since I was in a Didas a.m. child I'm going to force myself to cook it so I really don't want to transfusion but that's

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