Thyroid UK
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connection between iron metabolism and hypothiroidsim

i was searching through the web yesterday, and reading researches on the ferritin , b12 and folate and iron metabolism.....

there is one hormone that is called hepcidin, it is in the liver, and it regulates complete metabolsim of the iron, i noticed many hypo people have problem with low iron and/or b12! and this puzzles me why this is not addressed together? (some studies on mices showed that combined therapy of iron +t4 gave better results then takin just on or the other on treating iron lvls)

It seems that body doesnt want to absorb iron from the food if there is low grade chronic inflamation going on...and that kind of inflamation can be casued by exercising.....and i remember i was always active even though my body was depleated with everything (so body with hypo people can register walking as exercising too if its more then it can do??)....

iron is directly correlated to oxidative metabolism, which is again affected by hypothrioid probably body concludes there is no reason to uptake more iron if the oxidative metabolism will just make the body weaker....becasue not sufficient hormones to keep it going??

this is just my theory...but bottom line is.....when one finds hypo problem should check ferritin level and prescribe both things together, if ferritin is not improving this means thyroid hormones are not balanced enough??

this was my case at least, my ferritin could never improve....

so curious to see if on better therapy after 1-2 years my iron gets fixed serum b12 is good, did not measure folate (since i think there may be false rsults).

Also not enough copper, zink can influence iron absorption..but i watch my diet for the last 6 years....was bombing myself with iron rich food :) bluebrrries every single day now :) meat it my feleing the body doesnt want to absorb more! :), i tried with more stomach acid too, but to na avail......iron is absorbed in duodenum 1-2mg per day only and that same amount is wasted every day too

if anyone comes across some explanation to it i would be so curious this is my conclusion only....since i see this permanent connection between oxygen in blood and hypothyroid

24 Replies

ivy, if you have heavy periods, then the iron from food is probably not enough to replace what is lost. In hypothyroidism iron is not absorbed from the food adequately because levels of stomach acid and enzymes are low. That's a consequence of hypothyroidism. In the old days, women were encouraged to eat liver once per week. These days people have decided that liver is 'yuk'. Liver is a vitamin on a plate. Lots of B vitamins and A and iron and everything. Fabulous. One of my friends grew up in France. Her mother used to cook liver, kidney and brains each once per week. Very healthy.

If you want a zinc bomb, eat oysters. That'll give you lots of vitamin K2 as well.


i dont have heavy periods! they tend to decrease when my iron is very very low.....supplementing for years with iron, bcomplex c vitamin, i eat healthy all 6 years :)


ivy, have you been checked for hemaglobinopathy? Like thalassemia trait? I know someone from Italy who has this and her hemoglobin etc. can never get higher than 120. This makes her get out of breath if she tries to run. But she walks and gets on with life fine otherwise. She had her thyroid removed a couple of years ago and there's 'issues' with that for sure. But she was born with the thalassemia trait.


i think i read about i dont have it i can get hemoglobine on upper level, blood responds well to iron , just ferritin not, like there is a cap on it....and i was thinking it must be thyroid....interestingly this iron is crucial thing in oxydative metabolism, this is what i think if you dont have hormones fixed, you cannot fix iron? doc told me that patients fix their iron problem when they fix thyroid....since i did not fix mine maybe thats why? but noone writes about this that amazes me....i do have slightly larger spleen, but slightly...and this may be in connection and i have this larger number of RBC....and thats all....i would maybe have to visit hematologist i just cant give money to anyone when i dont trust them at all...they would just put me through various tests and i can live supplementing, it helps me......its more theoretically i would think they should already know the link.....if metabolism is lower body will not absorb more iron, and that is it...something liek that?


Don't know Ivy. My ferritin was 120 last time it was tested when I was hypo. But I had been consuming liver and stuff like that on a regular basis in relatively large amounts.

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thank you!! this is th eonly thing i did not eat , liver :)....cause it stinks so much usually, will try getting some organic :)


Ivy, if you want to reduce smell, soak it in milk first. Not pork liver. Chicken liver, beef liver.


just checked those food also have selenium and b12 :).thank you!! chicken liver tastes better :)...thank you for good advice! will try !


ivy, I don't know about Croatia, I'm Hungarian. I think there's probably several foods in common. Like 'hurka': petlja? That has liver and stuff with rice or 'veres hurka'.. blood sausage. All taste great and provide amazing vitamins, minerals. Real Vitamin A (not beta carotene), K2. The Italians make all sorts of great fresh sausage.

I make sure there are no variables adversely affecting how I feel so that the thyroid and cortisol issues can be directly addressed. Vitamin D is high, vitamin A upper range of normal, ferritin excellent, etc.

Actually lots of people have low vitamin A as well. Since liver is a 'package' deal and most people don't eat it, all of the B vitamins, iron, other minerals, etc. are suspect. Pills just don't get as well absorbed as nutrients in natural food. Long gone are the days when people ate 'offal' on a regular basis. The misguided cholesterol hysteria has resulted in large dietary shifts in the population. People don't eat red meat, eggs and dairy. BigPharma is swooning with delight.

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yes absolutely agree with you!!

yes i know blood sausage we call it: krvavica hehehe, i never liked it :) i was bad with eating red meat as well then 6 years ago i started, now i really like it, and like all those things i did not like before as a kid and for the most of my adulthood :)----i loved fish ...

this year i will eat liver :)......i eat eggs, diary, but you are so right i did not eat properly for years.....

now if we eat meat we just eat red meat ...not all other parts of the animal which have other valuable stuff..the bottom line our food became less diversified!......and its catching on us all


Back many years ago I didn't eat eggs or much meat. My ferritin was 26. My doctor didn't think that was a problem. (duh). I've only ever had B12 checked once: 14 years ago. It was 315. It wasn't her idea to test this. I guess she doesn't want the ministry of health to reduce her personal income by accusing her of ordering too many blood tests for her patients. Even though I was taking T4 and patients taking thyroxine are supposed to have their fT4 and fT3 monitored, she only ever tested TSH. Well, we all know that's pretty useless for a person who has hypothyroidism and is on medication. These days and for years now I make sure there's nothing missing and no one can make excuses that how I feel is because I'm missing any mineral or vitamin from my diet. I eat 12 raw oysters every month to make sure I've got my zinc and vitamin K2 as well. It's not as orthorexic as it sounds. I don't have to go to any extra effort to do any of this.


hahaha soo good!!...i will do it now too, i was trying with supplements i have one full bag of supplements :)) although i started to believe taking anything synthetic just messes with the balance and we still have no idea how things actually work in the body......but i was trying to help myself and reading on the internet made me do it ....then i did notice some benefits!

i bake bread for myself, from various things (6 eggs in it so this is my source of eggs)...trying to diversify now, eat only fresh cow milk, fresh diary stuff , organic, and we have lots of good vegetables and fruits in the market thats no problem, the only problem is to find good meat ..but with little effort i will sort it out....

i think i have to do something about my zinck, and vitamin E.......i know i was all sorts of vitamin mineral defficient although i watched what i eat more then average person in the last 6 years...still it was not enough, was eating too much sugars, b12 is close to 500 something like was almost on the higher end.....but ferritin is my struggle :)

it takes years to regain the balance once lost....

i am much more aware of the food since last year...and try to make it all right :)so i guess it takes time for this to start working...but it is better......i use magnesium oil this was helpful really....becasue soil is magnesium defficient ...etc

i think its logical that we pay attention now to the food when we have that experience :) many people just have no idea....i look at food differently now :) must be tasty but i want nutrients in there too :) the supermarkets i can number 10 things i buy :) just avoid all E numbers and such stuff.....i had my portion of bad diet for this life :)


Ivy, it took several years for my guts to recover from Hepatitis A. That was back in 1997. Digestion was poor. So yes, I think, depending on what ails a person, it can take quite some time to become 'optimal'. Even with this thyroid business. After 20 years of under treatment, I am expecting a long recovery. I have to do things in a very subversive way since as patients we are held hostage by doctors and government regulations. At least you people in Europe and England can access medication easily.


Oh dear gabkad,

I noticed healing metabolic issues can last years, they were created over the years too!!

This is now 8th pill i took, i just feel scared now to sense how probably normal people feel in their bodies!......for the first time in 15 years i feel in the evening i want to go to sleep,

I can not survive without eating something for 6 hours, i need to eat my lunch now, just amazing....this is like i bought myself a new body in a shop...its kind of scary, i get shaky light headed if i dont eat lunch!so that i would faint......i feel so much better regarding my mood, i am in a good mood, yes i get upset when come home in the evening tired and see a mess:-) like i would always get upset, but somehow more peace through the day.....i hope this new therapy works, as i like it, i hope this eating will sort out as well......and i hope the therapy wont stop working, i want to get rid of that irritability and depression i suffered from, and i was never that kind of person before.....

And yes i can totaly understand what you mean, by beein subversive....i honestly think doctors dont know! How can you explain someone what is fatigue, what does it mean brain fogg? And intensity of it, its all so relative, and doctors just not smart enough-they are at best very average people.....its scary......i feel with new therapy like i got new body and still learning how things function now:-) ...its huge difference, and someone who never experienced what it means to get up tired every day for 15 years.......i think they simply can not give meaning to those numbers in the blood test results.....

I hope i wont get heart attack:-) on this new therapy

It feels like someone took our freedom, when we ar enot able to decide ourselves what is best for us, but some doctor who has just formal knowledge and got that certificate but in essence is not talented for his job, or doesnt care, or not interested ..becasue he has licence he can do mistakes:-) ....seems like they can not learn from patients experiences , because all patient tells is subjective and all doctor think is objective:-)


ivy, by accident last night I took 12.5 mcg T3 with the 100 T4 and this morning I thought, who cares, I took 12.5 mcg T3. I didn't eat breakfast but was in the supermarket at noon and just had to eat something (right after I paid for it). The weather here is really hot and humid. 3 hours of being out and about shopping just about killed me. It's 6 p.m. Starving. I don't know what's going on. I"m not usually this hungry. I'm going to skip a dose tonight because I think this is too much too fast. My back doesn't hurt though. It's day 5 of going from 88 to 100 mcg T4 and really, I don't think the added T3 was a good idea. Phew. Live and learn.


Hehehe hello gabkad:-)

This is t3 making you houngry, but its perfect!!,its my 9th day i think i totaly used to it now, it takes few days to get used to it, it can be scary:-) since you dont know how it were never forced to eat before....

i must have a lunch exactly 5 hours after my breakfast:-) but evening is not so critical, i eat nice breakfast, so thats how t3 pushes you to be normal, low metabolism is what we suffer from......this t3 gives energy, but also asks for some food, but i think my body will probably got used to it and slow down:-) ....i did sport today, and it significantly slows it down, or i spent that extra t3

Just want to say dont worry, i did not see i eat more, just more regularly....and i like it so much, that i have to go to eat, and then i dont think about the food after that lunch, ...and i sleep much better

So if you ask me, for me taking 25 in one dose was much better then split, and it takes about 10 days to get used to it, dont worry, all will be fine!.....if you do some sport you decrease the effect of t3 easily......:-) .....if i did not split 2 days i would not feel any side effects except that hunger :-) ...i felt also it affected my bowel movements...but all fine now:-) ........

T3+ t4 is much nicer makes my life better.


ivy, I'm always a bit, how shall we say, cautious? You are at least 20 years younger than I am, so your body will adapt to change faster.

When I was taking 136 mcg T4 for several weeks in December 2012 I got diarrhoea. I don't know if it was the home made sauerkraut or the T4. But the global anxiety when I couldn't get to sleep and my heart was going 'boom boom boom' was the T4.



Can I ask how long it took you to get your ferretin up from 26 to a normal level and how you did that. Mine is abysmal at 23. It was fine at 70 before I got sick and it plummeted substantially. I cant take NDT for fear that it will not be converted properly and I am on 180 mcg of T3 but no changes. All this after perfect health, triggered by a stressful trauma.


Szia suzannai (my daughter is Suzannah!), I honestly don't know how long it took for the ferritin to go up because it was not tested between 2000 and 2013. I started to eat Paleo back in 2008 because my daughter has celiac. She was still living at home and we modified our diet. (I think she's also hypo, didn't get her period until age 17 and then sporadically. She does not have PCOS. Endo put her on the birth control pill. It's hard to influence one's own children when they are adults.)

When I went Paleo I started eating crazy stuff like lamb chops for breakfast (absolutely delicious btw). Lots of eggs, liver, kidney, pork belly, baby goat (curried). Also cod liver pate (it's in a tin from Norway. There is also cod liver in cod liver oil: a veritable vitamin A bomb plus vitamin K2.) I was eating lots of vegetables and various types of animal parts. Not particularly 'into' beef except liver and kidney. Pork and lamb kidney. Lots of fresh Hungarian sausage, Italian sausage, blood sausage. (Yes, Hungarian blood sausage IS fantastic. Way better than the British version.)

But then my hemoglobin also went up to 160 along with ferritin at 120 and I backed off. I am more judicious about all this organ meat now. Have lamb kidneys in the freezer.

I've tried lamb liver (not particularly tasty) and goat testicles even(LOL!!!) I live in an area where all this stuff is available including sheep head, beef lungs, pig uterus, duck tongues and feet, chicken feet and all sorts of tripe, you name it, if it's animal guts it's in the supermarket. Roasted duck feet are great btw. I just think we should respect the fact we kill animals and not waste what is good to eat. I gave goat testicles my best shot but apparently they are good as kebabs. Not having a barbecue at home, I pass.

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I am Hungarian too and love hurka...interesting because I hated it as a child and last time I was home (when I had already been ill) it was all my body wanted to eat. I am deficient in iron, ferretin is 23, but I am also wondering about zinc and Vitamin A as I have terrible bumps on my arms, legs and back that look like follicular hyperkeratosis. I think the zinc and A deficiency go hand in hand however. It seems that us with thryoid problems have more nutrient depletions than most people. I am currently being checked for heavy metals and pyrole disorder as this could explain much. and I have been craving eggs.


Suzannai, I don't like lecso. Those light coloured kind of white/light green Hungarian peppers. Thick skin. The long sweet red peppers (in England the ones I bought were imported from Israel) are delicious.

I think the huge problem with diet and hypothyroid is we don't have the energy to cook healthy meals. Aside from absorption problems. Who feels like cooking when the easiest thing is to eat something, anything and go to sleep?


I dont mind lesco but I see what you mean about the peppers.

Yes, I do attribute the low iron somewhat to getting sick. I used to love to cook and eat and now I dont care for food at all doesnt make me feel better, I feel too full and tired after I eat. Maybe low HCL or low zinc. I am also being ruled out for Pyrolle disease which causes low zinc and B6 and high copper and has been correlated to hypothyroid. As I said, all labs are normal for me for thyroid but I have all the symptoms including myxedema of face, arms, abdomen. All this after a stressful event. Something is preventing the thyriod hormone from being used as I am on 180 mcg of T3 and no better now after 3 months.

I live in the US so there is lots of barbeque here in the south but I havent been able to even stand the sight or smell of it. Just want vegetarian food, not even fish but I know that if zinc and copper are problems then I have to eat meat.


ANd yes, I can sleep 18 hours and not feel better. Have always been a strong sleeper easy to tire, wonder if this has been a problem for a long time and just didnt know.

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I think so too!i just wonder if hypo is a disease or , just one form of life:-) i dont know but i want that energy i want to feel nice, good mood, warm, tired in the evening, refreshed in the morning, i did not feel like this for 15 years!


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