Symptoms of low T3 and low ferritin levels

I've been posting recently about my sister who has low ferritin and low T3 levels ,we have just discoveredthis from a private blood test , though TSH is 0.87 . Would this cause excessive yawning / gaping and a feeling that you can't breath deeply especially after walking .. Hoping to see Dr next week and try to get a trial of T3 , if T3 levels are raised would this also enable ferritin levels to go up as it seems one hinders the other the is that correct .. ? Very concerned about these symptoms is there any other cause ??? She had irregular heart beats a few weeks ago and went to Dr for trace told all ok ,normally her heart rate is very low around 60 Bpm .Thanks once again for your help.Val

20 Replies

Hi Val

As T3 is the hormone responsible for getting energy into the body's cells then your sister's symptoms would be in keeping. The thing is, I was given T3 by the Endo when my ferritin was 13 and it is no exaggeration to say it nearly finished me off. The body cannot metabolise thyroid hormones without adequate storage iron (ferritin). If you are hypothyroid for a long time your stomach is very low in acid and this leads to malabsorption of nutrients including iron. So taking iron with vitamin C is an absolute must. I found it trial and error and the only thing that seems to work for me is Floradix which I take with a glass of water with apple cider vinegar. It can take a long time to build the levels up. So your sister could try T3 but it may be that she needs to get her iron up first, sorry, I can't see what her level is?

I also experienced similar symptoms with NDT although not quite as drastic as with the T3, and I found a big breakthrough for me was starting large dose of sublingual B12. Has your sister been tested for this?

Best wishes, Caroline

yes this is what concerns me , speeding up your body when it has been low for so long ,,,I'm not sure what ferritin level was ,I will check with her and post but I think it was about 37 if that rings a bell .Not sure about the b12 or the level will check that too,she has had some bloods done recently at Dr .Thanks again Val

Hello again Caroline sister has had a b12 test , though she has been taking b12 for the last 40 days ,rec by Dr P ..Results were Active B12 110 range 25 to 165.. ferritin is now 62 was 37 2 months ago range 13 to 150 .Foliate greater than 20 range 13 to 150 ... Blue horizon test they commented that Foliate level elevated , but not unusual and can be tolerated by humans .. caused usually by supplementation .. would you think that she should not have taken b12 when tested or is it normal and low T3 bottom of range causing breathlessness gaping etc .Thanks again Val

Hi Val, So yes, she ideally should not have been supplementing with B12 before getting it tested so there is no way of knowing what her level was. Those ranges do not look familiar to me, the range I got given was simply >160 excluded deficiency. But that is not worth the paper it's written on as in the UK the level at which deficiency is diagnosed is far too low. Did she have a normal blood test via her GP?

Ferritin - really good progress there, STTM say it needs to be between 70 and 90 so she is almost there and has raised it quickly.

Folate - I am afraid I don't know enough about this to comment, hopefully someone will answer who is. Otherwise you could join the B12 Deficiency group on Facebook and ask there.

What is your sister's Free T3 result? Has she been given any T3 yet?

Hi Cario. Did you find out the cause of low iron? And what is your current treatment for it; ie are you still on Floradix and vit c?


Hi, I believe my ferritin was rock bottom after 20 years of insufficient thyroid hormone.  Almost two years' later I have just got it up to 105 - the only way I found that works for me is with Floradix 10ml twice daily - before breakfast and dinner, and Sourced Naturals Advanced Ferrochel one tablet with lunch.  It has been a constant case of trial and error and now I am trying to find the best way to maintain it without it dropping back again, so I am trying Ferrochel tablet three times a week.   I have been injecting with B12 alternate days for a year and that uses a lot of ferritin up which has made it more difficult for me in particular.

Yes my sister is still taking floridex ,, levels have increased a bit but not that good still ...seems to be a constant battle .

Low ferritin will make people very breathless, and so will low thyroid hormone levels. In 2013 I could only get upstairs on hands and knees, very slowly. I was breathless and I had chronic chest pain. I also had episodes of tachycardia and palpitations. I ended up having to treat my own anaemia and pay for my own blood tests. I can now walk upstairs like normal people.

Oh dear that sounds awful but you have got your iron up now ,did it take a long time ?? I glad you are better

It has taken a long time. I last tested after 18 months on iron supplements and my results were still not ideal, but they were getting close. (I've tested several times over the 18 months.) I'll be arranging tests within the next month or so, and I'm hoping I can reduce my iron supplements to 1 a day in an attempt to maintain my levels. I've been taking 3 a day most of the time.

I obviously have big problems absorbing iron. It really shouldn't have taken so long to raise my levels as it did. I think improving iron stores should usually take no more than 3 - 6 months.

I still have a slight degree of breathlessness, but after three months of thyroid treatment I am slowly starting to see it improve further.

Hi, I am new to this site and have been reading what people have been writing with great interest. I felt compelled to ask if you have been tested for pernicious anaemia? It is a condition where the body can't absorb iron properly. Perhaps that's why your levels are low after so long. It can be treated with injections. X

No not pernicious anemia she was tested ,, low ferritin .. Still taking floridex ,, she is better but not that well Thankyou Val 

yes it seems a slow difficult job raising ferritin and iron levels once they get to rock bottom my sister will have to persevere for longer I fear ,Glad you are improving now .Thanks for your reply

low ferritin is a big marker for hypothyroid however ferritin levels are required for the body to be able to convert the t4 in levo into t3

hence if you take t3 your body cells can start to function and you can take iron and vit c to restore ferritin levels but always 4 hours away from the t3

Right do you think best to take T3 first ? I suppose it's so hard to raise ferritin when T 3 is on bottom of range ,,hope Dr will cooperate as I don't think she wants to self medicate .thanks Val

Hi Val, this sounds like I was, till they picked up my low B12. I was constantly yawning and gaping/gasping to get air into my lungs. I am hypothyroid too, and assumed it was that causing the problem. Hope your sister can get this sorted soon, but do ask for B12, ferritin, folate, and D3 to be tested. Best wishes MariLiz

Right , are you better now , ? Will get Dr to check B12 and post results as soon as possible .Thanks again

Thanks Val, yes I am much better, but still get problems when my B12 levels fall before my next injection. Also if I get a bad cold/flu my breathing gets worse. I think it would anyway, if the cold was bad enough. MariLiz

Several things can cause breathlessness. If someone hasn't had problems previously it can be down to several things, i.e. B12 or hypothyroidism or iron deficiency anaemia. Many times nowadays we are told we haven't a problem with the thyroid gland because either we haven't been tested for it or low B12 etc. Maybe some are diagnosed as asthmatic.

Studies have been done and this is a link for your information.

Hi, my ferritin and T3 are frequently at the low end. I recently started treatment for the first time via NDT. I decided that, as I'd been undiagnosed and untreated for so many years, it would be wise to raise my ferritin level via plant-derived iron capsules and vitamin c, and then start a low dose 1/4 grain NDT - to avoid T3 &/or T4 startling my heart/body. So far, so good. I've not yet seen an improvement in 4 days of taking it. However, I think the improvement will come when I increase the NDT dose or as the NDT builds up in my body. Well.. I hope so! :)

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