High ferritin, low haemoglobin

In 2009 my ferritin was 16 (15-350) so, according to my endo at the time ‘low normal’. Because I don’t tolerate any oral iron well, it took me five years to raise my ferritin level to a respectable 102 in April 2014. Then I reached menopause and I figured I would then be safe to stop wrestling with iron supplements.

Even with ferritin over 100, I still had diffuse hair loss, which was very upsetting for me. That fixed itself when I changed from 150mcg levothyroxine to 2 gr Thyroid S back in February this year. I figure that the hair loss was ultimately a side effect of the levothryoxine.

I’ve recently had a set of blood tests and MCV came back below range, with a flag from the lab suggesting that this was indicative of iron deficiency and I should get my ferritin tested. I did that and this time round MCV is back in range and ferritin is 279(15-350), so it’s gone up 177 points in just over a year!

Of course I’m now worrying:

•Whether my ferritin is now too high and

•Whether it is significant that my Hb, which was always mid-range when my ferritin was low, is now 126 (120-150)

Does anyone have any thoughts?


8 Replies

  • Ferritin can raise significantly with infection or inflammation. I would just retest in 6 weeks before worrying. The body does strange things sometimes.


  • But also, obviously, for now maybe avoid foods with iron added to them, like cornflakes in the UK and most bread.

    I would think it was the low iron that caused the hair loss, (together with the hypo) but maybe the body needs the T3 to use it to regrow. Very interesting that you fixed it.

    I don't see why high iron storage would reduce the haem count. That doesn't make sense. But I would look at what the male ranges are for HB - the equivalent to the female range you were given - and apply the male range. I think that might suggest you are still a little anaemic.

    How are you feeling?

  • I have iron overload.

    If you want to go down the "restricting iron diet" route The Haemochromotosis Society recommends:

    -- Avoid vitamin supplements or tonics containing iron, and breakfast cereals heavily fortified with iron.

    -- Large doses of vitamin C should also be avoided, as it makes the process of depositing iron in some organs easier and enhances the absorption of iron from the diet. Vitamin C should be taken outside of meal times for the same reason.

    -- Patients should limit the intake of offal (liver, kidney etc.) and red meat. The rate of iron absorption from red meat is 20% to 30% whereas vegetables and grains have less iron and a 1% to 20% rate of absorption

    -- Minimise alcohol intake, particularly with meals, as it may increase iron absorption and it can also cause liver disease. Anyone who has cirrhosis should avoid all alcohol

    --Tea and milk products taken with a meal reduce the amount of iron absorbed

    --Raw oysters and clams may contain an organism named Vibrio Vulnificus. Iron is an important growth factor for Vibrio Vulnificus which multiplies rapidly in individuals with iron overload. Vibrio Vulnificus infection can be fatal

    --People with iron overload may be more prone to illness from raw shellfish that has been left in warm conditions

    I always think this so ironic when most on this forum are trying to increase their iron levels but then we are all different.

    Ansteynomad, If I were you I still wouldn't worry until a second blood test confirmed the same findings.


  • Or a quick and easy way to reduce your iron load is to donate your blood



  • That is what I have to do every month now until levels drop. Only been once and it was horrid.


  • I had the blood tests initially because, in the last four months, I have had a chest infection, four separate episodes of stomach upset, a throat infection and now a cold.

    Other than that, I'm fine.

  • It sounds very possible that your high ferritin is due to infection and inflammation. As Flower007 says, it would be wise to test again in a few weeks. If it is still that high it might be worth looking into the potential reasons.

    I hope you start to feel better soon!

  • Anstey, have a look here for reasons for low Hb labtestsonline.org/understa...

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