Thyroid UK
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Low ferritin dismissed by GP and also blood specialist at a private hospital

Hi everyone, I tried to link this to a thread that human bean directed me to but it would not post!

I am new to all this so learning as I go!

I just wanted to ask about my ferritin.

A couple of months ago I went to the doctor as I was exhausted all of the time and very teary.

My ferritin iron levels showed up as 6!

But as my HB was in the range (only just) they said that all was ok.

The GP and blood specialist actually said that low ferritin does not cause fatigue.

So I then started on Vega iron tablets and 4 weeks after i started them, I re-tested and it showed that I am up to 15 for ferritin.

I need to re-test soon to see if it is still creeping up.

So I guess my question is why did the GP and a supposedly iron specialist at a private hospital say low ferritin does not cause fatigue? They said as my HB is ok - it means nothing. They make you feel like you are going mad!!

They also blamed my fatigue on 'low mood' as they saw on my records that I have admitted to that in the past couple of years. It is so frustrating and upsetting!


9 Replies

As I understand it, you need ferritin as well as other vitamins and minerals for good uptake of thyroid meds.

Has your ferritin been tested any other time as it would be useful to compare? Really unless the blood specialist knows your ferritin history then he's not got the whole picture.


^a simple google scholar search hypothyroid+ferritin is illuminating


Dearest Kell79, you are dealing with morons. Were they both men? Very, very dim and ignorant anyway. Ignore them. A ferritin level of 15, let alone 6, is frighteningly low. Of course it is making you feel tired. Get it up to about 80 or 90. Use Ferrochel (Solgar Gentle Iron) two a day (40mg - check the box) or Ferrous Fumerate of Bisglycinate or anything that works for you.

The ranges for ferritin and for haemoglobin are intrinsically chauvinist. And I am not someone who ever thought about burning a bra. They are not evidence based. To set the ranges they measured a lot of women, many of whom were iron deficient or sick. They didn't even check if they ate the recommended amount of iron. And then they set this range of women as "normal".

Once more I am going to include some quotes and some links because this message really needs to get out.

I'll put them below so this message doesn't wipe out while I find them. If you have the energy, (probably you don't) could you note for your records the names of the doctors who have told you this, and the dates they told you it.


From a World Health Organisation document on ferritin.

"Discrepancies remain in the definition of normal ranges of serum ferritin con¬centration. Some manufacturers define a normal range as the ferritin concentra¬tion found in unselected, apparently normal subjects. However, a proportion of the normal population have almost no storage iron without being anaemic, particularly young women, and a smaller proportion will be anaemic. The “normal range” in young females will thus include ferritin concentrations found in iron deficiency."

More follows

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Search for this paper.

Why should women have lower reference limits for haemoglobin and ferritin concentrations than men?

D Hugh Rushton, honorary senior lecturer,a Robin Dover, clinical research officer,b Anthony W Sainsbury, senior veterinary officer,c Michael J Norris, senior lecturer,a Jeremy J H Gilkes, consultant dermatologist,d and Ian D Ramsay, consultant endocrinologistd


Which says amongst much else: "Women worldwide are at risk of being in a negative iron balance, and by current criteria if their haemoglobin concentration is less than 115 g/l they are deemed to be anaemic, whereas in men the cut-off point is 130 g/l.15"

Is your haemoglobin by any chance below 130g???

Summary points from this piece:

•It is considered “normal” to find lower red blood cell counts and lower haemoglobin and serum ferritin concentrations in menstruating women than in age matched men

•No other mammal, including the menstruating primates, exhibits such a sex difference, and neither is there a difference in humans before puberty or after menopause

•Menstruation is the main cause of iron loss in women; 90% of UK women do not achieve the daily recommended intake of iron from their diet

•Populations used to establish reference ranges for women contained a large proportion of those with iron deficiency, thus the lower limits are too low

•This hidden deficiency has fundamental implications for women's health, particularly adolescent girls

•Male reference ranges for ferritin and haematological parameters may be of more value when assessing iron status in women

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PS The cause of your "low mood" is the incompetence and bullying condescension of those paid high sums to help you.


Dearest Aspmama, thank you so much for all your information. I feel mored listened to on this forum than I have felt in years. You are giving me hope.

I am seeing a specialist next week in London who is more of an 'outside of the box' thinker. She said she is going to look at all the issues.

Are there any particular iron supplements that you could recommend for raising my ferritin?

I have a rather sensitive stomach so nothing the GP advises is doable.

I do eat a lot of beef now and make sure I have VIT C etc.



Some interesting posts there Aspmama.


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