Thyroid UK

Help with iron


I wondered if anyone could advise how long you should take iron for?

My Ferritin was 42.3 (range 20-150 ) & I have been taking Holland & Barrett iron 14 mg plus vitamin c. I make sure I take it as far away from Levo as possible. My serum folate is also high at 44.63 (10.4-42.4) although I don't think it's a problem, but since I've been taking iron I've had a lot of headaches.

Please could someone advise.

Thanks for your help.

Lou. X

6 Replies

Unfortunately you've asked a question that none of us can answer. People absorb iron at different rates.

A healthy person might raise their iron quickly, and go from being iron-deficient up to optimal levels in 2 - 3 months.

Someone who doesn't absorb iron well may take a lot longer. I was severely iron deficient. I started taking iron and had blood tests every few months. It took me nearly 2 years to get my ferritin level up to slightly above mid-range. In the end what finally got me there was going gluten-free.

So, until you've been tested a few times and know from the results how well you absorb iron, you won't know when to stop. The problem is that too much iron is dangerous, and going much above mid-range should be avoided.

One thing I will say though... The dose of iron you are taking is very small, and I suspect your iron is going up very, very slowly, or possibly not even at all.

You're taking 14mg iron. Healthy people need 14mg of iron per day - or at least it is it's the official recommended daily allowance - which is unlikely to raise your levels, at best it will keep it ticking along at the same level. Just for comparison, I used to take 207mg iron per day. I am really, really bad at absorbing iron. You can't use my dose as an example until you know how well you absorb it.

Sorry my answer can't be definite. There is not a simple answer to your question.

Edit : I made a typo - I was taking 207mg iron per day, not 297mg per day, as I originally posted! :O


Everything humanbean says is true. Ask the gp for a ferritin test and if it is refused, get one privately. Meanwhile eat lots of black pudding or steak, if you can bear to.


Ok thanks for that Aspmama. Shall bear that in mind. I eat lots of green veg & eggs too. Am going out Tuesday night so will try the steak.

Lou x

1 like

The iron in meat is more easily absorbed than in veg. Think cave man.

1 like

Yes I guess that's true. I don't eat much red meat really. Will have to try & eat more.



Thanks Humanbean it's given me something to think about. It was the headaches that scared me as I didn't have that many until I started iron. Still it's probably not related. Shall keep getting tested to check



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