Iron Supplement Reaction? - panicking!!!

Back here again feeling awful and frightened!!!!!! Dropped my Levo again about a week ago, which is the third time now since October due to going over active. Start to feel better after a couple of days and then bang, all the anxiety symptoms are back, it just keeps happening over and over again. On last visit to Doc two weeks ago he gave me some 210mg Ferrous Fumarate (elemental 69mg) to top up my Ferritin.

October 2015 test 56 (15-350) - no supplement

December 2nd test 56.1 (20-150) - no supplement

Jan 22nd test 61.7 (20-150) - started supplement

I started the supplement on the 22nd and have had a total of only 10 out of the pack of 28. (had last one on Friday). Apart from the anxiety and palps I have nausea and my tummy is a little tender to the touch. They haven't made me constipated, just a little loose.

I go for a no. 2 daily and this morning my stools were soft and black even though I took my last supplement on Friday. Am sitting here like a frightened rabbit again because, like we do, I have sat on Google reading up on possible overdose symptoms and I have just made myself feel worse. I am just looking for answers as to why the anxiety has come back :(

Has my Doc given me too high a dose? Have I taken too much and suffering the consequences? How long does it take for your stools to go back to normal colouring after stopping taking the supplement?

Am I being totally paranoid again?

When I took my B12 1000mcg supplement some time ago my levels shot to over range within only 2 weeks of taking it so I am wondering if my body is good at absorbing and I have now overloaded myself with iron

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30 Replies

  • I know that many people have a problem with this type of iron supplement. I wouldn't have thought you'd have overdosed in such a short time, especially as your levels seems quite low. Most get on better with a liquid version of iron. You could try that instead? I don't think this will be available through your GP, you'll have to buy this yourself. You could try Spatone or Floravital. Or there maybe other brands that others recommend on here. Are you taking your iron 3-4 hours away from your Levo dose? Because the iron can interfere with the absorption of your Levo. Of course if you're really worried about the symptoms you describe, speak to your GP, they may help take some of the worry away.

  • Hi Hea, have my Levo before I get out of bed and took the iron supplement in the late afternoon with orange juice. Have an appointment on Tuesday afternoon with my GP anyway and first appointment with Endo on Saturday. Thank you for replying, have been ill for so long now with all this anxiety its making me so paranoid.

    Just been relooking at my thyroid test results since October. October came back at T4 28.6 (9-26).......then early December via Blue Horizon it came out at 22.06 (12-22) which was slightly over range. Then last week it came back massively over range at 28.20 (12-22).

    3 times I have reduced my Levo now, each time by 25mcg since October last year and my last test showed a huge jump. I have been on 100mcg now for 11 days and I am wondering whether I actually need to reduce again already as I feel I am overmedicating again with exactly the same symptoms coming back each time

  • I haven't taken iron so someone who has will respond. When you say doctor reduced levo because you were 'overactive'. Was he making his decision on the blood test alone or where you really feeling very overactive with fast/pounding heart and very hot?

    P.S. I believe iron has to be taken 4 hours apart from levo.

  • Hi Shaws xx I made the decision to reduce my Levo again after seeing my recent results from Blue Horizon. Only ever experienced hyper symptoms since my thyroid fluctuated in September as I had always been on 150mcg for the last 10yrs with no change. Since October I have most definitely experienced hyper symptoms, OMG evil beyond belief and very very frightening. At least I know I have now experienced symptoms for both.

    Just been relooking at my thyroid test results since October. October came back at T4 28.6 (9-26).......then early December via Blue Horizon it came out at 22.06 (12-22) which was slightly over range. Then last week it came back massively over range at 28.20 (12-22).

    3 times I have reduced my Levo now, each time by 25mcg since October last year and my last test showed a huge jump. I have been on 100mcg now for 11 days and I am wondering whether I actually need to reduce again already as I feel I am overmedicating again with exactly the same symptoms coming back each time. After reducing I start to feel better and the anxiety (hyper) symptoms completely disappear. I am OK for a few days and then bang, they come back

  • Have you had your antibodies checked, just in case you have Hashi's as I believe that it causes hyper/hypo phases?

  • yes honey I do have Hashi's as diagnosed by private Blue Horizon bloods. Here is my last post with all my readings on

  • Thank you and yes you definitely have hashi's - so it's swings and roundabouts at present. Hyper phases must be awful.

  • am very tempted to drop my Levo again or try alternate days of 100/75. What do you think? Lots to learn about Hashi's. Are the ups and downs due to a flare up?

  • The ups are due to a flood of antibodies, I understand. I think you are the best person to know how to judge your highs/lows. You need levo to try to dampen down the antibodies I believe but bear in mind I'm not medically qualified. Go by your instinct and it might work better for you.

  • why should my T4 go up though when my antibodies have come down? Or is that the thyroid trying to work better AFTER a flare? Piggin menopause has caused all this I know it has :(

  • I have hypothyroidism so not knowledgeable about hashi's except that antibodies attack the thyroid gland. I think this website might be helpful to you. I hope so as we have to read and learn so much to find a way to have a healthy life instead of being ruled by a thyroid gland dysfunction.

    I am also sorry you are also going through the menopause.

    When you go for a blood test it should be as early as possible and fast (you can drink water). You also leave about 24 hours between your last dose of thyroid hormones and the blood test and take them after it. This allows the TSH to be at its highest as most doctors only look at the TSH to diagnose.

  • I think it's the damn meno that upset the applecart anyway. I am now post meno but from bloods in October I am still in the range of symptoms before they are supposed to subside. Yes I do that hon with my blood tests, early, empty stomach and no Levo

  • jefner, you might be onto something (menopause). When we are pregnant, we make tons of progesterone. I often wonder if the sudden cessation of progesterone production when we give birth is what brings on post partum blues. The same thing happens when we enter peri-menopause (about 10 yrs before true menopause). When we stop ovulating (producing an egg), our progesterone production bottoms out. Here is an excerpt from the STTM website.... The writer is referencing pregnancy but the mechanism is the same as when we stop producing progesterone.

    "High levels of estrogen causes an increase in levels of cortisol-binding globulin which – you guessed it – binds cortisol in the blood. The amount of free cortisol available to enter the cell membranes and activate receptors inside the cell is now greatly diminished. In addition, estrogen dominance interferes with the release of cortisol from the adrenal cortex. Another key fact is that cortisol is made from progesterone. When progesterone levels dramatically decline after pregnancy, so does cortisol production. Whether it is an inhibited output of cortisol from the adrenal cortex, an overall decrease in cortisol production or whether cortisol is bound in the bloodstream, all follow with the same result: adrenal fatigue."

    I have been taking an OTC natural progesterone cream for over 20 yrs (at a lower dose than usually recommended) and often that is all that is required to alleviate menopause symptoms. But a saliva test will confirm the need for the progesterone cream.

    It might be helpful to have all your sex hormones checked (saliva test is preferred since blood tests results can vary day to day). Also R T3 (Reverse T 3) and Free T 3 checked. You might have some 'pooling' going on. Just google ... STTM pooling ... and links will come up explaining what pooling is.

    Oh... and whether one has hashis or not, selenium is very, very protective of the thyroid and helps in the T 4/T 3 conversion. 200 mcg (that is micrograms, not milligrams), no more that 400 mcg per day. It can also help drop antibody numbers.

    Lots to learn and lots to study. You may have to get private tests, especially the Rt3/free T3 but I don't know any other way you can get a complete picture and a proper diagnosis.

  • Hi phoenix. Had recent bloods done (link in previous post). Also have a cortisol saliva test kit which i will b doing tomorrow. My selenium levels were over range from recent test.

  • antibodies don't work like that. There are people with antibodies in the thousands, with no symptoms and people with antibodies at 80-90, who are very ill, like me unfortunately. They are a chemical signal for the immune system to attack the gland..a little or a lot, makes not much difference.

  • Hi jefner, those are serum tests for the most part which only tell you that the substance has made it into the blood stream. It's not totally meaningless but it has to make it INTO the cells for a real analysis and often it doesn't. Your body has a number of checks and balances, I would not worry about it. Also I would consider you are losing the iron rather than absorbing as well. You would be the rare person to absorb iron that quickly.

  • Here is my last post with all my readings on. After reducing again to 100mcg, been on that dose now for 11 days and felt OK for a few days and then BAM, feeling overmedicated again

  • The link didn't work. Could you remember if you waited to take your daily T4 until AFTER you tested your blood? Sometimes that is the reason it looks higher than it should. Your FT3 is too low to be hyper. I think you are getting adrenaline rushes because they cannot keep up with all that T4, so in that way, you are overdosed. That's one reason for taking iron supplements, that is to help you convert that T4 to FT3. You also need moderate cortisol to convert. If you have too high or too low, it is difficult for thyroid hormone to work.

  • Yes hon, blood tests early and then Levo.

    try this one hon. I have purchased an adrenals test kit from Genova which I am hoping to do tomorrow

  • These are from the National Academy of Hypothyroidism:

    Iron deficiency is shown to significantly reduce T4 to T3 conversion, increase reverse T3 levels, and block the thermogenic (metabolism boosting) properties of thyroid hormone (238-242). Thus, iron deficiency, as indicated by an iron saturation below 25 or a ferritin below 70, will result in diminished intracellular T3 levels. Additionally, T4 should not be considered adequate thyroid replacement if iron deficiency is present (238,239,241,242).

    also the enzymes deiodenase needed

    The relative amounts of D1, D2, and D3 vary in different tissues among different individuals (284) and under varying conditions (8,11,12-21,23-26,28-45,100-103,116-120,126-129,146,174-176,216,224,229,), resulting in hundreds of possible symptoms with hypothyroidism; some people have one symptom, some have a few, and some people have many, depending on the relative level of T3 in each tissue. Unfortunately, serum thyroid levels often do not accurately reflect intracellular tissue levels or levels in a particular tissue.

  • The notes from NAH below seems to indicate you could benefit using T3 at least for a while since you obviously are not deriving enough from T4. Your symptoms could be a lack of serotonin.

  • my Seroxat antidepressant helps with my serotonin. Have been in touch with Dr Clark about having treatment but he put me off by being a little pushy

  • ok, good to know.

  • Regarding the ferrous fumarate...

    I took the same iron supplement as you - I was taking 1 tablet, three times per day. I took that dose for nearly two years because I didn't absorb iron very well. My absorption has improved dramatically since I went gluten-free about a year ago.

    The black faeces you are getting is normal for someone taking iron supplements. It doesn't indicate a problem. If you stop taking your supplement your normal colour will return within a day or two.

    If you really don't like the ferrous fumarate there are loads of other iron supplements available. You may find this link written by helvella (one of the admins) interesting :

    Also, follow the link to helvella's PDF file which has more info.

  • Thank u beanie babes. I know u get black poops but just worried me this morning especially now having a sensitive tummy as well. Cus of all the anxiety i have had for the last three months cus of going hyper, worried that i might have ulcer of some kind now but anxiety can give u a nervous tummy. Not had an iron tablet since friday. Should i worry if stools still black tomorrow?

  • The length of time it takes for things to return to your normal colour depends on how fast your gut works. If everything moves slowly and you are permanently constipated it could take a week or two. But if things move fairly briskly it could take 1 - 2 days. Don't be in too much of a rush to assume it is a bleeding ulcer.

  • Am not constipated hon just a little loose. Cant help feeling like this hun. Been months since i felt well and just trying to find answers to get well again, the anxiety has been so frightening and severe. When it goes i feel absolutely fine, but it just keeps coming back since my thyroid started messing me about. I just dont know how to get well again

  • Hi Jefner. I'm not aware of your history, but as your feeling anxious my thought

    is have your had your Adrenal status checked ? I'm sure you will have, as long

    term Thyroid issues are a stress on your system. Have your tried gentle herbal

    soothers to take edge off your anxiousness ? Iron supp does affect stool

    colour. I too had extremely low Iron years ago & found Spatone worked well

    for me, but you would need to check doseage. You mention T4 & Levo, but

    you say nothing about T3 level, which is the important active Thyroid hormone ?

    No mention of sodium/potassium levels ? Would be interesting to see what

    your FT3 level is alongside FT4. Stop worrying! You are having tests done

    & asking for advice on how to improve your health - soon things will be more

    clear & you will be on road to recovery so stay positive, yeh. My best

  • Jefner, you've been talking about recent dose decreases, but dose decreases take a while to go through your system. T4 has a halflife of 6 days, so it takes a month or so for it to fully clear out - a pharmacologist recently told me ten half lives is the time it takes for something to be considered gone! So some of your decreases will have hardly had an effect yet.

    A better option I think is to skip all tablets for a few days. I am less sure how many days is the right time. My guess would be perhaps 3 or 4. This will just give your body a headstart at clearing through the backlog. If you're really desperate, you could do an experiment of seeing how many days it takes for your symptoms to improve, taking plenty of measurements of pulse and temperature.

    The rule of thumb for dose changes is that you should wait 6 weeks for each one to settle down before you can take blood tests or do a new change. Not necessarily arguing you should do this, but you want to wait as long as you can manage, because change will still be happening at that point.

  • The iron tablets prescribed by your GP might not agree with you. A good resource is the Nutri Centre. You can speak to a nutritionist. I have used them several times to get advice re supplements - side effects etc If you belong to thyroid UK you get 20% discount if you buy from them.

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