Ferritin supplementing

Hi, I am currently taking iron supplements for a low ferritin level. My query is, once my levels are up to a reasonable level will they stay there or will I need to keep taking iron supplements (but maybe at a reduced dose)? My GP just prescribed me enough for a couple of months and said that would be enough so no repeat.

Thanks in advance

Natalie

11 Replies

oldestnewest
  • It depends what is causing your iron levels to drop. If it is caused by heavy menstruation then the problem will just come straight back again. If it is caused by lack of absorption from the stomach then a couple of months iron supplementation may be completely inadequate.

    I had very low ferritin. I started supplementing with ferrous fumarate 210mg, three times a day. It took me nearly 2 years to get my ferritin levels up to mid-range. In the end the thing that did the trick for me was giving up gluten. Then my ferritin went up so fast it took me by surprise and I overshot my target of mid-range. I am no longer supplementing, but I intend to repeat my ferritin testing every 3 months now, until I have a better idea whether or not my levels have stabilised.

  • Hi, I have no idea why my ferritin levels are low! Its not menstruation I know that as my periods are light. I do suffer with IBS so maybe poor absorption. My levels have increased from 12 ug/l to 41 but the range is 12-300 so still room for improvement. Will have to ask for a re-test once my course of tablets are finished then and see what the GP says.

  • With a range of 12 - 300 I would be aiming for about 150 (roughly mid-range). If you can persuade your doctor to re-test ferritin don't be surprised if he is happy with a level substantially lower than that.

    I would guess IBS is a very likely cause of poor absorption of nutrients. Do you eat gluten? Have you found what triggers the IBS? Do you take PPIs or other acid blockers?

  • Yes, I have had IBS for around 18 years and hypothyroidism for only 1 year. I do eat gluten but don't have coeliac disease. I don't find that I get IBS symptoms with foods such as bread but with things like beans, apples, grapes and the brassicas so don't think I have a gluten intolerance either.I don't take PPIs or any such medecine. I do take a pro-biotic. I have tried taking digestive enzymes but they actually cause IBS symptoms. I have heard that if you stick it out with DE the symptoms go but after 3 weeks of bloating, wind and stomach pain I'm afraid I gave up. I'm just wondering if it is ok to take iron supplements continually if only at a maintenence dose..I have read that too much iron can cause liver damage so not sure what to do if GP refuses regular testing.

  • I don't have coeliac disease (tests came back negative), and nor did I have any obvious intolerance problems with wheat or other grains. But I experimented with going gluten-free anyway, and got unexpected benefits from doing so. The good effect on my ferritin levels was a big surprise to me.

    You could try going gf for three months and then re-test your ferritin before you end the experiment to see if it has improved. You might get unexpected benefits. There are some finger-prick thyroid tests from Blue Horizon that include ferritin, that aren't outrageously expensive.

    If you try going gluten free then you must do it 100%. You can't be a little bit gluten-free, it is meaningless.

  • Thanks, I will give it some thought x

  • Natchap,

    Supplementing iron with Vit C will aid absorption and help prevent constipation.

    If you have gut issues caused by low stomach acid, supplementing Betaine HCL with pepsin at meal times will aid iron absorption from your foods.

    Iron rebuilds at different rates in different people according to genetic make up, health & diet. Adequate iron levels are imperative for good thyroid peroxidase (TPO) activity which contains iron and initiates the first steps of thyroid hormone synthesis.

    Flower

    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..........................

    Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and this information is not intended to be a substitute for medical guidance from your own doctor. Please check with your personal physician before applying any of these suggestions.

    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………...........................

  • Hi, thanks flower. I do take vit c too but as i suffer with IBS it was still proving a nightmare. I have come of the iron the GP prescribed and am taking the solgar brand plus increased my Magnesium dosage and my stomach is a lot better. I guess I will have to convince the GP I need regular ferritin tests....

  • Natchap

    It is a case of finding what deficiencies you have and making things work for you. For instance Vit C comes as mineral ascorbates such as:

    Calcium ascorbate

    Magnesium ascorbate

    Potassium ascorbate

    Manganese ascorbate

    Zinc ascorbate

    Molybdenum ascorbate

    Chromium ascorbate

    So .... if you needed extra calcium (& ONLY if you needed extra calcium) you could supplement Calcium Ascorbate which is a gentle non-acidic form of vitamin C known to be more gentle on the stomach.

    It is made up of 100 mg of calcium for every 900 mg of ascorbate (vit C) and has a high degree of absorption.

    This is also marketed as "Ester" or "Buffered" and a form I always take.

    Ferritin is commonly low in hypothyroidism due to stomach absorption issues.

    Flower

    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

    Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and this information is not intended to be a substitute for medical guidance from your own doctor. Please check with your personal physician before applying any of these suggestions.

    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

  • So if my ferritin is low due to stomach absorption problems then I am going to have to keep supplementing but maybe at a lower dose? But how do I find out what is causing it, that's the problem. It's all guess work. My GP has run quite a lot of tests but I doubt I will convince her do them on a regular basis and when I went back about my stomach problems (prior to upping my magnesium) she said it was probably due to being on too much levothyroxine and if my problems continued then maybe reduce the amount I'm taking! I am reluctant to ask her about my stomach now in case she lowers my levo as I've only just got my TSH down to where I was aiming for and I know if I drop the 25mcg I will feel ill again.

  • Natchap,

    Doctors do not recognise all the associated problems we experience that are related to low thyroid hormone.

    You will know if you have gut issues as will be experiencing bloating, gas, discomfort, constipation/diarrhoea.

    You post above you suffer from IBS so could be suffering from low stomach acid resulting from low thyroid hormone.

    Stomach problems could be due to over medication of Levothyroxine but would be accompanied with heat, anxiety and palpitations, etc.

    Flower

    ……………………………………………………………………………………………...……

    Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and this information is not intended to be a substitute for medical guidance from your own doctor. Please check with your personal physician before applying any of these suggestions.

    ……………………………………………………………………………………………...……

You may also like...