Thyroid UK
84,238 members99,237 posts


Hi all

After discovering i need Vitamin D, B12 and Iron, i was somewhat perplexed on reading a recent article (sorry lost link) that iron damages our DNA even the smallest amount. also why do we need this if iron isa poison to the body. i know things have changed for me over the years. since Rai eight years ago i seem to get worse every year with new sypmtons. This week my knees wont unbend and are so painful, my varicose vein is killing me, on left side and im cold all the way down my left side and my temps are all lower on left side, eg ear and armpit, my toenails are yellow on left leg not on right , can low thyroid cause

circulation problems. i asked the gp about my yellow left toenails and was told "its just thyroid dont worry about it".

does any one have concerns about iron.

14 Replies

Given those sets of symptoms, I'd be interested to see what your Vit D levels are.

Personally, I don't have any concerns about taking iron - however, it's always good to have a set of baseline bloods.


Iron is found in red blood cells, as part of the protein haemoglobin which binds oxygen and transports it all over the body. Without iron your cells suffocate.

However too much unbound iron is a problem, which is why it isn't sensible to supplement unless you know that you are deficient.


I saw that article on iron damaging DNA. However I know the research is not applicable to humans due to the fact the study was done on cell cultures and more importantly the research is at a very early stage.

There are many studies involving either cell cultures or rats/mice where researchers have a theory and end it by saying something like more work needs to be done to see if it is applicable to humans.

The university/research institute then publishes a press release taking the researchers conclusions out of context. Universities and research institutions funding comes from the number of publications they have, and they get more students from being well-known which is why they do this.

Anyway the media writes a story from this press release. As most journalists have not studied science beyond school level this means they are unable to question the press release, and read and understand the actual research paper. They then end up worrying people unnecessarily especially as most research is not continued.

In comments sections of the broadsheets e.g. Guardian there is normally a research scientist in that field who leaves a comment pointing out the error in the journalist's understanding. Some of these commenters' are very good at explaining why the research is not applicable to humans in layman's terms, while others you can only understand if you have a degree or are sufficiently self-taught in the area.

In short at the moment unless you have one of the few diseases where having too much iron is a problem, or you are taking iron without being tested then there is no need to worry.

GPs refusing to test for iron and ferritin are the real killers. I have a sister-in-law who collapsed and ended up needing an emergency iron infusion due to her GP refusing to follow an haematologist's orders and give her blood tests every six months until she has reached the menopause. The GP did this to save money. I also know of other cases where people ended up in A&E from collapsing due to low ferritin due to GPs not testing for it.


Agree bluebug esp with last para, just adding though that the quality papers, the old broadsheets, have science specialist jounalists with science degrees and sometimes doctorates. Doesn't necessarily mean the stories are sensible however.


I had very low iron. I was severely breathless, could only crawl upstairs very slowly rather than walk up, and having done it once I couldn't do it again for several hours. My memory was severely affected and so was my heart. I had dreadful chest pain and tachycardia (fast heart rate) that went on for a long time.

In the last 2 - 3 years I have tested my own iron and ferritin quite regularly, and done other blood tests too. I have supplemented my iron for as long as it was lower than optimal (not just in the reference range). I don't need to supplement any more though because my levels are now very good. I will keep tabs on it though.

I am no longer breathless. I can walk upstairs like normal people. I can walk to my nearest bus stop (which is up a hill) if I want to, and I'm not almost passing out when I get there.

If iron damages my DNA I couldn't care less. Being able to breathe normally is well worth it!


the tachyc. is v interesting, humanbean ... so the slightly raised heartbeat in autistic children could link to lower iron levels..


Interesting idea/question.

If someone is slowly developing iron-deficiency anaemia when does a higher heart rate develop? Does it go up slowly? Does the body cope for a while with normal heart rate then it gets to a stage where the body can no longer compensate so heart rate jumps?

In my own case I hadn't noticed a higher heart rate under normal circumstances until one day I woke up, got out of bed, walked downstairs, and my heart rate went up to 150+ in the process.

Having been triggered for the first time it has never gone away totally ever since, but having good levels of iron now has made the episodes few and far between.


Yes, v interesting, no answers... With autism/add it looks as though it might not necessarily be low serum iron that's the prob, tho I think there may have been past episodes of severe deprivation which have had an effect. some studies of adhd suggest low brain iron levels, and studies in autism suggest brain inflammation, which I think could well produce low brain iron levels as the bbb is used to protect the inflamed brain from too much iron.

Obvously v low serum iron would also lead to low brain iron

So is the intensity of the heart beat signalled by impulses which first come from the brain?


It was hospital th st said I needed iron. My GPS are rubbish. I will continue with iron as you have described me to a tee at moment. Feel like I am dying anyway so may as well carry on.


What kind of iron are you taking? What dosage do you take?

In my case I struggled for nearly two years to get my ferritin levels up to optimal and they were going up achingly slowly. The only thing which finally got it there was going gluten-free. I had a sudden jump in levels.

I don't have coeliac disease though, I had a negative test for it a few years ago. For a long time I thought that meant that gluten wasn't damaging me, but it clearly was. So don't rely on a negative coeliac test to decide whether going gluten-free is worth it or not. Do the experiment for 3 months, go g-f religiously, don't cheat, and then decide.


Hi hb, I know this is old and I'm thinking this is the philosophy and probably the Precision Nutrition philosophy and of course functional medicine;  adding a nutrient to fulfill necessary quantities is not as good as finding out how to get your body to do it and why it stopped.   Just as with the vitamin D supplementation. 

I see the research has been going on since the 90's but I guess there is a disconnect between that and actually trying to institute the new discoveries or maybe they don't know how to do that yet. 


How did you get your iron levels up?


There are some videos which help you understand. Iron definitely is implicated in cancer but you still need it.

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How low are your iron levels kgc? The short answer is that if your levels are low, taking iron supps will not harm you. Not taking them will be dangerous.


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