high iron and saturation: I am trying to... - Thyroid UK

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high iron and saturation

jennygrigg profile image
11 Replies

I am trying to find some answers for my daughter who has Hashi's and Addison's and only a couple of years ago had low iron and needed supplementation. Now she has normal ferritin, high serum iron and high saturation. She does not take any iron supplements of any kind and has little in the way of red meat - trying to lower her levels. Her last results were:-

ferritin 138ug/L (30-250)

iron 32umol/L (8-30)

transferrin 2.41g/L (2-4)

saturation 53% (10-35)

Strangely enough she feels as though she is low on iron and her MCV and MCHC readings are low in range.

She has methylation issues which means she has trouble detoxing heavy metals and we know she is high in copper as a result. There is some research to show that as the body needs to deal with copper first, iron levels can rise in the process.

I haven't helped much but am also interested in any ideas to help understand what may be going on. Thank you :)

11 Replies
radd profile image


Sorry to hear of your daughters health problems and how annoying to have supplemented too much iron which is notoriously hard to lower. Monitoring iron levels can be difficult as doctors are reluctant to test too often and the body can bring unexpected results.

Your daughters MTHFR issues might have influenced the copper level. I too have detoxification issues and had a high copper and zinc deficiency last year. These work together and the ratio is important but by supplementing zinc & high levels of Vit C this has rebalanced my levels.

Your daughter may have issues with other heavy metals. Further testing proved elevated platinum and mercury (& other metals to a lesser degree) and so the instigation to remove all amalgam fillings followed by 6 months of chelation. I still drink apple pectin, etc, in my water to manage unbound heavy metals as the detoxification issues mean it an ongoing problem.

Copper is especially disruptive to the adrenal glands and can lower neurotransmitters in the brain. Last year I supplemented 5-HTP and am now on HRT for depression which has thankfully now lifted. Iron, selenium, zinc and copper are all heavily involved with thyroid function and I now find my meds (T4 & T3) working much better.

Some foods contain more copper but I didn’t worry about these as already follow a diet suited to Hashimotos (gluten & virtually grain free) and keeping iron levels low as suffer Haemochromotosis (iron overload).

Vit C, beta carotene & alcohol all have an enhancing effect on iron absorption. Heme iron (meat) is more easily absorbed than non-heme iron (beans, spinach, fortified cereals). Tannins in tea//coffee can reduce absorption of non-heme. Legumes & grains (phytates) & calcium hinder iron absorption. Some people avoid red meats completely but a glass of milk with a Spaghetti Bolognese topped with cheese will inhibit iron absorption. Following these protocols I have managed my high iron levels and not required the monthly theraputic phlebotomy for 4 months but am due to start again soon... ahhhh ! ! ! ...

I have found the addition of plentiful protein has helped thyroid hormone synthesis enormously. I supplement copious amounts of Vit C for adrenal health and continued heavy metal detoxification, but take the whole lot at night. Not ideal but it keeps it well away from foods. I also eat & supplement plentiful antioxidants.

High iron levels can make me feel as if I have low iron levels too (breathlessness and low energy). I hope your daughter feels better soon.

jennygrigg profile image
jennygrigg in reply to radd

Thank you Radd and I am glad to hear that your health is improving. Depression alone is a terrible illness to suffer from let alone all of the other issues. Some really great info too. My daughter is incredibly disciplined in her approach, following an autoimmune protocol diet, good proteins, low carb, low copper and generally avoids alcohol. I think the underlying issue, as you mentioned, is the methylation problems, which we have to address very slowly. I hope your path to optimised health continues progressing. :)

radd profile image
radd in reply to jennygrigg

Thank you jenny,

There are many sups known to help with our MTHFR issues. For instance I am on bioidentical hormones (HRT) and take DIM and CA D-Glucarate to help metabolise and excrete oestrogen's correctly.

It may be worth exploring probiotics as well. Some gut flora has the ability to block heavy metal absorption whilst dysbiosis encourages further absorption and inhibits proper detoxification. Copper toxicity can lower gut acid (as can low thyroid hormone) and slow oxidisers (liver activity) retain metals very easily due to a sluggish metabolism making it harder to excrete. A mutation on the CBS gene (cystathionine beta synthase) can also effect the methyl groups and toxic metal excretion.

I supplement Methylfolate and Methylocobalamin with a B complex.

I wish your daughter well.


Gut Flora & Metals



Heavy Metal Detoxification & probiotics.


jennygrigg profile image
jennygrigg in reply to radd

Thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge. I will have a read of the links you provided. Take care

humanbean profile image

I've found this link helpful :


If you check the table at the bottom it might give you some help.

Bear in mind that people can have more than one kind of anaemia. For example, people can have iron deficiency anaemia and anaemia of chronic disease and low vitamin B12 all at the same time and it makes working out what is going on ... challenging ... to say the least.

humanbean profile image

Has your daughter given up gluten or dairy since having problems with low iron? Because removing something from the diet can change everything with regard to iron.

I had low iron all my life. I gave up gluten and suddenly my ferritin shot up. Initially it went up to a level I was really happy with and so I stopped supplementing. Unfortunately it has kept on climbing ...

Has your daughter got good levels of B12? Just for info, with respect to B12, it is possible to have high levels in serum and still be deficient at the cellular level.


jennygrigg profile image
jennygrigg in reply to humanbean

That's really interesting. Yes she gave up gluten and dairy. And I am researching the b12 aspect as she has gene mutations that affect b12 and folate processing. We are addressing priority mutations first like CBS and then the MTHFR ones, but in the interim, despite high b12 serum levels, she matches so many low b12 symptoms. Thank you for replying :)

humanbean profile image
humanbean in reply to jennygrigg

I had high B12 but lots of B12 deficiency symptoms. Eventually I decided to bite the bullet and supplement with high dose B12 (Jarrow Formulas 5000mcg methylcobalamin per day bought from Amazon). It isn't poisonous.

I had quite a few unpleasant side effects for the first 2 - 3 months - worsening of pre-existing eczema and mouth ulcers, and really bad spots - but after that time things cleared up or returned to normal. My eczema has reduced by 90%, the mouth ulcers are now back to what they were before I started the B12, and the spots have all gone. My skin is healthier looking and clearer than it has been for years. Many of my B12 deficiency symptoms have gone or have reduced a lot in severity, but I still supplement.

I also take a good quality B Complex - Thorne Research Basic B Complex, 1 a day.

Perhaps your daughter might benefit from trying B12 as well. It isn't toxic in any way.

jennygrigg profile image
jennygrigg in reply to humanbean

Thank you. I have just started her on the thorne basic b and will commence the b12. Thank you so much and I am glad your symptoms are much better. :)

bluebug profile image

Sorry to be so pushy on the other thread but having your own thread means you get better answers.

One thing not commonly known is when someone has a high iron level - haemoglobin or ferritin - they actually get the symptoms of deficiency.

So do you have a haemoglobin measurement? It's odd to have an iron panel and leave out the haemoglobin measurement.

jennygrigg profile image
jennygrigg in reply to bluebug

That's ok bluebug :) Yes her Haemoglobin is 141g/L (115-155). Her MCV 83.2fl (80-98) Doctor said this should be higher around 90 but nothing more was done to investigate. Thank you for responding and any advice is gratefully accepted.

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