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Thyroid UK
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Need help with ferritin levels and correct iron dosage

People talk about low ferritin but I know you have to be careful about overdosing on iron. I am 61 yrs . My hair has been falling out since I have been on levo. Pumping myself up with b 12 and d3 vit and b complex as well . My ferritin on my last blood test reads 33 range(15-150) I have been on Levon for about 8 months.

11 Replies

Ayorkor Was that a GP test, if so is he doing anything about it? It looks like the range for a Blue Horizon test.

If you can tolerate Ferrous Fumarate or Ferrous Sulphate, then the normal prescribed rate would be 1 tablet 3 times a day. You can buy FF or FS on Amazon or from some pharmacies. Take each iron tablet with 1000mg of Vit C to aid absorption and help prevent constipation.

If you can't tolerate FF or FS then look for Iron Bisglycinate which is more gentle and is supposed to be non-constipating. Again take with Vit C.

Take any iron supplement 4 hours away from Levo. Aim to get your ferritin level up to at least 70 for thyroid hormone to work properly.

What were your results for D3, and B12? You have to be careful with D3 as it is fat soluble and stores in the body so you should retest periodically to ensure you don't reach the toxic level. Also, are you taking K2-MK7 with the D3. Vit D aids absorption of calcium and K2 directs the calcium to bones and teeth rather than soft tissues and arteries.

Levo can make things worse to start with. What dose of Levo are you on and what are your test results? Hopefully your GP retested 6 weeks after starting Levo, adjusted dose, retested again after 6 weeks, etc., and that you are now on an optimal dose with low TSH and FT4 and FT3 in the upper part of their ranges?


SeasideSusie To raise ferritin levels it's actually 2 tablets link - patient.info/doctor/non-ana...

This is because you are trying to raise the ferritin without effecting the haemoglobin level.

For iron deficiency anaemia e.g to raise haemoglobin levels the minimum number is 3 daily though some people are told to take more.

Regardless you need to be retested 7 days after finishing the course of iron tablets to check it's worked and to ensure you haven't had other problems.

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bluebug It's frequently mentioned on here that GPs have prescribed 3 a day. I wouldn't know as I've never taken it so can only go by what people say.


SeasideSusie That's why I provided the link. :)

There was a poster a while ago who was told to take 3 per day by her GP and had symptoms of iron overload but their ferritin level was still low. Their specialist was horrified that the GP kept prescribing the iron tablets.

Hence the caution in telling people how much iron to take as like vitamin D taking to much can be fatal.

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bluebug then I will make sure I mention two a day in future, thank you.

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People differ in their ability to absorb iron. A person who is basically healthy, but has low iron for some reason, might optimise their deficient iron levels in about 3 - 6 months.

People who are not basically healthy and suffer from poor absorption could take much longer. I took nearly two years to raise my deficient iron levels up to optimal. In the end I only managed it by going gluten free.

Despite going gluten free I still have iron problems. If I stop supplementing with iron my ferritin levels will drop dramatically in a few months. So now I am trying to maintain my levels by taking one ferrous fumarate tablet 3 times a week.

If you start supplementing I would suggest re-testing after 3 months to give yourself an idea how well you absorb it.

There are lot of different iron supplements available. One of the most popular and easily available ones is iron (or ferrous) bisglycinate, otherwise known as Gentle Iron. It can be bought from Amazon. I don't know what dose people use, I've never taken this one.

If you want something cheaper you can buy ferrous fumarate 210mg in a box of 84 from pharmacies. Boots won't sell it without a prescription, but other pharmacies will. Ferrous fumarate can be hard for some people to tolerate, but I took one, three times a day, for nearly two years.

Any iron you take should be taken with 500mg - 1000mg vitamin C (with each dose of iron) to mitigate the problem of constipation, and it also helps the body to absorb the iron.

Take any thyroid meds at least 4 hours away from iron because it severely affects the absorption of thyroid meds.

Edit : I see that SeasideSusie is a much faster typist than me. :D


I've brought if from Boots late last year without a prescription. I simply had to say to the pharmacist "I have low iron and was told by my doctor to buy it." If the pharmacist quizzed me I was prepared to give them more detailed information but they weren't bothered.

I then had very heavy periods found my ferritin level had gone down and went to Asda pharmacy and said the same. Though that time it was a lie as I hadn't seen a GP to discuss it.

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Good thinking, with the Boots pharmacist!

I've successfully got ferrous fumarate from Tesco and Lloyds Pharmacies.


I think it depends on the individual pharmacist as they are individually responsible for the medicines they dispense.

I would suggest that you choose a pharmacy where you don't get the rest of your prescriptions filled as otherwise they will think it's odd that you haven't got a prescription for it, which is why they refuse you. Also avoid the ones closest to your own GPs surgery.


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Hello Ayorkor, just a little observation on the recommendations given to you to take vitamin C with your iron: I have prescribed ferrous fumarate (for low ferritin) but have to buy the lowest dose I can find of vitamin C and then cut the tablets in half otherwise, please excuse this but you'd probably rather know than be caught out, stools can become very, very loose indeed.


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