Thyroid UK
87,730 members102,419 posts

Problems with iron and vit d3 supplementing

I would appreciate comments/tips regarding iron supplementation increasing cholesterol and the problems with supplementing vit d3 without vit k

Iron and cholesterol

‘Your body needs iron for the production of hemoglobin, the specialized protein that gives red blood cells their red color. Hemoglobin carries oxygen in the blood, making it vital to the function of all cells. A high level of iron in the blood can provoke the production of bioactive iron, which can promote oxidative stress. Oxidative stress contributes to atherosclerosis, a condition exacerbated by high cholesterol. In contrast, an iron deficiency does not contribute to cardiovascular problems, but the resulting medical condition of iron-deficiency anemia also causes symptoms.’

Vit D3 without Vit K

How do Vitamin D and calcium work together in our bodies?

Calcium and vitamin D work together to protect your bones—calcium helps build and maintain bones, while vitamin D helps your body effectively absorb calcium. So even if you're taking in enough calcium, it could be going to waste if you're deficient in vitamin D.

The role of vitamin D and its derivatives in vascular calcification is complex. It has long been known that in humans, hypervitaminosis D may be associated with extensive arterial calcium phosphate deposits, mostly in the form of apatite crystals. In experimental animals, the administration of pharmacological doses of vitamin D sterols can lead to widespread arterial calcification, especially in association with favourable conditions such as atherosclerosis, diabetes and chronic kidney disease (CKD) [1–5].

The mechanisms by which high doses of vitamin D or its derivatives induce vascular calcification include an increase in serum calcium and phosphate, the formation of fetuin-A mineral complexes in association with a decrease in free serum levels of fetuin-A [6] and the local induction of osteochondrogenic programmes with transformation of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) into osteoblast-like cells [7].

14 Replies

Where does it say that supplementing iron increases cholesterol? I wish it did! I could do with a bit more cholesterol!

And, why would you want to supplement vit D3 without K2?


Hi greygoose, thank you. So it's saying that a high level of iron in the blood can provoke the production of bioactive iron, which increases Oxidative stress. Oxidative stress contributes to atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is ALSO exacerbated by high cholesterol.

Therefore someone supplementing with iron who already has atherosclerosis/high cholesterol, will be concerned if the level or iron in the blood becomes high enough to etc, etc.

So I guess it all depends on what is considered 'high level' of iron. Would that be in the upper range levels OR over-range?


Just throwing out a thought here...

If ferritin is 15 with a reference range of 15 - 150, this would be classified as normal by doctors. By the same logic I assume a level of 150 would be normal too.

So, any reference to a high level of iron presumably means a level which is over the range.

I don't know if I'm right of course, I'm using logic to come to a conclusion. And we all know that doctors get their logic circuits removed before graduation. ;)

It is unclear (to me anyway) whether a "high level of iron" refers to ferritin or serum iron. Or both?

One final comment -

an iron deficiency does not contribute to cardiovascular problems

That is complete nonsense. I developed severe heart pain, raised blood pressure, and tachycardia (heart rate of 150+ while doing nothing more strenuous than getting out of bed and walking downstairs) with severe iron deficiency. If those aren't cardiovascular problems I don't know what are.


LOL 'logic circuits removed before graduation'

Point taken about low iron and cardiovascular problems. After you supplemented, how long before your symptoms improved?

I supplemented with 1 x 210mg ferrous fumarate a day and after 8 months my iron went from

15 to 12 (6.60-26.00 umol/L) and my

ferritin went from 36 to 251 (13.00 – 150.00 ug/l).

I already had slightly over upper range cholesterol, so I hate to think what happened to my Oxidative stress and therefore atherosclerosis?


It took me nearly two years to get my ferritin to optimal with ferrous fumarate and vitamin C. I had to go gluten free to finally reach it, after about 18 months on iron. Then my levels went up quite suddenly in the next three months - and then da-da! My ferritin was where I wanted it to be.

The heart pain started to diminish fairly quickly and stopped being constant about three months after I began supplementing. But I still had bouts of quite severe heart pain for months afterwards - perhaps another 6 - 9 months after it stopped being constant.

The high blood pressure reduced over about 3 - 6 months.

The tachycardia has continued to be a problem. It had diminished to the point where I took one beta blocker about every 6 weeks. But due to a recent period of extremely high stress it is currently back with a vengeance. I doubt I'll ever get rid of it completely but I would like it if I got it down to the previous low level.

Incidentally, I have the opposite problem to you. I have to supplement iron constantly because I just can't hang on to it. I'm having difficulty in finding just the right level of supplementation to keep levels where I want them.

I discovered in January that I had overshot my target and my ferritin was 169 (13 - 150). So I stopped supplementing altogether for four months. When I re-tested my ferritin had dropped to 81 (13 - 150). My problem is somehow connected with TIBC - mine is always under the range or very low in range.

Has your ferritin ever dropped? I do hope it has.

Low serum iron and high ferritin could be a classic case of Anaemia of Chronic Disease.

Have you thought about asking your doctor for a referral to a haematologist? I'm planning to ask about that at some point. I'm sure constant iron supplementation can't be good for me.

And have you ever had a full iron panel done?

I've never used the above company, but I know some members on the forum have used them. Apparently they've been happy with the service.


Thank you humanbean, very interesting, and thank you for the useful links.

How did you discover going gluten free would improve your chances of absorbing iron?

Amazing that you stuck with it so long, most people would have decided to try other things instead of or as well as and mudded the blood... I mean water.

Had to look up tachycardia (an abnormally rapid heart rate).

I will have to look at my TIBC.

8 months after no supplementation my iron was 9

(6.60-26.00 umol/L) and my ferritin was 183 (13.00 – 150.00 ug/l). That was 18 Sept 2015, have no idea what it is now.

This was the last blood test result I posted on HU, I will have to look and see if I have a more current one:


There are different iron measures. You need to find out what each one is for and when they are used instead of just presuming all measurements have equal meaning.

This article explains the link between ferritin and haemoglobin. Link -

Iron is just a measure of the total iron in the blood (serum). If you have an out of range* ferritin and/or haemoglobin level it is worth looking at.

Finally you shouldn't be supplementing with iron tablets that strong of that long without testing . This is why it is advised on here:

1. Get your ferritin level checked AFTER you finish every packet of 84 iron tablets.

2. Once your level is halfway through the lab range you need to be on a maintenance dose. A maintenance dose is NOT the same amount as what you were taking to raise you levels.

*World Health Organisation lower level boundary NOT the NHS one.


Thank you bluebug, very useful and informative.


Yes, that's what it says. But, that in no way means that supplementing iron increases cholesterol.

1 like

I think cc120 was referring to this -

The research was done in a lab on cell cultures e.g. NOT an animal so whether it is meaningful or not is debatable.


There's no mention of cholesterol in that article.

1 like

I also didn't find any reference to cholesterol, only DNA bluebug.


cc120 If atherosclerosis worries you, have you looked into ways and means of halting its advance?

The above link gives some suggestions for supplements that might help. It would be worth following up the references too.

Stephanie Seneff's blog is worth reading on some subjects - although as a website it ain't pretty, and I find it hard to read. Seneff contributed a chapter to the same book that Dr Kendrick has recently contributed to.

The fact that your ferritin is high and your serum iron is low suggests to me that you have some currently unknown health problem which needs to be tracked down and fixed or treated in some way. It could be autoimmune in nature, or parasites, fungus, yeasts, SIBO, some other gut problems perhaps? Coeliac disease, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's Disease? I don't know how you'd go about finding the problem though. I simply don't know enough.

1 like

Thank you again humanbean, very helpful :-)


You may also like...