IRON - to take or not to take 'that is the question'

I regularly take Spatone x 2 daily to keep my iron stores up as I am border line anaemic. However reading the article below this morning has really thrown me. Interesting in the comments below somebody points out that there is no mention of aluminium and it's effect on the brain:-

26 Replies

  • There are lots of interesting points in the article - and particularly in connection with aging. Nothing seems to work quite so well as we age ! Worth a read bearing in mind it is promoting a book :-) We have often been told that high levels of Ferritin and circulating Iron are not good for us without being told why - so maybe this takes it a step further.

    Thank you for posting Margo ....

  • It would seem this is debatable, I have found this today if you are Hypothyroid:

    People with hypothyroidism should avoid preparations high in iodine as it can make the condition paradoxically worse. Additionally, in certain people it could provoke hyperthyroidism.

    The British Thyroid Association has issued the following statement on the use of iodine supplements and we have advised our members accordingly

    The thyroid gland requires iodine for normal function. Adults need 150mcg of iodine per day.

    Typically we obtain the iodine we need from a normal healthy, balanced diet. Table & cooking salt in the UK contains little or no iodine. Too little iodine can result in thyroid swelling (a goitre). Goitre in the UK is not due to iodine deficiency Too much iodine can be dangerous and cause either under activity of the thyroid (hypothyroidism) or, in some cases over activity (hyperthyroidism).

    If you are taking thyroid hormone (eg. levothyroxine) for hypothyroidism or for a goitre (an enlarged thyroid gland) there is no need to supplement with iodine. It will do no good.

    Also, it can be harmful and dangerous to take iodine if you have an overactive thyroid, even if you are on standard anti thyroid drugs, as the extra iodine counteracts their effects.

    Should you take iodine supplements at any time? Only if it is recommended by your GP or hospital consultant.

    Confused! :P :D

  • Only if it is recommended by your GP or hospital consultant.

    If we are to be guided by THAT sentiment then a lot of us would be in an even worse pickle! Particularly over thyroid issues.

    Personally I leave iodine well alone. Got too many other deficiencies to fix first.

  • Bird-girl, the article doesn't mention iodine, unless I missed it?

  • Oh god! I am so sorry, copied and pasted the wrong bit!

    Well spotted Margo, here is the correct piece:

    Iron Tablets

    Some medications such as iron tablets (ferrous sulphate) can interfere with the absorption of thyroxine. Some doctors recommend a two-hour interval between taking thyroxine and the iron. Follow the advice or your doctor or pharmacist. Be aware that some multi vitamin tablets contain iron.

    And the information was sourced from here:

    Once again many apologies x

  • Phew! Thought it was my bird, iron over-load/Alzheimer brain when I read your previous reply. Thanks for correcting Bird-girl

  • LOL! No it was my foggy bird brain :D

  • Four hours would be better. But we say that all the time on here, it's nothing new. And multivits are a waste of money, anyway, nobody should be taking those. :)

  • Never mind Bird-Girl it was still a good link and something we are always asking about. Thanks for posting.

  • Well, that's what I've been saying for a long, long time.

  • My concern greygoose was not about when to take the iron as to whether I/we should be taking it at all in view of the article.

  • Well, yes, Margo, I realise that. I was just replying to Bird-Girl, pointing out a flaw in the article she quoted. I've replied to you below. :)

  • Cheers greygoose.

  • Yes, there is an overlap between symptoms of anaemia and symptoms of hypothyroidism, eg. fatigue, itchy skin, hair loss etc:

  • Yes, probably because many hypo symptoms are due to malabsorption. Low iron as well as low B12. And because there is such an overlap between Hashis and autoimmune gastritis and coeliac. Many of our symptoms are down to low nutrients.

    It would be useful to pinpoint the symptoms which don't overlap.

  • This article talks about the dangers of iron overload, ie it doesn't say supplementing to correct a ferritin deficiency is unsafe.

  • This article is about what you might call 'normal' people. Not people with thyroid problems. We don't fit into the 'normal' rules of life. We probably have low stomach acid and problems absorbing any nutrients. We're far more likely t have deficiencies than over-load.

    As for the level of intelligence displayed in the comments.... I'll say no more. But one person did say something interesting about copper. And, given that hypos are more likely to be high on copper, it's something worth bearing in mind, along with aluminium, of course.

  • Interesting greygoose, I always thought thyroid folk were low on copper hence the grey hair.

  • Good point. But I've read in several places that hypos are very often high in copper. Certainly, when I tried taking it, to balance zinc, my hair did change colour a bit - but not for the better! However, the copper made me feel bad, and I stopped it.

  • High iron is dangerous. Low iron is dangerous too. You have diagnosed low iron, and it is very important that you keep your ferritin at a high enough level for your body to function. There is not a lot in Spatone, have you had a recent ferritin test?

    Also, the Mail is no place to look for dispassionate, balanced health advice. I used to work for it. Articles are out to grab attention, to surprise, even shock... "Is your handbag giving you asthma?" It is easier to do this by giving only one side of the question.

    Drs in my view are more fixated on the risks of high iron than low, but there are some very good researchers and research pieces on this. The dangers to foetuses, babies and children of low iron are particularly high, since long term effects may not be correctible. And the ranges for women on iron levels may be frankly wrong at the lower levels ... they institutionalise the low iron levels found in women due to menstruation and poor diet, and the denial of equal food to women in some cultures. Always look at the ranges for a man of your age and measure yourself against those.

  • Thank you Aspmama, my last ferritin reading was 74 (ng/ml 15 - 300). I presume this on the low side for a woman past the menopause?

    I agree regarding the Daily Mail on line, is my guilty pleasure, my time to be indignant at the rubbish I am reading, while I skim through while having my breakfast. Daft I know!

  • 74 not too bad, keep on with the Spatone and enjoy more steak.... !

  • Thanks Aspmama, have just enjoyed a juicy steady for supper.

  • I am a bit of an oddball when it comes to iron. I'm way past menopause, I eat meat regularly, including liver. And yet I can't hang on to iron at all. I supplement iron almost all the time, because if I don't I start getting breathless. I am having a hard time finding out how much iron I need to keep my levels optimal though.

    In January I tested my ferritin and my result was 169 ug/L (13 - 150)

    I stopped supplementing for four months and my next result was 81 ug/L (13 - 150)

    My iron binding capacity results are always, always low in range or under the range, and I'm sure it must be the cause, or a major cause, of my problems.

  • I have just posted my ferritin results humanbean, I too am through the menopause, seems my result is lower than your second result, and that is with supplementing 2 x spatone daily. Not sure where I should be, do you know please?

  • I know there are different opinions about this.

    Some people say it ought to be 70, irrespective of the reference range. I don't see the logic of that myself. If the reference range is irrelevant why even bother having one?

    Personally - and this is my choice - I want a result that is mid-range. If my ferritin drops below mid-range then I start feeling weak, tired, and breathless. But then I also know that when my ferritin is mid-range all my other iron-related measures e.g. serum iron are sub-optimal. This may not be true for others.

    So, in your shoes I would be aiming for about 150 - 160ng/mL. But if you feel well with your result where it is, then carry on doing whatever you are doing.

    If you wanted to raise your result there are other supplements that might work more quickly for you.

    Spatone has 5mg of iron per sachet. I use ferrous fumarate 210mg. Each pill contains 69mg of iron, but I know lots of people have problems tolerating it. You could try something containing a bit more iron if you wanted to. Iron bisglycinate (also called ferrous bisglycinate, and also called Gentle Iron) has 20mg or 25mg iron per capsule or pill I think. It is easily sourced on Amazon.

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