Thyroid UK
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Iron, good or bad?

I ran into this article and was wondering is there any truth or could there be a bit of truth in this? Like maybe that is true for some, but how to determine who is that some? Thoughts? I am not suggesting anyone to drop iron, just interested of is there anything supporting this article!

"For example, Dr. Barnes’ discovered that the lower one’s body temperature is, the fewer red blood cells are produced within the bone marrow.

Naturally, hypothyroidism suffers have low body temperatures and therefore naturally produce fewer red blood cells.

This too leads to anemia and low ferritin.

There’s also another type of anemia that doesn’t get much attention.

Hemolytic anemia is also common in hypothyroidism. This is where the red blood cells become fragile and break easily due to poor blood quality.

Supplementing iron has also been shown to worsen hemolytic anemia, adding to iron’s potential dangers "

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Good post Justiina. Certainly needs more thoroughly looking into.

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Yeah, that article just made me wonder as some feel worse on iron no matter how much they take it. Anemia is true for some and supplementing is required, but some struggle. Need to search for more information!

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Look forward to reading any more information you have on this matter.


Done a bit digging and in the end I get the idea that

a) very low ferritin can be a sign of true anemia, just low ferritin means your ferritin is low, but might not cause any symptoms

b) iron deficiency is more likely the culprit instead of low ferritin

c) never rely on ferritin only

d) different genetic mutations can prevent storing iron , therefore always measure serum iron as well as supplementing iron can increase serum iron to toxic levels , but ferritin remains low

e) always look at the big picture

I assume in this case, optimizing thyroid improves digestion, absorption and possibly has a role with genetic mutations meaning fixing failing thyroid switches on or off (depending on what genes are malfunctioning) which then fixes the iron absorption.

Will do more digging, but it seems that raising ferritin really doesnt work for all.


The GP did say that my son's Iron was good, but we keep being told that our Ferritin should be at least 75 for good conversion of T4 to T3 and that is my worry. To my mind my son's FT3 is too low. I shall take your findings when he sees GP in a fortnight's time. Thank you for this info Justiina.


Been through some articles and most of them suggest it's iron deficiency that causes poor conversion. So circulating iron would have bigger impact. Which does make sense as unless you are anemic why storage iron would have that much impact as it is just storage. It's complicated system and a lot of things seem to affect it which makes it hard to know what one should do!

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The more you learn, the more there is still to learn. I guess that is why there are not many Thyroid Specialists!

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Supplementing iron isn't that simple as according to studies it alters gut microbiota and feeds some nasty bacteria.

That is one reason I truly believe some struggle with high iron supplementing. Gut bacteria is altered the way it sort of counteracts the benefits!

So how to fix it? No idea. For true anemia you have to take iron. But otherwise is it better to go careful and up iron slowly and rather underline better absorption than pushing high.

Dunno. Like I said , iron truly is complicated matter.

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Well, I definitely agree that excessive iron is dangerous.

I agree with him that ferritin alone is not a very safe way of deciding whether or not to supplement, and I would never suggest supplementing iron on the basis of symptoms. Having CRP available helps a little bit. However, based on my personal experience only (so do your own research on the subject), CRP is not a reliable indicator for chronic inflammation. It's more useful for acute inflammation and/or infection.

I have iron problems. I tend to lose it very quickly and I think this is because my Total Iron Binding Capacity is always low in range or under the range, and I don't know why. I suspect it may be a genetic problem. Because I'm dubious about relying on ferritin alone I pay for a full blood count and a full iron panel every few months. I did overshoot once with my iron. But four months of no iron supplementation made it drop like a stone.


Many people take large doses or injections of Vitamin B12 because they are fatigued.

They believe they have B12 deficiency anemia.

Yet, the doctors giving out these mega doses of Vitamin B12 are not considering some important research.

I’m referring to the research showing that elevated B12 levels are highly associated with your risk of cancer.

I disagree with him on the subject of B12.

He's got his cause and effect the wrong way round. Having high B12 without supplementing may indicate that someone has cancer. But having high B12 due to supplementing doesn't increase your risk of cancer that I'm aware of. And notice that he doesn't say that high B12 is a cause of cancer, he just says the two things are "associated". Which means almost nothing.

For more info on high B12 occurring without supplementation, read this :

The pathophysiology of elevated vitamin B12 in clinical practice.

Note there is an option to get the above paper in a PDF file near the top of the page.


I also wanted to add, on the subject of iron, that doctors used to use ferritin alone as a marker for iron deficiency, and many of them still do. But I've noticed more people recently giving just a haemoglobin level rather than having any iron measures tested at all. I'm sure this is being done to save money. But I'm not convinced that haemoglobin by itself is very accurate as a measure of iron deficiency either.

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I have always had good haemoglobin and every doctor insist I can't have low iron. My current GP didn't hesitate testing me and full panel shows I am low on iron, but only slightly so I can't rely on personal experience.

I am supplementing iron and I benefit from it big time, but as I am just a bit low on iron it ain't solution for me.

That article just made me wonder as so many struggle and supplementing iron doesn't seem to work if the fix is to optimise thyroid levels. For some anemia for various reasons probably is true.


What were the results of a full iron panel?

Optimal results are suggested here :


My serum iron was below half, ferritin 32 (range 5-90) and my doctor said it should be 50. Saturation falls into optimal range and the binding capacity is different was pretty much normal. So I am not clinically anemic. My doctor figured it's my heavy periods and my diet just is not iron rich enough.

We finns tend to have iron rich diet anyway so it has never been an issue for me. I figure I eat a lot iron rich food but heavy periods mess it.

On the other hand I have never ever had full panel. I don't know how low I possibly have been before I started to fix my nutritional deficiencies or did my iron drop at same time with thyroid hormones. Can't compare! Will have new full iron panel a month from now.


Justiina found your read as researching my overactive thyroid and would like to recommend a place to research more on subject of iron. I am not an expert but do find what morley robbins has to say about the subject very interesting, his site is Magnesium Advocacy - The Root cause protocol on facebook, hope it helps

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Was interesting and I do agree as research backs up that iron causes bacterial overgrowth.

I had yersiniosis years ago and in iron rich environment it can turn into septicaemia. Mine did. At that time the water at my childhood home was from private well which is incredibly iron rich so I had my share of iron. The well is still in use but the water is now only used in sauna and garden. White bucket turns brown relatively fast because of iron!

I personally supplement iron but I use ferrazone spray only 3.6 mg as I have mild deficiency because of heavy periods. I do not want to use it all the time but until I manage to turn my diet supporting better absorption.

Good thing about the spray is that it doesn't go through digestive system and less bacteria can enjoy it!

My sister in law received iron transfusion which was necessary due to upcoming surgery. Four days she had high fever , diarrhoea and she was vomiting. I told her it's most probably iron feeding some bacteria making her ill. It eventually passed and she is otherwise healthy she bounced back fast.

Mild iron deficiency seems to protect from bacterial infections sane way mild iodine deficiency is known to protect from hashimoto. So it sounds better to be safe than sorry. Unfortunate side effect of iron supplements are hard to dodge as to over come anemia you need high dosages.

Ferrazone I am taking should act like haeme iron( same than in meat) and be absorbed far better. Will see. I will have my iron retested in a month. I hope my gut feeling is right and I am doing the right thing! !!!


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