Should I avoid liquid iron supplement with iodine in?

I have very low ferritin and was prescribed ferrous sulphate by GP (200mg x 3 a day) but I wanted to try a liquid one from natural food sources - some seem to have a very low level of iron (such as 15mg!) there seems to be a good one called 'Virginian organic liquid iron' from Victoria Health that is supposed to be more easily absorbed but it has iodine in.

When I had a private blood test I had very high antiTgb antibodies which my GP said was irrelevant but my research on here shows it means I probably have I gather it may be unwise to add iodine, is this the general consensus?

I'm taking 3 grains of NDT a day but always feel worse if I stop the iron.

24 Replies

Hi - yes you should avoid iodine unless you have a proven deficiency. Also 15 of iron is very low, why would you not take the prescribed ones? Most gastro issues can be headed off by taking them singly and 1000 vit c with each one.

I can tolerate the prescribed ones but there was such a faff getting a repeat prescription, one GP said I could have it then the nurse rang up saying I had to have a blood test first, a second GP said I couldn't have any more until results of blood test were back. My ferritin before the iron was 7 (10-320) and last time was 31 (10-320) so of course they regard that as normal and are not so happy to prescribe even though I know it isn't nearly high enough.

The kind of iron supplements that the NHS prescribe can be bought without a prescription, either from a pharmacy (if the pharmacist agrees - it is up to his/her discretion) or online. I bought my own iron supplements after the first prescription because I was fed up of fighting with my GP for everything I wanted. I had no problems getting them from Tesco and Lloyds Pharmacies, Boots were a bit less obliging.

I don't know why it should be the case but ferrous sulfate/sulphate is always sold in smaller quantities than ferrous fumarate 210mg (FF210). You can buy ferrous fumarate 210mg in boxes of 84 - enough for 1 tablet, 3 times a day for 28 days, which is the maximum dose. FF210 has a similar iron content to the ferrous sulfate you will have been prescribed, and in most cases is better tolerated.

The above image shows the ones usually prescribed/sold in the UK but I have bought other makes.

For info on what NHS doctors can prescribe, see the BNF on the subject, and click on the various supplements listed on the right hand side for dosage info :

You can also improve iron levels by eating liver or black pudding a couple of times a week if you are a meat eater.

I would avoid iodine if you haven't been tested and found to be deficient.

If you pay for a private test for iodine, be careful which kind of test you order. I don't know which type of test is the best one - but I wouldn't buy the kind of test discussed at this link which is the iodine loading test. The other tests I know of are the serum test and the urinary iodine excretion test (without loading). There may be other ways of testing I don't know about.

You can usually get ferrous fumarate from Tescos pharmacy and many independent ones without a prescription, also online inc pharmacies on ebay. Obvioulsy, you should get another blood test after a few months as high iron is as dangerous as low.

Vit C not D! For goodness sake, don't take vit d with iron! lol

Oops sorry - finger trouble - I was probably typing on small phone buttons!

I was surprised, glad you corrected though as I did doubt myself! :)

Just to add, you should really check your ferritin and blood count to see if need iron supplements and how much as it's one of those you shouldn't take unless you actually need it and will cause problems if you go too high.

Vit C will help absorb more from your diet and you can eat more liver - or liver pate can be put into sauces such as bolognese.

I'm vegetarian and have been for 35 yrs - so probably been iron deficient for a long time! I will ask for my lats test results from GP but ferritin was still low though just within range, so i don't think I'm near overdose yet....or can you have low ferritin and still overdose on iron??

No I just mean that it's one of those things where you need recent results to see where you are to gauge levels of supplementation required and then retested three months later to ensure not over - it's not something you want to guess at as you'll end up not high enough or too high :-)

Also, considering you are vegetarian, you might want to get your B12 tested to double check if you haven't already :-)

Yes! My ferritin was 5, but my iron levels were normal. So my doctor had me double my iron supplement anyway, and now I am dealing with iron toxicity. Apparently your ferritin will be low when your free T3 is low, which mine was. Now my ferritin is up to 45, which is still on the lower side, but my transferrin saturation is 56% (50 is the upper limit). It's unlikely that your iron is low as a vegetarian, but I would still be sure to get a complete iron panel before supplementing.

Hi Raucous. I was taking spatone, and that only has 5 mg per sachet, and it said to take one a day. Hence I took 4 a day. ;-)

So is there any reason not to double the supplement that only has 15 mg per dose?

Doubling the dose would give 240mcg iodine, considering we shouldn't take iodine unless tested and shown to be deficient that wouldn't be a good idea.

Apart from having too much iodine:

1. You won't take sufficient elemental iron. Each ferrous fumerate or ferrous sulphate tablet has 65-70mg of elemental iron in it. So taking 3 of them a day will mean you have 195-210mg per day. Even Solgar gentle iron (iron bisglycinate) has 20mg of elemental iron in it so taking 4 per day will give you 80mg of iron. Since you only absorb 20-30% of the iron you intake however bioavailable the iron salt is you won't take in enough.

2. It is very expensive.

yes I was wondering about the absorption, I had heard that you only absorb 20-30% but all the marketing stuff about the food source/liquid iron says you absorb more but as you say the difference between 200mg & 20 is huge! Oh well back to the GP rigmarole and in the meantime I may just buy more ferrous sulphate myself.

I tend to test and sort out my own iron tablets if needed as like humanbean you end up fighting with your GP to get tested in the first place, being forceful with which ever receptionist is on duty to get your test results, and then to get repeat prescriptions.

On,y a thought that helped me when anemic in pregnancy, I got given the homeopathic form which alllowed iron uptake from diet and it was very successful at that time, may be worth looking into, nothing to loose? - also did this when had a heommerage and was very aneamic.

Gosh hadn't heard of that even though I do use homeopathy, I'll look in to it.

I was very sceptical remember I was an 8 reading and not long after treatment a 12 - is,liar ferritin name to it, but helped absorption mainly hope it helps let me know 😊

Had ferritin similar name'.

Hi again

Helios are great at helping

They have homeopaths on site to speak to and if they can prescribe they send in post, usually about 8£. There are two or three Helios branches, if you Google and phone

Great service worth a look

Thanks Jeppy I will - feels like a full time job sometimes this dealing with thyroid problems!

Understand completely!!! Yes, I have to make myself switch off otherwise it's so consuming, is it that we have this personality type I've wondered!? Deeper thinkers etc. Lol

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