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Thyroid UK
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Iron poisoning?

Hi all, I don't have hypothyroidism but my thyroid is beginning to struggle (see previous posts) and as a result I am having absorption issues. I was anaemic in March and had a ferritin level of 8. I posted my last blood test results 8 days ago as my ferritin and B12 had dropped by over half in about 2 and 1/2 months after stopping supplementing when the anaemia was sorted out.

Ferritin June - 111 (13-150)

Ferritin Sept - 55 (13-150)

I'd also had a FBC and my serum iron levels were well within range (all slap bang in the middle of range) but I'd started having symptoms again and didn't want to slide back into anaemia and have read that ferritin needs to be at least 70 for the thyroid to function well. Anyway, I still had some ferrous sulphate (200mg) tablets left so have been taking one a day for the last 8 days. A few days ago I started getting mild stomach gripes. Yesterday I spent the whole day in pain with really nasty stomach cramps that had me doubled up and I felt really sick and generally tired and lethargic. The cramps and nausea kept me awake for a lot of last night. I still feel pretty horrible this morning and am afraid to eat anything.

Could I have overdosed on iron in 8 days? Should I not have taken iron when my serum iron was fine? I'm hoping it's a bug but the extreme nature of the stomach cramps are making me worried.

5 Replies

always remember that , taken in excess, iron can be a toxin to the body ....ONLY TAKE IRON SUPPLEMENTS UNDER MEDICAL ADVICE - always dependant on the amount taken

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Having been on iron supplements for 8 days is not very likely to have caused iron poisoning. What has most likely happened is that your gut doesn't tolerate ferrous sulfate very well. Lots of people have major issues with iron, even if they desperately need it, and they have to experiment to find one they can tolerate.

Optimal levels for iron and iron-related tests can be found on this link :


If your serum iron is optimal and your saturation is reasonably good then I would suggest you shouldn't supplement.


Thanks for the reassurance Humanbean. The weird thing is that I took it for nearly 3 months earlier this year when I was anaemic and I didn't have a problem with it at all, which is why I wondered if I'd had too much iron.

And yes, I've stopped taking the pills now!


With a ferritin level of 55, I would suggest just eating liver regularly to help raise your level. Maximum 200g per week due to it's high Vit A content, but you wouldn't need that much anyway. One meal of about 100g per week is probably enough.

Also look at the list of iron rich foods and see what you can include in your diet apjcn.nhri.org.tw/server/in...

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Thanks SeasideSusie, yes I've seen your recommendation for liver before. Unfortunately I was force fed liver by a cruel teacher as a child and it's left me scarred. I can't even tolerate the smell of it. I do have a pretty high iron rich diet, red meat 3-4 times a week, oily fish, leafy greens etc, but for some reason my body isn't retaining it, which is why I, perhaps foolishly, thought I'd have a couple of weeks of tablets to give me a boost. If the way I'm feeling is iron toxicity then I certainly won't be doing that again in a hurry.


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