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Can I take Iron tablets with a ferritin level of 40 (range 13.0 - 150.0)?

Hello, I feel very tired and breathless, struggle with memory and concentration and need to sleep a lot. I was prescribed Ferrous Sulphate last year when my Ferritin was 25 (range was 10-284), so I doubt the doctor would prescribe again as it looks better also given the different range. I am already taking Jarrow B Right and B12 losanges for lower mid range B12 and Folate.

TSH and T4 were better than ever from latest blood tests and Vitamin D is pretty good.

13 Replies

Assunta - well you could take iron tablets but you'd have to keep an eye on your level and test privately if necessary. Or you could eat liver regularly, maximum 200g per week due to it's high Vit A content, and including lots of iron rich foods in your diet apjcn.nhri.org.tw/server/in...

What was the result of your Vit D test? It was only 25.8 in June, what is it now? It needs to be 100-150nmol/L.

By the way, in your last thread you say you are taking 2 x brazil nuts a day for selenium. Check the packaging. If it doesn't say "Grown in selenium rich soil" then you're not getting any selenium. The nuts need to come from certain parts of certain countries to have any selenium in them, see honey-guide.com/2012/11/19/... A selenium supplement is by far the best way to know how much selenium you are getting.

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Hi SeasideSusie thank you for your reply! I am not a great fan of eating liver so I was eating chicken liver pate and black pudding once a week thinking they would have the same effect...thanks for the food charts, they are really helpful. Looking at them I seem to be doing ok with the iron rich foods especially eggs.

Next time I will do a private blood test will be end of December. Do you think I could risk taking some iron tablets?

My Vit. D is now 78, which I was really surprised about given how I'm feeling! I started taking my Vitamin D spray again when I started feeling unwell about 3 weeks ago, and I thought maybe I'd just keep going as a maintenance dose although it is 3000 iu a spray. I am also taking Vitamin K

Thanks for the information about brazil nuts, I had no idea! I might buy a supplement then.

I did some more blood tests privately in Italy last week and am very curious to know what my T3 is. If it's good, I am at a loss what could be wrong with me...


I really don't like recommending iron tablets so you will have to decide on that one yourself or ask your GP for guidance.

Your problem is possibly due to low ferritin and you need to improve your Vit D.

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Thank you SeasideSusie, I will ask the GPs. I thought my VitaminD level is really good now at 78? on the lab work sheet it says supplementation is not required at more than 50.


Assunta - your Vit D level has just crept into the replete range (75-200) but the Vit D Council recommend a level of 100-150nmol/L. It's worth supplementing to achieve that level, especially now it's winter and we're not going to make any natural Vit D from the sun, our bodies will use what's been stored over the summer.

You probably only need something like 2000iu daily. You can use a D3 softgel or you can use a combined D3/K2-MK7 supplement.

There are important cofactors needed when taking D3


D3 aids absorption of calcium from food and K2-MK7 directs the calcium to bones and teeth where it is needed and away from arteries and soft tissues where it can be deposited and cause problems.

D3 and K2 are fat soluble so should be taken with the fattiest meal of the day, D3 four hours away from thyroid meds.

Magnesium comes in different forms, check to see which would suit you best and as it's calming it's best taken in the evening, four hours away from thyroid meds


Check out the other cofactors too.

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You could have a poor ferritin level and a reasonably good serum iron level. It isn't a great idea to supplement with iron just on the basis of a ferritin level.

Although it isn't common, some people have found that the iron they were supplementing has bumped up their serum iron but left their ferritin practically unchanged. This means that they have high levels of free iron in their bloodstream, which isn't good news at all.

To be on the safe side I would suggest asking your doctor for an iron panel or paying for it to be done privately. Or possibly you could have a Full Blood Count done - your doctor might do one of these more readily than an iron panel.



The problem with the FBC for checking iron is that some things in it are pushed one way by a Vitamin B12 deficiency and are pushed the opposite way by an iron deficiency. Put both deficiencies in the same body and some results could look quite normal. See the table on this link :


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hi humanbean thank you for your reply! and thank you for the links. The doctor did do a FBC, I didn't mention it as there doesn't seem to be anything special.

Maybe you might be able to have a look? I would be so grateful. The doctor didn't even see me when he ordered the blood tests basically to shut me up. He said my issues were because of my low mood. So I feel I can't discuss these results with him especially as they are all 'normal' and basically prove him right.

Total white cell count 6.9 (4.0.- 11.0)

Haemoglobin estimation 125 (115 - 165)

Red Blood Cell count 4.42 (3.80 - 5.50)

Haematocrit 0.378 (0.370 - 0.470)

MCV 86 (80 - 98)

MCH 28.3 (27 - 33.00)

MCHC 331 (320 - 365)

Platelet count 339 (150 - 400)

Neutrophil count 4.1 (1.80 - 7.50)

Lymphocyte count 2.16 (1-4)

Monocyte count 0.41 (0.20 - 1)

Eosinophil count 0.18 (0 - 0.4)

Basophil count 0.03 (0 - 0.10)

erythrocyte sedimentation rate 5 mm/1sthr (<7)


Your haemoglobin is in range, suggesting you aren't officially anaemic.

According to this link :


The World Health Organization defines anaemia as:[1]

Haemoglobin (Hb) <13 g/dL in men over 15 years old.

Hb <12 g/dL in non-pregnant women over 15 years old.

Hb <12 g/dL in children aged 12-14 years.

You haven't given units of measurement but I'm assuming your Hb level is in g/L (it usually is in the UK). 12 g/dL would be equivalent to 120 g/L. Yours is above that level so you aren't officially anaemic. I must admit it isn't much above that level and getting it a bit higher wouldn't do any harm and may help.

Your RBC and haematocrit are in the lower half of the reference range.

MCV is low in iron deficiency and high in vitamin B12 deficiency. As I said in my previous reply, some things in the FBC can be pushed in two directions. If it comes out above the range or below the range then it is useful information. Otherwise MCV isn't proof of anything regarding iron deficiency or B12 deficiency - you could have one or the other or both or neither.

Just for info, MCV, MCH, and MCHC are all calculated from other values in the Full Blood Count :


If you want to read more on your FBC results and what they mean, then this link is worth reading. Note that some parts of the FBC have explanatory pages of their own.



You might find these links interesting :




So to summarise...

Your Hb, HCT and RBC are all in the lower half of the reference range. So is your ferritin (by a substantial margin). Your serum iron is unknown.

I think you could supplement iron pills for a couple of months without causing any major issues. Do an iron panel 2 months after starting to supplement, just to check you aren't overdoing it. Stop taking iron supplements 5 - 7 days before blood testing and do the test as early as possible having fasted overnight (apart from water which you should drink freely).

If you take any supplements containing biotin (some B Complex supplements contain biotin for example, and so do many supplements for hair and nails) please stop those a couple of days before any testing, since biotin may distort blood test results.

Please note I am not medically trained.

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humanbean can't thank you enough for taking the time to give me all this helpful information. I will have to read your comment a few times as brain fog is really bad today.

One last question: I think I might have been taking a B complex containing Biotin for a few days when I did the blood test, so do you think my results might actually have been distorted?


It is possible. I can't say what the probabilities are that yours may have been distorted - probably not very high.

The problem is explained and discussed here :


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hello SeasideSusie and humanbean as you so kindly and knowleadgebly commented on this post, I thought I'd mention I just got my blood tests results from Italy, done 10 days after the ones in the UK, and they have quite different thyroid, ferritin and vitamin D results. This is very puzzling! I am going to write a new post about it and would be very grateful for your input.


I'll look out for your post then :)

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thank you so much!


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