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Iron supplements question

I have been getting short of breath lately, and have really noticed it as i have started running- I must be the only person in the world who is getting slower and fatter rather than fitter and faster ...:(

Anyway, my recent full blood tests show that :

Serum ferritin level : 22 ug/L [10.0 - 300.0]

Serum vitamin B12 level : 489 ng/L [180.0 - 1000.0]

Serum folate level 9.0 ug/L [> 4.0]

I think these are a bit low, so am going to supplement - is an iron supp ( Floradix / Feroglobin) taken as directed the best way to go about this, or do I need Ferritin as well? Does an iron supplement such as one of these cover all bases?

thanks in advance.

20 Replies

I use floradix and for me it works perfect, increase ferritin nice and effectively.

Ferritin is protein made in liver that binds with iron , for some the production of ferritin is compromised and taking iron increases serum iron too high. That can be fixed by eating liver , taking liver supplements or taking lactoferrin.


In my own case I have Iron overload-Heamachromatosis- where the body cannot rid itself of excess iron which then collects I. And destroys the liver, the joints, heart, brain etc....there are thousands walking around unaware that they have this genetic disorder as there is no blood test for ferritin levels included in the annual screening process. The tests cost 40p where a liver transplant can cost £100,000 .....Jeremy Hunt please take note..inclyde a ferritin test in screening....save millions from knee and hip replacement surgery, Cirrhosis of the liver and other related conditions.


Sorry to jump in here Maribee but your reply struck a chord!

For as long as I can remember I have not tolerated iron supplements well.... just started to try Solgar Gentle iron but too early to comment on it's effect and possibly (now) the wrong way to go!

My last ferritin test result was 70, the range being >70, this seems low but was passed as "normal"....that word again!

I now wonder if this low ferritin result is having a detrimental effect by causing my serum iron level to be too high and in turn, the addition of an iron supplement (e.g. Floradix) is making me feel unwell/nauseous.

I don't eat red meat (interestingly it too makes me nauseous) so liver is out, but having read your reply I wonder if I should be considering lactoferrin....in whatever form that is available!

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.




My ideal Ferritin level us 35 .

In food there are 2 types of Iron.

Heme: iron ingested from red meat

No -heme:iron ingested from vegetables ...like spinach.

It is the heme iron that you need to watch...also food manufacturers add iron to packet and processed food so be aware of this...check the ingredients.

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Hi Maribee. A few months ago I posted about my endo querying if I have haemochromatosis. Turns out, genetic testing, I have one mutant gene but it really makes a huge difference in that my ferritin was over the 'legal limit'. Donating blood now on the regular to get the iron down. I stopped eating red meat for a year and curtailed it severely since 2015 but ferritin was still at top of range prior to starting the blood donations.

I did an awful lot of reading up on this condition and there are research papers indicating that even one mutant gene can be problematic. At the same time there are people with two mutant genes who don't have an iron storage problem. Go figure.

But definitely in countries where Haemochromatosis mutation is common, not only ferritin but also iron saturation test should be routine. Haemochromatosis is the most common genetic problem.

I think in the case of the person who started this thread, she should have her haemoglobin and folate checked. Ferritin and B12 is not enough. If those are good, then being out of breath needs checking on. Could be anything cardiopulmonary, asthma, etc.


Hi again....glad you are getting it sorted out....Heamachromatosis is an inherited genetic condition (doesn't always result in the same gene pattern in different members of same family) both parents have to carry the gene to pass it on the their offspring...occasionally a child will be a carrier and not actually suffer itself from the problem.

I discovered I had it only through one of my adult sons having his blood tested because of extreme tiredness- strangely I can remember that liver always made him sick as a child !-

All family members then had to be tested and all but one have the condition....that one being a carrier.

The normal ferritin range for a female is 15-100 if I go above 100 then I have venesections untill it drops to 35.

Saturation measures the level of stored iron in your joints, liver, etc.

There are thousands of patients going for physio (for joint pain) and other symptoms with a background problem of undiagnosed iron overload....all they needed was a 40p blood test !!!! This is STILL not a routine test....what a waste of NHS cash !!! Thousands of needless hip and knee replacements, liver transplants, heart and brain problems, hair loss and pain.

I guess you were advised to inform your biological family that it is necessary for them to ask for a Ferritin test and saturation test, should they chose not to do so they risk so many health problems easily treated.

It is a lifelong co diction so you will need checking constantly for the rest of your life but it is manageable.

Good luck.


Hi again...just read your post through again...a ferritin reading of 70 is pretty good I'd say...not high at all....if you go above 100/150 then reconsider....mine is 74 at the moment....if it goes above 100 then I'm due for a venesection.....ferritin reading as such is in the serum which is transporting oxygen and other blood products around the body. The iron which is stored in the organs needs a saturation test to determine.

I do t think that you need an iron supplement at all, your reading is slightly high rather than low, if you add more iron your reading will go up.

If the problem is that you feel tired, you can mistakenly think that it is that you are low on iron....one of the prime symptoms of .heamachromatosis is tiredness.

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Hi Maribee, that's very helpful thank you, I was never totally sure about "levels" but pleased to learn 70 is fine and that I don't need to supplement.


If you feel you need to check just go online and search ferritin levels for females. I don't know what age you are but if you still have periods then you will automatically lose ferritin monthly and you may find that your levels go down after you bleed.lif you go above 100/150 then if I were you I would ask GP for test and saturation test. Otherwise notice if you have sore joints, hair loss, tiredness.

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normal Ferritin serum level -women- between 30 and 300 nanograms per ml.

Serum Iron levels between- 75-150 micro grams per decimetre of blood.

If in doubt look online., lots of information about diet etc which is helpful, there is even a Heamachromatosis cookbook ! Search Amazon, it tells you which is heme and which is non-heme food.

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Ive been using floravital which is the glutenfree one by floradix-its helped me as its so gentle and it has added b vits and vitc for absorption, when you 1st start taking it you may notice a increase in heart palps has the body gets used to it but mine died down in the 2nd week of using it. i had a dire iron level of 10 in january and very symptomatic of breathlessness and trembles, palps and when i retested in march i have raised it to around 27 and due for another test next week. I am still symptomatic but not as bad, i have now been referred to GI and haem as i may have a absorption problem asvim celiac. It maybe worth you just cutting down on your fitness schedule a little for your body to recover a little as iron def can be extremley serious.

Good luck🌟🌟


Do you take a good quality vitamin c? This can increase your iron levels, I cannot tell you the technical reasons but many nutritionists would say that iron supplements are not a good thing to take. Also look at diet -

Look at Dr Mercola’s posts about iron/ferritin too

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I think a lot of people begin taking iron supplements if they feel tired...the thing is, with Iron overload the main symptom is tiredness and iron is the LAST thing you need.

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With a Ferritin level that low, before you consider supplementing iron you should really have a full blood count to see if you have iron deficiency anaemia (low Ferritin can suggest this) - if you do then the treatment for that is far more than the small amount of elemental iron that you'll get from Floradix etc.

Also, an iron panel because if you have high serum iron then you won't want to be adding more iron, you would need proper guidance on how to address high serum iron and low Ferritin.

A good B Complex should help with your B12 and Folate - the suggested dose of Igennus Super B (2 tablets) will give 900mcg methylcobalamin and 400mcg methylfolate for instance.


Thank you- I have an appointment next week so I will be questioning my iron levels x


Floradix may not contain enough elemental iron to raise your ferritin to the >=70 that you need, but it's quite OK to use, just an expensive method if you need a lot. GP would giv eyou 3 x 210mg ferrous funarate a day (to be taken with vit C) - you can get strong ferrous fumarate from a chemist (not OTC) without a prescription or on ebay quite cheaply, but some people find it hard on the stomach. You also need to improve folate and b12 (over 500).


Hi i use floravital and you are right it is a expensive way to do it but i could not tolerate ferrous fumerate or ferrous sulphate from gp-so i turned to floravital-i managed to go from 10 to 27 in 3 months it has been slow going but now being referred to GI and haem.but what do you do when you cant use the regular ones.😊😊


It's also interesting to know that if you drink coffee with your meals it increases you intake of iron I think it's by 6%


Look at the four tests you need and at the end it gives Canadian reference ranges which might apply if you are in the UK. stopthethyroidmadness.com/l...


I hope this advice helps many out there with low iron and ferritin levels. Mine were very low couldn't understand why until i gave up dairy. My iron levels soared no horrible iron tablets! Calcium prevents the absorbtion of iron. Nothing worse than having a lovely iron rich meal and then undoing it all by having dairy for dessert. Also drinking tea with your meals has the same negative effect. Drink fruit juices high in vit c with your meals to help iron absorption and quit the nasty dairy. My body pain also dissapeared when i quit dairy.

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