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Thyroid UK
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Low Iron, need ideas

Living with Hashimotos, low iron, low energy, brittle nails, obesity...you know the list of symptoms. I just got LDN from my family Dr and started taking it last night, 2mg in water. I am here to find ways to get iron into my body, insurance will no longer pay for infustions.

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Do iron tablets not work? I don't understand the question.

If it's low enough to need infusions are you supplementing?

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I don’t absorb iron or most supplements leading to all kinds of deficiencies. I am trying capsules again since I can’t get infusions anymore.

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Maybe healing the gut would aid absorption ...

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I agree. Trying gluten free for a while will help this. Cut out sugar too if you can. The Thyroid pharmacist is very good on this. Just type in that name online. She gives v good advice about gut healing.

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That is something I work on too, gluten free and probiotics through home made kefir.

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Have you tried the Better You Iron Spray? It means you don’t have to swallow it - it’s absorbed in the mouth.

betteryou.com/iron-oral-spray

🤸🏿‍♀️🥛

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How much where you taking?

Have you had a stomach acid test? You can try Betaine HCL for stomach acid.

What is your ferritin and your hemoglobin?

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My ferritin is 11.3

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That's super low. Have you tried over the counter iron supplements?

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That is my struggle I don’t absorb welll so I was getting infusions not insurance doesn’t cover it now

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So you have tried > 100 mg of elemental iron per day from supplements?

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I was just making sure you have supplemented.

Some people will underestimate how much of an iron deficit they have and then think "I ate liver and that didn't raise it." and the problem is that food is inadequate when you are that low.

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In the past I have and it didn’t work. I am looking for more options for better absorption

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SeasideSusie on this forum is v good inn vitamins. She recommends liver and liver pate, black pudding (don’t know if you get that in US!). Always good to have vitamin C with your iron to aid absorption. Good luck.

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I have never heard of black pudding what is it?

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Blue Bonnet chelated iron 27mg - take 7 a day with vitamin c. Are you taking digestive enzymes and betaine to help absorption, avoid gluten, take well away from your meds. Are you taking anything else that might be affecting gut absorption. Be careful with LDN, start very very low, it doesn't suit everyone. Selenium lowers antibodies.

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Hi Girlscout2 -

I was thinking to try LDN. What do you mean when you say it doesn’t suit everybody? I read that there are very few side effects and the ones that there are dissipate after a few weeks...

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Hello Julbrad, I just wanted to let you know I take LDN and it has helped me tremendously with pain and anxiety and sleep. I live in the US in Florida and the first pharmacy I got it from, it bothered me as i got some pain in my arm. Then I found a new doctor that prescribed it from a compounding pharmacy in Colorado called Belmar Pharmacy and their LDN has been wonderful! If you are in the US, any naturpath can prescribe it from there. I get it in 3 days once it is ordered. I hope this helps. I take 4.5 mg at night and then I also take half of that during the day as I have been really sick for 2 years.

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Hi MelanieV,

Thank you so much for your reply! I really appreciate it. I’m still working with my holistic doctor (up here in NY) to see if I should take LDN as my symptoms have gotten somewhat better just from taking compounding hormones (cream), being careful about what I eat, and taking a lot of vitamins - I have Hashimotos. I still don’t feel great but my biggest issue is really just being low energy. With the Hashis I have some mild anxiety and other mild symptoms but the worst is not feeling refreshed waking up in the morning so I was wondering if LDN would help in this area? Anyway, thank you again for responding!

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Hi Julbrad, I have hashimoto's also but I have been weak, shaky, dizzy and off balance for 2 years and the docs can't seem to figure it out. I just changed from nature throid to NP thyroid yesterday so I am hoping this might be it because apparantly there have been issues with the new formula of nature throid. LDN always makes me feel better which is why I have been taking 4.5 mg at night but half of that during the day. Hope this helps!

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Wow, I'm sorry to hear that. I hope you feel better! So much still to learn about thyroid issues! That does help, thanks. I am actually not on any thyroid medication - yet - and my holistic dr. is trying to do other things to help my symptoms before putting me on thyroid meds. I have to say that checking my hormones was a huge help - I was deficient in 5 different hormones. Because of so much hormonal deficiency, she checked me for heavy metal toxicity and found I was overloaded with mercury and lead! So I had to recover from that and the hormone issue and now I am feeling so much better. The only thing is my ferritin level is still low, so I have to work on getting that up. That may be part of the reason I'm still not feeling good energetically. Best of luck to you!

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Hello Julbrad, My ferritin is 35 but it was 63 recently so not sure why it is so low now. But from what i read that is still normal range but not optimal. I am on hormones but I guess there is something else wrong. I just did heavy metals testing and am waiting on the results. That could be my problem also. WE shall see. Did you have any of my symptoms of weak, shaky, dizzy and off balance when you had the heavy metals?

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Hi MelanieV, I just saw your response. We seem to have a lot of similar health issues! Last May before I started taking the compounding hormones and got tested for heavy metals, I was feeling quite horrible. I was feeling weak and shaky and off-balance, like you were talking about, and I was also starting to feel depressed and like I was going off the deep end - it was hard to get up in the morning and every day I wondered if i’d make it through with those awful symptoms. The detoxing of the mercury and lead, along with the hormones, has really made a huge difference. But I have read on this site that 90, 100 and even higher is an optimal ferritin level if you have Hashimotos. I was around 35 the last time I got bloodwork done too. So that’s something to work on - I’ve been trying to eat iron rich foods, both heme and non heme. I just ordered some liver pills, and have started taking the HCL/peptin supplement and am hoping that will help my digestion and absorption. I’m sad to hear about the Naturethroid as that’s what my dr wants me to take and I don’t know about NP thyroid at all. Please let me know if the switch makes you feel better. My energy is still low so I was really hoping the Naturethroid would help...

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Hello Julbrad, sorry for the tardy response. I have been on np thyroid for about 2 weeks but don't feel much different from nature throid so i would go ahead and try nature throid if you want. All my doctors are on it. It is just that janie bowthorpe on stop the thyroid madness.com said that np is the best one now since nature throid changed their formula but i don't know how true it is. I was able to lose weight on nature throid and now being on np thyroid it is harder for me to lose weight and I am on the same dosage. I might go back to nature throid. Did your weak, shakiness and off balance go away once you detoxed the heavy metals? What did you do to detox the heavy metals out of your body? What was the protocol? Did you get weaker from the detox? Someone told me I should not detox due to the fact I was so weak. Please let me know your thoughts.

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Hi MelanieV - thank you very much for that info on Naturethroid versus np thyroid. I am looking forward to losing some weight! Have you ever heard of chelation therapy? I did that and it’s just taking a chelating pill some nights at bedtime, the chelation process entails the substance in the pill latching on to heavy metal in the body and out of the body it goes in the urine. It does take some time, I did it for three months. I also took some chlorella, starting out small and increasing very slowly, which also helps chelate heavy metals out. I didn’t feel any side effects but I was happy to be done with it - actually on pill nights the next morning when I’d go to the bathroom there was a strong smell - sorry for TMI. I don’t feel it made me weaker or that it was an extreme thing to do to my body, although I guess everyone’s different. However if you test for heavy metals and find that you are high in only one, I’m not sure if it’s the same protocol. I’m not feeling weak and shaky anymore but I don’t know if that’s fully attributable to chelation as other things were going on as well, Including finally not being anemic which I had been for many years, going gluten free, taking a lot more vitamins and taking 4 different (natural) hormones. Hope that helps and you feel better!

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Hello Julbrad, Ok that is good information! Were you diagnosed with pernicious anemia? Do you have hashimoto's? What kind of anemia do you have and how were you diagnosed with it? What did you do for the anemia? I am doing b12 injections but I was not diagnosed with PA.

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I do not have PA. I do have Hashis. I have been anemic on and off since I was in my teens. Well, I first was diagnosed in college but I think I was anemic earlier. I have always had heavy periods so it was menstrual anemia. I’ve read that anemia goes hand in hand with Hashis as digestive problems/ (non) absorption is a symptom of Hashis thus causing less absorption of iron among other vitamins and minerals... makes so much sense to me looking back. My anemia got much worse about 8 years ago because I had a vaginal fibroid that made my periods practically like hemorrhaging, it was horrible and I was pretty incapacitated for half a month practically every month later on. I have also been diagnosed with vitamin b12 deficiency and initially did a few injections but felt no difference so I never did any more. Mostly I started eating liver weekly, taking sublingual b12 and resting and sleeping a lot! When I supplemented with iron I bled more so I stopped doing that. I really only got better when I had the surgery to get the fibroid removed. So I can’t help you much with that unfortunately. Do you know why you have anemia? I am starting Naturethroid tomorrow... did you feel a difference right away or was it more gradual?

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I am gluten free and taking all the supplements in liquid form when possible

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I have hcl but forget to use it often, I do take selenium for thyroid and am healing the gut but I don’t absorb well and iron is always very low. I avoid gluten too.

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It gave me galloping cortisol and I didn't sleep, at all, for two weeks. It doesn't work for everyone, are you in a forum, they are full of people having horrendous side effects to LDN including increased pain and decreased energy. If you have low iron I'd suggest that is the cause of all your symptoms, and it's not antibodies. I'd do things one at a time, methodically sort your iron and B12, and then look at other things or you'll get in a pickle.

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Thanks! My low iron has been going on for years but I just started LDN two days ago, so I am watching for side effects but I am so fatigued already and pain is already a problem.

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I hear you, it's very frustrating. For me, it's always iron, I get the WORST symptoms when my iron is even a little bit below optimum. Dosing of your thyroid meds is a bit of a balancing act when iron is low, and nudge it up too far and you'll feel mental and horribly jittery, but keep it too low and you'll be stuck in a loop of low absorption. Take a good brand of iron, you want heme iron ideally and a good dose of it, it's safe to take 200mg of elemental iron a day (you need to read the label to work out the dose of elemental iron, not just the total iron in the pill). I buy BlueBonnet chelated iron 27mg (on Ebay) and take 7 a day when my iron is in my boots. I also buy Inofer from france, it's really cheap and take 6 a day as an alternative. I take with orange juice well away from thyroid meds.

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Oh, goodness, that's horrible. I'm so sorry. Were you taking the compounding LDN? (Is there another kind?) No, that's a good idea to find a forum for LDN. Do you know a good one? if so, could you send a link? I am recovering from low iron, among other issues, and am now feeling much better. I believe for me it is at least partially linked to hashimotos and the digestive problems that come with that disease.

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Hey! Check out my response to the thread “Best ferritin supplement?” Started by Cooper27 three days ago! It’s long, but I list all the supplements I used to successfully raise my iron (hgb, hct, and ferritin) in 2 months. Good luck & sorry you are having this trouble—totally feel for you! :)

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Link to the whole thread :

healthunlocked.com/thyroidu...

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Thank you humanbean! For some reason every time I try to post links on HealthUnlocked, it won’t let me publish the post, so I didn’t try. Maybe HealthUnlocked links are ok though—will have to try it again next time!

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You could email support and ask why you can't post links.

support@healthunlocked.com

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Good idea humanbean —thx for all the ideas you guys! Love this site. ❤️

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pkmama... here in the states a lot of folks who need their iron take a tablespoon or so of black strap molasses with meals. Seems to work very well for some. Start off with just a tablespoon a day (with meals) and work up.

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What are your thyroid levels like? Being hypothyroid causes absorption problems anyway. Perhaps you are undermedicated?

Post your blood results here, with reference ranges, and someone should be able to advise

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I am going to get my labs posted as soon as I can, sounds like a great group for advise. Thanks all

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Hello, you can take OTC iron pills.. if you’re looking for natural ways I would suggest herbal remedies. The herbs that are good for the thyroid as well as helping replenish iron are:

Bladderwrack & Sea Moss . both herbs high in iodine which is what the thyroid needs and replenishes the minerals in the body

Yellowdock root

Burdock root- cleanses the blood

Sarsaparilla root high in iron

Dandelion root

Elderberry root

Chaparral

Just to name a few. Hope this helps.

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That sounds like a great place to start! Thanks

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Be cautious with the iodine. Just reading Datis Kharrazian on the thyroid, who says that for someone with Hashimoto's/autoimmune thyroiditis, supplementing with iodine is like throwing gasoline onto a fire.

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Or if you do have Hashimotos and need to take iodine, be sure to take it with Selenium (see Izabella Wentz’s book Hashimotos Protocol).

Hashimoto's Protocol: A 90-Day Plan for Reversing Thyroid Symptoms and Getting Your Life Back amazon.com/dp/006257129X/re...

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Woohooo my link posted!! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

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My most recent thyroid levels...

T4 0.59

T3 2.1

TSH 1.75

Ferritin 11.3

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Wow pkmama—that ferritin is super low. I am so sorry! Mine was at 17 last summer and my hair was falling out in chunks because of it—terrible. Got it up to 78 in 2 months with the “cocktail” of supplements listed in my post. And I was up to 118 as of Jan/Feb of this year! Were you able to access my post through the link humanbean gave above (thx again for doing that btw humanbean!)? At the risk of being repetative, I’ll go ahead and just paste the text of my reply again here so you don’t have to search for it :)

**********************

Hey! This is the info I email my friends who have low ferritin issues like I did—website links don’t come through on healthunlocked, but you can google the names and buy anywhere. Hope this helps! I had my hair growing back in 2 months, instead of a year, which is how long it usually takes to get ferritin up “optimal” levels (40 to stop hair loss and 80 for re-growth to start—mine was at 17!!). Docs/labs will say 20 is a normal ferritin level, but as we know, there is a HUGE difference between “normal” and “optimal!” I have included the name of the one heme iron supplement I was able to find online (this is the type or iron that raises levels fastest). :)

Here is the “iron supplement cocktail” I used to get my iron (hgb, hct, and ferritin) back up to “optimal” in 2 months.

Take it all on empty stomach for best absorption—start with just Iron Bisglycate (gentlest on stomach), Vit C, Lysine, & Lactoferrin and then add the other supplements to the cocktail as your stomach can tolerate and only if your labs show you need it...everyone is different. :) You don’t want to get too MUCH iron either.

IRON BISGLYCINATE - I use Thorne Research - 25 mg Iron Supplement for Enhanced Absorption Without Gastrointestinal Side Effects - 60 Capsules

HEME IRON SUPPLEMENT—I use Proferrin ES Heme Iron Polypeptide Dietary Supplement Tablets, Blue/Green, 90 Count (the only otc heme iron supplement I could find, so I use it even though it has food coloring—yuck!)

FERROUS FUMARATE—I use Ferretts Iron tablets 325mg - 2 pack (120 total)

GRASS FED BEEF SPLEEN CAPSULES—I use Ancestral Supplements Grass Fed Beef Spleen (Desiccated) — Immune, Allergy, Iron (5 X's More Heme Iron Than Liver)

SUPPLEMENTS TO TAKE *WITH* IRON TO INCREASE ABSORPTION (from my own research on PubMed—always recommend doing your own research):

LACTOFERRIN—I use Jarrow’s “IronSorb + Lactoferrin” (this product also has some iron in it), but they’ve been out if stock recently so I just get whatever Lactoferrin I can find online.

LYSINE —I use Designs for Health 1500mg L-Lysine HCL Capsules - Amino Acid for Muscle Support (120 Capsules) b/c this brand has the highest amount per capsule, but any brand will do.

VITAMIN C — Any brand. I use one with 1000 mg per capsule: Viva Naturals Premium Non-GMO Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids & Rose Hips, 1000 mg, 250 Veg Caps.

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR—I take capsules, b/c I can’t stand the taste of the liquid form. I use Nutricost Apple Cider Vinegar Capsules 500mg, 240 Veggie Capsules - Extra Strength, Non-GMO and Gluten Free

HCL + PEPSIN for those with low stomach acid—Hydrochloric acid (stomach acid) is generally *low* in people who are hypothyroid. This lowers vitamin/mineral absorption, including iron. You can take Betaine HCL w/ Pepsin supplements with meals to remedy this problem. I use NutriCost brand, but any will do as long as it has both HCL + Pepsin.

WHAT *NOT* TO TAKE WITH IRON (will impede absorption) from my compiled research—list is long, which is why I take my iron on an empty stomach mid-morning before breaking my fast around 1 pm:

When iron is combined with certain foods it may lose much of its value. If you are taking iron, the following foods should be avoided, or only taken in very small amounts, at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after you take your iron supplements or an iron-rich meal.

CALCIUM — Inhibits absorption of both non-heme and heme iron. Found in foods like milk, yogurt, cheese, sardines, canned salmon, tofu, broccoli, almonds, figs, turnip greens and rhubarb. 50 mg or less of calcium has little effect on iron absorption, calcium, but amounts as much as 300-600 mg inhibit iron absorption greatly (e.g., 1 cup of skim milk has about 300 mg of calcium).

ANTACIDS or PROTON PUMP INHIBITORS—take 1 to 2 hours apart. Medications that reduce the amount of acid in the stomach can lead to hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid). Low stomach acid reduces absorption of all nutrients, including iron.

EGGS contain a phosphoprotein called phosvitin, which has an iron binding capacity that impairs iron absorption. One boiled egg can reduce absorption of iron in a meal by as much as 28%.

PHYTATES — Compounds contained in soy protein and fiber. Even low levels (about 5 % of the amounts in cereal whole flours) have a strong inhibitory effect on iron bioavailability, reducing iron absorption by 50-65%. Phytates are found in walnuts, almonds, sesame, dried beans, lentils and peas, and cereals & whole grains.

TANNIC ACID—In foods like coffee (1 cup can inhibit iron absorption by as much as 60%.), tea, wine, chocolate, legumes, some fruits (e.g., apples, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries), nuts (e.g., walnuts), some spices, & grains.

OXALATES—Impair absorption of nonheme iron. In foods such as spinach, kale, beets, nuts, chocolate, tea, wheat bran, rhubarb, strawberries, and herbs such as oregano, basil, and parsley. The oxalates in spinach explain why the iron in spinach is not well absorbed.

POLYPHENOLS—Major inhibitors of iron absorption. In cocoa, coffee, certain teas (e.g., peppermint and some herbal teas), apples, and some herbs. Can inhibit up to 90% of iron.

Hope that helps! :)

***********************

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Wow, that is a lot of information but I can work on it. I was getting infusion every 18 months of iron but insurance won't pay for it unless officially anemic which is under 10.

Thanks for the info though.

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website links don’t come through on healthunlocked

They most certainly DO come through on HealthUnlocked!

Are you, perhaps, seeing a warning and failing to go ahead with it? You get warnings - all they are doing is trying to let you know that there is something in your post that MIGHT be something you don't want to post. For example, your own email address.

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Not sure what the issue was, but I have definitely never tried to post anything with my email address etc. Just Amazon links for supplements or links to PubMed articles, stuff like that. After a couple of tries posting links and getting errors (and then being successful after removing the links), I just quit including links in my posts. Thx for the feedback!

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It seems to think that links are also "suspicious" and should be warned about - sometimes! Just plough on and accept the warning.

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Wow - this is an amazing amount of information. I've had low ferritin (but normal iron levels) for years. The highest I was ever able to raise my ferritin levels via supplementation was to 58. I recently had 3 iron infusions which worked beautifully to raise my levels (329 a week after the 3rd infusion) and after 8 weeks (it takes that amount of time to see full effect) I have more energy and am feeling good ATM. I'm not currently supplementing because I need to see how my body will use the iron stores and how long the effects will last. My iron and ferritin levels will be tested again in 4 weeks and my GP and I will evaluate at that time of the next steps (supplementation, more infusions, and/or a visit with a hematologist to see what the heck is going on). I have consistently low RBC's as well.

I found this Heme Iron supplement that you might want to check out. It's pricier than the Proferrin but doesn't contain any dyes. Unfortunately, I cannot take it because it contains microcrystalline cellulose (a filler that I've learned that my body doesn't tolerate) but I thought it could be beneficial to you (or anyone else reading this). It also has the benefit of Vit C, Methylfolate and Methycobalamin, which, if you are supplementing separately, can now take in one capsule.

===========================================================

nutritionsurplus.com/heme-i...

Heme Iron SAP

Adults: Take 3 capsules once daily with a full glass of water, with or without food, or as directed by your health-care practitioner. Do not lie down for 30 minutes after taking this product. If you are taking other medications, take this product a few hours before or after them. Consult a health-care practitioner for use beyond 7 weeks. Consult a healthcare practitioner to monitor blood iron content.

Serving Size: 3 Capsules

Amount Per Serving

Vitamin C ... 270mg

Methylfolate ... 1mg

(from calcium l-5-methyltetrahydrofolate)

Vitamin B12 ... 1mg

(methylcobalamin)

Iron ... 33mg

(heme iron polypeptide from porcine hemoglobin)

Other Ingredients: Vegetable magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, silicon dioxide, and a non-GMO vegetable capsule composed of vegetable carbohydrate gum and purified water

Contains no: Artificial flavor or color, sugar, salt, sweetener, yeast, starch, soy, wheat, gluten, barley, dairy, citrus, eggs, or fish.

This product is non-GMO.

=========================================================

I'm also looking into defatted dessicated beef liver capsule. It's a natural source of Heme iron:

nhc.com/liver-fractions-hem...

swansonvitamins.com/swanson...

Interesting stuff!

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Wow milkwoman!! Great info, especially re the heme iron supp without food coloring! It’s about time they made one! I can’t take beef liver supplements because of their high copper content (dealing with copper toxicity, which leads to anemia and hypothyroidism...fun!), so I’ve used beef *spleen* supplements instead. Just as high in heme iron, but without the copper. Have they checked your copper and zinc levels btw (to see if high copper could be causing the low ferritin issue)? Usually only a functional medicine doc will think of it, but it’s so helpful to know because so many women *are* copper toxic (estrogen makes us retain more copper) and we don’t realize that’s what’s causing our anemia/thyroid issues. I certainly had no idea before my Dr tested me (she’s been trained by Dr. Bredesen). Having a copper to zinc ratio greater than 1 also raises risk for cognitive decline (something I’m trying to avoid by following Dr. Dale Bredesen’s protocol in his book, “The End of Alzheimer’s.”) It’s nice to get to the root cause—but not always easy though with most traditional docs! Best of luck with keeping your ferritin levels up! Sounds like you’re really on the right track based on your numbers! I’m jealous!! Your 329 blows my 118 out of the water. Congrats! :)

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My endo is a functional medicine doctor and last Spring I had a bunch of functional medicine tests performed. Both copper and zinc are within the green (good) portion of the reference ranges. Of course, the values are what's floating around in my blood so who knows what's in the cellular level. I may have been supplementing both copper and zinc at the time - would have to go back and check my notes (Tho, I do recall that I did stop ALL supplements for quite a long period prior to having the tests performed). Would't the makers of the dessicated products need to list the copper content on the label? In any event, it doesn't look like copper toxicity is a problem for me. No one knows what caused my HypoT. I have autoimmunity (Lupus and Sjogrens) but do not have positive autoantibodies for autoimmune Thyroiditis. Thyroid issues do run in my family so there's most likely a genetic component.

I will watch the cognitive decline as my ratio of copper to zinc is 1.18. I will check out Dr. Dale's protocol as Alzheimers/Dementia seems to run in my family (my 80+ year old dad has some dementia and his elder sister had dementia). I know diet is very important with regards to brain health and I do eat fairly healthy with 99% of meals created fresh in my kitchen using quality ingredients (we rarely eat out).

Thank you, again, for all the great info. You've really done some fantastic research that I'm sure will help many here! :-)

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Well you sound like you are doing great milkwoman! My copper:zinc ratio is WAY higher than yours (slowly improving though!). So glad yours is in the healthy range!

In case anyone else is curious about Dr. Dale Bredesen’s book, “The End of Alzheimer’s,” I thought I’d post an excerpt of his discussion on the copper:zinc ratio. (See below)

I cannot recommend his book more highly. It contains a wealth of information for anyone looking to optimize their health & prevent future disease, even if preventing cognitive decline is not a primary concern (turns out everything is connected to brain health—thyroid levels, insulin resistance, sex hormones, toxins, nutrition, etc!). For example, as you’ll see below, the copper:zinc ratio effects cognition because of its effect on insulin, autoimmunity, and the body’s ability to rid itself of toxins—great information for anyone dealing with diabetes, autoimmune disease, or detox issues, even if cognition itself has not yet been affected.

It is hands-down the best book on preventative medicine I’ve ever read. I have a hard copy, as well as the Audible and Kindle versions because I reference it so often, especially his extensive list of *optimal* lab ranges. Very helpful since the “normal” reference ranges given to us in typical lab results can have little to do with optimal health since they generally represent the average range for patients tested by that lab—most of whom are presumably NOT optimally healthy or they wouldn’t be getting lab tests. (As an aside, you can find more info on optimal lab ranges for many common lab tests by googling “optimal or functional lab ranges”—great info to have when labs come back “normal,” but you still don’t feel good!)

Here’s what Dr. Bredesen has to say about copper and zinc:

***************************************

“Too much copper and too little zinc are associated with dementia. ... most of us are deficient in zinc but have excess copper. This is an especially prevalent problem in developed countries, possibly because of copper piping and in some cases from copper in vitamins, combined with zinc-poor diets and poor zinc absorption (often due to our stomachs producing less acid, especially as we age or take proton pump inhibitors for gastric reflux).

More important...aging is associated with lower zinc levels, and Alzheimer’s disease with still lower zinc levels. Furthermore, patients with the toxic subtype of Alzheimer’s disease (type 3) often have very low zinc levels—typically half those of healthy people—and these low zinc levels cause them to be more sensitive to toxins such as mercury and the mycotoxins from mold. Moreover, zinc supplements enhance cognition...

Because copper and zinc are competitive in a number of ways—for example, each inhibits the uptake of the other from the intestines—too much copper leaves us with too little zinc. Both are crucial to health, so you don’t want too little of either. Although they are both metals, however, they are different ...copper readily shuttles electrons in and out of the many proteins that contain it, and thus is a source of free radicals... On the other hand, zinc, as part of over 300 different proteins, does not have the ability to shuttle electrons the way copper does; therefore zinc does not produce free radicals the way copper does ...

It has been estimated that as many as two billion people—more than a quarter of the world’s population—are deficient in zinc. Zinc deficiency is especially prevalent in the elderly, with consequences that mirror Alzheimer’s disease. For example, because zinc is critical for insulin synthesis, storage, and release, zinc deficiency reduces insulin signaling, a critical feature of Alzheimer’s. Zinc deficiency also increases the level of autoantibodies, a source of inflammation; increases oxidative damage and aging; reduces hormonal signaling and neurotransmitter signaling; and enhances sensitivity to toxins—all of which are characteristic of Alzheimer’s or contribute to cognitive loss even in the absence of frank disease.

Your blood levels of both copper and zinc should be approximately 100 mcg/ dL (micrograms per deciliter), and thus the ratio 1: 1. Ratios of 1.4 or higher have been associated with dementia.

Similarly, although most of your copper is bound by proteins such as ceruloplasmin, it is helpful to determine your free copper (the copper not bound by proteins), and you can easily calculate this by checking your copper, then subtracting three times your ceruloplasmin. For example, if your copper is 120 and your ceruloplasmin is 25, then your free copper is approximately approximately 120 minus 75 = 45, which is too high—it should be less than 30.

Measuring zinc in red blood cells produces a more accurate reading than measuring it in serum, so you can also check your red blood cell zinc, which should be 12 to 14 mg/ L.

GOAL: copper:zinc ratio = 0.8–1.2. Zinc = 90–110 mcg/ dL (or red blood cell zinc = 12–14 mg/ L). ADDITIONAL, OPTIONAL TARGET: copper minus 3x ceruloplasmin ≤ 30.”

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Apologies for the long post. It has taken me years of doing my own research to get where I am today, so I am admittedly (perhaps) a bit over-passionate about sharing what I’ve learned so others can find relief sooner than I did! We all deserve to live long HEALTHY lives!

Thankful for this community. Best to all! :)

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Very interesting. AND, a relief since my copper:zinc ratio is within the GOAL range BUT, according to the above excerpt, both my copper and zinc numbers are higher than they should be.

How does one reduce copper and zinc?

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Interesting! Of course I’m not a doc, but it’s my understanding that having higher copper is the bigger concern (as well as maintaining a healthy ratio between the two). I believe it’s possible for zinc levels to become too high, however, but I don’t remember reading anything about that issue in any of my research—just lots about how people are much more zinc deficient these days than in the past because our soils have been depleted of zinc by modern farming practices, thereby causing our food supply to contain less zinc than it did in previous generations.

As an aside, my internist has also run my genome to better personalize my care. She found a SNP that causes me to essentially “waste” zinc (i.e., apparently I go through a lot of it very quickly), which helped to explain why even the 150 mg of Rx Zinc she had me on daily for months to try to lower my copper levels did not even put a dent in it (copper stayed almost the same)! Now I’m on an even higher dose of zinc—up to 500 mg a day—to see if that will move the needle. ****NOTE: This level of zinc supplementation might very well be toxic to someone with a different genetic profile, but for me—never felt better! We’ll see if my next round of labs confirm with lower copper levels (getting off the birth control pill is probably helping too—excess estrogen from the pill causes copper retention.) Of course, there are many extemely valid privacy concerns surrounding genentic testing, but for me and my doc, the testing has been very helpful in narrowing down my issues and how to best treat them.

I will research this excess zinc issue a bit and see what I find out! And let me know if you find anything interesting on the subject! You may have exactly the zinc and copper levels/ratio that that *your* body needs in order to function at its best! The more I learn, the more it seems we are all different in crucial ways—personalized medicine is truly the future! We live in fascinating times.

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Wow. You've really got this down pat. This is the most complete body of info I've seen. No stone left unturned. I'm impressed and have just copied it down . If I can take and tolerate the iron bisglycinate I could give up my liver. And I can drink apple cider vinegar.

Keeping my ferritin up is a big problem if I don't stay on top of it. I've learned a lot about what foods cause absorption problems. Some I knew but not all. Very helpful. Thank you. xx irina

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Hi,

weird one, but my Doctor recommended, liver and onions but i can't stand liver, so then he suggested black pudding, so black pudding with poached eggs on some toast does the trick with some iron pills to top up :)

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Hi pk. In Oct 2017 my ferritin was 48 (range 20 - 288ng/ml) US lab in Georgia. Started weekly liver.

April 2018 ferritin 108 same lab.

Dec 2018 ferritin 104 same lab

Here's how I did it and continue to this day: Once a week, religiously, I eat 8 oz calves liver cooked in unsalted butter with a ton of onions, mushrooms, and garlic. I do this on Mondays-more for discipline. I know on Monday night I am going to eat this liver. I cut it up in small pieces and hide it in all the other ingredients. I eat it as fast as I can, washing it down with water as I eat. Then I brush my teeth right away to get rid of the taste and texture, Then eat something flavorful to get the whole liver experience out of my mouth.

I don't think anyone can hate liver more than I do BUT: I have serious absorption issues and chronic stomach pain from radiation for uterine cancer in 1999 so I am not going to take iron pills.

I also felt like crap with my ferritin so low and began to have restless leg symptoms.

My sleep doctor said they would be greatly helped if I could keep my ferritin around 100. I have done so and no longer feel so bad or have any restless leg symptoms.

I treat the liver like a weekly dose of horrible medicine. I just do it. I never thought I would eat liver after my liver experience at age 6. (75 now).

I was in a Catholic boarding school in first grade in Florida in 1949. I had never tasted liver but the first week it was served. The nuns had a rule: We ate what we were served, finished our food (wasting food was a sin!!!), and didn't complain.

I tasted it, spit it out on my plate, clamped my mouth shut, and refused to eat any more. The nun in charge of us said I had to eat it and she and I would sit there til I did. She got frustrated and we would probably still be sitting there if it were up to me but (true story) she held my nose until I opened my mouth to breathe and then shoved as much liver as she could in my mouth. (Nobody ever accused some of these nuns of being proficient in child psychology.)

The school had a German Shepherd pet. I ran outside, spit the liver out and gave it to the dog. And from that day until my low ferritin of 48 never ate liver again. I think it is revolting but if that's what I have to do to keep my ferritin up I will continue to do it.

I tried skipping the weekly 'dose' for about a month and started to feel bad again. If you can find another approach go for it but if not really try to change your mindset. If I can eat this once a week I believe anyone can.

I saute the other ingredients first then after cutting the raw liver up in small pieces with my kitchen scissors I stir fry it in. Sometimes I don't even sit down-just throw it in a bowl and get it over with. Yuck! 😡 irina

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Lol I do appreciate the lack of desire for liver! I will give that a try, I guess I never really believed it was good for us...silly.

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