Would appreciate input on latest bits A, E, and... - Thyroid UK

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Would appreciate input on latest bits A, E, and ferritin levels

I am bit concerned about my latest vit A and E readings:

vitamin A (retinol) (C.L.H.P)

2.86 pmol/l (1.55-3.30)

819 ug/l (444-945)

Is this good or should it be higher? I take fish oil and dried beef liver capsules daily (together, they are said to contain 100% of RV) since reading that non-animal vit A (beta-caroten) is hard for the body to convert. But should my vit A levels be even higher?

Also, vit E (tocopherol) (C.L.H.P)

22 umol/l (12-42)

9.48 mg/l (5.20-18.10)

I don't find as much info about vit E compared to vits A and D, but these levels seem lowish to me so I wonder what I can do to bring them up? I avoid multivitamins as I've read they don't contain enough of anything. Time to add some vit E or is there a natural way of raising levels (best foods?)

Also, my ferritin levels have dropped by 50% in the past year and, during all that time, I've been taking the maximum recommended amount of dried beef liver (six capsules) daily along vit 1000 mg of vit C:

ferritin 41 ng/mL (10-205; Aug 2018: 90)

What would be the best way to raise them (I know iron and TIBC should be tested as well by my doctor only orders ferritin; however, I guess that if ferritin levels are low, iron levels are likely to be to...)?

21 Replies

Too much vitamin A can make you very ill and the symptoms of deficiency are apparently pretty much the same as those of overdose (and hypo). I personally would want to be near the bottom of the range if anything as it builds up over time and is constantly being topped up by diet.


mouth ulcers

swelling of the bones

cracked fingernails

bone pain

loss of appetite

cracked corners of the mouth

blurry vision or other vision changes


nausea and vomiting

sensitivity to sunlight

rough, dry, peeling, or itchy skin


hair loss


respiratory infection

in reply to Angel_of_the_North

OK, thanks, much appreciated, since my doctor keeps trying to force a prescription for vit A on me...!

Angel_of_the_North profile image
Angel_of_the_North in reply to

I'd worry more about the ferritin. You can buy ferrous fumarate at the same strength as the prescription version from many chemists without a prescription. I doubt many people are actually vit A deficient.

in reply to Angel_of_the_North

Yes, I seem unable to get it up and I have no idea why after taking dried beef liver for a whole year...!

pennyannie profile image
pennyannie in reply to

Hey there

I have just been reading some of your posts :-

I too have read Dr Barry Durrant- Peatfields book and find it easy to understand when with a sometimes " hypo " brain

I take NAX and it has really relieved my lower achey achey back and I feel stronger with this supplement than without it. I am now on a maintenance dose and back down at 2 tablets daily.

I'm now on NDT, as recently acknowledged and my ferritin level took over a year to build up to over 70. I now continue to supplement as naturally as possible and have found Asda chicken livers, in a little tub, in the freezer compartment very good. They are the cleanest I've found and simply flash fry a pot once a week, and then blitz it down with a dollop of Hellmans, and pop it into the fridge.

My ferritin had dropped to 22, so compromised my conversion of thyroid hormone.

I also used Spatone and Solgar Gentle Iron at the beginning as I found the NHS iron supplement made me more ill, and I was refused an alternative to ferrous sulphate.

in reply to pennyannie

Thanks for the tips, very helpful indeed! Prescription ferrous sulphate did nothing for me.

Do you take 2 NAX at the same time or one at a time? I read that they should not be taken after 1 pm so taking one with breakfast and one with lunch could be a way to spread out the effects of adrenaline which I seem kind of sensitive to (I react very different to adrenal glandulars compared to adrenal cortex supplements).

pennyannie profile image
pennyannie in reply to

I'm with Graves Disease diagnosed 2003, RAI ablation 2005 and became very unwell about 8 years later with, I believe, the consequences of drinking this toxic substance which I now realise is " taken up " by other glands and organs within the body.

So, my situation is different but I've pretty much stayed true to " Dr. D-P's book " :

I was refused an iron infusion and the prescribed iron tablets resulted in diarrhoea 24/7. making me more unwell.

Light sensitivity, giddiness on standing, as well as many mouth issues were my original symptoms.

I have taken up to 6 NAX in the morning - 2 each hour - had no side effects, only positives.

When NAX became unavailable I purchased Solaray from the States.

Once NAX became available again I returned to this brand as I believe I needed the whole package of ingredients - and was too unwell to source independently, nor even know what I was doing, my brain and cognitive functions being severly compromised.

I think I'll be on NAX for life, as I believe my adrenals took a big hit with the RAI.

At this point in time I was on monotherapy with Levothyroxine which probably wasn't working at all, but I received no help or understanding from my doctor suggesting I needed, anti depressants and a colonoscopy and endoscopy, which were a disaster and by this time I was desperate.

It's taken me a couple of years of building up my core strength, reading on this amazing website, returning to GP, getting referral to endo after 12 years, being rebuffed and refused a trial of T3 as my TSH was suppressed, though I felt more able than the three previous years.

I have been on Thyroid S for 9 months which I understand is slow release and I take only 1 plus a half grain at around 4 in the morning. I'm 72 so think an afternoon nap is probably allowed and considering I was housebound I am much better placed now and more able, though think there is a way to go if I want a " night life " ???

I now take 1+1/2 x NDT at 4 in the morning : 2 x NAX at breakfast: and after lunch 1 x vitamin C, D, K2-MK7, and 1 x super B-complex by Igennus: plus dipping into, with a teaspoon, my little tub of mushy chicken livers. I plan to use Medichecks yearly just to see where I am, and am feeling relatively well.

My Graves is stress and anxiety driven and I'm more well staying away from the doctor. I have written to her and the endo, who didn't reply to any of my 3 letters and follow up telephone calls, over a 6 month period, that I had decided to self medicate. I did suggest that I would be happy to comply with yearly thyroid blood tests providing the T3 and T4 were tested alongside the TSH.

I didn't receive a reply from either NHS professional, and it is now 2 years since I've seen my doctor, as yes, it's all trial and error, and yes, cut the NAX and slowly I hope you too will feel an improvement.

in reply to pennyannie

Yes, I do see what you mean and really sympathise with you! I have Hashimoto's but lived with it for quite some time before being diagnosed which probably caused adrenal fatigue to begin with. A decade of struggling on T4 only drugs most likely made things even worse...Sometimes I doubt my adrenal glands will ever recover fully and I have slowly come to accept the idea that I will probably need adrenal support for the rest of my life as well...although I'd prefer to avoid prescription drugs if at all possible. Dr. D-P says prednisolone (up to 7.5 mg daily) can be used short-term, but that would require the adrenal glands to recover in the end and that may not happen in everyone with adrenal fatigue...I have come to doubt that it's a reversible condition in all cases.

I will try to multi dose NAX and see if it makes a difference...like you, I find the particular blend of adrenal substance and vitamins highly beneficial. There are so many products out there promising wonders for the adrenal glands but I have found most of them to be ineffective.

humanbean profile image
humanbean in reply to pennyannie


I was refused an alternative to ferrous sulphate.

You can buy ferrous fumarate 210mg (FF210) at pharmacies and online without a prescription, and the pills contain roughly the same amount of iron as prescribed ferrous sulfate. It comes in boxes of 84 tablets. Maximum dose is one tablet, three times a day. People must take thyroid hormones and iron pills four hours apart. I found FF210 to be more tolerable than ferrous sulfate. FF210 is not expensive.



Other alternatives, also available without prescription, are ferrous gluconate which has about half the iron content of ferrous sulfate and ferrous fumarate. I've never bought this myself, so don't know anything about it.

And another alternative is ferrous bisglycinate or iron bisglycinate which is lower in iron still. It is never prescribed by doctors because the amount of iron is quite low, but for people who find it difficult to tolerate the higher iron supplements it might be worth a try.

Some people can actually absorb lower dose tablets better than the higher dose tablets.

And this research is intriguing. I don't know if it is nonsense or not. It was based on a very small number of subjects.



Prescription ferrous sulphate did nothing for me.

The above info I wrote for pennyannie may be of interest to you too.

A link you may find helpful is this document written by helvella, about all the different types of iron supplement there are available.


Heme / haem and ferritin supplements are probably the most successful kinds of iron supplement there are (in terms of improving iron-related measures fairly quickly), but they aren't easy to find in the UK, cost quite a lot, and may have to be imported from the USA. I've never tried these because of the cost.

To test iron and ferritin this private fingerprick test is helpful :



in reply to Angel_of_the_North

This is VERY interesting, just reread the list of symptoms! I've been having so many of those lately...dry, itchy skin (no cream or lotion seems to help), cracked corners of my mouth and mouth ulcers (driving me crazy), increased liver enzymes, cracked fingernails, and increased sensitivity to sunlight (strange as the sun is logically not as strong in October as during summer). My doctor put me on a vit A supplement and I have also been taking cod liver oil capsules containing vit A, so it's possible I've been taking too much...from your post, it seems having vit A levels in the top of range is NOT a good idea, unlike other vitamins...! Thanks again for posting.

Angel_of_the_North profile image
Angel_of_the_North in reply to

Also be aware that many cosmetic products (skin creams etc) contain retinol palmitate or another source of vit A, so add those in to your total.

in reply to Angel_of_the_North

Yes, it's really difficult to find good skin care products nowadays...Bodyshop maybe???

Angel_of_the_North profile image
Angel_of_the_North in reply to

Need to read labels, even on so called organic ones. Monu skincare have some decent ones but are expensive, also green people, Meder Beauty, faith in nature and similar

wellness1 profile image
wellness1 in reply to

The Environmental Working Group operates a skin care products database. Although it's US-based, it might help. :)


in reply to wellness1

Thanks! Everything is international nowadays anyway, right...?!:-)

You may find this of interest.


I may have given you this link before.

in reply to humanbean

No, not that I remember, but my memory is not what it used to be:-)

Very interesting post, thanks!

My doctor will only test ferritin, and keeps renewing my prescription when the drug fails to raise it...I've not felt any better on it either.

I will see if I can get her to order a full iron panel next time.

So beef liver tabs are bad?

What is this NAX supplement you speak of? I can't find it anywhere online. I am trying to raise my ferritin too. I was taking Ferrous Sulfate and my ferritin barely budged. Only my Iron % Saturation increased, to 58, which is above range. Looking at older posts for guidance :)

in reply to purpanda

Nutri Adrenal Extra, a supplement used to treat adrenal fatigue. It contains adrenal glandular and vits B and C among other things. It's recommended by UK doctor Durrand-Peatfield, author of the book "Your thyroid and how to keep it healthy".

purpanda profile image
purpanda in reply to

Thank you. We have similar products in the stateside, which I may get after my adrenal saliva results.

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