Iron Panel Test Results - Any feedback welcome - Thyroid UK

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Iron Panel Test Results - Any feedback welcome

colin_q profile image

So submitted my bloods to Medichecks and these are the results as of 28/06/21, have to say Medichecks seem very professional 👍

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Inflammation

CRP HSX 9.5 mg/l (Range: 0 - 5)

Iron Status

Iron 26.3 umol/L (Range: 10.6 - 28.3)

TIBC 72 umol/L (Range: 41 - 77)

Transferrin Saturation 37 % (Range: 20 - 55)

Ferritin 54 ug/L (Range: 30 - 400)

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The CRP is elevated, so I will raise with my doctor, it may be connected with my ulcerative colitis condition.

The Ferritin level is again low (10/12/20 level = 32ug/L)

I'm considering taking the Advanced Thyroid Function Blood Test from Medichecks (by nurse) and then presenting these to my doctor to follow-up.

Any suggestions would be very much appreciated...

9 Replies

Iron 26.3 umol/L (Range: 10.6 - 28.3) --- 89% of the way through the range

TIBC 72 umol/L (Range: 41 - 77) --- 86% of the way through the range

Transferrin Saturation 37 % (Range: 20 - 55)

Ferritin 54 ug/L (Range: 30 - 400) --- 6% of the way through the range

CRP HSX 9.5 mg/l (Range: 0 - 5) --- Over range

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Optimal results for iron and related levels are given in this link :

rt3-adrenals.org/Iron_test_...

Iron --- Optimal for this is 55% - 70% of the way through the range, higher end of that for men. Your result is already well over that at 89% of the way through the range. This suggests that you don't need more iron.

TIBC --- Your result is high in range suggesting that you need more iron.

Transferrin Saturation % --- Optimal is 35% - 45% of the way through the range, higher end of that for men. So, yours might be the tiniest smidgen low for a man (suggesting that you need a tiny amount more iron), but there isn't a lot in it.

Ferritin (iron stores) --- Optimal for ferritin is roughly 50% of the way through the range or a bit over, but always staying in range. I would suggest that you would need a level something like 215 - 300 with the range you've given. So, your result suggests that you need more iron.

CRP - HS --- With a CRP over the range you clearly have a problem with inflammation. Unfortunately, CRP won't tell you where that inflammation is in your body, but from your previous post I'm assuming it is coming from you having ulcerative colitis.

Another thing to be aware of is that when people suffer from inflammation the body stores more iron in ferritin than it would do if inflammation didn't exist. See the mentions of C-Reactive Protein (CRP) and ferritin in this link :

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acute...

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As you can tell from the above your results are all over the place, and don't give a clear picture of too little or too much iron.

You would probably feel a lot better with more ferritin, but if you were to take iron supplements then you can't guarantee that your ferritin would rise. Instead what might happen is that your serum iron would rise instead. You might find the following thread of interest :

healthunlocked.com/thyroidu...

Having high serum iron implies that you have a lot of free iron flowing through your bloodstream and there is a risk that it will deposit itself in places it shouldn't be e.g. the heart, the liver, the joints, the brain. The body has no normal means for getting rid of excess iron. (Healthy people whose bodies can handle iron normally, will lose a miniscule amount of iron every day in their faeces.)

One of the commoner problems that cause serum iron to be high while ferritin stays low is an MTHFR problem which leads to a problem with the methylation cycle.

The very simplest way of testing this idea is to optimise vitamin B12 and folate. I saw from your previous post that your levels of B12 and folate weren't great.

Serum vitamin B12 ng/L [197-771] 483 (10/12/2020)

Serum folate ug/L [3.89-26.8] 6.4 (10/10/2020)

You need to improve your vitamin B12 to closer to 1000 ng/L. SeasideSusie has some very good links on ideal levels of vitamin B12.

And serum folate needs to be supplemented to reach roughly 15.5 - 27 i.e. the upper half of the range you've been given.

chriskresser.com/folate-vs-...

It is also not a good idea to have good levels of some B vitamins and very poor levels of others, so supplementing with a good quality B Complex is a good idea too.

Some people have found that improving their levels of folate and vitamin B12 with methylated supplements (methylfolate and methylcobalamin) have had a knock on effect on improving their iron and ferritin levels.

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I'm assuming that you have tried at least a three month gluten-free diet and/or a low FODMAP diet because of your ulcerative colitis. If you haven't tried this it would be worth giving it a try.

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Since you struggle with vegetables you are probably low in sulfur/sulphur. You might want to do some research into MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) which is an over-the-counter dietary supplement that supplies sulphur and also helps methylation. There is some evidence that MSM is beneficial to people with UC and can reduce inflammation. MSM powder, tablets and capsules can be bought from Amazon.

tpcj.org/download/vol-6-iss...

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If you decide you want to supplement iron you will need to test every 4 weeks or so, to check that your serum iron isn't going sky high. If it does go over the range you should stop taking iron immediately. For info on iron supplements see this reply to another member (ignoring the stuff about pregnancy!)

healthunlocked.com/thyroidu...

But I really suggest you work on your B vitamins before supplementing iron, just to see if it helps.

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As I've already said, I am not a doctor and you should take everything I say with a pinch of salt and do your own thorough research. If you choose to act on anything I've said you do so at your own risk.

radd profile image
radd in reply to humanbean

hb,

TIBC (Total Iron Binding Capacity) is a measurement of the transferrin proteins available for binding free iron in the body. It should roughly match that of the serum iron so if S/I is high, then TIBC should be high.

O/P's TIBC matches that of his S/I so doesn't indicate an abundance of free iron.

radd profile image
radd in reply to humanbean

hb,

In your link you ask why your own TIBC has always remained low no matter what the other iron numbers are.

What if your body has altered its base line in interpreting transferrin saturation levels (T/S). My take on it is unless everything is used consistently within the capacity at which our body can best function, eventually abnormalities start appearing. Much like we see thyroid hormone receptor-site resistance: too much thyroid hormone leading to saturation, too little thyroid hormone leading to underuse, (obviously not genetic impairments or cell receptor abnormalities), insulin resistance: too much sugar, equally inadequate cortisol/thyroid hormone, etc.

Ideally TIBC should match that of serum iron as indicates the amounts of transferrin proteins available to ‘catch’ the free iron and move it around the body, ie elevated TIBC may indicate iron deficiency anaemia, as there is too many proteins available for iron to bind to, just as low TIBC may indicate iron overload, as there are too few proteins available for iron to bind to. In the case of this O/P the TIBC is correlating with serum iron and with adequate transferrin saturation, evidences iron levels are true.

On paper long term iron deficiency will result in a lower T/S (fewer transferrin binding sites being used resulting in more transferrin unbound from iron). But what if because the binding sites haven’t been used to full capacity for so long, the signals for transferrin to increase have become blunted. This could be difficult if you ever managed to improve iron levels because the free that is usually measured by what is attached to transferrin would remain invisable from the usual test. The usefulness of T/S is only as good as the “normal’ workings of transferrin. A bit like the TSH that may never change no matter what amount of thyroid hormone we medicate.

colin_q profile image
colin_q in reply to humanbean

As always I'm am very grateful for all the very informative comments, I'm sure no salt is required.

colin_q

Actual iron levels are good but storage levels are poor. This is a common scenario seen within the forum and means you have no reserves for topping up iron levels should they become low, and so risk quickly becoming anemic.

You can not supplement iron or will become overloaded. The mechanisms of iron are multiple, long and complicated, and supplements will not instantly turn into ferritin but will increase your serum iron levels which are already adequate, and an excess is toxic.

Members generally try raising ferritin levels by eating an iron rich diet with Vit C to encourage absorption, and exclude consuming iron blockers with meals (ie tea, coffee, milk, etc).

Have you had a sigmoidoscopy for definitive diagnose of ulcerative colitis? Many members suffer gut issues as a result of long term thyroid hormone.

humanbean's suggestion to optimise VitB12 & folate is good as will help ensure enough RBC production & haemoglobin synthesis, which can suffer with ulcerative colitis and also possible low thyroid hormone levels. Methylcobalamin & methylfolate are the easiest form for your body to utilise.

Yeswithasmile profile image
Yeswithasmile in reply to radd

I will have to save this post as you have all explained this better than most things I have read!! Thank you!!

colin_q profile image
colin_q in reply to radd

Thank you for your comments.

It's hard for layman to picture what is going on but I'll try. BTW I've never been prescribed drugs for Hypothyroid.

Indeed I had a colonoscopy, 2 in fact, prior to that a sigmoidoscopy. Only after the last examination was I diagnosed with UC after a 4 weeks of chronic symptoms. Strangely these developed immediately after my GP tried to bump-up my VitD levels with large doses (Colecalciferol 20000 units twice a week) I'm now cautious about taking VitD which I have on prescription (800 units/day)

These are what I'm seeing as the key factors:-

More/ less iron

Seems to be a puzzle, my understanding is improve a more iron rich diet + vitamin C and no coffee with meals (I drink to much coffee)

Vitb12 & Folate

From what I normally eat I can't see why my B12 is low. Folate is the opposite and could be a problem, although I do eat broccoli. Its interesting that the NHS website talks about prescribing folic acid not folate, I understand there are risks with folic acid. Again vegetable related but calf's liver could be the answer for iron as well.

Statins

Someone mentioned not taking Statins to lower cholesterol as raised cholesterol is a side-effect of being hypothyroid.

Gluten / FODMAP

After mu UC attack I pretty much followed the FODMAP although I didn't know that was what it was called. As a rule I tend to avoid gluten, certainly no wheat based breakfast cereals, I can almost detect too much gluten, so I back-off when I do.

Low Sulphur / Methylsulfonylmethane

That's an interesting one, I will certainly investigate, probably again due to my non-vegan diet. I'll look at supplementing this.

Returning to my question on taking an Advanced Thyroid Function Blood Test, is this a sensible thing to do?

Any thoughts on this would be very appreciated, thank you again.

radd profile image
radd in reply to colin_q

colin_q,

Statins can have side effects such as reducing levels of CO-Q10, increasing the risk of diabetes, causing aches & pains, etc. If cholesterol is raised as a result from low thyroid hormone, it should reverse once missing hormones are replaced.

Yes, a comprehensive thyroid test would be useful. You have an elevated TSH & low FT4 so testing FT3 will allow you to know your converting abilities, and thyroid antibodies TPOAb & TGAb need testing for anyway. If you post results complete with ranges (numbers in brackets) members will comment.

colin_q profile image
colin_q in reply to radd

Thank you once again.

Indeed aches and pains I have which may well be related.

The thyroid tests I will arrange and post once they come in.

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