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Low ferritin - some more information

Discussion in 'Diagnostic Guidelines and Laboratory Testing' started by globalpilot, May 18, 2012.

  1. globalpilot

    globalpilot Senior Member

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    I have persistent low ferritin and on again / off again iron deficiency anemia. I asked my doctor if I need to be concerned about my low ferritin if my hemoglobin is normal. He said yes, because evenif you are not anemic you still need sufficient iron for some of the energy producing enzymes.

    Here is a nice write up on low ferritin. But what is really interesting is the link to the site that details all the enyzmes associated with each nutrient. As an example, I looked at all the enzymes that require heme. One of them is catalase which detoxifies hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide has been associated with vitiligo which I have. Is it possible my vitiligo is due to low ferritin ? It is an intrigring thought.

    http://www.thewayup.com/newsletters/081504.htm
     
    jeffrez likes this.
  2. Anne P

    Anne P

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  3. justy

    justy Senior Member

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    Thanks for this GP - i have had persistently low Ferritin for years now (5 - uk level) after supplementing for a year with iron it only went up to 11. I am now using a transdermal iron spray, but havent had my ferritin measured for a long time so i dont know yet if its working.

    The article you cite is extremely interesting and informative - some of the problems with other vit and minerals those with iron deficiency have are very familiar!
    A good reminder to ask my GP next time to re test my levels and if they still havent come up well to hassle for more help with this.
    All the best, Justy.
     
  4. Gamboa

    Gamboa Senior Member

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    Wow...maybe this is my problem. I have had low ferritin for at least ten years but since my RBC'c hemoglobin and hematocrit are always good the various doctors have said it is not causing my fatigue, weakness, headaches and other symptoms. Over the last ten years my ferritin ranges from 11 to 25 micrograms/litre. Depleted iron stores are considered in the range of 12-30 and iron deficient is <12. I take iron supplements and have had all causes of iron deficiency ruled out.

    I can't find any other articles or research papers concerning low ferritin but normal hemoglobin. Does anyone have any more information about this?

    Also, what is the best iron supplement to take?
     
  5. jeffrez

    jeffrez Senior Member

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    I have low ferritin, too, and I've been taking Proferrin-ES:

    http://www.proferrin.com/proferrin-es.php

    Haven't been checked since on it, so I don't know how effective it's been. I saw it recommended on a thyroid site and it seems to be a good form.
     
  6. Mij

    Mij Senior Member

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  7. globalpilot

    globalpilot Senior Member

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    Have you had a capsule endoscopy test done to check for bleeding ? I would love to have ti done but easier said than done.

     
  8. globalpilot

    globalpilot Senior Member

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    I'm taking that one too and will retest levels in about a month. It sure hope it raises teh levels.
     
  9. Timaca

    Timaca Senior Member

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    My ferritin levels were 5 ng/mL many years ago. I took 65 mg elemental iron 3 times a day (yes you read that right) and still my iron levels did not normalize (I was very anemic). We knew I was absorbing iron (did an absorption test). My menses were so heavy that no amount of oral iron could compensate for what I was losing. So, I ended up with a uterine ablation. That solved the problem. The iron disorders doctor that I was working with wanted my ferritin level at 100 ng/mL before I quit taking the supplements. I still take one 65 mg elemental iron table 4 times a week just to keep my ferritin level around 80.

    Best, Timaca
     
    justy likes this.
  10. globalpilot

    globalpilot Senior Member

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    Did the normal ferritin make you feel any better ?
     
  11. Gamboa

    Gamboa Senior Member

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    This was the supplement I was taking for the last year. The problem is that I forget on some days and on other days don't take enough. I guess I wasn't taking it seriously enough since my hemoglobin seemed normal.

    I am now seeing Dr. Byron Hyde and he has just got my ferritin results back and left me a phone message to say that it was still very low. Unfortunately my appointment with him was cancelled last week due to a family emergency on his side so I didn't get any more information from him. I am supposed to see him this coming Monday so will see he what he recommends.

    Another interesting test I just had done was zinc protoporphyrin. It was added to some tests that Dr. Hyde had ordered but he was unaware of what it was and had not ever seen it before. The lab doing the test had added it to a test for lead since it can show lead poisoning. I can't seem to find out too much about it except that it can also show iron deficiency. My result was abnormally high (30 -80 micromols ZPP/mol Heme is normal- mine was 88). It means that instead of an iron molecule being inserted into a hemoglobin molecule a zinc molecule goes in instead. It makes the hemoglobin appear normal even when it is not. According to Wikipedia, ZPP is high due to lead poisoning, iron deficiency, sickle cell anemia, sideroblastic anemia, anemia of chronic disease and vanadium exposure.

    Having zinc in your hemoglobin instead of iron then inhibits the amount of oxygen that the red blood cell can take up. This could lead to having all of the symptoms of anemia. The tests that measure hemoglobin and hematocrit don't pick this up apparently.

    Does any one know more about all this? I am trained as a medical laboratory technologist yet had never heard about this ZPP test. I can't find much information on the internet either. Perhaps I'll have to visit the lab in which I used to work and question the hematologists and biochemists.

    Gamboa
     
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  12. Timaca

    Timaca Senior Member

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    globalpilot~ In some ways, correcting my iron indices helped me to feel better. For instance, my gums used to be gray in color. They are now a healthy pink. My vision was out of focus...it came back into focus. And way back (before I got sick with CFS) correcting my iron deficiency got rid of my fatigue. Now, of course, that is not the case. But I can imagine (having experienced the fatigue before from iron deficiency anemia) that I would be even more tired than I am now if I had not corrected that problem. I also know that my current problems are not related to iron deficiency anemia, but I have normal iron indices now. (I get them measured on a yearly basis).

    I found it important to get my iron indices tested on a monthly basis, back when I was working to correct my deficiency, to make sure that what I was doing was working. I wrote a book and put a sampling of my iron labs in the book. See page 24 using the "Look Inside" feature (if Amazon will let that page come up): http://www.amazon.com/When-Somethin...=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1339687976&sr=1-1 You can see by my labs that taking one iron tablet a day didn't work. Neither did taking 3 a day. So I ended up with a uterine ablation. (What convinced the doctors too was taking a CBC before and after my menses. They were shocked at the difference!)

    Best, Timaca
     
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  13. Mij

    Mij Senior Member

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    Gamboa,

    My hemoglobin is always normal too. The nurse told me that when your ferritn levels gets below 0 it will start to (I can't remember the exact wording, it was many years ago) draw from the hemoglobin and that is when we become anemic. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong. Wnen I first found out my ferritin levels was low it was at 3, it took 8 months taking x2 Ferrotrate a day to get it up to 40.
    Now I take iron on an off depending on my blood test results but still take it either way without knowing the status just to make sure it doesn't get below 15 because that's when it affects my walking and I get dizzy and out of breath easily. I find taking vitamin C (in organic rosehip seed tea) before meals helps me absorb iron from my foods.

    The test you had done for zinc is interesting. I've never heard of it either.
     
  14. Blossom1

    Blossom1

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    I had very low ferritin levels also (3). I was not able to raise it by taking iron supplements; I recently started taking vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and liquid manganese. They help you store iron correctly. In five weeks my ferritin level went up to 14.
     
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  15. Timaca

    Timaca Senior Member

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    I would encourage those of you trying to improve your iron status to get blood drawn on a monthly basis so you know whether or not what you are doing is actually helping you or not. Also, do NOT take any iron supplements (even what's in a multivit) for 2 days before your lab draw so you can get an accurate reading on what your iron status is.

    Best, Timaca
     
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  16. globalpilot

    globalpilot Senior Member

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    Thanks Gamboa for the information on zinc protophorphyria. If the cause of the protophorpyria is lead toxicity I'm wondering if this would show up on a simple lead blood test.
     
  17. Ema

    Ema Senior Member

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    I take 75-100 mg of Solgar Gentle iron (25 mg ea) every day and my iron came up nicely on this amount. Last time I tested my ferritin had come up from the low 20s to the 70s. My serum iron and %sat are good as well in the 100 and 35% range respectively.

    The key is to watch TIBC/UIBC as this is the iron binding capacity. This needs to be above the bottom of the range in order to safely supplement iron. Regular labs while taking iron are very important in my opinion. Free iron is itchy and no fun at all.

    It's crucial to have good iron levels in order to tolerate thyroid hormone. Without it, sometimes people experience intolerance symptoms to thyroid and give up on a needed hormone due to what is perceived as intolerable side effects. But many hypothyroid people have trouble holding on to iron so it is a chicken or the egg problem. The good news is that once iron levels come up, thyroid hormone levels come up and then it is easier to hold onto iron in the future.
     
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  18. globalpilot

    globalpilot Senior Member

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    Ema,
    You describe a scenario that happened to me. Dessicated thyroid and T3 made me feel very hyper - shaking , fast heart rate . It was unmistakable. I have had low ferrtin throughout this illness. Varous supps didn't make a difference. Recently I started proferrin and decided to try thyroid again and no hyper symptoms and I"m doing a lot more than I usually do. I have to get retested to confirm the higher iron is the reason. Could be a fluke I suppose.

    GP
     
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  19. rlc

    rlc Senior Member

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    Hi all with low Ferritin, this site lists some possible causes of low Ferritin, which need to be ruled out if they haven’t been http://en.diagnosispro.com/differential_diagnosis-for/ferritin-serum-lab-decreased/11876-153.html
    It includes it includes very common illnesses like Sprue Gluten Enteropathy (Celiac disease), divertaticulitis, crohns disease, and Hookworms. This site contains a lot of information on non-anemic iron deficiency http://www.patient.co.uk/doctor/Non-Anaemic-Iron-Deficiency.htm and mentions other possible causes like H Pylori and some drugs like NSAIDS and explains the symptoms it causes.
    There is more information on it here http://www.livestrong.com/article/357644-iron-deficiency-that-is-not-anemia/
    All the best
     
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  20. Tito

    Tito Senior Member

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    Timaca,
    Heavy bleeding is sometimes associated to vit K deficiency. Regarding low iron, many supplements we take may act as chelators, depleting us not only from mercury but also zinc and iron.
     

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