Need help understanding iron deficiency

Messages
77
Likes
66
Location
Canada
I need some help from people with a biology or medical background to understand the iron deficiency I'm having.

My auto-immune is in remission or very close to it. For the first time in years I was finally able to absorb iron from food, so I didn't need to keep getting IVs. This trend lasted for a good 8-9 months or so.

Then I found out that I have osteopenia in my spine due to years of prednisone use, so I hired a personal trainer to teach me weightlifting technique to help rebuild my bones. This regimen had me going to the gym for 4-5 times a week, for about 30-45 minutes per time.

My iron stores immediately went to zero. I just got back from getting an IV today.

I have built muscle since starting the workout routine, so I'm wondering if myoglobin has something to do with this? I don't understand the mechanism by which iron is depleted through exercise, because my hemoglobin is normal and hasn't gone up or down since starting.

It also makes me wonder if maybe my auto-immune isn't really gone. I have other male friends who lift weights regularly and they never have iron issues... so I don't get it.

Any insights would be appreciated.
 

Markus83

Senior Member
Messages
170
Likes
166
Have you been evaluated for blood loss from the GI tract? Lactofferine seems a good supplement if the iron deficiency is inflammation driven, which could be the case here.
 

valentinelynx

Senior Member
Messages
1,029
Likes
2,708
Location
Tucson
Yes, building muscle will use iron. It may be that although you are now able to absorb some iron through your gut, that it is still not at sufficient levels to restore your iron stores. You may have had enough to maintain your hemoglobin, but barely and not enough to support building of significant muscle. @Markus83 is right, also, that you should check for GI blood loss (a simple stool guiac test, such as Hemoccult Sensa® can be used, easily ordered by a physician.

Also, there are many companies offering self-ordered lab tests these days. Just look for a stool occult blood test, or a colon cancer screening test that tests for blood in your stool. You don't want the more expensive DNA colon cancer stool test; the test should be less than $50. I ordered my own Hemoccult Sensa®
test kit from EBay, because I have chronic bleeding from the small intestine and want to keep track of its severity.
 
Messages
77
Likes
66
Location
Canada
My auto-immune disease is IBD, so I have a history of blood loss through my colon anyway. I haven't done a fecal occult blood test in a long time, so I'll get that done asap to double check. Some bodybuilding websites say that GI bleeding can happen even in healthy people who are lifting quite heavy. I'm not really doing that much weight, but I am going more often.

I have a feeling that it's because my iron input is not matching my output, and I overestimated my ability to jump into intensive exercise. Perhaps my gut is not fully healed yet. It has only been one year, after all.