An Often Overlooked Cause of Fatigue: Low Ferritin

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Philipa Bridge Cook
Fatigue is a very common complaint, reported to general practice doctors up to 25 percent of office visits. The incidence of fatigue is even higher than this, however, since many people experiencing fatigue do not report it to their doctors. Many people are tired because of busy lives, work and home obligations, and not getting enough rest. Fatigue is also a component of many illnesses and chronic diseases. Often fatigue is dismissed by doctors either as being a normal part of life, or as being a result of emotional disturbances or stress. Women are three times more likely to have fatigue than men.

Iron Deficiency Anemia

One common cause of fatigue in reproductive age, menstruating women is iron deficiency anemia. A lesser known cause but possibly equally prevalent is low ferritin, caused by low iron stores. Iron deficiency anemia occurs when there is not enough iron in the body, and the production of red blood cells is affected. It can affect up to 20 percent of women. Causes of iron deficiency anemia in menstruating women include heavy periods, gynecological diseases such as fibroids or adenomyosis, gastrointestinal bleeding, and gastrointestinal malabsorption.

Iron deficiency anemia is often assessed by taking blood and measuring the hemoglobin level: hemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells that binds to iron, and transports oxygen in the blood. Hemoglobin is measured as part of a complete blood count (CBC). Normal hemoglobin range in the blood is usually 12 to 15 g/dL, but the normal range can vary slightly depending on the lab. In iron deficiency anemia hemoglobin values are lower than 12 g/dL.

Symptoms of iron deficiency anemia include:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Pale skin
  • Chest pain
  • Weakness
  • Restless legs syndrome

Iron deficiency anemia is usually easily recognized and treated. The CBC is a very commonly performed blood test, and low hemoglobin, plus other results contained within the CBC panel, is a good indicator of iron deficiency anemia. It is treated with oral iron, which can be obtained in drug stores without a prescription. Side effects of oral iron include nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, dark colored stools, and abdominal pain. Iron supplements should not be taken without having a doctor monitor the blood levels of iron, since too much iron can cause buildup of excess iron and organ damage.

Low Ferritin and Fatigue

Although the importance of treating iron deficiency anemia is well recognized, many health practitioners do not test the body’s iron stores, and low iron stores, indicated by low ferritin levels, can also cause fatigue. Ferritin is a protein that stores iron in the body. It is not measured by the CBC, but can be measured by a separate blood test. Usually the only consequence of low ferritin is thought to be that it might put a person at risk for developing iron deficiency anemia. However, low ferritin on its own, even without anemia, can cause fatigue.

Several studies have shown that in people with fatigue, with normal hemoglobin levels, oral iron supplementation can improve fatigue. This was particularly true when ferritin levels were below 50 µg/L. Intravenous iron supplementation is another option for treatment and may be particularly appropriate if the ferritin levels are below 15 µg/L. Most labs use 12 -150 µg/L as the normal range for women for ferritin, although this may vary from lab to lab. Therefore, many women who could benefit from iron supplementation for fatigue may be classified as having “normal” ferritin levels.

The normal reference ranges are obtained by sampling ferritin concentrations in populations of women, many of whom may have had iron deficiency, and whether the lower limit of the normal range is actually too low has been brought into question. The fact that iron supplementation improves fatigue when ferritin levels are below 50 µg/L would suggest that this is the case. Therefore, all women should be aware that low iron levels can contribute to fatigue even if anemia is not present, that checking ferritin is an important part of an investigation into unexplained fatigue, and that even if their ferritin levels are deemed to be “normal”, that if the levels are below 50 µg/L, iron supplementation may improve their fatigue.

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62 Comments

  1. Hi,

    I have question and was hoping to get a response . I struggle with fatigue and had my iron levels checked. My total iron and percent saturation levels are good but my ferritin level is low 16 even though I have been supplementing with reactive iron for a while now. I have MTFH gene mutation which from my understanding implies inability to absorb folate and possibly iron. So even though I take iron supplements my body cannot absorb it enough thus I have low ferritin level. My question is what is a good supplement I can take for this issue?

    Thank you
    Marina

  2. I’ve had to have IV iron supplementation for 3 years in a row now. My lowest ferritin level was 7. I have Celiac’s Disease, so my body doesn’t absorb iron propertly. Also, when I do intense exercise, my ferritin drops very quickly. There are doctors who do not understand how much low ferritin can affect a person; I know I’m low when my legs are tired at the top of the stairs and I just cannot do normal things without feeling exhausted. If your doctor won’t treat your low levels, find one that will. Going to for IV treatments once a week for a month or two is painless and makes such a difference!

  3. My ferritin levels 6 weeks ago was 14. Now at ten. Taking feritin, iron supplements 2 x daily. Feel as if if I’ve been run over by a freight train. Also anemic. Dr sending me to hematologist asap. Don’t know how much longer I can keep on. Exhausted

    1. It will be good if you can get some iron by IV–it will bring your levels up faster than oral supplements. Hope you feel better soon!

  4. HI Philippa, I have almost given up on modern medicine. I have pernicious anaemia and hashimotos and am told that everything is fine. However I have not been able to raise my ferritin about 35 in almost 8 years. the lowest it dropped was 10 and after months of oral iron it went up to 30, but my gut couldn’t tolerate the iron for much longer. anyway I eat folate rich foods such as raw spinach, brussel sprouts, beans, lentils, greens, oranges etc and despite this my ferritin was 17 when checked 6 months ago. I have headaches, fatigue, breathless and now constant nausea, but my doctor says that my ferritin isn’t a concern. 🙁

    1. Hi Polly, I don’t know much about pernicious anemia? Are you being treated by a hematologist for that? Do you have heavy periods? I am wondering why your ferritin keeps going down. Your ferritin isn’t terrible, but it’s not great either.

  5. Hi Philippa,
    I just got the results of my blood work, with normal hemoglobin levels but a ferritin level of 26. I have been suffering from a lot of fatigue, shortness of breath, palpitations, and a general inability to focus, and I was hoping to find some answer. My PCP said that everything is normal per my bloodwork, but your post gives me hope that I might have low iron, and there possible is a solution to my horrible quality of life. Would you recommend any specific type of specialist that I could contact for more answers? Thank you, PK

    1. The best specialist would be a hematologist. IN the meantime you can start taking some oral iron. It does take a while to get your numbers up though, so don’t expect a quick improvement. Good luck!

  6. My ferritin level is a 7, my iron is 12.5… significant hair loss (which is why my iron was tested by my dermatologist and the reason im going through all of this)… my Pcp is not concerned… just saw an Endocrinologist after a month of trying to get in… all he told me was to take OC iron (didn’t tell me what kind or how much) He didn’t seemed too concerned about anything. I am having a hormone panel done Saturday (for fatigue), but no one is concerned about the hairloss (which is my major concern currently). Tried to see a hematologist, but I need to be referred and be on iron for months, but with no one else concerned, don’t know how im going to get into a hematologist. I have always had trouble getting pregnant (I am 35 yrs old) , have migraines, alopecia (confirmed this hairloss is not my alopecia). I have a normal menstrual cycle (not a heavy bleeder) and im not over/under weight (5’2 / 121 lbs). I eat plenty of iron (spinach, red meats, beans)… I am so frustrated at this point. I don’t know what else to do and my already baby fine hair is falling steadily without regrowth…. Any advise on what my next step should be??

    1. The low iron can definitely cause hair loss. I have had that happen. Can you try taking oral iron supplements for a few months? You can ask the pharmacist or your PCP what dose to take.

  7. Hi Phillipa,

    My iron levels are normal but my ferritin is 26 (30-120). I have body aches and pains. Could lower ferritin contribute to this? All my other blood tests are normal. The doctor feels that low ferritin levels cannot be the cause.

    1. Those would not be typical symptoms of low ferritin. You should probably take supplements though to increase your ferritin. If the symptoms go away once your levels are normal, then you have your answer. I’ve been told many times by doctors that something can’t be the case, and it turns out they are wrong, so you never know.

        1. I would guess that you should see a difference if you retest your levels in 3-6 months, but if levels are low, you will need to take iron for at least a year. Keep checking your levels so that you know where they are at.

  8. Over 2 years ago, I was having severe menstrual bleeding with a hemoglobin of 6.7 and I ferritin of like 18 .. I was first given an iron infusion and then later a blood transfusion so that I could have a hysterectomy. Six weeks later my blood levels were mostly normal other than MVP at 5. One year later… I kept having horrible fatigue and symptoms and was checked and my levels were borderline anemia like hemoglobin 10 or 11 with Ferriton 13 .. then last month I was rechecked and my ferritin was 11 but hemoglobin was normal at 12 and my MPV was 6.8 My doctor was unconcerned at what has caused it and said this would not have cause my symptoms of ringing in ears, headaches, weakness and more. She said ferritin are just stores and not for me to worry and it wasn’t my reason. She is a hematologist. Now I don’t know what to do or how to find out what has and keeps causing my problem. One year ago, I Had a colonoscopy when numbers were borderline and no findings but I didn’t have my stomach scoped. Can you make any recommendations ? Any idea what causes low Ferritin with no known bleeding source ? Thanks ? And please tell me my doctor was wrong and it does explain my symptoms even if my hemoglobin has returned to a normal number.

    1. The most common cause of anemia aside from heavy periods is gastrointestinal bleeding. I would follow up with your family doctor to see if you can figure out why your ferritin is low. I am not sure whether it would cause the symptoms you describe, but if your doctor approves you can take an iron supplement. Also, I would suggest having your vitamin B12 level checked.

  9. Hi Philippa, Thank you for writing this. I know your site (and this article) is targeted towards women. I hope you do not mind my posting.
    I am a 47 YO male, and have given blood regularly for the last 2-3 years. My hemoglobin is always tested at the time of donation and almost always would be 140-145.
    Approx 6 months ago, I cut almost all meat for my diet, and at my 2nd to last blood donation I was refused due to low hemoglobin (118).
    This got me looking into iron a lot more, and I started cooking with the Lucky Iron Fish as well as taking an Iron supplement (10mg). Last blood donation was 2 weeks ago, hemoglobin back up (14) so I thought I was in the clear.
    In the meantime I had contacted my PCP (who is a nurse practitioner and way way more into “health” than any GP I ever dealt with) about getting blood tests, and those were done approx 1 week after last blood donation.
    My lab results
    Hemoglobin: 132
    Ferritin: 8

    I seem to be ok to function in the day (semi physical work) though I nap usually an hour in the afternoon and lately another hour in the evening, and sleep 7-8 hours at night.

    Occasionally (just prior to my naps) am very sleepy, irritated for no reason.
    Going to see pcp in 2 weeks, so will ask about IV and also confirm if low ferritin is likely due to blood donation or if other causes need to be ruled out. Can’t even BEGIN to imagine having to flow out blood every month ONTOP of the rest (you ladies are such troopers)..anyhow, thanks for the article!
    K

    1. I agree that it would be good to rule out any other causes of low ferritin, but I would suspect that it is due to the blood donation. Cutting out red meat, it would be good to make sure you are eating other sources of iron such as those described in this article: http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/iron.php. To ensure maximum absorption of you iron supplement, take it on an empty stomach with a small amount of food of drink high in vitamin C (and avoid anything with calcium within 2 hours of the supplement, as calcium interferes with absorption.

  10. Hello Philipa,
    My ferritin just came in at 12, hemoglobin at 125, rbc 4.27, hematocrit 0.38, mcv 88, mch 29.3. Since nothing is flagged as low on the report my doctor says everything is normal. What do you interpret? Was a very heavy bleeder for years, now no periods since February (thank goodness!). Thank you for your insight!

    1. Your ferritin is low–having heavy periods for years can cause that. Even though you stopped having periods, it could take a long time for your ferritin to increase. In women with heavy menstrual bleeding who have a hysterectomy to treat it, it can take longer than a year for the ferritin to become normal. You can talk to your doctor about some iron supplementation to get your ferritin up faster.

  11. I just got my ferritin tested, and it was a 23. My doc didn’t call me up about it so i’m assuming she is one of the ones that doesn’t care about that. She probably thinks it is fine. I did start taking iron a few days ago and I’m feeling a tiny bit better. I’d love to find a PCP that would do iron infusions for me. 🙁

    1. I can be hard to find a PCP who understands the importance of higher ferritin. You maybe ok with oral iron, but it will take longer. I would ask to get your levels rechecked every three months or so.

  12. Hi my haemoglobin is 13.8 and my ferritin is 35. My GP is giving me iron injections. How long Will it take for me to feel well again.? Sometimes I can sleep for over a day. Spend a lot of time sleeping as I am just so tired.

  13. Thank you for this information, my CBC is all normal but i am having PROFOUND fatigue (have for years and years and thought it was something else), exercise intolerance, severe allergies, anxiety and what prompted me to check my ferritin test for this time last year was my PVC’s. I’m scheduled for a cardiologist tomorrow for very frequent palpitations and i found out my ferritin is 30, from what i understand, for a hypothyroid woman to feel better (i’m being treated) i should have ferritin levels at least 70, so i started supplementing with 100 mgs of a good iron from the health food store with vitamin C and low and behold, within a day or two, the palpitations went WAY down and fatigue slightly better and i’m even less depressed!! All within a couple days??? And supposedly by my HCT i’m not anemic?
    i wonder how i’ll feel in a months time! I’m going to ask my cardiologist to test my ferritin, i hope the iron doesn’t skew the results but i’m going to keep taking it, i’m so wanting to feel better and now maybe there’s hope….

  14. Hi. I just recently found out that my ferritin was low at 11 (a week later up to 12 since I saw another doc). Anyway, when I was tested, they tested my total iron which was high at 175 but my ferritin was extremely low. I asked about whether it was safe to supplement with iron. Everyone acts like I don’t really need it but that it shouldn’t hurt either. My concern is the total iron being high. Is it still safe to supplement since my ferritin is low? I was experiencing severe back spasms, and those are so much better since starting the iron along with my cold fingers and toes. Just worry about iron overload due to the high total iron. I would think that for iron overload, my ferritin would be high too, but that is just a guess. Thanks so much!

    1. Just wanted to see how you are doing? I’ve had low ferritin, but high serum iron. I was afraid to take iron as well. My ferritin dropped lower. I became extremely exhausted and barely able to function. So now I started a low dose of iron. About a week ago. Still very lethargic. Hope to feel better. Soon..

  15. Hi, for last year or more I have suffered with tiredness but kept putting it down to ither things like work etc athough deepmdown realising its not normal to feel so tired. Then the last 3 months started getting lightheaded (more so) dizzy and then tremors, heart fluttering/pulpitations, RLS, hair thinning… Finially got blood tests done and it came back that my hemoglobin is within range although the lower end, iron os liw but not terrible but my ferritin came back at 3.9 very low, which reading up here in the internet explains many of my symptoms, my doctor didnt think tje low ferritin was a cause of this anf said it was my work .. I know it not that. Anyway after doing my own investingations i went back and asked about iron infusion for quicker recovery as im now so tired/sick im off work. But he said that is not possible for low ferritne… Please can anyone tell me if the had iv/infusion just on low ferritine (3.9). At the moment im on iron pills but feeling no better.

    1. I have hemoglobin of 13.8. I have Ferritin level of 35. My GP is giving me iron injections. Feeling really tired and sleep a lot, sometimes a whole day and a half. How long Will it take me to feel well again?. Thanks

    2. Well hello there I’ve been suffering in the same boat as well, my ferritin level is still low as a 5, I really don’t know what to do either where is the help for us strong women that need it. I’m a mother of five,please anybody with an answer please respond….

      1. I would ask your doctor about getting iron infusions by IV. Your ferritin will come up a lot faster than with oral iron. Also, if you are that low because of heavy periods, you might need to treat your heavy menstrual bleeding so you don’t keep losing so much blood.

  16. How bad have you seen/heard fatigue in people with a low ferritin? Currently, I am pretty much house ridden and have done multiple test with nothing alarming coming on the test results. The only thing that is a little low was my ferritin. In October 2016, my ferritin level was 13 and January was 27.5. I am due for another lab work to get an update in the next couple of weeks. i have been conscious about my eating and taking iron for the fatigue. Not sure if I feel any difference. Have you heard anyone who has gotten their ferritin over a certain amount found relief? Any insights would be appreciated. Thanks

    1. Sorry it’s been an interesting road for me( with some dead ends) and I am just looking for some answers and more importantly symptom relief. I have been trying to hang on to hope. I am hoping that my ferritin is the cause so hearing some anecdotal evidence is something that I need right now.

      1. It is hard to say whether or not the low ferritin is the cause. But I do know that I was surprised at how bad I felt with low ferritin, and how much better I felt after 3 IV treatment of iron. Taking iron orally it can take a very long time to get your levels up, and if you have heavy periods you may never get ahead of the blood loss. I would suggest having a talk with your doctor and asking if he/she would be willing to treat the low ferritin more aggressively, with iron IV infusions. You will have to wait 6-8 weeks to see the full effect, but if you feel a lot better then, you’ll know it was the ferritin. I think some of us with low ferritin just feel it more acutely–that is my theory.

    2. Yes, my heme doc gives me iv iron, 200mgs. of Venofir, once a week for 4-6 weeks when my ferritin is under 59, even if hemoglobin us normal, as mine usually is. The fatigue is extremely debilitating. Oral iron does nothing for me. I read that one doc likes to see ferritin between 70-100 for women with periods. IV iron helps a ton, but it takes several weeks to feel the results. I usually go in twice a year to get the IV series of iron. My hemoglobin is 14, but ferritin is always low. Under 50, and life feels quite impossible.

  17. I am an otherwise healthy 35-year-old female. My iron levels are normal, but my ferritin is 30…which I believe is causing my hair loss. I don’t have any symptoms of hypothyroidism or anemia. I’m not fatigued or out of breath. The main issue is massive hair loss. How do I raise my ferritin without going into iron overload? I started taking 10mg of liquid Ferrous Bisclycinate Chelate with 100mg of Yellow Dock just a few days ago. Is this too little supplementation? I’ve been consuming an iron-rich diet the past few months (4 months) but my blood tests show this hasn’t really changed my numbers. Hemoglobin and Iron saturation have gone up a little–but ferritin actually went down from 30.9 to 30.6. Diet alone doesn’t seem to do the trick for me. Here are my latest lab results and my hair is shedding more than ever!

    (MAY 2017)
    Iron total: 143
    Transferrin: 263
    TIBC: 329
    Iron Saturation: 43%
    Ferritin: 30.6
    RBC: 4.97
    HgB: 15.1
    HCT: 45.5%
    PLT: 269

    (JAN 2017)
    Iron total: 111
    Transferrin: 280
    TIBC: 350
    Iron Saturation: 32%
    Ferritin: 30.8
    RBC: 4.59
    HgB: 14.5
    HCT: 42.8%
    PLT: 249

    1. Hair loss can also be caused by hormonal changes. However, in my experience it is safe to supplement with iron when your ferritin is low. My hematologist likes the ferritin to be above 50, and some say women feel best if ferritin is over 70. Check with your doctor, and recheck your blood work frequently (every 2-3 months). Iron supplement are best absorbed on an empty stomach with a little bit of vitamin C (for example, take the pill with some orange juice). Be aware that calcium will inhibit the absorption of iron. These are a few things I’ve learned from my doctors over my 20 year journey with anemia!

    2. Hi Julie
      I hope I can help. This is what worked for me. I am 43 I had massive hair loss and shedding for years, it was horrible, I had lost so much hair, all my blood results were Ok but no one tested my Ferratin. I did my own research and asked to be tested, my ferratin level was 29. For hair growth you need to get your ferratin level up to 100+ and keep it there for over a year or more. It took about 18 months to get my Ferrarin levels from 29 to 100 (taking 2 doctor prescribed iron tables – ferous fumerate 210mg x 2 a day). You will never get your levels high enough taking iron tablet from the shops they are not strong enough – (you can also buy the ferrous fumerate from amazon if needed). Now my hair is growing back, yes it takes time but its now filling in. Nothing else I tried for years and years worked, so much money wasted on trying other things. Hope this helps, Sally

    3. If you have low ferritin you won’t have to worry about iron overload for quite a while. Keep checking your ferritin every 2-3 months. When your levels are high enough, you can stop taking it. (As long as you are taking the prescribed amount of iron and not more). If the iron supplements aren’t doing enough, you can ask for IV iron infusions. You should have good reason to ask for that if it has been several months and you aren’t seeing any improvement in your numbers.

    4. I have low ferritin related hair loss, apparently, according to my trichologist, you need to have ESR tested in the blood too – because; an ESR level of over 10 means that you need to halve the ferritin level (ESR is: erythrocyte sedimentation rate which relates to inflammation markers in the blood) – basically inflammation can give a false reading. I hope this helps.

  18. Hi. Biochemistry results: My haemoglobin level is at 12, ferritin at 4 ug/L, transferrin saturation at 5, transferrin at 3.36 g/L and iron at 4.1 umol/L. I am constantly tired, experience very frequent dizziness and shortness of breath more often lately. I also have very low blood pressure which makes this worse. Even with iron supplementation, it has done little to my haemoglobin levels. Would I need an iron infusion to bring all my levels up or is an iron infusion only applicable to very low haemoglobin levels?

    1. My hematologist will do an iron infusion if oral supplementation is not working and my ferritin is low, even with normal hemoglobin. I think there is a lot of evidence in the literature that you can experience symptoms even with normal hemoglobin. I’m not sure if primary care doctors are as aware of this or whether you would have to see a hematologist to get this treatment.

  19. My ferritin is at the border of being normal/low. My doctor thinks Its fine. Im exhausted, have anxiety, feel down, dizzy every other day and short of breath. My Chinese medicine doctor says I’m low in iron. I’ve found this iron that is suppose to be absorbed better. Carbonyl Iron by purelabvitamins.com How much should I take? I’ve felt like this for over a year now 🙁
    And for how long?

    1. When you say borderline normal, do you mean around 20? I personally do have symptoms when mine is that low. I’ve had several doctors tell me that you may feel better if your ferritin is at least 50. I made some suggestions in a comment above about the best way to supplement so that it will be well absorbed.

      1. Hi there, I can’t see the post where you suggested more easily absorbed forms of iron. I’m in the UK, GPs will not prescribe me IV iron; unfortunately. Could you please indicate which post you mentioned about more bioavailable sources of iron? Thanks in advance.

        1. Iron supplement are best absorbed on an empty stomach with a little bit of vitamin C (for example, take the pill with some orange juice). Be aware that calcium will inhibit the absorption of iron. None of the iron supplements are all that well absorbed but you can affect the absorption by what you eat or drink at the same time.

  20. I take levothyroxine for thyroid and it says not to take certain supplements within 4 hours, so how can I time my calcium to be within 4 hrs of that plus another 2 hrs for iron, esp when I have to take it 2-3 times a day?

    1. Which one are you taking 2-3 times per day? The levothryroxine? Would iron first thing when you wake up work? Then the levothryroxine at breakfast, lunch and dinner, and calcium right before you go to bed?

  21. Thank you for writing about this. My general practioner is acting confused by me having symptoms because my ferritin is low, but my hemoglobin is normal. She says I should have no symptoms, but I feel similarly to when I was anemic before (severe, chronic migraines, fatigue, etc). I think it’s time for a change of Doctor, so many articles point to those with low ferritin experiencing symptoms. Especially since I have heard low iron can upset hormone balance, do you know anything about that?

    Thank you

    1. I am not familiar with the effect on hormones. However, you deserve to have the low ferritin treated and feel better! It seems that a lot of GPs are not familiar with the fact that low ferritin can cause problems. My GP was not familiar with the problems that can arise from low ferritin, but my hematologist was.

    2. From what I’ve read on the subject (I am not a doctor, but I feel like I know more about this than most PCP’s and even a few hematologists with all of the books and medical studies I’ve read.) is that your hemoglobin won’t be that low if your ferritin is doing its job. By the time your hemoglobin drops, more than likely your iron and ferritin are depleted and you may have a long road ahead of you w/ oral supplements. Most doctors don’t tell patients to take them w/ vitamin C and even w/ heme based iron (red meat) for best absorption and some supply with laxative. My understanding is if you need a laxative its not even absorbing where it needs to. No coffee, no tea for 2-3 hours before or after and no antacids. You need a very healthy and neutral gut to absorb iron. Linked a FB group that’s been helpful as the website for my comment.

      1. That is all true. Also, you should not take iron within 2-3 hours of taking anything high in calcium, as calcium inhibits the absorption of iron (that is why you shouldn’t take antacids close in time to iron supplements). So, no calcium supplements, high calcium foods like dairy, or calcium fortified foods like orange juice with calcium, within 2-3 hours of taking iron.

      2. I have been diagnosed with anemia and low ferritin. I am soooooooooo fatigued ALL the time and no one seems to believe how tired i am all the time. I dont know much about it but my pcp has ordered colonscopy and an endoscopy to see if theres any reason there why my ferritin is low. My level is 12.4 so not sure if this is considered the normal range or low. What is the facebook page link I dont see it. Good luck to everyone!

  22. Thank you for your post. I was diagnosed in early March’16 with severe Iron deficiency anemia and felt horrible. My doctor put me on a pretty strong iron supplement that was not helping much and I started doing my own research on more natural supplements etc.and after one month got my iron back up and my ferittin levels are now at 21 (totally depleted before) My doctor said that I can now stop all supplements but I told him that I was still feeling tired and just not 100% yet but he said it may just take time to recover. I started doing some more research on ferittin levels and it does seem that even low normal ferittin levels can make you feel tired and just not normal. I am kind of concerned about stopping all my supplements and just wonder if getting my ferittin levels up some more would be a better choice.

    1. I am not a doctor, but from what I’ve been told you will feel better if you can get your ferritin into the 50-70 range. If you do continue your supplements, I would suggest asking for another check of your ferritin in 3-6 months to see where you are at. If you have ongoing heavy menstrual bleeding you may need to continue the supplements as well and monitoring of your ferritin is a good idea as you figure out what dose you need to keep your ferritin up.

  23. Thank you so much for this article. In the recent past I had a hemoglobin of 8.4 and ferritin level of 6. I had also recently had an MI and been diagnosed with diastolic heart failure, so my fatigue and shortness of breath were off the charts. Thankfully I have a great hemotologist and received 2 iron infusions which leveled things out. Here is where your article fits in. My most recent hemoglobin was 12, and two weeks prior 11.2 . This was down from 4 months ago at 12.4. My transferrin was 23. My Dr. Explained, as your tines that she likes to see it at at least 50. She is recommending an iron infusion and we are waiting to see if insurance will approve. I am hoping so as I have been more fatigued. When I saw blood work and levels were listed as normal, I did not realize what you and my Dr. Explained . I was concerned it could be heart related so glad to have this info. !

  24. Thanks for the excellent post, Philippa! Supplementing iron (Pur Absorb – 5 mg. per day) helped me with fatigue and some other fluoroquinolone toxicity symptoms, more than any other supplement. I’m a menstruating woman, so I wasn’t too worried about taking an iron supplement. People who aren’t menstruating should be more wary and careful. With that disclaimer made, I can’t even begin to describe how much it helped me. My energy levels went up and even my connective tissue issues improved. I got my iron levels tested after 9ish months of supplementing iron and they were right in the middle of the optimal range.

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