Low Ferritin/ Blood Iron

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by TaniaF, Oct 1, 2007.

  1. TaniaF

    TaniaF Member

    Anyone with a low ferritin level? Mine is 12--the range is like 10-200 so I'm at the very low end of normal. My hemoglobin and hematocrit is normal. I do feel weak, fatigued and lightheaded as though I'm anemic and looking up Ferritin shows these symptoms. Thought it was just CFS--but seeing the blood levels on paper showed me different.

    This is an important blood test that most doctors fail to run if your H & H are OK. But you can be iron deficient without knowing it. So, the doctors (my Gastro) has put me on iron pills and B-12 injections in hopes to bring up my level. I just started taking Poly-Iron.

    So, anyone else have this problem. I would love to hear what you have used to help this matter and which iron you take???

  2. deliarose

    deliarose New Member

    i think quite a few PWCs have this..

    I was using SloFe.. but got bored and stopped.

    My ferritin level has increased over tghe last few months.. not sure why as I gave up on the SloFe.. could be due to the methylation protocol i[m on.

    I'm still a bit low.. 45 was the last reading..

    I'm now eating lots of calf liver.It's rich in iron apparently.

    Low ferritin has been linked to restless leg syndrome & PLMs (periodic leg movements) which I have.

  3. tansy

    tansy New Member


    I was tested for low ferritin in the 80s; I was deficient in iron and other vit/mins that can contribute to RLS too. The supps I was recommended, which included iron, made the RLS history.

    Vit C can enhance iron absorption.

    TC, Tansy<br>[<i>This Message was Edited on 10/01/2007</i>]
  4. mezombie

    mezombie Member

    My doc had my ferritin levels tested after a sleep study showed PLMD. Now I take Slo-Fe and vitamin C (vit C helps with ferritin absorption) Slo-Fe is supposedly one of the best iron supplement brands, and does not leave you constipated.
  5. Jana1

    Jana1 New Member

    Just went to the doctor today about my low ferritin serum level...9... She said if your red cell blood count is normal, there is nothing to worry about. The low score might mean you were dehydrated the day of the blood test.

    I also have several ferrets in the back yard, wonder if that is meaningful?

    <br>[<i>This Message was Edited on 10/01/2007</i>]
  6. Clay2

    Clay2 New Member

    My ferritin has dropped slowly and consistently since this thing started. I'm down to 12 too. My GI doc says to take vitamin C with the supplementfor better absorbtion.

    I was fatigued before it dropped, so I don't know if it is causing more. My red cell counts are OK. I wish I knew what causes it.
  7. TaniaF

    TaniaF Member

    Very interesting situation!
  8. Timaca

    Timaca New Member

    I had a ferritin level of 5 ng/mL and that was AFTER I had been on iron supplements for 4 months!

    Unfortunately, the doctor didn't catch this (and we're talking a major well know medical facility here), so I continued to decline, for the one iron tablet I was on daily wasn't enough to make a difference.

    I finally figured out what was going on and got myself to an iron specialist. He said that any ferritin level less than 50 ng/mL indicated that the bone marrow was depleted or deficient of iron stores. He wanted my ferritin level at 100 ng/mL before I quit taking iron.

    He upped my iron to 3 tablets a day (read: I was on about 200 mg elemental iron daily).

    Unfortunately, my menses were SO heavy that even that amount of iron didn't work. I ended up with an uterine ablation.

    Two years later (taking that much iron) I got my ferritin level over 100 ng/mL.

    I would highly suggest that you get a CBC and ferritin level monthly to make sure you are making progress!

  9. cherylsue

    cherylsue Member

    according to my CFS Doc. He actually wants mine at 50. Anything else indicates low iron.

  10. Jayna

    Jayna New Member

    I was dx with CFS in 1992, but my ferritin level was steady in the low 70's for more than a decade after that.

    My ferritin dropped steadily over the past year from 50 to below 9. It didn't rise despite taking Slow-Fe for 6 months. Finally got dx with a bleeding fibroid and prescribed cyklokapron 1 day a month to decrease blood loss.

    It's too soon to say if my ferritin number will come back up fast (next test in 3 weeks) but I already noticed I was not having the usual full week of 'gray-out'while my body was making new blood. And my blood pressure stayed more stable when I was standing up/moving around. Big changes for me.

    So, just like all pain is not FM, not all fatigue is CFS/ME. Look for causes of blood loss (hidden salicylates in the diet/supplements?) as well as poor absorption.

    It takes about 100 days, apparently, to mature new red blood cells, so I have to be on cyklo for 3 months minimum before I can expect to see changes in my oxygen-transport capacity. Would be nice if that improved - I'm tired of dragging a tube from my nose all day and night.

  11. ladybugmandy

    ladybugmandy Member

    hi all. this may have been mentioned already but i can't read all the posts..my brain fog is horrid today!

    there is something called "anemia of inflammation" which i've always suspected is the cause of our low iron. it ususally happens with untreated infections and resolves after the infection is treated.

  12. bunnyfluff

    bunnyfluff Member

    I noticed you also have IBS. Anemia was one of the only major symptoms I had when my Celiac's was undiagnosed. Iron is a fat soluble vitamin, and is absorbed in the first few feet of the small intestine. If this area is damaged, you cannot absorb the iron, no matter what you eat, take or do.

    As soon as my diet was gluten free, the problem resolved itself. If you are anemic, you should have the test to rule out Celiacs. Going undiagnosed ups your chances for non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

  13. TaniaF

    TaniaF Member

    When I hit menopause,(around 49) my GYN doctor told me to stop taking a multivitamin with iron--I'm wondering now, if I should of stayed on the regular vitamin which contained iron. So many people think after 50= no iron. I wish the Ferritin blood test would become mandatory with any CBC. I bet many people are deficient and don't realize it.

    Anyway, I also take Prevacid for acid reflux and have been on these nasty PPI pills for at least 5 years. Now, I'm wondering if my vitamins in pill form are even being digested without having much stomach acid. I have tried numerous times to stop this drug and then the pain comes back. So, I now started taking my vitamins in liquid form. One great iron supplement (recommended by my DO doctor in integrative medicine) is Floradix Iron Liquid which also contains C and B vitamins. It even taste pretty good. It's 2 teaspoons twice daily. Sure hope it works--am feeling a little better physically, but know it takes a good long time to bring up the iron stores. I believe getting B-12 shots helps a bit as well.

    I have an appointment next week with this doctor to discuss this Ferritin matter and I will report back what he says.

  14. TaniaF

    TaniaF Member

    I was tested by blood for the Celiac titers twice and it returned negative. I also did a food sensitivity test with the natural doctor and the results came back sensitive to wheat, but not gluten.

    It's hard to say if these negatives are really true. I'm not bothered by diarreah much anymore--bowels have been normal lately. What really are the symptoms of celiac?

    My mother is celiac and the blood tests were negative, however, when they did an endoscopy, her biopsy came back with a suspicion of celiac--so she follows the diet with grains.

    I stay away from wheat and mostly eat millet, corn, oats and spelt (although this is close to wheat).

  15. TaniaF

    TaniaF Member

    Has anyone EVER found out the real cause of your low Ferritin level???

    I'm scheduled for a colonoscopy after Thanksgiving, but I swear after three occult stool cards this year (that's 9 BM tests) I have never had any occult (or microscopic) blood, so I really don't think it's from GI bleeding.

    Now I do have neutropenia (low white cell count) for over 28 years but this doesn't affect my red cells. And if the cause is from the bone marrow--are there any symptoms?

    This diagnosis of low Ferritin is very hard to understand!

  16. rockyjs

    rockyjs Member

    There have been new studies in the past few years about a hormone called hepcidin which regulates iron uptake. Wikipedia has a good article about it.

    My body is blocking iron absorption since I had severe nerve damage from West Nile Virus a few years ago. My ferritin levels are very low and my hemoglobin is at a critical level. Apparently it is some sort of protective effect to keep from causing more free radical damage. Hepcidin also keeps iron absorption low in cancer to limit growth.

    If we're not absorbing iron it's easy to deplete ferritin fairly quickly, especially when we're premenopausal. I have noticed that short exposures to sunlight every day helps with iron absorption and oddly enough, so does eating red grapes. I have a hemoglobin meter and can see measurable results. One of the commonly used grapeseed extract compounds is Activin which is made from the seeds of red grapes. Purple grapes actually inhibit iron absorption.

    I just ordered some GSE to see if that has any effect on my hemoglobin. If it reduces inflammation, then hepcidin will automatically adjust and allow more iron absorption. I'll let you know what happens.

  17. TaniaF

    TaniaF Member

    I am really disappointed because I wanted to go natural with an iron supplement. I have chronic gastritis in my stomach so I guess the vitamin C and all the herbs did a number on my stomach lining.

    Also, for some reason I now have pain in my breast tissue and costo chondritis. I may be sensitive to some of the numerous herbs.

    Anyone found an iron supplement (natural or drugstore) that is OK with a sensitive stomach???
  18. rockyjs

    rockyjs Member


    I get severe gastritis from iron supplements, even so-called natural ones. However I did find one brand that I tolerate. It does contain yellow dock, an herb that is often considered an iron tonic, but it might be worth a try. It's called Iron Asporotate made by Solaray and comes in 100 capsules. There is 18 mg of iron per capsule, certainly not a therapeutic dose, but better than nothing.

  19. bunnyfluff

    bunnyfluff Member

    My blood tests come back neg. for wheat sensitivity, but I am Celiac confirmed by endoscopy.

    My symptoms were pretty vague...anemia that would not resolve, even w/ suppliments, weight loss.....I had large but normal bowel movements. Lots of stomach problems, mostly acid-type.

    Gluten is hidden in so much, it is fairly hard to avoid if you eat any processed foods.

    Just "food for thought",
  20. pawprints

    pawprints New Member

    Interesting topic. My levels have been so low my main doctor sent me to a Hematologist for infustions. Well, even with my husband there and the prescription from the primary, the Hematologist refused.

    I tried iron shots and a variety of pills and nothing has helped. We tried other specialist but because of my CFIDS label, no one would do the IVs. Oh, even a well known female doctor wanted me to have the IVs but she was out of state and could find no one who would do them.

    So I just went in for blood levels and will see if any of these doctors have suggestions.