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Discussion: Low ferritin, no anemia

in: Cristina; Cristina > 2019-12-22

Dec 23, 2019 5:02 PM # 
For a while, 'Bent's tests came back this way with no symptoms. He doesn't eat meat and is very active so his doc figured that was the cause. He increased iron in his diet and took fewer supplements than suggested - but did take some and still does, I think. His ferritin returned to normal.
Dec 23, 2019 6:41 PM # 
Talk to Swampfox about blood iron levels. His situation may be very different from yours, and non-applicable, but it's worth asking in case you do have something in common.
Dec 23, 2019 8:03 PM # 
Eat a ferret maybe?
Dec 23, 2019 11:34 PM # 
Hairballs tend to make that a problematic solution.

But actually it seems fairly common among orienteering/running females of my acquaintance, to have low iron stores but not be formally anaemic, +/- to feel better when maintaining ferritin levels slightly higher than their doctors tell them they need to.

Try iron as a tonic if the tablets upset your stomach?
Dec 23, 2019 11:49 PM # 
Yeah, the doc doesn't seem to think I should notice any symptoms from the low ferritin but it seems like some people do have issues with low iron stores, even if they aren't formally anemic. He thinks eating more iron-rich foods will be enough, and that could be - I have been consciously eating less meat the past couple of months without consciously making sure I was still getting lots of iron.

He hasn't recommended iron supplements, probably because he doesn't think I need them, but also maybe because of the levothyroxine?
Dec 24, 2019 12:02 AM # 
Meh, that's just a matter of timing, not having both in your stomach at the same time so they don't affect each other's absorption :)

I don't know exact figures but it seems to me that after monthly blood loss it would take a little while to replenish iron stores...and then there's the fact that female distance runners are prone to exercise-induced anaemia (theorised to be due to blood vessels bursting in the feet!).
Dec 24, 2019 12:32 AM # 
What?! I had no idea about the blood vessels in the feet theory!
Dec 24, 2019 1:05 AM # 
I’ve heard about that - but for men and women both.
Dec 24, 2019 1:18 PM # 
I have this issue (ferritin has always tested in the range of 10-25), I was recommended proferrin (a heme iron supplement that is easy to uptake/digest)... After taking this regimentally for awhile I managed to bring my ferritin up between a very low test and a reasonable but still low test. I should really take it all the time (since it always appeared to be something I struggle with)... But I tend to forget when not being regimented.
Dec 24, 2019 3:00 PM # 
I found a supplement that didn't bother my stomach. Long enough ago that I don't remember its name.
Dec 24, 2019 3:11 PM # 
For those who have low ferritin and no anemia, does it seem to matter? Doc seems to think nothing of it, but there do seem to be people (especially endurance athletes) who insist that it's important for it to be higher.

I'm going to go along with his recommendations (and eat more meat again) to see what happens. If the other stuff gets better and I'm still tired then I'll push more on the iron.
Dec 24, 2019 9:19 PM # 
In ‘Bent’s case, the doc felt it was most likely that the cause of his low ferritin was high activity with lower iron in his diet. If diet and supplements didn’t raise his ferritin, the doc would have wanted to investigate some less likely causes of low ferritin such as internal bleeding. So even though he had no obvious symptoms (yet), it was still something that needed to be addressed.
Dec 26, 2019 3:26 AM # 
My ferritin was low (around 10) and I took supplements until it reached 50. I have incorporated more meat into my diet and it's been relatively stable since then without needing more supplements. I found I was quite tired when it was low. For example, having to walk up 5 flights of stairs at work made me feel exhausted when I was not that out of shape. I would come home after work feeling completely wiped. I did not have anemia. When my ferritin levels improved after supplementing, I no longer noticed this.
Dec 30, 2019 5:30 PM # 
Catching up on my AP reading. Interesting to see how common this is. Remind me to compare notes next time we run into each other!

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