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  • Could gingivitis and poor iron diet cause iron deficiency for a man?

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    Old 04-11-2007, 08:10 PM   #1
    Dan1978
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    Could gingivitis and poor iron diet cause iron deficiency for a man?

    Hi,

    Late last year I was diagnosed as being iron deficient, unfortunately my doctor seemed eager to get through his patients as quickly as possible that day, so I was unable to get a more detailed explanation on what my blood tests revealed. I have done some research online and have a rough idea on how things work regarding iron deficiency but was wondering if some more knowledgeable board members could tell me whether or not my blood test results below are a cause for alarm.

    I should also give a little more information on myself and situation. I am male of 28; I have been a gym junkie for the last year or so going around 5 times a week mainly focusing on weight and strength training. In fact one of the reasons I did not do cardio very often was the fact I really didn’t feel like doing it, which was strange for me because a couple of years prior, cardio was like a drug to me and I couldn’t get enough of it. Up until being diagnosed as iron poor I had figured the reason for my lack of interest in cardio (or anything for that matter) was due to me overworking myself at the gym with weights. For period of about a year prior to my test I had noticed a lack of interest in everything in life, once again I put this down to physical overwork, and depression also crossed my mind. The last few months before my diagnosis I was gradually getting worse, feeling really weird, not tired, but it was as if I was in a constant dream like state. I hated being this way and tried so many things to ‘wake my self up’, from going for a jog, to drinking caffeine, to upping my calorie intake, but nothing worked. I then went for numerous tests including x-rays, as I knew what I was feeling was not normal. Being a guy, iron deficiency didn’t even cross my mind, but the blood test results ended up changing that.

    Finally when I had started thinking about it, it kinda started making sense; I had an almost vegetarian diet for about a year, eating meat no more than a couple of times a month. So I figured this was the reason for my iron deficiency; but then I stumbled on an article online which stated that men have several years worth of iron stores even if no new iron was being absorbed. So how the hell did my storage levels get so low I thought, as I had only kept my almost vegan diet for about a year. Upon further reading of the article it stated that loss of blood such as that of a menstrual cycle will contribute to low iron stores if they are not adequately replaced by diet. The article also mentioned that continual/occult blood loss of only a teaspoon or so a day could lead to iron deficiency if levels were not being replenished by diet. After reading this I think I have pinpointed the source of my problem… Gingivitis. For years I have been brushing twice a day and flossing once a day, each time (mainly with flossing) I would bleed, sometime quite heavily but it would average to about a teaspoon of blood a day. When coupled with a low iron diet for a year I am pretty sure this could be the reason for my low iron stores. What do you all think of this theory? Below are my test results, do they correlate to my theory, is there anything there of major concern?


    Iron 13 umol/L (9 – 27)
    Transferrin 2.5 g/L (1.8 – 3.7)
    Transferrin Saturation 20 % (10 – 55)
    Ferritin 29 ug/L (30 – 400)

    Haemoglobin 152 g/L (130 – 175)
    RBC 5.30 x10^12/L (4.0 – 6.5)
    PCV 0.46 (0.40 – 0.54)
    MCV 85.8 fl (80 – 100)
    MCH 28.7 pg (26 – 34)
    MCHC 335 g/L (300 – 360)
    RDW 12.1 % (11.5 – 14.5)
    Platelets 330 x10^9/L (150 – 450)

    Serum Vitamin B12 383 pmol/L (130 – 855)

    T.S.H 1.8 mIU/L (0.4 – 5.5)

     
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    Old 04-14-2007, 07:09 AM   #2
    ChristineVA
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    Re: Could gingivitis and poor iron diet cause iron deficiency for a man?

    All the things you talk about *could* be the cause of your iron deficiency.

    Are you truly bleeding a full tsp of blood from brushing. I know you say it is not a lot of blood, but a teaspoon of bleeding from the gums is an awful lot.

    Poor diet can also cause this and if you weren't properly eating vegetarian, you could have sapped your iron stores along with the mouth bleeding.

    Do you take any antacids? Drink a lot of tea or coffee? These things further block any iron you might be getting in your diet.

    Since you've been on the internet, you have probably read that any iron deficiency in a male is worrisome. I know that you are only 28 years old but I do think it is VERY important to rule out an gastro causes of bleeding. It is rare,but not unheard of, for a 28 year old to have a bleeding polyp in the colon or you could have some bleeding in your stomach. You should pursue this.

     
    Old 04-14-2007, 07:51 PM   #3
    Dan1978
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    Re: Could gingivitis and poor iron diet cause iron deficiency for a man?

    Thanks for your tips Christine, i will try and examine all possibilities. I know that my diet for the past year or so hasn't helped, coupled with a fast metabolism i doubt i end up getting a good dosage of nutrients per meal. I have had my self tested for coeliac disease in 1999 and was negative. As for my known source of bleeding, i do believe i 'average' a teaspoon of blood loss per day, some days less, some days more. My gingivitis seems to be a genetic thing rather than due to poor oral hygene, so i don't think theres much i can do about it.

    Interestingly i have stumbled across blood test results from 1999 and by the looks of things i have never had high ferritin levels. However my iron levels and transferrin saturation were quite high at the time.

    Iron 38 (9 - 27)
    Transferrin 2.2 (1.8 - 3.7)
    Transferrin Saturation 67 (10 - 55)
    Ferritin 43 (20-300)

    Is there a connection between high iron and transferrin saturation? Why would these two be high while transferrin is well within range?

     
    Old 04-15-2007, 04:54 AM   #4
    ChristineVA
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    Re: Could gingivitis and poor iron diet cause iron deficiency for a man?

    The iron level is notoriously inaccurate. Well, inaccurate is probably not the right word. Iron levels in the blood can flucuated several times over the course of a day. Just depends what you ate the day before the test, what you ate the day off, when the test was done, etc. Most doctors rarely rely on serum iron anymore, so I would just forget about that one. Transferrin is usually high-normal to high in iron deficiency and saturation is usually low. When the opposite occurs (as in your case), then it is sometimes not true iron deficiency but can be an anemia caused by a chronic disease such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.

    It's probably a good idea, since you are a male, to really have this investigate further. I'm sure it is nothing sinister but I do think it warrants a harder look.

     
    Old 04-15-2007, 07:35 PM   #5
    Dan1978
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    Re: Could gingivitis and poor iron diet cause iron deficiency for a man?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ChristineVA View Post
    Transferrin is usually high-normal to high in iron deficiency and saturation is usually low. When the opposite occurs (as in your case), then it is sometimes not true iron deficiency but can be an anemia caused by a chronic disease such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.
    LUPUS...NOT LUPUS!!! .... Sorry that just made me think of George Costanza from Seinfeld

    Well the test in which my saturation and iron were high was a test done in 1999, interestingly this was a period in which i suffered from alopecia areata for about a year or two. Alopecia Areata, similar in some ways to Lupus, is an autoimmune condition in which the body attacks its own hair folicles causing bald patches. I was pretty lucky as i only got two small patches but many others suffer much worse. I don't know if there is a connection between this condition and my iron levels at the time, but i do know that i was rather unhealthy at the time with poor diet, lack of execise, smoking, drinking etc.

    Now days i am alot healthier and my current blood tests seem to indicate iron deficiency as the problem, but i will keep in mind that there could be other issues. I am currently on iron supps and feeling soooooo much better & will take a blood test in a couple of months time to see if there has been any progress. I have also taught my self to be much more gentle with brushing and flossing and have managed to halve my blood loss during the process. In fact when i floss now and start to bleed, i swallow the blood instead of spitting it out. Dunno whether that will help, but it's worth a try i suppose.

     
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