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  • Does low ferritin mean anemia or deficiency?

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    Old 04-26-2007, 03:17 PM   #1
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    Does low ferritin mean anemia or deficiency?

    My dr. is sending me to a specialist for celiac diagnostic work-including an endoscopy. There are a number of factors that concern the dr. -testing positive on one celiac blood test (other 3 negative) low vit.d despite supplementation and low ferritin. For the ferritin she is having me take slow fe 47.5 mg ferrous sulfate 1x a day for 3 months.

    My ferritin is 38 and the lab report showed female mean is 52ng/ml. So, when I look over the board here it seems that people with anemia have a much much lower number. If someone with experience would be so kind as to share their opinion, I would appreciate it. My doctor seems concerned-of course there are a number of other things going on and to be checked out. But, could someone comment on the 38ng/ml where lab indicates mean of 52ng/ml. I am post-meno so no periods accounting for this. And, I am a vegetarian. Is the 38 what would be termed deficiency?Thank you.

    Last edited by osteoblast; 04-26-2007 at 03:20 PM. Reason: typo

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    Old 04-26-2007, 03:57 PM   #2
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    Re: Does low ferritin mean anemia or deficiency?

    As I said in my post:


    Ferritin is the first indice to fall in a pre-deficiency or deficiency situation. In a deficiencey situation there exists a depletion of iron stores without anemia, which then progresses to anemia. In the literature, iron depletion as definied varies, and can be very low in terms of ferritin, sometimes well below the low end of the range, while some use broader cut offs which are higher.

    At the point of depletion, there is usually some evaluation made with the ferritin value and the transferrin value (which you should have measured for a proper deficiency/anemia situation.

    I am 18 ferritin (range 9-?), all my drs said it is ok, since I am in range. But, I am so fatigued, I did some research and decided, maybe I would be better off nearer the optimum number. I found out that there are some articles, in particular, one by the British Medical Journal and others that look at improvement in fatigue and work/exercise capacties being improved im persons with low, but not deficient levels of ferritin. If I remember correctly, the study stated that persons with impariment, but not deficiency or anemia, but with low ferritin saw improvement with supplementation. Any persons with ferritin above 50 did not see any of these improvements.

    With celiac, obviously iron absoprtion and other vitamins is impaired. It seems as though you have a good dr to be monitoring your iron status. So, I would follow your dr advice with supplemtation. I would head for the 50 range, why not? If you are not feeling particularly fatigued, just continue with the supplements and monitor the levels periodically.

    Are your other markers ok? like hemoglobin and MCV?

    I have a friend who has celiac and before it was diagnosed she had extremely low levels of b12, which can cause many problems in a deficiency and anemia situation - neurological and psychiatric. I would also have my serum b12 measured, and if it is not optimum (500 or above) try supplementing yoursef or ask for IM shots.

    Old 04-26-2007, 08:12 PM   #3
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    Re: Does low ferritin mean anemia or deficiency?

    Sparkles916-Thank you for your response. Seven months ago, I had the complete blood panel done and the hemoglobin and mcv were in range. I am going to have various tests incl the B12 done when I see the gastroenterologist for the celiac diagnositics. I appreciate the information that you provided regarding ferritin , anemia and supplementation. Again, thank you.

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