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jlt18 07-23-2008 02:34 PM

Low Ferritin and Hashimotos
Okay I have had low ferritin for years, but haven't done much, resisted iron due to side effects. Last nov/dec 07 I got some answers from reading about my hypothyroidism/Hashi's ( hx=15 yrs) and how it can cause low ferritin, etc. I learned that I don't convert T4 to T3 and switched from synthetic T4 to Armour. I also found out I have adrenal fatigue. I learned that having a thyroid problem means I may have some vitamin/mineral deficiencies. I started taking Adrenal Support, B's vitamins, magnesium, zinc, Wilsons Adrenal Stress Formula, Vit C, sea salt, floradix, sublingual ferrous sulfate (may stop- it is staining teeth), Iodoral, hydrocortisone, Vit D, fish oil. I feel SOOOO much better, except:

significant hair loss and continued poor tolerance to exercise. I had labs done a couple of months ago and ferritin did not budge. I am thinking it is due to poor absorption. This is why we got a RX for sublingual iron-but now I think it is staining my teeth. I am thinking of adding Betaine to help with absorption. Sound right?

Any input? Oh and I take C with my floradix. I may switch to Proferrin ES although that made me bloat- could that mean poor absorption? Would taking Betaine help. I am desperate to get my levels up. I hope to get in next week to draw labs. How many days to I stop the iron to get accurate test? 3 days? Any other labs that would be helpful? I think I have a lot covered with the supplements. I use to only take levoxyl, now I take lots and feel so much better. This ferritin has me stumped though. I would love to STOP losing hair, it is scary.


FLFLOWERGIRL 07-24-2008 11:25 AM

Re: Low Ferritin and Hashimotos
I'm not sure ****how much**** iron you are currently on. You do have to be on a good amount to raise your iron stores. Maybe this is your problem and not the absorption so much.

You don't have to worry so much about the iron and supplements because the ferritin is the true picture of iron stores and it is does not change results. The serum iron and sat% is changed but they usually don't do this one.

If you are concerned you can go off iron for 24 hrs, iron is rapidly absorbed from supplements and can skew the results of an iron study by making them falsely high. FLFLOWERGIRL:)

Audrey-B 07-24-2008 05:14 PM

Re: Low Ferritin and Hashimotos
jlt18 - i'm in the same boat as you. Suffered with extremely low iron and took 2 years to raise it and that was when i found out that i had Hashi's.

A lot of thyroid sufferers have low iron problems. It is also very common for thyroid sufferers to have very low Vitamin D. Your doctor should check that also. Both iron and vitamin D malabsorbtion can be cause by gluten intolerance. Has anybody checked whether you are gluten intolerant? It's a simple blood test. Once again, us thyroid sufferers often have varying degrees of gluten intolerance.

With the vitamin D, when i was told to take it i began taking the basic 1000IU measurement (one gel capsule) as per instructions on the container. Next blood test i hadn't moved much and then my doctor issued me with some vitamin D drops which i drop 7 drops (4500IU) of onto my tongue each night after dinner. My vitamin D has moved up a little bit faster after taking a higher dosage. My doctor said taking vit D at night after dinner is more beneficial as its more likely i would have eaten meat and the vit D absorbs better. maybe this is due to the protein. He said vegetarians have a harder time absorbing vit D (and it has to be D3, not the other D).

I also have problems retaining iodine in my body. I lose more than i ought to and iodine is necessary for a healthy thyroid too.

I too have the adrenal issues. My doctor put me on Cortate tablets to help with my low morning cortisol levels and i'm so much better now. Are you only taking vitamin type supplements to help with your adrenals or are they actual medication what you are on?

If you were taking your iron along with the T4 you were on before that would make the T4 less effective and would also mean the T4 wouldn't be giving you the full benefit of making you feel better. You can take iron and other supplements alongside T3 med's but not T4. I believe i was told to not take iron or other vitamins 2 hours prior and 4 hours after taking your T4 meds. This is going to worry me next week as i've only been on a T3 med (triiodothyronine) and as of monday my doctor will be starting me on a little T4 (thyroxine). I'm juggling enough med's and supplements as it is and it frustrates me having to spread things out so that one thing doesnt inhibit another.

My medicinal listing and time frame is fast resembling a train time table :D It's ok if you are at home all day, but i work full time and remembering and taking time out to take this, eat food prior to taking certain things, take one thing and wait before you can take another is driving me nuts. The thing is, nobody at work understands. They simply think thyroid issues are like a headached, you pop one pill and hey presto problem solved. They don't realise how much stuff i actually take and how tired i sometimes get. maybe it's because i'm so good at hiding how i feel and just put on a happy face!!

Just incase you didn't know, zinc should not be taken until either 2 hours prior or after taking your iron, just like caffeinated beverages, red wine and dairy products inhibit iron absorbtion.

I'm not sure what Betaine is. I was taking a formula which my doctor's chemist especially made for him and its not a commercial brand, but there are a variety of commercial ones which people on these boards have a had decent success rates with. If your iron constipates you there are stool softeners you can buy. If it causes irritable bowel then you can take iron phosphate which calms the the stomach/bowel.

It's quite a long road and so many of us have been room mates here on the anemia board for quite some time (a number of us have thyroid issues too). So be prepared to bunk down for a while, but you are in good company :D

jlt18 07-24-2008 06:41 PM

Re: Low Ferritin and Hashimotos
Thank you Audrey and Flflowergirl. I was glad to see I am in good company. I was reading here and found many others like me.

I am going to get labs drawn and plan to ask for Vit D 25-OH they ran the wrong vit D last time. I am sure I need to take more iron. Just have trouble finding which one I can tolerate. I like the Floradix it is suppose to absorb well, just not sure how much I need of it. It is expensive. I just ordered Blood Builder, anyone hear of that? Suppose to be food based. The sublingual iron stained my teeth. Sometimes I think an IV would be easier. I will have ferritin tested again.

Thanks for the reminder of when to take stuff and which to avoid. It is hard when you work. I put some in my pocket. I take Armour sublingually so I pop those throughout the day. I take hydrocortisone for my adrenals. Started with isocort over the counter and needed to go with the RX of HC. I started iodine after doing the iodine load test and have had some trouble tolerating the 50 mg. My adrenals got stressed. So I pulse dose.

I have a NIS defect which means I have trouble with receptors getting the iodine in my cells. I also have MTHFR defect which has to do with being able to absorb folate.

I also have trouble converting T4 to T3 thus stopped the T4 only meds. I see a correlation of absorption/converting issues. Never thought of that before. I wonder how many others have this too? MTHFR is inherited. I was on heparin for my second child.

I read that low estrogen can cause hair loss. I will retest that. Any other ideas for labs: my list is free T3, T4, TSH, antibodies, ferritin, Vit D, cholesterol, sex hormones and DHEA.

How long before I should expect hair loss to improve? It has been 7 months of loss. This is not new to me but usually ends by now.

Audrey, your doctor sounds great, what kind of doctor, ND? I see a PA and my compounding pharmacist makes recommendations that he will follow. So far it is working for me...

Any good books to read on anemia, low iron? I buy books and read all I can to understand. I am in the medical field so it is pretty easy to absorb/digest.

Thanks!! I am glad to have a place to get support!


cathy57 07-26-2008 06:29 AM

Re: Low Ferritin and Hashimotos
Hi there, I just wanted to add that it took me 2 years to get my ferritin up to 65 from 19. I couldn't tolerate slo fe so I changed to the gluconate form. I finally went up to 100 in 2006 from 2002 (4 years of supplementing) then I fell to 45 in 2008. It really drives me nuts that if I don't constantly supplement, my ferritin takes a real plunge. Now I'm supplementing this time with feosol. My hair loss is constant, either the low ferritin, or some medication issue, it just won't stay in.... :-( cb

jlt18 07-26-2008 07:26 AM

Re: Low Ferritin and Hashimotos
Wow, I guess building iron is hard! I may be like you. There has got to be an absorption issue don't you think. Not good to hear your hair loss persists. I will be bummed if I can't improve the hair loss.

FLFLOWERGIRL 07-26-2008 07:48 AM

Re: Low Ferritin and Hashimotos
[QUOTE=cathy57;3663764]Hi there, I just wanted to add that it took me 2 years to get my ferritin up to 65 from 19. I couldn't tolerate slo fe so I changed to the gluconate form. I finally went up to 100 in 2006 from 2002 (4 years of supplementing) then I fell to 45 in 2008. It really drives me nuts that if I don't constantly supplement, my ferritin takes a real plunge. Now I'm supplementing this time with feosol. My hair loss is constant, either the low ferritin, or some medication issue, it just won't stay in.... :-( cb[/QUOTE]

cathy57--Thank you so much for your post:angel:. I have always wondered about the progress of people that have already experienced anemia and/or low ferritin. It's great that you shared your experience to help others. It makes me feel a little better and encourages me that I too can get to 100 in the future. My GI doc told me that it is due to malabsorption (due to PPI's),and that I am married to iron, so I cannott stop taking supplements. I am at 41 Ferritin in 1 1/2 yrs., not all that great. Did you ever find out what your reason was for the low ferritin? FLFLOWERGIRL:)

flowergirl2day 07-26-2008 08:01 AM

Re: Low Ferritin and Hashimotos
Do the PPIs cause malabsorption of iron????!!!!I am on them long-term.


jlt18 07-26-2008 08:08 AM

Re: Low Ferritin and Hashimotos
What are PPI's?

FLFLOWERGIRL 07-26-2008 08:30 AM

Re: Low Ferritin and Hashimotos
jlt18--Proton pump inhibitors like Nexium. I took it for 8 yrs. A long term use S/E is malabsorption of iron. FLFLOWERGIRL:)

jlt18 07-26-2008 08:33 AM

Re: Low Ferritin and Hashimotos
Oh good to know I didn't use!

flowergirl2day 07-26-2008 06:59 PM

Re: Low Ferritin and Hashimotos

would you mind telling me what you take NOW instead of the Nexium? I am a bit concerned about this and cannot afford to lose any more iron. I also cannot afford to go without the Nexium. I tried it recently, and lasted only two days before becoming very ill with reflux symptoms. Turns out my doctor was right. He had warned me about quitting them.


FLFLOWERGIRL 07-26-2008 08:10 PM

Re: Low Ferritin and Hashimotos
flowergirl--I take Zegerid now because after 8 years the Nexium quit working for me. My doc thinks that this is a better choice over Nexium. It's a tough deal to get off of them. I don't think that I can. FLFLOWERGIRL:)

cathy57 07-27-2008 10:45 AM

Re: Low Ferritin and Hashimotos
Yes, the low ferritin has been going on for more than 20 years. Bad diet is the culprit. I decided to try a funky vegetarian diet and stopped eating meat. Bad idea, very bad. At 24 my hair was starting to fall, I'm 50 now, shows you how long it's been falling. No one suggested I take iron pills, since I moved around a lot, I had no good family doc to keep track of me and it just got worse. I worried about it alot but didn't know a thing about the hair/iron connection. There was no internet in those days, so I didn't know what I know now. However, I developed hashis also, which brought me to thyroid meds, then I recentl discovered the armour thing.... it took a while before I discovered the right dosage. When I'm too high I get diahrea, hair falls, etc. I have to be careful. Don't let others discourage you. Take the iron with vitamin C and lysine on an empty stomach everyday and make sure you have stong stomach acid, that's supposed to help. Eat meat when you can, even liver....I never thought I'd get it to 100 but I did.. I just wish I kept it up there.... but I was really sick of taking pills. I guess pill taking will be a way of life for me. But with my hair, it either seems to be a thyroid dosage problem, or low iron....cb :-(

cathy57 07-27-2008 10:55 AM

Re: Low Ferritin and Hashimotos
Hey flowergirl: Now I understand the Nexium.... I did a search on the internet and see that it reduces stomach acid... no wonder you're not absorbing your iron, strong stomach acid is necessary to break down the iron..... is there anthing natural you can take to stop this drug taking? I'm not much into drugs, prefer the natural stuff. Please let me know.... what exactly is your stomach problem? diagnosis? cathy

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