HealthBoards (
-   Anemia (
-   -   low ferritin- iron supplement question (

Liz1965 07-27-2008 12:53 AM

low ferritin- iron supplement question
I just got labs back and my ferritin is 6 (hemoglobin = low normal). My doctor has not helped me at all with this. She didn't even tell me to take iron.

I'm currently taking 18 mg of iron per day, but I suspect this isn't enough. I am very limited in the supplements I can tolerate due to food sensitivities and interstitial cystitis. Given this, I think I need to stay with the brand I have, which is available in only the 18 mg variety.

Can anyone tell me the maximum number of this type of (18mg) pill I can safely take per day? Does it matter what type of iron it is? This says
Ferrochel Chelated Iron Bisglycinate.

I am feeling very unwell, and am losing hair like crazy, and I suspect that this could be related to my lack of iron storage. I eat lots of iron rich foods, but that doesn't seem to help at all. Thus I think I really need to stick with the supplement and possibly up my dose.

Any help with this would be much appreciated.

ChristineVA 07-27-2008 04:23 AM

Re: low ferritin- iron supplement question
I have some of the same issues as you--I have sensitivities to many of the additives in supplements and lots of stomach issues.

I started out using Flinstones Children's Chewables. Each one has 18 mg. I took two of those per day as my doctor told me I could take 2 per day (it has other vitamins in it so that was my concern--I knew I could take TONS more iron).

During that time, I experiment around with other high-dose irons but I found that most of them had so many additives. Feosol, in particular, gave me a HUGE hive on my chest, but did not bother my stomach.

I found a supplement at our local organic market. It is made by Natural Factors. It is 25 mg of Iron Chelate. Gives me no issues and I take two of those per day. I could probably take even more but I have so many issues with other mess and making sure the iron doesn't interfere that I have trouble taking more. It has taken me awhile to get my ferritin up. Probably 18 months to go from a 5 to a 35. While my friend, who takes Feosol (2 per day), went from 3 to 30 in about 2 months.

ChickieLou 07-27-2008 09:28 AM

Re: low ferritin- iron supplement question
Liz1965, in my opinion you are taking a very effective form of iron. It is true, you can't take more of this type than what is prescribed on the bottle, but that is because it is a highly absorbable form of iron supplement. My numbers are coming up very well and I plan to take this kind of iron for the long term.

If you take your iron pill at dinner, you can have a glass of white wine or orange juice which helps with absorbtion. If you take it at breakfast, have it with orange juice. Mostly, you will need to be patient, because it did take me about 4 months to see any noticable improvement.

All this is a moot point however, if you are not treating the causes of your anemia. If it's due to heavy periods, you need to either take the pill or some other form of hormones or procedurally fix this problem ASAP. If it's of a GI origin (Celiac's Disease, malabsorption, intestinal bleeding), these too must be addressed. It's one thing that your doctor isn't prescribing iron. It's another thing if he/she is not having you do a few tests to figure out the cause. If your doctor isn't addressing this, I would find another doctor. Anemia is nothing to fool around with. Many of us have wasted precious time with doctors who don't see it as a condition to solve.

Good luck and congratulations on finding an iron that you can tolerate. That's one of the biggest hurdles in my opinion.

ChickieLou 07-27-2008 09:33 AM

Re: low ferritin- iron supplement question
Liz, I just checked my chelated iron supplement bottle and it is 27 mg of iron. Since that's a bit more than what you are taking maybe you can switch to one that is 27mg and get the most you can.

Liz1965 07-27-2008 04:54 PM

Re: low ferritin- iron supplement question
Thanks for the info. Thank you also ChristineVA. I will look into getting a higher dosage supplement and check out the Natural Factors brand.

I've been reading more on this board and I've seen a lot of stuff on proton pump inhibitors and iron malabsorption. Unfortunately I have to take two Prilosec tablets (prescription) per day due to extreme acid reflux (I have a hiatal hernia). I am working with a new doctor to address my food sensitivites, with the hope that I will be able to go off the Prilosec at some point. For right now though that's not feasible.

I'm wondering if there's a particular type of iron that is better absorbed under said condition (40 mg of Prilosec per day). If anyone has any advice on this issue I'd appreciate your input.

ChristineVA 07-28-2008 09:40 AM

Re: low ferritin- iron supplement question

I also take 40 mg of Prilosec per day (prescription) and my iron seems to be absorbing along with that. If there is one that works better with the PPIs, I don't think anyone knows what it is.

FLFLOWERGIRL 07-28-2008 07:05 PM

Re: low ferritin- iron supplement question
When taking PPI's you still absorb iron, just not as much as normal stomach acid would allow. I think that over many years, and possibly combined with other factors, it is then that it can cause a problem for some people. I'm sure it also depends on the amount of acid you have before adding in the PPI as well.

When I took ferris sulfate I raised my Hgb rather quickly from 8.5 to 12.9 in as little as 2 months time. I was very ill from the iron and had to stop taking it. Then my blood dropped again and I was placed on a GI friendly iron supplement. It has taken forever to rebuild my numbers. I don't think that my friendly iron is near as absorbent as FS. So, I wonder how much malabsoprtion I really do have, if the other iron worked like a champ!? I am very glad that there is an iron the I can tolerate. FLFLOWERGIRL:)

flowergirl2day 07-28-2008 07:57 PM

Re: low ferritin- iron supplement question
[QUOTE]When taking PPI's you still absorb iron, just not as much as normal stomach acid would allow[/QUOTE]

That is EXACTLY what the pharmacist told me today, when I asked her about the Nexium and the iron deficiency. :) I should have also asked about the calcium citrate that another pharmacist had recommended. It is supposed to be a necessary component in creating a good stomach environment for people on PPIs (whatever THAT means!). I have been taking it because of the pharmacist's recommendation. I hope it does not interfere with the iron absorption?


FLFLOWERGIRL 07-28-2008 08:25 PM

Re: low ferritin- iron supplement question
flowergirl--I think you should research this calcium citrate. You just never know enough information. Does it seem to help you at all. I wonder what it does? FLFLOWERGIRL:)

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 11:20 PM.