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Is ferritin of 40 on the low side?

(26 Posts)
Surrealistrhinoceros Fri 11-Jan-13 17:22:01


Had blood tests done as completely knackered and hair falling out all over the place. Thyroid fine. HB 137.

Serum ferritin is 40 and normal range given as 20-239. Obviously it's normal but is it near enough to the low end to be causing the problems? Slightly confused by the various posts on here so would welcome advice from anyone who knows more about this than me!

Hair still falling out and still knackered smile

Many thanks.

RockinD Fri 11-Jan-13 19:43:00

Your ferritin actually needs to be at least 70 and preferably 90 to avoid hair loss and fatigue.

However, although there is proper, published, peer reviewed research on this, I defy you to find an NHS doctor who will help you with this while your ferritin is within their arbitrary reference range.

A good iron supplement wouldn't go amiss for you now.

Surrealistrhinoceros Fri 11-Jan-13 20:00:54

Hi. Thanks, that's interesting. Have you links to the research? I'm happy to buy my own iron supplements if necessary but it would be good to know there was reason to do so!

Thank you.

slightlysoupstainedbabygrows Fri 11-Jan-13 21:39:25

Whoah. This has given me pause for thought, had a PPH in Aug so have been trying to get iron levels up since then, assumed that hair falling out was normal after pregnancy but will watch to make sure it actually stops. I'd be interested in links too, need to make appt for a blood test soon so will be interested to see how far I've managed to raise my ferritin levels.

GoldenGreen Fri 11-Jan-13 21:42:16

My hair is thinning too and thyroid "borderline". My ferritin is 9 - GP was of the opinion that it should be "at least" 40.

tuckingfits Fri 11-Jan-13 21:50:00

Interesting. My ferritin was 15 & normal range I was quoted by gp was 15 - 200 & something. I was told it wasn't an issue yet but to try & eat more red meat. I have just started taking spatone in an attempt to bring my levels up as I'm absolutely exhausted all the time. I did wonder if that was due to toddler,part time night work & running a small business from home along with money worries and problems with my partner. Now after reading this I'm inclined to think it's all of the above but with a hefty clout from low ferritin levels. I was told it wasn't an issue until it was less than 15 as my haemoglobin would still be doing the necessary. Any more info would be great.

knackeredoutmum Fri 11-Jan-13 21:52:34

yes how does this work, I too thought ferritin was like a backup store, so the figures werent relevant unless your iron dipped too low?

TataClaire Sat 12-Jan-13 06:26:46

I just got told by my gp that people start to feel crappy when their iron drops below 50 and mine was 9...and prescribed ferrous sulphate.

Reenypip Sat 12-Jan-13 10:18:16

My ferritin is 8 at the moment and because my hb is just above normal, they aren't majorly concerned.
I can't take iron tablets/liquid. So at the moment trying diet. But in begining of December it was 13 so has dropped.
I'm pregnant with my 2nd. With my first baby I had an iron IV (cosmofer) in my 3rd trimester.

sincitylover Sat 12-Jan-13 11:46:51

There's normal and optimal and I can't understand why the medical profession doesn't see that! Mine was 6 at one point and I've had problems with hair loss etc. took iron for a while (floradix) and has improved.

nomadwantshome Sat 12-Jan-13 13:28:00

Mine was 22 and was feeling crap but within the 'normal' range. I've been religiously taking spatone for quite a few months now and do feel better. I took 2 sachets for the first month and then dropped down to one. Take it with oj - its more easily absorbed with vit c. Thanks to rockind who suggested my ferritin levels were not good as I wouldn't have done anything about it!

I would be really interested to see what my levels are like now. Reenypip why can't you take iron? Soryy being nosey!

nomadwantshome Sat 12-Jan-13 13:31:30

Oh and btw it did take a while to feel better so I would suggest to keep going with supplementation.

secretscwirrels Sat 12-Jan-13 15:07:35

If you are symptomatic of anaemia then you could ask to be referred to a haematologist.

RockinD Sat 12-Jan-13 19:09:44

I have not yet found an effective iron supplement that doesn't give me explosive diarrhoea and cramps, so it's took me three years to raise my ferritin level to 70 plus and now it's dropped again .

BeaWheesht Sat 12-Jan-13 19:25:32

Wow ever since I had a PPH with dd 2 years ago I've had blood tests swig put my ferritin levels at 11ish and have been told 11-350 is normal and this can't be responsible for the fact that I feel so tired all the time...

RockinD Sat 12-Jan-13 20:42:32

With respect, and going from my own experience, I think that is probably bollocks!

Reenypip Sat 12-Jan-13 21:37:03

Hi nomad,
I have stomach and bowel problems due to multiple reasons. I can't open my bowels without help, and iron buggers it all up even more, stopping everything from working.

BeaWheesht Sat 12-Jan-13 22:59:38

I'm inclined to agree Rocky! I can't take iron pills due to IBS either...

DianaTrent Sun 13-Jan-13 00:43:40

I have just been taken off iron supplements due to abdominal pain and diarrhoea. I was 6.7 and managed the tablets for a month. They will test me again in a couple of months and go for the injections if I am still low. Needless to say I haven't been feeling on top form!

knackeredoutmum Sun 13-Jan-13 07:30:10

Diana, would you do a spatone trial for us please? Frm theoreviews on amaxon 2 sachets a day get your iron levels up within 6 wks or so, even though its got much less iron in than the tablets. I would love to know if it really works.

RockinD Sun 13-Jan-13 10:32:47

Spatone didn't work for me - my levels actually went DOWN.

I was referred back to my GP at one point for injections, but he doesn't do them. All that is on offer in this area is infusions, but only if you are below range. One friend of mine was advised by her gastro consultant that the only way she would get her iron levels up would be to stop trying and let them go below range! She refused and is still looking for a solution.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 13-Jan-13 10:35:25

My ferritin is 9. Gp told me it was just under normal, he said its meant to be above 10. He prescribed iron but I've never taken it. I feel fine.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 13-Jan-13 10:37:28

I thought but could be wrong that ferritin is your iron stores. Your actual iron I your hb. My hb is normal....I think about 11.5.

If that's right then wouldn't you only be affected if your hb is low as well as your ferritin?

Surrealistrhinoceros Sun 13-Jan-13 12:32:18

Wow what a lot of replies! Thank you all very much.

I am reassured that it could be an awful lot lower - and sending best wishes to all of you for whom it obviously is - but useful to know that some attention to diet/iron pills might not go amiss either.

I fear first step might be giving up the permanently welded to cup of strong tea habit I've developed since DC2 arrived!

DianaTrent Sun 13-Jan-13 13:42:14

I wouldn't be a good test subject for spatone, knackeredoutmum, as I have recently discovered the omeprazole I am on lowers your absorption of iron not already in a haem form. Since I am a vegetarian this explains a lot.

Viva, my hb is technically just within the normal range (10 ish), however my MCV is low (meaning my red cells are smaller than they should be due to not enough iron in case anyone isn't familiar with the term) and the GP does think my symptoms are caused by the low iron, so it is possible to feel rubbish whilst still being within the normal range for Hb.

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