Increasing iron stores - how did you feel?

(55 Posts)
TulipsTwoLips Mon 30-Dec-19 18:43:52

I have always suffered from low serum ferritin mainly due to heavy periods.

I've been prescribed ferrous glucomate as everything else made me constipated almost instantly. Even with these I'm finding that I can only take one a day. My ferritin level is currently 12.

I feel exhausted constantly with a lack of motivation, pale skin and increasing brain fog.

Has anyone successfully increased their levels, and did you miraculously gain energy and enthusiasm for life or am I just kidding myself that this is the solution?

OP’s posts: |
EllenRipley Mon 30-Dec-19 23:57:28

Hi OP, your ferritin is very low so getting your levels up will def make you feel better. How long depends on how well you're absorbing it and if you can maintain it while your periods are heavy! It could take a few months to get it up to a good level (aim for around 70, UK guidelines are outdated) but I would imagine you will see an improvement before then. Be consistent taking it, with vitamin c helps absorption. Don't take iron with dairy/calcium or tea/coffee. Ferrous fumarate is also very well tolerated and available on prescription, while iron bisglycinate is probably the best bioavailable form of iron.

Did you get your vitamin D and B12 tested too by any chance? It's common to run low or be actually deficient in these, and it's not often picked up by GPs. Even just having low levels rather than deficiency can make you feel crap, much like ferritin. I hope you see an improvement soon!

YearofMisAdventure Tue 31-Dec-19 03:38:59

Yes mine were a little low and improved with ferrous fumurate. It was like coming back from the dead.

QueenOfOversharing Tue 31-Dec-19 04:07:32

My levels were 16 & GP put me on ferrous sulphate - levels came up, not to adequate levels, so started it again. I've just finished them & not doing bloods til mid Feb. Tbh I don't feel massively better. I was on vit D too as v low. Took Vit c with iron, no coffee / milk near when I took them.

One thing that happened was hair stopped falling out & tongue stopped being sore. Stopped again before Xmas & tongue back to being sore already. 🤷🏼‍♀️

pollywobble Tue 31-Dec-19 05:24:48

Yes but it was a slow process-about 3-4 months on Ferrous fumerate- I was told that was how long it takes to grow new red blood cells.

TulipsTwoLips Tue 31-Dec-19 15:00:48

Thanks @EllenRipley. I had my vit d tested and that came back ok. I haven't had b12 tested for a while so will ask my gp.

OP’s posts: |
TulipsTwoLips Tue 31-Dec-19 15:02:55

Thanks everyone, sounds like I just need to continue with the tablets and be prepared for it to take a while!

OP’s posts: |


milliefiori Tue 31-Dec-19 15:06:53

The tablets are terrible at causing constipation. If you can afford it, take Floradix liquid iron supplement or (much cheaper) Boots Feroglobin liquid. The Floradix doesn't cause constipation and the Feroglobin isn't nearly as unforgiving as the tablets. And they make you feel better pretty quickly as they are much more easily absorbed into the blood stream. Floradix isn't cheap but it's worth it for the effect it has on your energy levels.

Mominatrix Tue 31-Dec-19 15:26:33

I was quite anaemic for about 10 years. I was prescribed iron tablets which really did not suit (made me feel nauseous and made me constipated). I changed my diet to add liver twice a month and it really changed skin tone (no longer very pale) and increased my overall energy level. My DS2 calls my liver meal my "medicine" and wanted a taste. Surprisingly, he loves it and is always pestering me to get liver now!

*I get veals liver from my local ethical butcher and lightly pan fry it. I serve with a balsamic glaze and caramelised onions. Both kids love it

TulipsTwoLips Wed 01-Jan-20 09:16:25

Thanks. The liquid iron looks good but definitely not cheap! Might give it a go for a month if these tablets cause issues.

Interesting advice re liver, thanks.

OP’s posts: |
Fatted Wed 01-Jan-20 09:23:23

I did feel better, but I was religious about taking the tablets. I found taking a probiotic helped with the stomach issues I got from them. You cannot take them on an empty stomach either.

I really did make a huge effort with my lifestyle in general, eating a lot more iron rich foods as well as taking the tablets and cutting down my caffeine consumption.

BikeRunSki Wed 01-Jan-20 09:41:51

Thus was me a couple of years ago. I fell asleep practically every time I sat down! My ferritin levees were < 5. I took ferrous sulphate for 3 months, then a blood test, then another 3 months. My ferritin levels were up at the interim blood test, but not really high enough. But since then, I have been fine. I take iron tablets from time to time if I am feeling a bit run down.

jcurve Wed 01-Jan-20 09:52:46

I had low ferritin and red blood cell levels when tested in June & started supplements. I was feeling very tired.

I get a sick tummy with the normal version but tolerate the Ferrograd slow release version fairly well if I take it last thing at night.

I feel a lot better now, much more energy. My RBC has raised 20 points in six months, so I’m no longer anaemic.

TulipsTwoLips Thu 02-Jan-20 08:12:49

What numbers were you all at when you felt good again? I'm aiming for over 70 but have also heard that nearer 100 is optimum.

OP’s posts: |
wineandsunshine Thu 02-Jan-20 12:53:24

Mine were at 6 and after three months went up to. 40 with 3 x tablets per day.

I did feel slightly better!!

putputput Thu 02-Jan-20 13:57:17

The liquid supplements are gentler on your stomach but won't be as effective getting your ferritin up. My ferritin took about 6 months to come up from 11.
Can you get some laxido to take along side? That will help with the constipation.

Have a good look at your diet. Lots of iron rich food and see if you can get hold of a cast iron pot for cooking. Take vitamin c (kiwis far better than orange juice.) Reduce your dairy and caffeine intake.

TulipsTwoLips Thu 02-Jan-20 15:59:57

I think dairy might be a big problem here. I eat lots of iron rich foods, but often with cheese, and I drink far too much milky tea.

On a positive note, taking a tablet an hour or so before bed seems to work really well for me.

Seems I need to give it a good 6 months before I see real results.

OP’s posts: |
EllenRipley Thu 02-Jan-20 21:39:47

I always hover around 40 but anything below that I start to feel it. I'm hoping now that I'm menopausal with fewer periods that it might climb to something decent! I have read some studies that show marked improvement in health by getting women's levels up over 70 so I think that's a good level to aim for!

I'd try find out what your D levels were, if u haven't already. Current research puts optimal levels at 120-150nmol whereas GP guidelines would count anything from 50nmol as 'normal'. You could easily be symptomatic at an NHS normal level.

FaithInfinity Thu 02-Jan-20 22:31:43

Mine was 13 in the summer so the GP said to take iron tablets. Initially they made me sick and caused loose stools (I have IBS anyway). I was skeptical about persevering but I managed to. The nausea stopped after a few days. I take mine about an hour after my evening meal. My ferritin was up to 42.5 by September. Honestly it was like someone has switched the light back on. I’d had other health issues ongoing, I assumed that had sapped my energy until the iron took effect. My evenings were basically me exhausted on the couch or going to bed early but now I have the energy to clean. I have to stop now and get retested and then repeat the bloods in 3 months. Based on my experience I would advise sticking with it. You can get liquid iron prescribed if you struggle with the tablets (they have less side effects).

Eloisedublin123 Thu 02-Jan-20 22:54:44

I suffer from very low ferritin too and have found liver and spleen tablets very good. Yes very yukky idea but gets your stores up fast and they don’t taste of anything. I got them from ancestral supplements

littlemissmonday Thu 02-Jan-20 22:58:44

Hope you're feeling on the mend soo n OP. I'm place marking, I've been the same as some of the rest of you. My levels were down to 4 and I recieved an iron infusion. They've went up to about 30 but cant say ik feeling much better to be honest. Looking forward to see what has helped the other posters.

TulipsTwoLips Fri 03-Jan-20 11:40:12

Vit d is 66nmol

OP’s posts: |
pemberleypearl Fri 03-Jan-20 11:51:53

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whatnow40 Fri 03-Jan-20 11:53:29

I'm under a consultant for this as my stores get depleted due to very heavy periods and malabsorption. Supplements don't help enough for the stores as my body doesn't absorb enough. I end up getting an iron infusion whenever my stores drop below 20. I was first referred when I was at 6 and 3 months of supplements only took me to 8. When I have an infusion I get up to 120 and then drop from there.

I cant honestly say getting the infusion has me cartwheeling, it just all feels a little bit better gradually over the next week or so. If you are gradually improving your stores, you're not going to notice a significant improvement. You might notice after a few months that there are less shit days but you won't actually feel the impact.

ScrambledSmegs Fri 03-Jan-20 12:07:22

I've got low iron and vitamin d according to tests just before Christmas. I was already taking floradix and iron levels were still v low so have switched to Spatone and separate B vitamin supplements.

Vitamin D seems to be the biggie though, now I'm taking a high dose of that I feel so much better. Will be interesting to see if I retain iron more efficiently now too. Hope that's the case for you OP.

I thought that waking up every morning feeling like death was my normal. I've always struggled.

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