Iron tablets not raising my iron after four months! Anyone had this ?

(36 Posts)
kissmelittleass Mon 16-Mar-20 15:59:09

Had a fbc back in October and was told to take Galfer 305mg one daily for one month to see if it helped and to come back for a repeat blood test in one month. My level at this stage was 11.7
November fbc showed it was still 11.7 so hadn't risen but doctor said it wasn't low and not going down so to stay on the tablets same dose for three months and to come back for repeat blood test then.
So beginning of March I had a fbc again and rang for results Friday to be told by nurse that my level is still 11.7!! Told me to continue on tablets and as our surgery is only open for emergencies at moment that the doctor will ring me to discuss one day.
So why has my iron level not risen? Any ideas?
Background info.. I'm 51 , no periods, I am near enough vegan but I do eat live yogurt a few times a week. A lot of green veg I can't eat as I have terrible pains and wind after eating but I do eat green beans, lettuce leafs green apples, nuts and seeds. I also drink kefir some times.
I have just started this weekend to take my iron tablets with a small glass of orange juice just to see if this will help.

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kissmelittleass Mon 16-Mar-20 15:59:44

My B12 was good I'm told at 413

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OhNoNoNoNotThatOne Mon 16-Mar-20 16:06:15

I know you say your are eating green veg, but are you including any iron rich foods?

My iron level was 12.2 in November, I was put on a 3 month course of ferrous gouconate 305g like yourself 1 a day and to go back when finished for repeat tests. My levels had risen to 14.6 so was given a repeat prescription in February, but told to eat more iron rich foods, so things like spinach and quinoa etc.
Also the nurse told me to have 2 weetabix for breakfast every day as its high in iron.

I'm due back in May to repeat again, and am hoping for another increase.

kissmelittleass Mon 16-Mar-20 21:51:27

@OhNoNoNoNotThatOne Thanks, as for green veg it would be green beans, courgette, occasionally peas and then green salad leafs and cucumber.
I eat nuts, seeds porridge, chickpeas, hummus, porridge.
I do eat dark chocolate most days which I believe has iron! Occasionally I eat eggs.
I love green veg like cabbage and broccoli etc but had to stop eating them as they caused me stomach issues and gas!
Don't know what else I can do, doctor just saying she would only be worried if it was as low as 8 or 9.
Just don't know why it hasn't risen after nearly five months of being on tablets.

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CheddarGorgeous Mon 16-Mar-20 22:02:37

You need to take iron with vitamin C to absorb it. Didn't they tell you that?

Coffeeandcake1 Mon 16-Mar-20 22:07:46

Have you tried taking liquid Spatone sachets? They sorted my iron levels out within a month and I found were much more effective than the tablets prescribed. You can get them in Boots and some supermarkets and is best to pour into orange juice to help with absorption

kissmelittleass Mon 16-Mar-20 22:39:11

@CheddarGorgeous No they didn't actually! Since the weekend though I've started to take my iron tablet with a small glass of orange juice , hopefully this will help to get the levels up.

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kissmelittleass Mon 16-Mar-20 22:41:15

@Coffeeandcake1 I remember taking spatone when I was pregnant. I haven't taken it this time as doctor told me to take the Galfer 305mg so I just Wendy along with that.

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QuestionableMouse Mon 16-Mar-20 22:47:38

I struggled with the tablets and ended up with Syton syrup. I took it with a glass of orange juice and my levels started to come back up.

adagio Mon 16-Mar-20 22:56:41

As well as taking with vit c you can’t have anything with tannin or high calcium within an hour of your tablet (well your before or two hours after) if you want it to absorb - so no tea, coffee, milk or dairy, etc. That’s also why we find it so hard to get enough iron - our diets tend to be high in calcium, plus there are known combinations that just don’t work eg iron in eggs is known to cancel itself out mostly due to other chemicals in it. Iron in broccoli and green veg if they are also high in calcium won’t get absorbed very well etc
I now drink only water with an iron tablet and vit c tab every morning - no food and no coffee for at last an hour and my levels have increased.

gisogiso Mon 16-Mar-20 23:00:28

Preg a day pills shot mine up better than any iron tablets from doctor!! Try these xx

CheddarGorgeous Tue 17-Mar-20 12:33:25

I've been on iron for 3 months. My levels were on the floor. I was told to take them on an empty stomach with a vitamin c source. My dose was much higher than yours and it took 2 months to get back to the normal range and a further month to build up iron stores in my body. I'm still taking a low level supplement as the underlying cause is still being treated.

NaToth Tue 17-Mar-20 13:50:20

That B12 is a tad low too.

It would be better nearer the top of the reference range.

Elsiebear90 Tue 17-Mar-20 13:57:19

Are you taking about haemoglobin or iron? Because they are two different things, there are certain conditions that cause your haemoglobin to be low despite having high or normal ferritin, like thalassaemia for example. You should get your ferritin checked, I’ve seen GPs put patients on iron tablets for months and month despite their haemoglobin not increasing, by the time they had their ferritin checked it was sky high and they had iron overload because they actually had beta thalassaemia, which does not respond to iron. It’s very common in the Asian and Mediterranean population.

Elsiebear90 Tue 17-Mar-20 13:58:23


kissmelittleass Tue 17-Mar-20 19:25:36

@Elsiebear90 Thanks for info I think nurse said haemoglobin but the doctor said iron?
Doctor has now said to keep on tablets as before same advice really and to increase leafy greens! But I'm doing that for ages!
I'm going to give it two months and then go back for a blood test, doctor just asks for a fbc so I presume this includes ferritin?

@NaToth My B12 was 413 the nurse actually said that was good! I presume she knows?

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Mlou32 Tue 17-Mar-20 19:38:07

Your nurse is correct, your B12 levels are fine - the normal range is from around 200 - 900. See if you notice an increase now that you're taking orange juice along with your tablets, try and incorporate iron rich foods into your diet as well.

kissmelittleass Tue 17-Mar-20 20:08:54

@Mlou32 Thanks hopefully the orange juice will help

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Mlou32 Tue 17-Mar-20 20:52:27

@kissmelittleass also, when I was prescribed these for iron deficiency, I was told to take one tablet, two times a day. That's for treatment. For maintenance, it's once per day. Did your GP definitely say only take one tablet per day?

Reginabambina Tue 17-Mar-20 20:56:35

Incorporate dried apricots and sesame into your diet as well and cut all tea (as in from the tea plant, herbal tinsanes are fine).

OhioOhioOhio Tue 17-Mar-20 21:13:09

Thanks for the vitamin c tip.

kissmelittleass Tue 17-Mar-20 22:16:55

@Mlou32 yes her prescription was for one a day but I buy same product over the counter as cheaper!
She says she's not worried as it's not too low but every blood test recently it gets flagged up for her to review.
I have read about other people being on a higher dose on here but that's what the doctor prescribed 305mg once a day.

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kissmelittleass Tue 17-Mar-20 22:21:06

I was told to take iron tablet just before my dinner as she wanted me to space it out as I have a under active thyroid and take my medication for that first thing.
Sometimes I take the iron tablet half way through my dinner don't know best way I should take it.
Also tmi here but my poo is not dark like it was when I first started on iron.

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LuluJakey1 Tue 17-Mar-20 22:53:46

We were told by my mum's consultant that iron tablets are so poorly absorbed and take so long to have even a tiny effect they make no difference to most people. However, my mum was much older than you and had lower levels. She needed occasional transfusions of blood.
Spatone is more effective I understand.

Mlou32 Wed 18-Mar-20 03:39:09

@kissmelittleass ah ok well if that's what the doctor has prescribed then that's what to stick with.

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