Okay so I have been taking iron for a little over four months because when I got blood work done they said my serum ferratin was at 33 and a good ferratin level is at 70. Last time I went to the doctor mine was at 68. Should I keep taking it? I take two iron pills a day with vitamin c to help absorb it. Should I switch to one a day or stay where I am?? Any advice would be great! Thanks
It can be dangerous to supplement iron on your own.
Talk to your doctor.
Agreed. Don't do anything without asking your doctor's advice first. Iron levels can drop like mad at the drop of a hat. I know this from personal experience and my dosage was lowered by my GP. It had to be put back up again as a result. So, yes. Speak to your doctor first.
What is your diet like? Are you getting enough iron from food but just not absorbing it? Are you trying to get most of you iron from supplements? Is there any reason (bleeding, pregnancy) that could cause you to need more iron this time at the doctor than last time?
"Certain foods limit the absorption of iron. Foods on this list include black tea, coffee, dairy products consumed in large amounts, and wheat bran." ---http://health.howstuffworks.com/alternative-m edicines-for-anemia.htm
Supplements are harder for the body to use. Plant sources break down more slowly (12 hrs) and are used less compleatly, where animal sources are broken down often within an hour. Are you taking vitamin c supplement or, say, drinking orange juice?
My advice is keep taking the supplement but focus on eating a balanced diet with all the nutrients you need. Then keep testing and see if your diet has helped. Talk to your doctor to find out if there are any hidden causes that could prevent you from absorbing iron and get tested for them if needed.
I believe the OP is recovering from a period of malnourishment, which induced anemia. She would've been prescribed supplements as a result.
That said, it is important you also get a lot of iron in your diet as well as from the supplements to keep your levels up. You have heme iron, which is the iron found in animal sources. Red meats and eggs are particularly rich in it. Then there is non-heme, or iron from plant sources, which is harder for the body to absorb but is aided in absorption by Vitamin C and inhibited somewhat by large amounts of dairy, tannins in tea, and bran as the previous poster has said. This simply means avoid eating these foods WITH iron rich food, not that you have to cut tea, dairy, or bran out of your diet.
For a list of dietary iron sources, check out http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/Data/SR 21/nutrlist/sr21w303.pdf.
Normal Serum Ferritin level for Female: 12-150 ng/mL. A ferritin level of 68 is normal. The indication with regard to this value, if any, would be to check an "iron study" (a blood test to show detailed information to determine level and type of anemia, i.e: B12/Folate, Fe+ def., chronic). Your doc may have already done that.
If you have a hx of malnutrition you may have multiple nutr related issues that need to be addressed via consuming a healthy diet and possibly correcting any existing vit/min deficiencies, but supplementing all that iron independantly is most likely not necessary and as a previous poster mentioned, could be harmful in large amounts. Iron is a heavy metal and is toxic in excess.
Consider getting a nutritional assessment from a Registered Dietitian who can help you by interpreting your lab values and designing a plan to get you back on track.
Thanks for the reply everyone! When I got my first blood test they said everything was fine but then I asked about the ferratin and it was low. I was very focused on getting my hair back to normal and it said it needed to be at 70 so they said I could take iron. I got another test 3 months later and it was at 68 so it rose quickly. My diet is alot better now so maybe I will cut down to one iron pill and then stop completely. I have also been to a nutritionist. I think it was just a lack of many vitamins iron being one when I was malnutritioned so hopefully all goes back to normal.
I still strongly suggest your doctor or nutritionist okay you stopping taking the tablets before you do so.
They never prescribed me a certain amount they just said it would not hurt if i did take them
You should still consult them first. If the iron pills are what helped boost your iron levels, then ceasing to take them will result in a drop again. I was on iron pills for a long time in high school. My doctor didn't want me to stop taking them until my weight was in a safer place and my nutritionist and I got my diet under control. Once we found ways for me to get the iron in through food on a regular basis and I was consistently following the meal plans and maintaining my weight - then they let me go off the pills. I had a rather severe case of iron/folate deficient anemia - my levels were like 4 or 5 (anemia runs in my family to begin with) so that is probably why they were so cautious. But anemia can be dangerous and its really not fun to have - so I would suggest not stopping the supplement until you speak with your MD.
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