Very low Ferritin levels, Hypothyroid symptoms, Normal TSH/T4

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Hi Everyone!

I went to the doctors recently after experiencing increasing fatigue, to the point where I was in bed by 8:30 each night and often needed an afternoon nap. Thinking about it, I had been feeling generally tired for a long time, if not years before this decline. I am a 22 y/o female, 5"2, and follow a vegetarian (~90% vegan) diet.

I also feel the cold constantly, especially my extremities which can discolour and wear bed socks. I am average weight, but have weight that sticks around my lower half despite being very active (half-marathons and training for triathlon, cycle every day). This made me look into hypothyroidism as it all fits me so perfectly. I have fine brittle hair and nails, frequently feel faint when I exercise, low blood pressure, a sore throat and sometimes headache each morning, and always had light periods with a long cycle.

We did some blood tests, which showed:

Ferritin= 12ug (range 15-200ug)

TSH= 1.6 (range .4-4.5)

Free T4= 13 (range 10-24)

My doctor called this Ferritin level "very low" so am being prescribed iron tablets twice a day for 2-3 months but I can't help feeling that my other hypothyroid-like symptoms are left unexplained. I have also read (not necessarily understood...) about a link between ferritin and thyroid function and want to request a Free T3 test, if just to give me peace of mind.

Has anybody had a similar profile? What steps did you take? Will Iron help the hypothyroid symptoms?

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  • Posted

    hi 

    My first hypo symtoms were extreme brain fog ,depression and anxiety ,wanting to be alone alot and feeling cold ,i felt like this for 2 years i was very bubbly and loved socialising before ,i had numerous blood tests which came back normal ,i knew there was something wrong with my thyroid as my mum and sister had the same symptoms when there thyroid was low ,it got to the point were i was sleeping most of the day and night and was so mentally exhausted i gave up on life ,the dr decided to start me on thyroxine 25mcg ,after 2 weeks i couldnt believe how alive i felt,it was like i got my brain back and energy i felt euphoric ,i stayed on that amount for 8 months then the exhaustion started again couldnt get of the sofa ,i had a blood test and my thyroid was seriously low so i was put on 100mcg instantly,i lost weight got my zest for life back and felt great for a year .then i started having trouble with ovarian cysts and had to have my ovarys removed since then ive felt really awfull anxirty which i think is hormonal ,my consultant said my thyroid was slightly low at 05.5 but my dr says its fine ,i have felt like a guinea pig for years ,i know from experience that low thyroid causes anemia and that will make you feel tired but hypothyroidism causes crashing fatigue ,if you have brain fog and depression keep on at your dr for a referal as if it is your thyroid it will only get worse ,hope this helps x [color=#3a2e28] [/color][color=#3a2e28]Follow this discussion to receive reply notifications[/color] 

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  • Posted

    Hi MBIS, Biochemically this makes sense, but very few people make the connection. Being hypothyroidic, your ability to convert riboflavin (vitamin B2) to FAD and FMN is low. Now what is not generally appreciated is that you need FAD to make the heme molecule and to trap iron. Thus, you serum levels of ferritin and iron will be low. It is actually not a bad way to follow how effective your thyroid function is. You need to take more vitamin B2, as well as getting your T3/T4 levels right. I would also get your vitamin B12 levels checked. 50% of people with hypothyroidism are B12 deficient.
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  • Posted

    Please look in to Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome or POTS which is often associated with low ferritin, blood pooling, b/p issues, fatigue, etc. It is poorly understood by many doctors.
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    • Posted

      What kind of doctor should you go to, to see if it is in fact POTS? I have been suffering for years. Been diagnosed with all sorts of things, including low blood pressure, neurocardiogenic syncope (blood pools to feet, and I feel light headed a lot), anemia, among other things. I KNOW that there's more wrong with me. I KNOW it. I am EXHAUSTED, ALL THE TIME. Like I have walking pneumonia. I don'the even sit down, because when I sit down, I fall asleep almost immediately. So I can'tell even watch TV with my husband. Plus standing all the time, just to stay awake is hard, because I also have herniated disks, and fibromyalgia.

      I was going to a neurologist, and he ran tests.. but his office was unprofessional and kept losing results, etc. He did put MS on his "short list", but lesions never show up in my MRI's.

      My thyroid hormone levels always seem okay, but my ferritin was 3 and my iron was 23, so I was told to take iron 3 times a day. Also, I have a goiter and some small nodules...

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    • Posted

      Have you looked at Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome? I have EDS and the same symptoms. Usually this is diagnosed by a geneticist and many rheumatologists won't diagnose it. In fact, don't expect any doctor to know much about it besides the geneticist. HTH.

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    • Posted

      I will definitely look into it! Especially since every single disease I have been diagnosed with, a member of my family had... very interesting... thank you, tammerz78!
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    • Posted

      I have pots. And also gastroparesis. I wonder if my poor diet and low iron levels are what brought this on. POTS came 2 years after having gastroparesis. My gastro doctor was the only one who tested my ferritin levels just recently. I can't feel my hands and feet and dizziness is so much worse ever since ferritin dropped.

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  • Posted

    Hi one year on how is it going got you I've the excat

    Bloods and my mum has under active thyroid and they told me to just take iron

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  • Posted

    Hi one year on how is it going for you I've the excat

    Bloods and my mum has under active thyroid and they told me to just take iron I feel that it's not enough as I already take iron in a supplement

    Did you get diagnosed with any condition ?

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  • Posted

    Hello, You sound like a model match to me as far as body type, your eating habits and your symptoms go. My thyroid however, is fine. My Hemaglobin and iron were low but came back up. My ferretin however still remains very low. And I am wondering if it the cause of me still feeling the way I do. My lab's normal range for ferretin is around 100. My level 5 weeks ago was only 5!! I am now up to 10. The doctor said it could take months to come up to normal range. Although my numbers are rising, I am having the feeling that I am going to faint often. I also have a strange sensation I guess you would call it. I just don't feel like me I guess I should say. I am going to rule out anything scary like cardiac first. Then I am going to perhaps see an endocrinologist again. Maybe the symptoms will subside once my ferretin rises more. I am still weak and tired and just not my bubbly self.

     

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  • Posted

    TSH levels have recently changed. 1-3 is considered ideal range. My endocrinologist is okay with them being below 1 based upon the person. In short 5.5 is too high. T3 and T4 need to be in range as well. My T3 previously was high in the morning and plummeted in the afternoon. But my averages looked good. I was not. Not many docs will check this close for detail.

    One more comment, I have supplemented iron over the past 15 years. I must typically take 3 times the recommended daily value, just to stay above minimum normal level. I also now take 150mg daily during my cycle. This has been determined by repeated testing for what my body needs.

    I also must take 4,000iu of vitd3 every day. My levels are too low with 1,000iu or even 3,000. Just because you are supplementing does not mean that's enough for your body.

    Repeated blood tests and being actively involved is required to get these right. It is worth it when you feel the results!

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    • Posted

      Wow 1jez80117 your results sound just like mine. Low ferritin that is a challenge to get up or not be low. T3 that nose dives in the afternoon. I also take 4,000 iu vitd3 just to stay in range or again not be low. So some similarities. I haven't solved it all but these are key components for me so far. stay in touch if you learn any more tricks!

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  • Posted

    Hey. This post is going to be a little long but be sure to read it right till the end, it sure is going to be a lot helpful.

    Firstly, to begin with, iron deficiency over a period of time leads to low ferritin levels. This def could be due to suboptimal diet or malabsorption. The former can be easily be corrected through perseverance and mind over matter. If you have iron deficiency, you're most likely going to have a lot of other def as well and some of these need to be addressed quickly.

    Signs of low ferritin levels- fatigue, depression, hair fall, pallor to name a few. It affects the overall health and immunity as well.

    The normal ferritin levels are stated as between 10 and 300microg/dl. But, for restoration of your good health you need these levels atleast over 150.

    So, here's the treatment I have seen work wonders by God's grace.

    I used ferrous ascorbate containing 100mg of elemental iron in each tablet, 3 times a day for over 4 months with gradually reducing the dose to about 100mg a day in the fourth month. You have to apply the dosage according to your body weight. If you take a lot more than required, you'd have iron toxicity which will worsen the whole condition. Ideally, 2-5mg of iron per kg body weight per day should be your maximum dose. Do not exceed this dose ever. Take Vitamin C tablets along with this to increase absorption. This should be taken in between meals or else the food you eat especially caffeine, calcium and milk interferes and decreases it's absorption. Most importantly, consult your doctor for this. Other forms of iron preparations cause gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, gastritis, etc. I haven't had any of these with ferrous ascorbate.

    You need to monitor your ferritin levels every 2 months to keep an eye on toxicity.

    Apart from this iron therapy, you need to improve your diet. Include vegetables(green leafy especially), fruits, red meat, milk,eggs(basically a lot of protein), dry fruits, adequate carbohydrates for best recovery. Water is a boon, remember that.

    Vitamin D def also causes hair loss and lowers immunity. Get your Vit D levels checked and consult your doctor to have them restored to a mid level in the optimal range.

    Take a multivitamin (especially calcium but don't take iron and calcium together; they inhibit each other's absorption)everyday for a month or two to correct other deficiencies because most times, iron def does not occur as an isolated def if you've had a poor diet for a long time.

    Mild to moderate(not strenuous) exercise daily mainly walking for 10 to 20 minutes improves your blood circulation, mood and overall health.

    For best results, you have to develop a positive attitude. It's really hard to do this, but you need to consciously make efforts. Your body more readily accepts healing when you're positive. Have faith in God. Have patience and perseverance. You will make it.

    P.S. I don't make absolute recommendation for the above dosages and medication for everyone. I have shared what worked for me. This is mainly for isolated multi-nutrient deficiencies. If you have any co-morbidities, you have to consult a doctor or specialist.

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