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How can I raise my ferritin level?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
In March 2007 my Ferritin level tested low (8 in a normal ref range of 10-232). Since then I've been taking Ferrous Sulfate 325 mg/daily as my doctor advised. I was just re-tested and now my Ferritin level is 15, still much too low. I'm surprised it hasn't risen faster in 8 months, especially considering that I'm eating more TF than ever.

I eat/drink bone broth soups regularly... eat grassfed red meats and chicken... try to eat chicken liver at least once a week (more often, if I make a pate). I eat leafy greens but not every day.

What else can I do, using food sources, to raise my ferritin level? Or should I just be taking more ferrous sulfate?

All opinions welcome.

Thanks,
Iris
post #2 of 24
I have the same issue. I am thinking it just may take time. I take iron supplements, eats lots of beef, liver, broth, cook in cast iron. I do think I have some gut damage though and I had other health problems so I think healing was draining all my nutrients before I could store them. (That is the theory I came up with anyway)

I am going to try fermented nettle infusions next from Gale Force's website.

Jen
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by newcastlemama View Post
I have the same issue. I am thinking it just may take time. I take iron supplements, eats lots of beef, liver, broth, cook in cast iron. I do think I have some gut damage though and I had other health problems so I think healing was draining all my nutrients before I could store them. (That is the theory I came up with anyway)

I am going to try fermented nettle infusions next from Gale Force's website.

Jen
Jen, are you the one who posted about this a week or so ago? I know someone did and I looked for the thread but couldn't find it.

Do you mind me asking how much and what kind of iron supplements you take? Also what other health issues you're dealing with, and how you know you have gut damage?

Thanks,
Iris
post #4 of 24
Yes, that was me a week ago.

I take--
--A prenatal that has iron (NOW brand) (36 mg as Ferrochel Bisglycinate)
--Total Minerals with iron (18mg as ferrous aspartate, pretty much asymptomatic at this point but 15 months ago I was in pain,histidinate, alpha-ketoglutarate)
--Ferro-C (1 day has 27 mg Ferronyl as iron carbonyl)

I think I have gut damage because I have so many food intolerances right now, even though they are geting better. I also had/have a bacterial infection (Lyme disease) and took abx many times growing up and for lyme. I was also under a lot of stress, had/have many nutrient defincies, was on a low protein diet in the past, was vaccinated---all of these things I have read can cause gut damage.

The other health issue I was dealing with was Lyme disease. I am pretty much symptom free now, but in July 2006 I was in pain and had major fatigiue. My adrenals were also messed up and who know what else was wrong with me that I never found out! I think my immune system was so shot that my body was using all the nutrients so surivive and repair. I am hoping now I can start storing them more. I am being very diligent with my diet and supplements to try and get my D and iron stores up while I build a baby (and then there will be nursing). It probably would have been more efficient to not get pregnant until I was totally stored up, but that is life and I felt like I was good enough.

Do you feel good? I was suprised I was still anemic because I feel so great. My hemoglobin and hemocrit levels were good, but the nutrionist said that I just don't have any extra to give up without it affecting me (Like having my mentral cycle, for example. At least that will be gone for quite a while so maybe that will help my store some iron up too)

Jen
post #5 of 24
Just FYI--I take other supplements too, but those ar the ones with iron in them. I know WAPF is not into pills/unnatural supplements, but it would have taken me a decade to get to where I am now without them!
post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by newcastlemama View Post
Do you feel good? I was suprised I was still anemic because I feel so great. My hemoglobin and hemocrit levels were good, but the nutrionist said that I just don't have any extra to give up without it affecting me (Like having my mentral cycle, for example. At least that will be gone for quite a while so maybe that will help my store some iron up too)

Jen
Do I feel good... well, about 4 weeks ago I felt really good. I mean REALLY good. I remember being confident that I wouldn't have my typical "Fall Crash" into depression this year, because I was eating TF and taking Vit D and some other key supplements to mend specific deficiencies.

Now I don't feel good. I'm tired, not sleeping well, feeling anxious and depressed and overwhelmed by everything. If I could, I wouldn't leave my house at all because it takes too much effort. Also feel a lot of "brain fog"--can't think, can't make decisions. I'm trying to figure out exactly what changed in a month's time.

One thing is that I had relatives visit from out of state, and it was very stressful. I have felt terribly depleted since then, like I just can't get my equilibrium back.

A second change is that I ran out of some of the supplements I was taking, and I delayed replacing them because money is tight. (Finally replaced some today.) And others I just got sloppy about taking regularly. Before, I was on a pretty strict regimen of certain supplements I took every day.

A third change is that I've gotten sloppy about keeping sugar out of my diet. I've started using more of the "NT approved" sweeteners like succanat and real maple sugar--but I think it's still too much sugar for my system.

Fourth change is I may be having too many grains. I've been experimenting with soaked flour recipes, like multigrain pancakes and cornbread, etc. Plus buying some spelt breads and sprouted wheat breads from a wonderful local baker. None of it is "bad" stuff but I'm wondering if it's just too much grain for my system?

Sorry if this is rambling and not making sense. I'm having a particularly bad day today (PMS time) so I feel extra depleted.

If you have any thoughts on any of this I would greatly appreciate it.

Iris
post #7 of 24
Have you looked into pyroluria?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WildIris View Post
Do I feel good... well, about 4 weeks ago I felt really good. I mean REALLY good. I remember being confident that I wouldn't have my typical "Fall Crash" into depression this year, because I was eating TF and taking Vit D and some other key supplements to mend specific deficiencies.

Now I don't feel good. I'm tired, not sleeping well, feeling anxious and depressed and overwhelmed by everything. If I could, I wouldn't leave my house at all because it takes too much effort. Also feel a lot of "brain fog"--can't think, can't make decisions. I'm trying to figure out exactly what changed in a month's time.

One thing is that I had relatives visit from out of state, and it was very stressful. I have felt terribly depleted since then, like I just can't get my equilibrium back.

A second change is that I ran out of some of the supplements I was taking, and I delayed replacing them because money is tight. (Finally replaced some today.) And others I just got sloppy about taking regularly. Before, I was on a pretty strict regimen of certain supplements I took every day.

A third change is that I've gotten sloppy about keeping sugar out of my diet. I've started using more of the "NT approved" sweeteners like succanat and real maple sugar--but I think it's still too much sugar for my system.

Fourth change is I may be having too many grains. I've been experimenting with soaked flour recipes, like multigrain pancakes and cornbread, etc. Plus buying some spelt breads and sprouted wheat breads from a wonderful local baker. None of it is "bad" stuff but I'm wondering if it's just too much grain for my system?

Sorry if this is rambling and not making sense. I'm having a particularly bad day today (PMS time) so I feel extra depleted.

If you have any thoughts on any of this I would greatly appreciate it.

Iris
post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by newcastlemama View Post
I am going to try fermented nettle infusions next from Gale Force's website.

Jen
Can you post a link to the recipe?
post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kbchavez View Post
Have you looked into pyroluria?
I have heard of it. I recall looking up some information about it earlier this year, but I don't recall specifics. Doesn't it have something to do with zinc or copper?

I do remember that some of the info resonated with me--some symptoms, etc. But at the time I was looking into so many different angles: thyroid disease, low ferritin, Vit D deficiency, dopamine deficiency, progesterone deficiency, possible adrenal fatigue, etc. Plus researching general nutrition and health issues. It was hard to know what to focus on first. I forgot about the pyroluria and now can't remember much about it.

Do you have pyroluria? What part of my post made you think I should look into it?

Thanks so much,
Iris
post #10 of 24
I think I MAY have it. A lot of the symptoms resonate with me... including being the fairest skinned in my family and being from a family of all girls. The part of your post that made me think of it primarily, was the lack of desire to go out. I've been getting more and more reclusive as I get older, and when I'm at my worst, I really don't want to go out or see people that I know (strangers don't bother me as much, because they don't really look at you as closely...). Also the part about stress bringing on the fatigue and lack of desire to go out.... inability to deal with stress is also a major symptom. Pyrolurics begin to limit their lives to avoid even minor stresses. I think there is someone on this board with it... maybe someone with more knowlege will chime in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WildIris View Post
I have heard of it. I recall looking up some information about it earlier this year, but I don't recall specifics. Doesn't it have something to do with zinc or copper?

I do remember that some of the info resonated with me--some symptoms, etc. But at the time I was looking into so many different angles: thyroid disease, low ferritin, Vit D deficiency, dopamine deficiency, progesterone deficiency, possible adrenal fatigue, etc. Plus researching general nutrition and health issues. It was hard to know what to focus on first. I forgot about the pyroluria and now can't remember much about it.

Do you have pyroluria? What part of my post made you think I should look into it?

Thanks so much,
Iris
post #11 of 24
When I was trying to raise my iron levels, I was told to eat iron rich foods with foods rich in vitamin C, but to avoid doing my iron intake when I was having dairy or calcium-rich foods.
post #12 of 24
Things I feel obligated to mention though my sleepy mind isn't very good at elaborating at this point:

* copper has something to do with iron uptake
* vitamin C helps iron be absorbed
* iron and calcium/magnesium compete in absorbtion so if you take one, don't take the other one with it
post #13 of 24
I have pyroluria--your body makes kryptopyrolles that bind to B6 and zinc not allowing you to absorb it, especially during times of stress. It is familial (there is a lot of mental illness in my father's family) so a clue could be if other member of your family suffer from mental illess. B6 and zinc are huge for mental wellness.

Here is some info--
http://drkaslow.com/html/pyroluria.html

The test is easy. It is a one time urine collection then you send it to a lab. I think it was about $50.00. My score bad really high (which is bad). To fix it you just take extra B6 and zinc.

Like kbchavez, I was also getting more reclusive and was not dealing with stress well at all. I felt so frustrated and angry and did not want to be around people. As long as I stay on top of my supplements, I am getting more social again and feel like I can handle my days without a total meltdown.

Taedareth--The recipe is somewhere on Gale Force's website
post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by WildIris View Post
Do I feel good... well, about 4 weeks ago I felt really good. I mean REALLY good. I remember being confident that I wouldn't have my typical "Fall Crash" into depression this year, because I was eating TF and taking Vit D and some other key supplements to mend specific deficiencies.

Now I don't feel good. I'm tired, not sleeping well, feeling anxious and depressed and overwhelmed by everything. If I could, I wouldn't leave my house at all because it takes too much effort. Also feel a lot of "brain fog"--can't think, can't make decisions. I'm trying to figure out exactly what changed in a month's time.

One thing is that I had relatives visit from out of state, and it was very stressful. I have felt terribly depleted since then, like I just can't get my equilibrium back.

A second change is that I ran out of some of the supplements I was taking, and I delayed replacing them because money is tight. (Finally replaced some today.) And others I just got sloppy about taking regularly. Before, I was on a pretty strict regimen of certain supplements I took every day.

A third change is that I've gotten sloppy about keeping sugar out of my diet. I've started using more of the "NT approved" sweeteners like succanat and real maple sugar--but I think it's still too much sugar for my system.

Fourth change is I may be having too many grains. I've been experimenting with soaked flour recipes, like multigrain pancakes and cornbread, etc. Plus buying some spelt breads and sprouted wheat breads from a wonderful local baker. None of it is "bad" stuff but I'm wondering if it's just too much grain for my system?

Sorry if this is rambling and not making sense. I'm having a particularly bad day today (PMS time) so I feel extra depleted.

If you have any thoughts on any of this I would greatly appreciate it.

Iris
This totally makes sense of why you would feel bad. s Sometimes I start slacking on my diet (not getting enough protein especially) and skipping supplements and I can really feel the difference. I went through this phase a few months ago where I thought I shoudl stop taking all these pills and do TF superfoods---no, that does not work for me--I need my vitamin/mineral supplements! Even if they are "unnatural".

I also do not tolerate grains well and eating too many makes me feel sluggish. You could do a gluten challenge to see of that is an issue for you. I am gluten free and eat a little rice and even less corn.

I hope you can feel better soon,
Jen
post #15 of 24
Thread Starter 
Okay, I spent several hours last night reading everything I could find on Pyroluria and I could relate to so much of it. Even to the point of crying sometimes because I felt it was describing me so well.

When I mentioned above that I have not been taking certain supplements for the past month, this included a B-100 Complex and 50 mg Zinc. I had started taking the zinc earlier this year because I saw an osteopathic doctor who mentioned that I had a lot of copper in my eyes. Later I came across some research on symptoms of "high copper" and could relate so much to it. High copper = zinc deficiency, so I started taking the zinc. The doc had recommended 25mg/day, but I'd already purchased it in the 50mg size, so I was just taking one every other day.

I also had been taking L-Tyrosine, but ran out. I'm sure this is contributing to my fatigue/depression.

About the Pyroluria, I'm not sure what to do now. I have the supplements here, so do I start retaking them and start feeling better now? Or wait and get tested and feel bad in the meantime. I know once I start the supplements again, the test results won't be accurate. But I have to get through Thanksgiving next week, and my son's birthday a few days after that. I need to be able to function.

What to do?

Iris
post #16 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kbchavez View Post
I think I MAY have it. A lot of the symptoms resonate with me... including being the fairest skinned in my family and being from a family of all girls. The part of your post that made me think of it primarily, was the lack of desire to go out. I've been getting more and more reclusive as I get older, and when I'm at my worst, I really don't want to go out or see people that I know (strangers don't bother me as much, because they don't really look at you as closely...). Also the part about stress bringing on the fatigue and lack of desire to go out.... inability to deal with stress is also a major symptom. Pyrolurics begin to limit their lives to avoid even minor stresses. I think there is someone on this board with it... maybe someone with more knowlege will chime in.

I am also the fairest skinned in my family.

I am not from a family of all girls (I have one sister and three brothers), but the next generation is almost all girls--out of 12 grandchildren, there is only one boy (my son).

Definitely I am getting more and more reclusive. Exactly like you said, when I am at my worst, I don't want to go out or see anyone I know or have anyone into my house (mostly because it is a horrible cluttered mess, and I am so embarrassed about it, but feel too overwhelmed to know where to start to fix it). On good days, when I feel good about myself or feel "together" emotionally, I can go out and be very sociable and have a fabulous time! But I am always emotionally drained afterward, and it can take days to recover.

"Pyrolurics begin to limit their lives to avoid even minor stresses." Yes, I am definitely doing this. I see myself limiting my life more and more. I even hate when the kids want to have friends over, because I can't stand the noise and extra stress of having other people in the house. I may not show it on the outside, but I feel a huge amount of internal tension over even little things like this.

I found out earlier this year that I have an autoimune thyroid disease, so I now have a "decent excuse" for not doing things when I feel poorly, but I have always felt like whatever is wrong with me is more than just the thyroid disease.

KBChavez, thank you so much for following your instincts and mentioning the pyroluria to me!

Iris
post #17 of 24
I think if you stay on the supplements (B complex and zinc) you mentioned that should be fine. I think you have to quit them for about 2 days before the test. Be careful with B6 and zinc supplements because too much can mess you up also.

If you can obtain liquid zinc (there should be some online to order, I get mine from the clinic I went to) you can test your levels at home. Put one tablespoon in your mouth and swish it around for 10 seconds then swallow. No taste= low zinc, a little gross=okay, very gross/tastes like pennies in your mouth=higher amount. My nutrionist said I was doing well as long as it tasted pretty bad.

Wow about the high copper. That is definately another sign that you could have pyroluria. And especially since you feel worse off zinc and Bs.

It is great you are figuring all this out. You will feel so much better in the long run. You may also want to look into the book The Mood Cure by Julia Ross.

s
Jen
post #18 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by newcastlemama View Post
I have pyroluria--your body makes kryptopyrolles that bind to B6 and zinc not allowing you to absorb it, especially during times of stress. It is familial (there is a lot of mental illness in my father's family) so a clue could be if other member of your family suffer from mental illess. B6 and zinc are huge for mental wellness.

Here is some info--
http://drkaslow.com/html/pyroluria.html

The test is easy. It is a one time urine collection then you send it to a lab. I think it was about $50.00. My score bad really high (which is bad). To fix it you just take extra B6 and zinc.

Like kbchavez, I was also getting more reclusive and was not dealing with stress well at all. I felt so frustrated and angry and did not want to be around people. As long as I stay on top of my supplements, I am getting more social again and feel like I can handle my days without a total meltdown.

Taedareth--The recipe is somewhere on Gale Force's website

Well I have a million questions for you now... feel free to PM me if you don't want to answer on the board.

How much zinc and how much B6 do you take?
Do you take straight B6 or P5P or a combination?
Do you also take a B-complex?
Do you have a doctor monitoring your progress, and if so, what kind of following testing have you done or will you do, and how often?
Did you ever have serum zinc and B-vitamin testing done?

I'm sure I'll think of more questions, but that's enough for now. :-)

Thank you so much for your input!

Iris
post #19 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by newcastlemama View Post
If you can obtain liquid zinc (there should be some online to order, I get mine from the clinic I went to) you can test your levels at home. Put one tablespoon in your mouth and swish it around for 10 seconds then swallow. No taste= low zinc, a little gross=okay, very gross/tastes like pennies in your mouth=higher amount. My nutrionist said I was doing well as long as it tasted pretty bad.
I just talked to a guy at my HFS who is trained as a naturopath and is now starting med school to become an M.D. as well. He agreed that I fit a lot of the symptoms of pyroluria. The HFS doesn't have zinc tally in stock, but he suggested I open one of my 50mg Zinc capsules into a cup of water, mix it up, and see if I can taste it. I did that. Tried it, several times, exactly as you said above (swished for 10 seconds, then swallowed.)

Couldn't taste it at all!!

Quote:
It is great you are figuring all this out. You will feel so much better in the long run. You may also want to look into the book The Mood Cure by Julia Ross.

s
Jen

I know, it is great. I am feeling so hopeful again! Thanks for your help.

Oh, and I do have The Mood Cure...love that book. I really should read it again. I learn something new every time.

s
Iris
post #20 of 24
Wow! This thread has such a wealth of information. I've been struggling with anemia for years. Since I became pregnant with my daughter in 2001 actually. I can get my hemoglobin up with iron dextran infusions but I have yet to find an oral supplement/food combination that can get it into the normal range and I don't recall the last time my ferritin level was in the normal range. My ferritin level was 24 last year and 9 earlier this year. I've been taking ferrous gluconate 2x/day and floradix 2x/day, cut out practically all dairy and increased my vitamin c which has increased my hemoglobin to 9.2, but my ferritin level dropped to 7.4. However, I feel much better which makes me less inclined to increase the iron supplements and perhaps more inclined to stick with the dietary changes and look for other supplements. My internist is basically non-helpful and the only thing she's waiting for is my hemoglobin to drop again so that I can have another iron dextran infusion or for me to become sufficiently symptomatic to warrant one. I'd love to find another solution.
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