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Weird Iron Issues

I had my iron tested in a (fasting) metabolic blood panel in early July. The results came back with a note from my doctor saying the levels were high and that I should come back in to have my ferritin tested.

My levels presented as such:
Iron (35 - 180 ug/dL) - 219   H
Iron Binding Cap (240 - 430 ug/dL) - 458   H
Iron Saturation Index (15 - 46 %) - 48    H

I didn't bother going back in as I had a gastro appointment scheduled for three weeks later and figured I could just have my GI check it then. I got a call a few days after that appointment from my gastro saying my levels were very low and I needed to be on an iron supplement.

The results from her looked like this:

Ferritin, Serum (8 - 388 ug/dL) - 7   L
Iron Binding Cap [TIBC] (250 - 450 ug/dL) - 513   H
Iron Saturation (20 - 55 ug/dL) - 5    L
Iron, Serum (50 - 175 ug/dL) - 25    L
UIBC (150 - 375 ug/dL) - 488    H

She explained why the TIBC and UIBC are high when a deficiency is present and I accepted that that was why my iron was high the first time. However, when I took a closer look the tests done the first time were not all ones that should be high with standard deficiency. I'm not sure what the one labelled 'Iron' is, I assumed just the iron serum. I had my period inbetween tests, but it was pretty light-average and definitely could not account for a discrepancy like that.

I have symptoms that line up with deficiency- very dry skin and hair, nails that peel off layer by layer, dark undereye circles, aching legs, weak muscles, and fatigue. My period this month was about a week late and so light I haven't had to bother with pads or tampons at all.

I eat leafy greens and a lot of meat and I think I generally fall right around the daily recommended amount of iron. I have SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) which can cause malabsorption and was undereating for a long time to cope with it, which is what I assumed would have caused the problem. I also have recently started biking for about two hours 3 or 4 days a week, which I have heard can mess with your levels a bit.

So that's the first question: What?? Why is this happening? Was one of the tests wrong? Is it even possible for iron levels to change that drastically?

The second question: taking the iron tablets I was given makes me very dizzy and extremely anxious, even taking only 1 pill (325mg ferrous sulfate) instead of the 3 I was prescribed. It also is very hard on my stomach and makes me feel foggy and slow. My gastro and the pharmacist I talked to both found it weird that I was reacting like this to the iron, saying that dizziness and anxiety are not typical side effects and they didn't know why it was affecting me like this. I am generally very, very sensitive to medication and supplements but it makes me nervous that they haven't seen this kind of reaction. Do you think it's possible I'm not actually deficient? My gastro shrugged it off when I contacted her earlier today, but geez iron is super toxic if you take that much without a deficiency so I'm really hesitant to try taking them again.

What do you think I should do?
4 Responses
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10499853 tn?1415407007
Iron tablets had me so tired to the point of exhaustion,  not all of us can take the iron supplements.

I had IV Intravenous Iron once a week for 3 wks  to bring my levels up & iron storage.

My Dr. said Prilosec and the like can cause iron not being absorbed

I could take the iron supplements years ago when I was younger but no more.
Helpful - 0
4851940 tn?1515694593
As you are concerned, I would suggest you make an appointment with your doctor and arrange to have another blood test.

Having lack of periods is also a sign that your iron or hormone levels are not right.

Make sure that you drink plenty of water so as not to get dehydrated.
Helpful - 0
1756321 tn?1547095325
Looks like a possible lab error or maybe something was interferring with your blood sample the first time around. I have no issues with chelated iron. I take chelated forms of minerals for better absorption.
Helpful - 0
363281 tn?1643235611

Iron is  trick supplement, and a person sure should not take too much of it.

Have you discussed this with your GP? Maybe if you cute the tablet in half and just took a half dose, you would not have those side effects.

I wish I could be of more help.
Helpful - 0
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363281 tn?1643235611
Nelson, New Zealand
1756321 tn?1547095325
Queensland, Australia
19694731 tn?1482849837
80052 tn?1550343332
way off the beaten track!, BC
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