Avatar universal

Thyroid-->Ferritin-->Hair Loss

I am hypothyroid/hashimotos.  I have been experiencing significant hair loss for over a year. I'm young and female so having sparse hair is NOT ok.  I've read one needs to have their ferritin at 70 or 80 to experience hair regrowth.  When I first met with my naturopath and got diagnosed this year I was put on 25mcg of Levothyroxine and I told her my main concern was my hair loss. My ferritn was at 32.  I was put on a daily elemental iron supplement.

A blood test a month later and I was already at 54! Two months after that i was at 68.3!  I was getting close to my goal but at that test she didn't like how my iron and iron saturation went too high/out of range.  So she told me to only take my iron pill ever OTHER day and lo and behold two months later my ferritin was down to 45.1.  Super frustrating. I am trying to bring my iron UP! So how does this work? How can my iron and iron saturation be so high and my ferritin so low? Is it actually dangerous for me to take the pill daily if my iron saturation and iron are above the limit? I'm not going to be able to fix my hair loss and bring my ferritin up if I am only taking it every other day! HELP!
11 Responses
Avatar universal
Is I have had Hypo for 35 years and from experience I would never allow anyone other then a board certified Endocrinologist  treat me. They have all of the specialized training needed to treat this very delicate condition. I had a GP treat me once when I was first diagnosed and I became so sick I thought I would die. Thyroid can cause miscarriages (I had 9) along with so much that can keep you from enjoying your life. I am 59 and life passes fast honey, don't waste a minute of it. Oh, and here is a funny thing...if you eat Brussels sprouts if can effect the medication.  
649848 tn?1534633700
Just because a doctor is an endocrinologist, doesn't mean they are a good thyroid doctor, as many endos specialize in diabetes, not thyroid.

PestoOfCities, you might want to check into Anemia of Chronic Disease... there's a difference in the way the body uses/stores iron with ACD than with regular anemia, but I haven't been able to do enough research to determine if this could be part of your problem.

What were your actual iron and saturation levels with reference ranges?  Did you have hemoglobin tested as well?  Since it's the iron you need that would be the important issue... ferritin tells what you're storing and perhaps you aren't storing it for some reason.
1756321 tn?1547095325
Dr Mercola - Little-Known Secrets About Optimal Iron Levels...

"The healthy range of serum ferritin lies between 20 and 80 ng/ml. Below 20, you are iron deficient, and above 80, you have an iron surplus.

Ferritin levels can go really high. I’ve seen levels over 1,000, but anything over 80 is likely going to be a problem.

The ideal range is 40-60 ng/ml.

As a real-life example of what high iron levels can do to your health, when I first learned about this many years ago, I tested myself and my entire family and my dad had very high ferritin levels – about 500. It caused damage in his pancreas and he developed type 1 diabetes.

Fortunately, we found out early enough to reverse some of the damage. His diabetes was also controlled to a point over a number of years, so he requires only intermittent uses of low dose insulin now.

High ferritin/iron levels are also one of the primary factors I’ve seen in many cases of liver disease, especially hepatitis C. Many patients presenting hepatitis C symptoms improved dramatically once their ferritin levels were lowered."

Avatar universal
My most recent Iron test showed
Iron saturation 44 (14-40),
Iron 132 (30-150)
TIBC 297 (250-450)
Ferritin 45.1 (6 - 170)

The previous test that made her tell me to take my pill every other day:
Iron Sat 54 (14-40)
Iron 153 (30-150)
TIBC 281 (250-450)
Ferritin 68.3 (6-170)

I thought the fact that my numbers went up so easily when taking the pill daily that it meant I WAS storing it.  Maybe not?
Avatar universal
I've spent so many hours on line researching every where I've read it states that when experiencing Iron related hair loss one must reach a Ferritin level of at least 70 for three months before one can start to see regrowth.  Red_Star, have you seen that info anywhere as well? It seemed to make sense. I don't know how else to try and fix or deal with this hair loss.  
1756321 tn?1547095325
Sure I've seen the studies by Rushton on ferritin and hair growth. But there are many studies on iron and hair loss and some conflict with each other. You have to look at your own labs and adjust accordingly.

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2010 Dec;63(6):1077-82. Commentary: Iron deficiency and hair loss: problems with measurement of iron...

"Iron is involved in many critical physiologic processes within the hair follicle, suggesting that iron deficiency could disrupt hair synthesis. However, studies of iron as a cause of hair loss have produced conflicting results. Some of the discrepancies may relate to limitations of assays for iron deficiency. This commentary discusses the sensitivity and specificity of available tests for iron deficiency and presents practical guidelines for testing and supplementation."


Excerpt from Tired Thyroid - T4's role in the body...

"Hair needs T4, because it lengthens the hair growth phase. [26]  My Free T3 has been below range, mid-range, and over-range, but my hair was still not right at any of those levels. Only since adding T4 to get my Free T4 above mid-range (and lowering my desiccated dose) has both my hair texture and volume improved.  It should be noted that hair loss is a symptom of both too much and too little thyroid."

Avatar universal
Interesting about the T4.  My current (as of 9/5) T4 is 1.29 (0.6-1.60) and
T3 is 3.0 (2.3-4.2)
TSH 4.66 (0.4-5.0)

And I am on just 25 mcg of Levothyroxine. My Dr wants me to do a few months of gluten free and then bloodwork again before we raise my Levo to 50 mcg.  I wonder if a higher dose and that would help my hair?  I know my TSH is high but I'm not the best at deciphering my T3 & T4.
649848 tn?1534633700
Ferritin is not "always" an indicator of iron levels and with iron levels of 135 and 153, you didn't need to add more iron, even if your ferritin levels were low...

My ferritin was at 268, at one time, but that didn't mean I had too much iron; high ferritin is also an indication of inflammation in the body.  There may be other causes of low ferritin, as well.
1756321 tn?1547095325
Your TSH is a bit elevated and TSH elevates when thyroid hormone blood levels are decreasing (TSH doesn't always rise for various reasons though). You might find your hair loss improves with an increase in dosage. See how you go.
Avatar universal
Thanks Red_Star. I'm doing two months gluten free as per my dr then retesting my blood. Going to up my meds after that depending on how my numbers have changed :)
Avatar universal
Your Free T4 level is at about 69% of its range, while your Free T3 is only at about 37 % of its range.  The difference in percentages indicates that your body is not adequately converting T4 to T3.  Free T3 has been shown to correlate best with hypo symptoms, while Free T4 and TSH did not correlate at all,  I think it is questionable whether an increase in T4 med is going to achieve the goal of getting your Free T3 into the upper third of the range, or as needed to relieve hypo symptoms. You may need to add some T3 to your med.   And of course hair loss is one of the symptoms frequently related to being hypothyroid.  

Since the discussion has been centered on ferritin, I am not sure if there was prior discussion of your thyroid status.  But I wondered what your thyroid related test results showed  when you were started on thyroid med.
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