How long does it take to raise iron feritin level??

Discussion in 'Iron' started by NYCGirlie, Jan 18, 2011.

  1. MelanieLondon

    MelanieLondon New Member

    Ferritin and Iron Supp.

    [ Greetings to you, all. I am in the same boat. Hair loss and massive shedding in the shower and after the shower.

    First blood test, excluded ferritin not sure why but GP hasn't authorise it, has showed normal heamoglobin and the GP attributed this to female hair loss as I am perimenopausal. Two months later, 6 months since shedding started, I had lost nearly 50% of the hair on the crown so I asked for a referral. The consultant specialist examined and did a pull test and ordered a new and thorough blood test. As he had suspected, ferritin came low as 20, still within the range, but as you have all been told you need 60 to see regrowth. Hemoglogin had also dropped two points another evidence that iron is being depleted. He diagnosed me with TE and indicated that doctors are not sure why with even with TE the crown also thins first.
    I am on 210 mg of Ferrous Fumarate x 2 day. I couldnt tolerate more. I was also advised to take it on empty stomach with orange juice. This is my 6th week, hair is still shedding, from all over, but a bit less; however, my tiredness is beginning to be less every week and my feeling cold old the time has diminished too.
    I am complementing this treatment with high-iron food.. by adding chicken liver, clams and mussels, green kale, chard, spinach, chicken, meat and fish, each at least twice a week to my diet.
    I am taking one spoonful of blackstrap molasses, non heme iron, and eating dried fruits such as dates and figs.
    Not sure how much ferritin will increase but I am on this treatment for 6 months before I see the consultant again. By then, I am hoping to begin to see some results.
    Stress levels continue to be high. I am not sure how to alleviate this before regaining strength and being able to sustain a walk that is more than 15 mins before getting tired.
    What I'd like to add is to have faith in your body to heal and once it is given the reassurances that a continuous supply of iron is coming its way whereby it begins to share some with your hair.
    Not sure whether to add vitamin B complex to this or wait until iron treatment is complete before we start boosting other vitamins. Look after yourselves]
  2. MelanieLondon

    MelanieLondon New Member


    This is impressive increase in your ferritin levels. I, too, have been bleeding recently. Mind me to ask you what's the strength of your 'easy iron' chelated i.e. how many mg you take daily. I trust you are vegetarian,as you have said, so your iron is also non-heme (vegan too).

    Has your hair stopped shedding? best wishes for more improvements
  3. irinaswish

    irinaswish New Member

    I was compelled by gailmj's story to register and post a message. I too experienced heaving bleeding every month since last August. Mine was due to fibroids which you don't mention and I wanted to make sure these were on your radar. My doctor told me it was normal perimenopause. At 20-30 times what is considered 'normal heavy flow" I kept seeking help but kept getting the same answer. The anemia took over my life I was so exhausted. By December I seemed to be waging a new battle of the bulge, again excused away to me as 'middle age'. UGH !!! I worked out relentlessly 6 days a week with a trainer and pretty much maintained my size, just toned. I took all the meds, including cyklokapron and it would simply stall the bleeding. As soon as I was not taking a pill, I would hemmorhage horrible clots. By April this year I gave up on the trainer and my core exploded. Size 28 inch waist eventually hit 42. At the end of June, a 3rd doctor finally sent me for an ultrasound which showed one tennis ball sized fibroid tumor. A subsequent physical exam revealed it was more like a canteloupe 15cm X 15 cm and there were others too, none which showed on the ultrasound. The reason for my bleeding was that my uterus had grown from normal fist size to basketball sized to house these tumors and that was what was shedding each month. Because these tumors shrink slowly at menopause, I knew I could not endure the pain they were causing and the debilitating bleeding for the years it would be until onset. My super huge uterus was pressing against everything in my torso and in certain sitting positions as high as my lungs. I opted for a hysterectomy in September and all the conditions related to the fibroids has disappeared, along with 13lbs of uterus and tumors that was removed. All my hemotology results are great except for Ferritin which is slowly increasing. From a 2 pre-op six weeks ago to a 10 now. I hope sincerely you have been checked out thoroughly for these common fibroids and unlike me don't have the ones which grow bizarrely and extraordinarily out of control. When the doctor 1st saw the ultrasound, their attitude was 'its normal, we don't need to do anything". Because it took me 3 doctors and almost a year for the ultrasound that showed one measly tumor when there were more than 6 and one was much larger than the imaging found, I would want to spare someone the same frustration and suffering I endured.
    Ponygirl likes this.
  4. gailmj

    gailmj New Member

    The EasyIron I use is 18mg. My shedding has decreased significantly, maybe back to around almost normal levels. My hair is really curly so it doesn't really fall out unless I am in the shower, it just stays caught up in the others I guess. And there is definitely much less coming out when I wash it.

    I did straighten my hair the other day for the first time in a long while and there was a little tuft of shorter hairs sticking up around the crown - I am thinking that is new growth. Yaay!

    I just had my ferritin level checked again and it hasn't budged though. Still at 43 - which is weird. It jumped so much in the first weeks and then nothing.

    The first thing my doctor did for the heavy bleeding was send me for an unltrasound as well as offer me a gyno referral, she took me seriously. Suspected peri-menopause but wanted to rule out other causes. No fibroids or anything found. And the cyklokapron was a miracle for me - it cut the bleeding and makes those days so much more livable.
  5. khikhob

    khikhob Member

    Hi, I am 43 y/o woman. No kids. Premenopausal, with very heavy periods that last a week at a time. My ferritin was under 18 in early August and I took iron gluconate tabs 325mg x 3 daily as prescribed, but I also took Spatone "iron water" available W***greens and on top of that ordered Lorna Vanderhaeghe Iron Smart online (which is gross and tastes like blood!). Plus my usual well-rounded diet of meat, fish and plenty of veg/fruit. I managed to raise my level from 17.5 to 50 within the space of 6 weeks!!! but hair shedding was still really excessive, although did start to slow down. Went back to derm today - after another nearly six weeks and ferritin is only up from 50 to 52! since last time I saw him he told me to cut down to just one 325mg tab per day and stop all other supplements. Now my scalp is clearly visible at the front and the temples are almost bald, as well as the crown. I have long hair so am able to almost disguise it but still... Today derm gave me a steroid (cortisone) shot in the buttock to try to trigger new growth; I am not optimistic. I plan to resume my own regimen of liquid supplements to try to kick the ferritin up to over 70 which, from my hours of reading, is probably? the level required for new growth. Seems medical professionals are divided as to the significance of ferritin levels and the part they play in hair loss/regrowth. Thus far the doc tentatively still attributes the hair loss to low ferritin, but is starting to consider Androgenic alopecia and so when I see him next month he may give me steroid shots in the scalp and/or put me on Finestride 5% if this steroid shot fails to work. Good luck to everyone out there in your quests for answers and solutions. I have to say this is one of the most distressing (pun?) things I have ever been through and my derm doesn't seem to get it - at all. Mind you, he's male. And bald! All the best to you all x
  6. MelanieLondon

    MelanieLondon New Member

    Hi khikhob and sorry for all what you are going through. Here is a lead for you to check before you embark onto taking steroids.

    There are more vitamins and minerals that are needed for hair other than iron.

    Taking high doses of iron cause an added imbalance with other minerals.

    In addition to iron, deficiencies in Zinc, Magnesium, Vitamins D and A, B3, B6, Folate and B12 also cause hair to shed.

    As we approach menopause these vitamins and minerals are also very much needed for hormonal balance otherwise they cause drop in the thyroid and adrenals functions.

    Heavy period during this period of life could also be a sign of hypothyroidism and often attributed to normal bleeding in perimenopause.

    Ranges and blood levels of its hormones vary and are read differently by various doctors.

    Perhaps checking all those levels and boosting them all in well balanced way could perhaps help.
  7. khikhob

    khikhob Member

    Hi MelanieLondon,
    Many thanks for your post in response to mine. Shedding post steroid shot has got dramatically worse. I will certainly start taking some of the other supplements you mention - I have already started zinc. I am seeing my Primary care provider in a couple of days and would like him to look at my thyroid levels although I don't have any symptoms of hypothyroidism It's really hard not to obsess about this! I am seeing absolutely NO new growth after months of continuous shedding. I dread my daily shower because of the inevitable loss of more hair but have to wash it daily to keep my seb derm under control. I am also giving up alcohol as I have read this can deplete iron and other mineral levels. I have weekly nightmares about waking up completely bald, but also feel terribly guilty that this is upsetting me so much when, really, it is only cosmetic and many people go through far worse. :-(
  8. eeks

    eeks New Member

    I have had diffuse loss for 2 years. My ferritin was 22 in July, 36 in September, and it took until now (November) until the amount of hair loss was "normal" (i.e. same amount as used to come out when I shampoo) - no regrowth yet from what I can tell. I've just had another blood test, don't have the result yet.

    Dermatologist said I could take 300 mg/day of iron. I really don't know what to make of this other news yet, it wasn't the dermatologist but a senior resident who took a look at my scalp, and because I have more thinning on the vertex, thought I had androgenetic alopecia. So I got the spironolactone and the Rogaine, but I don't know what percentage of my loss is from the low iron, and what percentage is from the hormones.

    I take Trophic Iron Chelazome VCaps, it is much less expensive than the pharmaceutical brands ($8-10 CDN for 60 caps) and seems to be raising my levels. It has 205 mg of ferrous bisglycinate/40 mg elemental iron, so I alternate (2 caps one day, 1 the next). No constipation or other side effects. The very knowledgeable employee at my local health food store recommended bisglycinate as the most absorbable, and least side effects.

    Trophic is a Canadian brand, I don't know if they sell it elsewhere. Metagenics also has iron bisglycinate, but is more expensive.
  9. littleraskle

    littleraskle New Member

    Doc/pharmacist says I should take my iron on an empty stomach? For those taking your pills 2-3 times a day how are u doing it (unless having an empty stomach isnt a requisite). Please let me know. So far I'm only on 35 mg of elemental iron 2x a day and want to go up to 4. Or else get a stronger dosage...
  10. MelanieLondon

    MelanieLondon New Member

    Hi Littleraskle,

    Empty stomach means take one first thing in the morning then another 2 hours after a meal and one hour before your next meal, and so forth.

    If it causes you stomach upset you could have it with food; however, avoid taking it with anything that prevent its absorption i.e. coffee, tea, milk, dairy etc and/or other supplements i.e. zinc.

    Hope this helps!
  11. khikhob

    khikhob Member

    Hi LittleRaskle,
    Ditto to what MelanieLondon said. As for me, I take liquid iron, usually my entire dose at once (not advisable!) before breakfast, but if I am away from home and have to take tablets I take Feosol with Bifera which has 155% of your daily value and can be taken with or without food. It doesn't seem to upset my stomach. Hope this is helpful.
  12. littleraskle

    littleraskle New Member

    Thank you guys it was helpful :) I didn't realise two hours after meal was considered an empty stomach lol I will do that now!

    What do you guys think of my dosage? My doctor has no idea what he is doing I've only realised through reading that it I should aim for 70-100 ferritin level (I have 54 now).

    If I take 4 a day at 35mg (elemental iron) a tab thats 140mg a day. Do you guys think thats a good amount? Should I go up?
  13. khikhob

    khikhob Member

    Hi LittleRaskle,
    The issue of correct dosage is something that I still can't find a concrete answer to, perhaps because there are different forms of iron and a difference between elemental iron and what is actually absorbed. I found this info which address part of the issue, at least:

    Types of oral iron — There are several types of oral iron. The primary difference between the types is the amount of elemental iron each contains. There is no evidence that one form of iron is more effective than another.

    • Ferrous fumarate — 106 mg elemental iron/tablet
    • Ferrous sulfate — 65 mg elemental iron/tablet
    • Ferrous sulfate liquid — 44 mg elemental iron/teaspoon (5 mL)
    • Ferrous gluconate — 28 to 36 mg iron/tablet

    The recommended daily dose of elemental iron for adults with iron deficiency in adults is 150 to 200 mg/day. The least expensive form of iron is iron sulfate. As an example, one 325 mg iron sulfate tablet taken three times per day supplies 195 mg of elemental iron per day

    So, see? If you look at the last sentence it involves working out the difference between what you take and what you absorb. I suppose it also depends on your reason for having low ferritin - in my case my ferritin drops dramatically every month as I have severe heavy periods plus chronic IBS which inhibits my absorption of all minerals. Having said that, I'm reluctant to advise whether you should increase your dosage, since overload of iron can be extremely dangerous. Perhaps your doc could help you navigate the calculations with regard to the type you are taking. With regard to how much ferritin doctors regard as a healthy level, even my dermatologist said last week that my level of 46 was 'fine' but I know from the extensive reading I've done on this subject all advice points to north of 70, for minimum of 3 months to see new growth/less shedding. My assumption is that doctors are reluctant to recommend taking more than RDA iron to raise your ferritin because they don't want to facilitate the patient risking an overdose. There's plenty of info online about signs and symptoms of iron overload, and this is how I manage my iron intake. I take a LOT more than I am prescribed and just remain vigilant for any signs of overload - although I would NOT recommend that method for anyone else - and even then my ferritin is still hovering around/dipping below 50. Remember that both tablet and liquid forms on the market are dosed at "Recommended Daily Allowance" for someone with 'normal/healthy' levels, not for someone with low ferritin or iron-deficiency anaemia, so that's why I take more than the RDA, to bring the level UP. Sorry about the lengthy reply - and that I can't be of more help, but it's a rather complex issue, is it not!?
    All the best, let me know if you have any luck with doc's advice? Kate x
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  14. littleraskle

    littleraskle New Member

    THANK U! Great response. I will definitely look at the signs of iron overload. I am planning to bump myself up from 1 tab to 4 a day so thatll be a big difference (from 35mg-140mg).

    But I lose ALOT of hair. I cant run my fingers through my hair without it falling out. So i definitely think it will be worth it. Again thank you for the response :)
  15. MelanieLondon

    MelanieLondon New Member

    Hi again Littleraskle,

    It is a very difficult decision to make; however, allow me to add further clarifications to the earlier reply.

    The amount of elemental iron per 100 mg of a ferrous salt i.e.
    Ferrous Fumarate, the highest in the non-organic iron supplement, is around 30 mg of element iron with an absorption rate of 10%. Hence, they prescribe higher doses of these salts such fumarate, sulphate, gluconate etc.. to push for more into the body in a short period of time. Usually a treatment of 6 months, then they evaluate with another blood test.

    The organic form (those that occurs naturally and not in labs) of an iron salt (i.e. glycinate; bisglycinate) doesn't contain as much elemental iron, per 100 mg for comparison levels, but they are readily available and highly absorbable at 30%.

    A ferritin level of 54 is not too bad, although people look for 70-100 as you have rightly said, but this is not the entire picture that you should look at when you aim correct low ferritin levels anaemia. Actually your levels are near optimal according to some school of thoughts. See Dr Mercola's views:

    Too much ferritin is also not good. The contingent factor that could determine the levels of iron intake is the transferrin saturation which should ideally be at 30%.

    It is so delicate as a balance that once the transferrin saturation goes over 30% this causes an overload even if the ferritin levels have not gone above 70 or 100.

    Levels of transferrin saturations of up to 27 or 28% would be increased by lower levels of iron compared to levels of 15 or even 25%.

    Moreover, too much iron intake causes oxidation in the body.

    Although the decision is certainly yours and as per your most recent blood results and as per your doctor's advice, going low and slow, with an organic form of iron, is a safer measure than loading your body with too much iron whereby it will not be able to take it anymore.

    Going back to the initial problem that is hair loss, too much iron challenges the body's ability to absorb other minerals i.e. zinc. They are absorbed in the same very narrow spot of the guts and do compete against each other notably when the iron volume is much higher.

    Zinc deficiency causes hair loss, too, and one if its indicators is the burning or itching of the scalp often mistaken by a sign of hormonal hair loss.

    have you had your minerals levels checked? zinc, magnesium, manganese.

    your b12 and folate? as for a molecule of blood to be formed, the body looks for iron, b12, and folate.

    Other essential factors that can contribute to hair loss are deficiencies of the vitamins A, D, B6, B3.
    If one of the B levels is down, it is best to correct it and to balance it with a b-complex (all the B) as they work together.

    This is why it is better to correct the overall imbalance rather than pushing just for more iron.

    Finally, hair loss is a sign that something is not right in the body and it is best to investigate the root of this.

    Good luck - I really hope you'll feel better very soon and begin to see some improvements.
  16. PhotoGirl

    PhotoGirl New Member

    I cannot even begin to tell you all how happy I am to have found this thread. I have been suffering from intense hair loss and breakage (especially on the left side of my head) since about early August, 2013. I thought for a long time it was my thyroid, which is kept under control by taking synthroid. My hair was getting close to being half way down my back, and then all of a sudden it started breaking off in 1-2 inch chunks, and thinning terribly. About that time I had the most horrific periods I had ever experienced in my life. I visited my OB and they discovered that I have two fibroids, one the size of a softball and another a bit smaller, that needs removed. They suggested a hysterectomy but I, of course, jumped on the internet and started researching and was afraid it would be too much for me to handle at the age of 29. I just thought I was too young for that. Soo... here I am, into January, and finally making the connection that all my hair loss is in fact due to my crazy iron levels. My f-count is 6! I am very upset that I didn't make this connection sooner, but my stylist insisted that I must have been being harder on that side of my hair, and my male general pract. insisted that I was overreacting and that my hair was fine. It went from being pretty long hanging down my back and over my shoulders to now being up to my chin. Every time I brush and wash I have hand fulls of hair from breakage and it just actually falling out. I am making an appt. today with my OB to see what my other options are as far as the awful blood loss... and insisting on getting my iron levels under control. Thank you all who have posted your stories on here. I am hopeful!
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  17. MelanieLondon

    MelanieLondon New Member

    Photogirl, you have just caught the beginning of the thread/puzzle and hopefully with your perseverance and patience you'll get there and begin to enjoy your full health and strength.

    Hair loss is a strong indicator that something is not right in the body and the breakage is an added sign that the thyroid is struggling.

    You are absolutely right with the fact that you are too young for hysterectomy notably that your fibroids are benign.

    For existing cases of hypothyroid, research suggests that anaemia and low ferritin are one of its markers which could lead to heavy bleeding and are also one of its consequences; however, this could be easily corrected if you flipped the coin and asked why do I have hypothyroid?

    For the thyroid to function and produce its hormones properly, it needs some integral vitamins and minerals.

    Iron is one of them and it becomes like a catch 22. Low thyroid functioning causes bleeding and bleeding makes you lose iron.
    In addition to iron, the thyroid needs vitamins B1 and B6, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, selenium, zinc, iodine, magnesium. I wouldn't be surprised if your blood results would come low on all of these.

    Once you address your thyroid health as well as the anaemia with the correct and regularly monitored doses of high quality supplements, You'll begin to feel a huge difference and the hair growth will come back as a consequence and sign of good health.

    Moreover, with a such a low level of ferritin, your haemoglobin is probably low too. To address this, and for the body to start making red blood cells, its needs iron, B12, and folate.

    As a separate matter, I would also shy away from any hair colouring and/or similar chemical treatments or the like until your hair regain fully its strength.

    Hang in there, the road could be bumpy, and the progress is not always linear but hopefully you'll get there as fast as possible. You can do it!
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  18. Poppydew

    Poppydew New Member

    So much great information!!

    I wish I found this while I was trying to figure out how to raise my ferratin. I've always had a very heavy period, and noticed my hair thinned out when I was 18, I never had clumps of hair loss, more like continued small losses over years exposed my scalp in many places.

    In my early 30s, I finally asked my dermatologist about it (I was so embarrassed to even ask about it before, I was also in denial) he immediately tested my ferratin which was 14. He prescribed Corvita, which is basically a prenatal supplement for pregnant women. I took it (150 mg) once a day, but incorrectly, not with juice. Still my ferratin increased to a high of 54. I also started taking Tender Iron (60mg) with Vitamin C (400mg) Capsules, after learning that type of iron is absorbed better & doesnt have side effects. ive taken it for several years. Sine then my ferattin stabilized between 40-50. I became complacent until recently adding more iron rich veggies into my diet & eating red meat. My hair is definitely better, but I haven't experienced a lot of new growth.

    I've started researching again what I can do to increase growth, and I found out that heme iron (from meats) can be taken in lower doses (12 elemental iron) but it absorbs much better, and is easy on the stomach. I order online from Any thoughts on heme vs non-heme iron? I am always concerned with possible overdose, so I would never take a self prescribed dose. I stick to recommended dosage.

    I also started taking my iron at night, when there hasn't been any dairy, caffeine, soy in my system for a while. Everything besides fruit & veggies inhibit absorption. My doc never told me that, had to find out myself.

    Thanks for all of your thoughts!
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2014
  19. Applecider

    Applecider New Member

    Hi! Great information!

    My ferritin levels came back at a four and I have been taking ferrous Fumerate now for about 2 months. I take it with vitamin C every morning.

    I noticed in this thread your talk about other areas such as vitamin B possibly being low in order for everything to function right?

    You said a 'high quality vitamin supplement' and I am just wondering what is a high quality supplement? liquid formula like floralix? Please could you share your thoughts on this.

    Has anyone seen any new growth with taking iron supplements?

  20. twinmom

    twinmom Member

    hi ferritin last aug was 8 in dec it increased to 32. i will get another test soon. im taking 325mg daily iron fumerous. my shedding seems a tiny bit slowed down but not substantial and ive not seen much regrowth yet. ive heard it take many months so we will see. best of luck