Iron Deficiency

Background

Symptoms

Though the normal range for the iron blood test will tell you if you are in the “normal range,” low iron despite normal lab results (see the problem with lab testing) can cause many problems, including:

  • Infertility
  • Fatigue
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Pain
  • Immune dysfunction
  • Anemia
  • Poor memory
  • Hair loss

Lab Testing

There are 2 key tests for iron deficiency:

Ferritin level

The doctor will tell you it is normal if it is over 9-12. However, it should be at least 60 and for treating hair loss or anemia, at least 100 Aµg/L.

Iron percent saturation

Get it over 22%.

If both tests are ABOVE the upper limit of normal, be sure your doctor checks for a genetic iron EXCESS called hemochromatosis. This is very simple to treat preventively, but can kill you if missed.

Treatment

Recommended Supplements

Iron and vitamin C

A good dose of iron supplement is 25-35 mg a day. Take it with vitamin C and while on an empty stomach (bedtime is fine). Taking it every other day, or 3 weeks on and 1 off, works best.

Cautions

May cause black stool, which is normal (not foul-smelling — foul-smelling black stool suggests bleeding).

Do not take iron within 2 hours of thyroid hormone.

Contributor: 

Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. is a board certified internist and author of the popular free iPhone application “Cures A-Z,” which was ranked in the top 10 of all health/wellness downloads on iTunes. Dr. Teitelbaum is the author of the perennial bestseller From Fatigued to Fantastic! (Avery Penguin), which has sold over half a million copies; Pain Free 1-2-3 (McGraw-Hill); Three Steps to Happiness: Healing Through Joy (Deva Press); the Beat Sugar Addiction Now! series (Fair Winds Press);  Real Cause, Real Cure (Rodale Press); The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution (Penguin/Avery); and his latest, The Complete Guide to Beating Sugar Addiction (Fair Winds Press, 2015).