Ferritin Level of 2 and Iron Supplementation


Q: I have a ferritin level of 2, is taking one iron tablet a day adequate? I am feeling very weak and Im on tablets for chronic pain as well.


A:   Female ferritin levels are often lower than males due to loss during menstruation. Normal levels can vary between laboratories but are usually between 12-150ng/mL. A value of 2 is therefore low, and virtually diagnostic of iron deficiency. The weakness may be due to iron deficiency anaemia, although it is difficult to comment without a haemoglobin level. Sources of iron in the diet include: red meats, fish, poultry, and any kind of liver, cooked beans and lentils, green leafy vegetables; spinach, broccoli; dried fruit, raisins, figs, prunes and apricots. It is also worth noting that meat proteins and vitamin C improve the absorption of iron, however tannins (found in tea), caffeinated beverages, calcium, and phytates (found in legumes and whole grains) can decrease absorption. I suggest attending your family doctor for a complete blood count and increased prescription of iron supplements if appropriate.   Options for Iron therpay include oral, injection and IV.  your doctor will best be able to decide what route of medication is best for you and what dose based on your symptoms and aditional lab findings.

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