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Are My Iron Levels Too High?

Discussion in 'Health' started by Steve123, Sep 13, 2018.

  1. Steve123

    Steve123 Member

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    Had some iron blood tests done a few months back.. I do eat quite a lot of red meat on a daily basis and have done for the last year, this was my results After eating red meat daily for last 9 months before it.. I don’t have any one I know in my family with HEMO.. and I’ve never given blood.


    Ferritin: 230

    Serum iron 19

    Serum Transferrin 2.4

    Saturation 31.5%


    Does this mean 100% I do not have hemochromotosis genes? And not need to avoid iron rich foods? Not storing iron efficiently?
     
  2. tankasnowgod

    tankasnowgod Member

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    Well, the only way to tell for sure that you don't have at least the three most common genes for Hemochromotosis is to test for those genes. Even then, researchers think there are other gene combinations that may induce iron loading.

    As for iron numbers, I don't know units used to measure serum iron and transferrin, as those don't look like numbers I'm used to seeing, but TSAT is in a good range.

    As for ferritin, assuming it's measured in ng/ml, yes, it is within lab range...... but that's certainly what would be referred to as "high normal." There have been lot's of studies that have shown benefits from lowering high normal ferritin levels from the range that you have down into the "near deficiency" range (usually, somewhere between 70-20). Chris Kresser mentions quite a few of them in his iron presentation, starting around the 10 minute mark-



    Also, as a male, if you don't donate blood, you will likely continue to accumulate iron for the rest of your life. I don't know how old you are, but if you are in your 20s or early 30s, that ferritin level could be especially concerning. Personally, I would never let my ferritin levels get that high, and if they were, I would certainly take steps to lower them. I am a frequent blood donor and have lowered a high ferritin level, and now keep iron in that near deficiency range, between 20-60 ng/ml.
     
  3. OP
    Steve123

    Steve123 Member

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    Thanks for the reply mate.. I am only 19 so i need to look into why that ferritin is so high then.. Is there any side effects to giving blood?
     
  4. OP
    Steve123

    Steve123 Member

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    @Travis @haidut

    Could you chime in on this guys, do you think my iron levels are okay? Based on my age of 19 and the fact i eat red meat on a daily basis, have no one in the fam with hemo and have never given blood.
     
  5. tankasnowgod

    tankasnowgod Member

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    There can be side effects from giving blood, but they are usually pretty minor and temporary. Blood donation centers are well aware of them, and are really good at screening patients, and minimizing the possibility of side effects. They are usually things like dizziness and shortness of breath after donation. Regular blood donation would probably be a good idea for most men. The main exception would be anemic men, but every blood center tests for that (by testing hemoglobin) before each donation, so that issue would always be noticed by the center.

    While you would be doing yourself a favor by starting to donate blood (and also the patient that receives it!), you may also want to get another iron panel in a month or so. That ferritin number does seem really high for a teenager.
     
  6. Mito

    Mito Member

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    Oxidative stress and inflammation also increase ferritin. Since your saturation number is pretty good, the highish ferritin might not indicate iron overload. You would need to test markers of inflammation and oxidative stress to be sure.
     
  7. tankasnowgod

    tankasnowgod Member

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    Well, it's also been demonstrated that excess iron causes oxidative stress- Iron overload causes oxidative stress and impaired insulin signaling in AML-12 hepatocytes. - PubMed - NCBI

    Yes, ferritin is known to be an acute phase reactant, but it usually is a swing of about 40ng/ml or so. I don't believe it usually spikes from something like 50ng/ml to 250ng/ml due to a virus (like the common cold) or inflammation.

    TSAT is usually considered a decent marker, but not representative of overall iron stores. Also, it's a calculation based on serum iron (dividing that by TIBC), so it will vary along with Serum Iron. And many factors influence Serum Iron, with the biggest being the act of eating.
     
  8. Mito

    Mito Member

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    “Ferritin can be elevated even when both serum iron and transferrin saturation percentages are at low-normal levels or below. High ferritin under these circumstances might not signal iron overload, but can result from a defense mechanism, sometimes called acute phase reaction. The body will synthesize ferritin in response to an evasion of many pathogens. The resulting conditions are sometimes referred to as the anemia of chronic disease, or more commonly today, inflammatory anemia. These are often temporary conditions that cause the body to sequester iron that would otherwise be available to assist invading pathogens and worsen infection, tissue damage or other disease conditions.”

    Iron Tests
     
  9. Ella

    Ella Member

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    I would check c-reactive protein and ESR and if these are increased together with ferritin then there is more concern as you may be dealing with some sort of infectious event.
    As @tankasnowgod says, your ferritin level does not seem out of order for a young male eating a heme rich diet. Lowering ferritin to <100 would be prudent in decreasing your risk of disease conditions as you get older.

    If it was haemochromatosis then you would expect much high levels of ferritin >1000
     
  10. tankasnowgod

    tankasnowgod Member

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    Actually, I DID think the ferritin levels were quite high for a teenager. At about 12 years old, both males and females have low iron stores, usually near deficiency ferritin levels of about 25ng/ml. Females tend to stay at this level, while males start accumulating iron. According to "Exposing the Hidden Dangers of Iron" by Weinburg, average ferritin for males 17-19 years old would be 70ng/ml. So, 230 ng/ml is more than triple what the average is for a late teen.

    As far as the 1000ng/ml number, that's often cited, but really, that's a MASSIVE problem. Ferritin over 1000 usually puts you at risk for serious, irreversible liver damage. Doctors who understand the iron issue would put patients on weekly blood extractions at that high of a level, maybe even twice weekly. Numbers anywhere from 300-1000 are concerning, and should be treated, but a less aggressive phlebotomy schedule is used (maybe every two weeks, or once a month). The lab range goes up to 300 (some 400). I tested as high as 444 in my late 30s, and started lowering. I got curious, and turns out, yep, I indeed have iron loading genes.
     
  11. Ella

    Ella Member

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  12. Travis

    Travis Member

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    You hadn't reported the units, which could either be based on mass or molecular quantity. Since I am of the opinion that the transferrin and serum iron values only appear realistic when expressed in terms of μmol/dL and μmol/L, respectively, I assume that ferritin would likewise be expressed in moles to maintain congruity—an ambiguous case since it falls in-range when expressed either in pmol/L and in μg/L. Proceeding under this assumption: these values seem acceptable to me, and this is in spite of my strict anti-Fe²⁺ views. Consider the following: (1) free iron creates superoxide (Ȯ₂⁻) from water, via the Fenton reaction; (2) heme iron ligates nitric oxide (ṄO), releasing it under oxidizing conditions as the carcinogenic nitrosonium ion (NO⁺); and (3) iron promotes infection by its mere presence, simply because it is also an essential ion for invading pathogens.
     
  13. tankasnowgod

    tankasnowgod Member

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    True. But, most women don't hit menopause at 12 years old, nor in their teen years. I was specifically talking about teens.

    Again, "young" is a subjective term. The OP stated he is 19. It might not be uncommon in men in their 30's (could still be considered 'young'), but there is a big difference between that and a male in their teens.

    There seems to be this weird re-definition of "haemochromatosis" to only imply that it's a problem only if you have Hereditary Haemochromatosis, or HHC. But this is false. Iron at that level is an issue, regardless of the genes. It's always the excess iron that's the problem. So, whether that iron built up from excess supplementation, alcohol use, excess blood transfusions, inhaled from tobacco use, or from iron injections..... it's a problem. The genes in and of themselves aren't really that big of an issue. In fact, even if we didn't have a test for genes, that wouldn't be a problem if people did routine iron panels, and keep iron in a desirable range.

    In other words, Iron Overload IS haemochromatosis, regardless of whether you have HHC or not. So, having ferritin over 1000 is haemochromatosis.

    I am curious what you mean by "your methods," and how you researched and tested them , but the sentence "my methods brought ferritin down faster than his blood extractions" implies that your methods and phlebotomy was used, and certainly does not imply that that whatever you were doing is a replacement for phlebotomy. Especially since blood donation is generally safe and well tolerated. Anemia can of course be an issue (especially with frequent extractions trying to lower high iron), but there are steps (sometimes as simple as a B complex) that can help to combat this.
     
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