Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Thoughts on Iron

And here I didn't think I had anything to post about today, until I remembered this.

The last 2 pieces of blood work I had done (March and Aug.), my iron (ferritin) was low. Now, it was still in the 'normal' range, but low in the normal range. But it made me think; the way we react to say, medications, is so personal, what about mineral and vitamin levels? We're not all robots. We can't all perform the same on say, a ferritin level that's 44*. Or can we?

When I asked my GP if she would be okay with me taking an iron supplement she said 'not yet' and 'your iron levels are normal'. Gah. Alright, so we're still going to do more work.

Does anyone have any experience with this? It doesn't have to be with iron levels, but with anything else. Did you take a supplement anyways, even though you may not have needed it? Did it help? Do you think we can all function on the same levels or no? What are your thoughts?

* Normal ferritin levels, per my lab are between 13-145


Anonymous said...

As far as the normal ranges for anything ever, they only take into account an average distribution of the population statistically. What this means is that basically about 5% of the population will not fall within the normal range at all, but for them the value that shows on their test may be "their" normal. Thus they may have a naturally elevated or decreased level of a certain mineral or vitamin, that may seem abnormal, but for them their bodies are completely fine with those levels. On medical tests though, the reason the normal values are done over a range rather than a single value is to try to incorporate the greatest percentage of the population possible, and for most people their bodies will work best when their levels reflect the ranges tested for. With iron specifically, it can be dangerous to supplement unnecessarily, unless you are getting blood tests frequently (once every two weeks or so) to test your ferritin levels, because over time, iron can build up in you liver and basically cause the equivalent of rust on a car to your liver which is obviously bad news. In addition, hightened iron levels will not necessarily equate with higher energy levels, especially if you are within the normal range for your body. That being said, individuals with a low level of iron can gain significant improvements from iron supplementation including an increase in energy and ability to do work in general, as well as over time, an increase in the red blood cell count within your body leading to a greater oxygen carrying capacity, further increasing your ability to do work and overall stamina, but of course this is only if your body is lacking the required amount of iron.

Perovskia said...

Hmm.. I don't know how to respond to this. It's interesting they take the 'average' as it were, per capita for normal ranges. I suppose it makes sense. But I think it's too broad of a range; I mean, 13-145?! That's crazy. Can't they minimize it within, I don't know, 50 points or something?

I know an over-load of iron is a bad thing and I would never want to do that, but I hear increasing iron can help cognitively, too; that piqued my interest.

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