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sorry in advance, bit of a long post this time. Thought it might be a good idea to note everything incase it helps someone else along the way :)

I had a repeat blood test 6 weeks ago and was rather surprised that after receiving iron injections my ferretin had only moved from 26 to 35. I had anticipated being at least around 50, but i have since been told that even though iron injections are helpful, they give the patient a "false boost". I suppose like everything it depends on the individual, but for me personally i guess this explains why after the 4th injection i felt fantastic and in the last couple of weeks i have felt as though i'm slowly walking down the other side of the mountain. My Trichologist did say that as my iron has affected a number of areas within my body that those 5 injections would have gone to boost vitally needed areas and therefore didn't leave much to sit in reserve so leaving my ferretin at 35. I suppose any improvement is good improvement so i shouldn't complain.

The scarriest part of all of this for me is that during the 5 weeks of iron injections i was not on any form of iron supplement. After the injections were over i did not take any supplements either as i wanted the fresh blood test to be a true indicator of what the injections themselves had done. During the 6 weeks after the blood test i haven't taken any supplements and now that i realise that my ferretin was only at 35 at the last test i am now worried it could have fallen since then. Needless to say i am back on the supplement regime and all the other things which go with it.

The reason i had great hopes pinned on the iron injections was not that i saw them as a miracle cure/short cut type of thing, but that they would give me that greatly needed boost so that with summer approaching i would hopefully not shed as much hair as i normally would. Anyway, we'll see what develops around Christmas time/start of January as that is the start of the worst time for me as i would loose abnormal amounts each year.

In my last batch of tests i had a urine test for iodine and my iodine was found to be very low. He now has me on iodine drops first thing each morning.

My vitamin D did go up a bit, but still low. He wants me to take 5 of the capsules i'm taking instead of the one and if it's a sunny day he wants me to sit in the sun for 10 mins or so with a bikini top/bra on as you need to get the sun on your torso as that's where the vitamin D is absorbed the best. I'm to take the D's before bed or 2 or 3 hrs after the evening meal. Apparently this is b/c it works best after eating a meal with protein in it. Once i've finished the bottle of vit D's i have now he will start me on liquid D drops so i dont have to swallow 5 tablets each night.

My thyroid has improved somewhat, but still need to work at it. Possibly the exercise i've been doing as well as the small boost in ferretin has helped the thyroid, but we aren't quite there yet. He feels the very low iodine levels wouldn't be helping matters.

My red cell zinc was found to be a bit low so now i'm on 2 zinc tablets each evening prior to bed, or 2 - 3 hrs after the evening meal so that it doesnt interfere with the iron supplements taken prior to my evening meal. The blood test prior to this one i was tested for serum zinc only and that was ok. I'm not sure what the difference is between serum zinc and red cell zinc, but i guess i can see now how important it is to do the correct type of test to enable a correct interpretation of what is going on in your body.

He would like me to start taking digestive enzymes as he feels this is all due to something not quite right with my digestive process. He has also suggested a total gluten free diet for 6mths. I don't have the typical side effects which Celiacs sufferers get, but not long after i began shedding hair i began noticing each year i would gradually get a certain thing occuring on my arms. It was similar to folliculitis, but not quite like that. During the winter it would die down and flair up in the warmer weather. I had never had this before and there seemed not reason for it, but reading about gluten and Celiacs i read that this would occur in some cases. Another gp who i consulted on this issue said all skin conditions were as a result of something happening internally within the body. I know it's not from any products i'm using externally. My naturopath suggested it could be from dairy products. So i guess it's either gluten or dairy.

The test also shows my hormones still being out. He gets a serum hormone test of SHBG, FAI and Testosterone checked. The fact i'm relying on naturopathy herbs to keep my monthly cycles in check is also being blamed on my iron.

The one other additional thing i have began doing again and aim to stick to is making beetroot juice each day. Fresh beetroot is extremely good for the blood and iron levels. I juice enough for at least two days and leave it at work to drink a glass of with my lunch. The worst bit is cleaning the juicer.

This now means i take liquid iodine, herbal drops for menstrual cycle, lysine, iron powder, iron phosphate tablets and a probiotic capsule each morning. At night it's the herbal drops, lysine, iron powder, iron phosphate tablets, vitamin D and zinc. Sometimes i wonder if i will be able to just get up and have breakfast without having to actually take anything daily. It really kills off the appetite first thing in the morning!!
Hi littlebunnyfoo - sorry to hear that this is all getting you down. I went through bouts of depressive states off and on and especially after i got my test results after the iron injections. It's such a blow when you get your hopes up, only to find that your ferretin hasn't moved or even worse, has gone down. At a ferretin of 19 i'm sure you will still be suffering a lot of side effects of low iron, even though you now are not technically classed as anemic. I dont know about others, but even when mine eventually hit 29 i still felt rubbish!! Others at 29 have felt good. I guess it will affect each of us differently.

The iron supplement my doctor gave me was making me sick prior to the iron injections so no wonder i wasnt going up. Each time i took it and then ate afterwards i would end up with an upset stomach and would have to rush off to the toilet. Whether a person has an iron problem or not, this isn't good as the body is not absorbing majority of the vitamins/minerals and everything is simply being flushed down the toilet.

My doctor then got me onto iron phosphate tablets. These tablets are amazing. No more upset stomach. I can honestly say since i religiously went back to my original iron supplement and then began taking the iron phosphate tablets directly after, i have slowly begun to feel better and better. I know i have a long way to go, but getting rid of the stomach pain and trips to the toilet is an immense relief.

Apparently they give iron phosphate to people with various illnesses where they cant tolerate the traditional iron supplements on their own. My doctor named some of the illnesses but i can only recall Crohns disease.

I take my iron supplement before breakfast and dinner. My doctor did want me taking it at lunch also, but i felt it was too much. Maybe now i could handle it, but still havent done anything about it. The powdered supplement i take = 100mg per day. The iron phosphate i take = 60mg. That is a total of 160mg per day. I will wait till my next blood test in January and once i see the results then i might consider taking it 3 times per day. At present i'm sick of taking so many things as i am on herbal drops for my periods 2xper day and i'm taking lysine, vitamin D, iodine and zinc also.

As for my hair, it pretty much stopped falling out over the 2 or 3 months of winter, which it pretty much does most years, but as soon as spring came along i noticed more would come out and now that we are into our summer i feel even more is coming out, but not a 100% scary amount as yet. The test will be january - february. I'm not expecting my hair to fully recover any time soon as hair is the very first thing to get affected by ill health and the very last thing to recover.

My doctors chemist has formulated an even stronger version of the iron supplement i take and it has everything in it, even the lysine and the B group vitamins. This will cut out having to take all those extra things. Will see how that goes when it becomes available.

As i've mentioned in previous posts, the things i'm doing differently is substituting caffeinated coffee for one made of barley/chicory, i quite often spread a chicken liver pate on my toast for breakfast instead of jams, eat more protein (snacking on almonds, brazil nuts and cashews is like eating meat as those 3 nuts together are a complete protein, just like what you find in meat), i have an egg a day, usually have a semi-hard boiled egg with my sandwich at work or with a salad, i got back into juicing fruit/veg particularly beetroot and i also grate fresh beetroot into my salads. Fresh beetroot does wonders for the blood if you are low in iron and is great for purifying your blood from toxins. It also helps to reduce cholesterol levels and purify natural waste products form your body, helps the rate at which the liver breaks down fatty acids, which in turn frees up the liver to get on with more serious business. So you see it's a very helpful vegetable to consume, only not the one which comes out of a can, it has to be fresh. The canned variety is ruined as it has sat in vinegar.

I would strongly suggest you visit your local chemist and ask them for iron phosphate tablets to relieve you of your stomach problems. These can be taken directly after taking your normal supplement and you then might be able to take your daily supplement 2 times per day.

Hoping you get some relief soon. :)

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