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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!!
I know exactly how you feel about the worry of ceasing the iron supplements one day and then continuously wondering whether your ferretin levels are slowing going down or staying put. After years of not knowing what was wrong with me, to finally find out the truth this year, i highly doubt i'll ever totally go off iron supplements. I think even if one day my numbers do eventually get to 70 i will take it, if not daily, at least every second day.

The reason i stopped taking the supplement whilst on the injections was due to the information in the literature provided to me. It advised to cease all oral supplementation. My Trichologist did tell me to keep taking the supplements, but i was worried about there being some interaction and ending up with side effects. I had also stopped taking the supplements 3 weeks prior to the injections as the powdered supplement i was taking was making me sick. I thought i would be starting the injections immediately, but the chemist wasnt able to get the iron ampules from the supplier for 3weeks. I couldn't believe that iron could be in such short supply, but didnt worry too much as i "assumed" the injections sky rocket ferretin levels. If i had known that they dont necessarily have this affect i would have resumed the supplements after the final injection.

I'm back on the same iron supplement, but take iron phosphate tablets straight after to stop and unpleasant side effects from the supplement. The iron phosphate is used by people with a number of illnesses which makes taking of normal iron supplements unpleasant and full of not so nice side effects. My doctor told me the illnesses concerned but i could only recall Crohns disease, but basically anybody who gets an upset stomach from normal supplements can take iron phosphate tablets to alleviate the problem. Since then i've not had any side effects.

Most days i'm super good and make certain i eat/drink the correct food combinations when i take my supplements, but there is the odd day when i find it so wearing and just feel like caving in for at least one day and having a morning coffee with my breakfast or a red wine with a nice steak. It's so it's no coffee with breakfast and only white wine occasionally with dinner. It also helps to be able to come on here and have a little vent and to also read how others are doing. When Christine posted her new results it really gave me hope for my own future results.

You must be bursting at the seams to get your new tests done in January. Mine get done every 3 months and that's bad enough. I dont know how i would cope waiting 6 months. I guess i know what all of us will be asking from Santa this Christmas :)

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