Normal iron levels in hypothyroid patients are next to impossible. As such, it is important for hypothyroid patients to do anything they can to treat iron deficiency before it is too late. Learn more how to normalize your iron levels for a healthy thyroid.
Normal Iron Levels | Understanding the Connection Between Iron Deficiency and Hypothyroidism
What Is Hypothyroidism?
This hard-to-diagnose condition involves an underactive thyroid. If your thyroid does not produce enough hormones that your body direly needs, it could lead to serious health issues. If left untreated after being diagnosed, it could cause infertility, joint pain, obesity, or even heart disease.
Iron Levels: A Sign of Hypothyroidism?
An underactive thyroid is often attributed to low iron levels. This is because ferritin, which is the stored form of iron, is not at the optimum levels your body needs to achieve hormone balance. While not all people with low iron levels have anemia, iron deficiency is definitely one of the main reasons why you have persistent hypothyroidism symptoms.
What Are the Health Risks?
If you have hypothyroidism and have low iron levels, this could pose more health problems for you. Women who have hypothyroidism and have low iron levels will have a heavier-than-usual menstrual flow, which can increase iron deficiency. If you have gut inflammation or lower stomach acid production, your body will be unable to absorb iron from food or supplements.
How Do I Get My Iron Levels Up?
You can take iron supplements at least three hours apart from your thyroid hormone medication. This way, the additional iron is not depleted from the thyroid replacement you’re taking. If you want to go the natural route, try to add more iron-rich food items (and remove those that reduce it) in your current diet. Ask for help from your thyroid doctor on how to curate your current thyroid diet.
What Food Do I Take to Increase My Iron Levels?
Food items with non-heme iron do not absorb well as much as heme iron-enriched food. Meat, fish, poultry, and other animal protein foods are great heme iron food additions to your diet. Legumes like beans, lentils, and chickpeas are also great plant-based heme iron food alternatives too. While these are the most effective way to increase your iron levels, non-heme food items like leafy greens and dried fruits also count.
Will Increased Iron Levels Treat Hypothyroidism?
Not necessarily, but it will help manage the symptoms. An increase in iron levels could help stabilize hormone production. This is because some of the enzymes needed for thyroid production require iron. Increased iron and Vitamin C levels will help your body absorb more iron and help treat iron-deficiency anemia.
Any Risks I Should Look into When Switching to an Iron-Loaded Diet?
Too much of something is not a good thing. Too much iron in your system could lead to hemochromatosis, which could actually impair thyroid production. Black and green tea can inhibit non-heme iron absorption due to the high amount of tannins in them. You can add a squeeze of lemon into your black or green tea or go for herbal teas like chamomile and peppermint instead if you can’t quit your tea habit.
Watch this helpful video by Scimplify on how to increase your iron levels:
Increasing your iron levels does not mean it would totally cure your hypothyroidism. Yet, it is a relief to know that by treating your iron deficiency, you are on your way to keeping your thyroid as healthy as possible. Do make sure your iron deficiency anemia diet gets an approval from your thyroid doctor.
Are you having trouble normalizing your iron levels? What actions did you take to have normal iron levels? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!