How Long it Takes to Boost Ferritin Levels with Iron
Table of Contents
If you’ve ever been diagnosed with low ferritin levels, you know how important iron is for your health.
Ferritin is a protein that stores iron in your blood, and when those levels drops below the normal range, you experience symptoms like fatigue, weakness, and even anemia.
Fortunately, boosting your ferritin levels is possible, mainly through iron supplementation and dietary changes.
Ferritin is found in all cells, but it’s most especially abundant in the liver, spleen, and bone marrow.
However, one common question that arises is, “How long does it take to see results?”
In this post, we’ll look at how iron restores ferritin levels when it’s low, the speed at which it increases, and give you an idea of what to expect as you work to boost your iron levels.
Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:
- What ferritin is and why it’s important?
- How to know if your ferritin levels are low
- What causes low ferritin?
- How to boost ferritin with iron supplements
- How long it takes to see results
What’s Ferritin Anyway?
Ferritin is a water-soluble protein complex that stores iron in the body.
It’s made up of 24 subunits that form a hollow sphere.
The iron atoms are stored inside the sphere, where they’re protected from oxidation and damage.
Ferritin acts like a storage room for iron in the body. It stores iron when levels are high and releases it when levels are low.
This helps to keep a balance of iron in the blood and tissues.
Ferritin levels can be used as a health indicator. Low ferritin levels could be a sign of iron deficiency, while high ferritin levels can be a sign of inflammation or maybe other medical conditions.
The normal ferritin levels depends on some factors. However, a general guideline is as follows:
- Men: 20-250 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL)
- Women: 15-150 ng/mL
- Pregnant women: 30-300 ng/mL
If your ferritin levels are outside of these ranges, you’ll need treatment.
Low Ferritin: Why It Happens
The most common cause of low ferritin is iron deficiency.
Iron deficiency occurs when you don’t get enough iron from your diet, when you lose blood, or when your body can’t absorb iron properly.
Other medical conditions that can cause low ferritin include:
- Chronic inflammatory disorders, such as Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Heart failure
Certain lifestyle factors can also contribute to low ferritin levels, such as:
- Heavy menstruation
- Vegetarian diets
- Strenuous exercise
- High consumption of alcohol
Iron Supplements: Your Ferritin Boosters
Iron supplements are available in a variety of forms, including tablets, capsules, and liquids.
The type of iron supplement that’s best for you will depend on your personal needs and preferences.
Some of the most common types of iron supplements include:
- Ferrous sulfate
- Ferrous gluconate
- Ferrous fumarate
- Iron polysaccharide
Ferrous sulfate is the best option for most people with iron deficiency anemia, this is because it’s an easily absorbed form of iron.
Here’s a list of iron supplements containing ferrous sulfate:
- Floradix floravital iron and herbs liquid extract formula (17 fluid ounces)
- Floradix iron + Herbs liquid extract (17 Fluid Ounces)
- Blood builder with whole food iron & organic beet root (90 Tablets)
- Floradix iron sport liquid mineral & vitamin formula (8.5 Fl. Oz.)
- Vegan liquid iron – Berry (15.22 Fl. Oz. / 90 Servings)
- Comfort Iron – Gentle, Non-Constipating – 25 MG (180 Vegetable Capsules)
The amount of iron you need each day depends on your age and other factors.
A general recommendation for adults is 18 milligrams (mg) per day for men and 8 mg per day for women.
Iron supplements when taken in excess can cause side effects, like constipation, nausea, and vomiting.
Boosting Ferritin: How Long Does It Take?
If you have low ferritin levels, you can boost them by eating a healthy diet that includes plenty of iron-rich foods. Some good sources of iron include:
- Red meat
It’s important to note that not all iron is created equal.
Heme iron in animal products is more easily absorbed by the body than non-heme iron, found in plant products.
To help increase the absorption of non-heme iron, eat it with foods that are rich in vitamin C, like oranges, tomatoes and bell peppers.
Some factors can interfere with iron absorption, such as:
- Calcium supplements
- Tannins found in coffee
To avoid these potential problems, take iron supplements on an empty stomach or 1 hr before your meals, and avoid taking them with antacids, calcium supplements, or caffeinated beverages or tannins.
How long it takes to boost ferritin levels with iron depends on:
- How low your ferritin levels are. If your ferritin levels are very low, it may take longer to see a significant increase.
- How much iron you’re consuming. If you’re eating iron-rich foods or taking iron supplements, do so consistently.
- Your body’s ability to absorb iron. Some people have problems with absorbing iron from food or supplements. If this is the case, an intravenous (IV) iron therapy is highly recommended.
In general, you can expect to see an improvement in your ferritin levels within 2-4 weeks of starting iron supplementation.
But, it may take several months for your ferritin levels to reach normal levels.
Some factors can speed up or slow down the rate at which your ferritin levels improve.
For example, if you have a severe iron deficiency that is affecting iron absorption, it may take longer for your ferritin levels to improve.
On the other hand, if you take iron supplement with vitamin C and avoid factors that interfere with iron absorption, you may see an improvement in your ferritin levels more quickly.
Why Test Ferritin Regularly?
Testing your ferritin levels regularly is important, especially if you have risk factors for iron deficiency.
This will help you detect low ferritin levels early and take steps to correct them.
Early detection and treatment of iron deficiency helps to prevent anemia, fatigue, and shortness of breath.
It’s also important to avoid taking too much iron, as this leads to iron overload. Iron overload can damage the liver, heart, and other organs.
If you’re taking iron supplements, there are a few things you can look for to see if they’re working:
- Increased energy levels
- Improved mood
- Reduced fatigue
- Less shortness of breath
If you’re experiencing any of these signs, it’s a good indication that your ferritin levels are improving.
Summary of Key Points
At the end of the article, here’s what we learned:
- Ferritin is a protein that stores iron in the body.
- Low ferritin levels can be a sign of iron deficiency, while high ferritin levels can be a sign of inflammation or other medical conditions.
- You can boost your ferritin levels by eating a healthy diet that includes plenty of iron-rich foods and taking iron supplements if needed.
- It can take several months for your ferritin levels to reach normal levels.
- Test your ferritin levels regularly to monitor your progress.
If you have low ferritin levels, there are a number of things you can do to boost them, like eating a healthy diet that includes plenty of iron-rich foods is a good start.
You may also want to consider taking iron supplements, especially if you have difficulty absorbing iron from food.
Boosting ferritin levels takes time so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results immediately.
Be patient and consistent with your treatment, and you’ll start to see an improvement in your ferritin levels within a few months.
If you’re taking iron supplements, be sure to check how much you take and how long you should take them for.
Too much of iron can be harmful, so it’s important to monitor your ferritin levels regularly.