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Ferritin increased but saturation and serum iron decreased


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#1 dosquito

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Posted 06 February 2020 - 01:59 PM

I've been eating a lot of red meat.

Annual physical came back.

Saturation at 23% down from 35%
Ferritin from 127 to 189
Serum from 107 to 72

Should I donate blood?

I was on the last couple days of a head cold. Was it just the inflammation that caused higher ferritin? my CRP went up from .1 to .6 which is a giveaway of inflammation, but serum is looking lowish

#2 Dorian Grey

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Posted 06 February 2020 - 10:37 PM

Infection and/or inflammation will both bump ferritin briefly higher.  The body knows iron can feed infection (all pathogens need access to iron to reproduce) and fan inflammation (iron the ultimate pro-oxidant), so empty "apo-ferritin" is pumped out in a desperate attempt to sequester any free iron whenever the body experiences infection or inflammation.  The ferritin blood test reads empty apo-ferritin the same as iron loaded ferritin, so this can result in a jump, or even false positive into out-of-range high levels.  This typically will also cause a dip in saturation and serum iron.  


I wouldn't sweat an isolated blip in iron labs that occurs during or shortly after a known infection.  As long as saturation holds in the middle third of its normal range you should not have an issue with excess iron tissue damage.  


This said, I like to keep my ferritin out of triple digits, so if you've donated before and don't mind doing so again a trip to the blood bank couldn't hurt.  Each donation should drop ferritin by around 30-50 points from your previous average, so a single donation would likely take you out of triple digits and back to optimal iron homeostasis.  More on the "optimal" levels for iron labs here: 




Stay healthy my friend!  

Edited by Dorian Grey, 06 February 2020 - 10:38 PM.

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#3 experimenting

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Posted 07 February 2020 - 01:55 PM

Doesn’t low TSAT indicate an iron deficiency? OP I noticed you mentioned cognitive gains from iron supplements in the past. Maybe worth trying it again? And maybe take iron alongside apolactoferrin to shuttle the iron to the right places?

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: iron

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