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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?

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