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Low Ferritin – 5 Critical Reasons To Treat

Jan 31, 2023 | Blog

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5 Critical Reasons To Treat Low Ferritin

FERRITIN is an often-ignored blood marker which measures the amount of IRON STORED in your body. Think of it as iron in reserve. Since iron, in all forms, is important to maintain proper red blood cell production, thyroid function, energy levels, hair growth and so much more, it is critical to keep ferritin levels in the OPTIMAL range. Here, we discuss 5 Critical Reasons To Treat Low Ferritin.

FERRITIN is a key factor in health. Yet, most CONVENTIONALLY TRAINED doctors ignore it, unless you have been diagnosed with any kind of ANEMIA.

However, in FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE, we recognize that you CAN have low ferritin levels and NOT be anemic.

So, you MUST address ferritin levels for optimal health.

Fortunately, the problem of FERRITIN IMBALANCES (especially LOW FERRITIN) can be solved if you know what symptoms to look for, the OPTIMAL ranges to use on lab tests, and the cutting-edge substances proven to REMOVE the TOXIC substances that may alter optimal ranges.


So, let’s examine the importance of FERRITIN and how a safe, natural and science-based approach to detecting and correcting optimal levels can restore your health and make you feel better.


What are the Signs and Symptoms of Low Ferritin?


Since IRON is involved in so many diverse aspects of body and brain health, the symptoms or LOW FERRITIN vary greatly.

Some of the MOST COMMON symptoms of LOW IRON/FERRITIN include:

  • Persistent, unrelenting tiredness/fatigue and/or LOW energy levels
  • Hair loss
  • Soft, broken nails
  • Difficulty exercising/shortness of breath


Lab Values Demystified – What is considered LOW FERRITIN?


One KEY distinction when understanding and evaluating ANY lab work from a FUNCTIONAL/FOUNDATIONAL perspective is that we use DIFFERENT VALUES from the ones usually used by the major labs.

You read that correctly.

Most people assume, or at least they’ve been told, that the RANGES on the labs they use are the ‘normal’ or ‘healthy’ values.

So, only when they are outside those values, either too low or too high (that’s when they put a little ‘L’ or ‘H’ next to your value), then the doctor gets concerned.

But the lab values are NOT the ‘healthy’ values or ‘normal’ values, they are better described as the ‘AVERAGE’ values.

For example, most labs say that the ‘normal’ (assumed HEALTHY) value for Vitamin D is 30-100.

So, one thing to notice, is that these ‘REFERENCE’ ranges for most labs tend to be very large to begin with.

Now, in FUNCTIONAL/FOUNDATIONAL medicine, we do NOT want you at 30 for OPTIMAL Vitamin D.

Or 35.

Or even 40.

These ‘normal’ (so called ‘HEALTHY’) values are too low.

We want the OPTIMAL (TRUE HEALH) values to be way higher, like 50-60 minimum.

This difference in values is even MORE EXAGGERATED when it comes to FERRITIN which is why most doctors miss it.

Most labs have a REFERENCE range for ferritin of 15-150!

See how that range doesn’t even make sense?

That range is so big, you have to be EXTREMELY LOW OR HIGH to be out of it.

Now, OPTIMAL ferritin levels fall within the 80-120 ng/mL range! 

That means it’s possible to still have ferritin levels in the low reference range (in other words, acceptable to the lab and to your doctor) yet you would still be far from truly healthy, and definitely symptomatic.




I have LOW FERRITIN and NORMAL IRON, how is that possible?

Your body uses ferritin to indicate iron in reserve or in “storage”.

This is a different measurement to SERUM IRON which is the iron circulating in your blood.

So, it’s possible to have LOW FERRITIN (low storage of iron), but sufficient serum/blood levels.

Make sense?

However, …

LOW FERRITIN levels with normal iron levels should still be corrected, since SUFFICIENT ferritin is still needed for proper functioning of the cell.

Unfortunately, most doctors IGNORE this unless SERUM IRON is low as well.




OK, you’ve used the OPTIMAL LAB RANGES and you’ve discovered that you have LOW FERRITIN.

Now what?

Knowing WHY you have low ferritin is important!

LOW FERRITIN is an EFFECT, and all effects have CAUSES.

The 4 most COMMON CAUSES of low iron/ferritin include:

  1. Heavy bleeding (USUALLY from a heavy menstrual flow) Ordinarily, this is the obvious reason since most women know if their menstrual flow is heavy.
  2. Autoimmune conditions like Celiac disease (This disease usually causes intestinal damage which leads to malabsorption of iron even if there is enough in your diet)
  3.  Gastrointestinal malabsorption (Things other than autoimmune disease can cause poor absorption in your gut, and iron may not be efficiently absorbed.) 
  1. Chronic internal bleeding (usually seen with gastrointestinal bleeding like gastric ulcers, overuse of certain medications such as aspirin, etc.)


Here are 5 Critical (But often ignored) Reasons to Treat Low Ferritin


#1. BETTER energy levels

Iron plays an important role in transporting OXYGEN to the tissues. OXYGEN is required for energy production in the powerhouses of your cells, the mitochondria.

Low oxygen delivery to the tissues obviously includes the MUSCLES in your body.

DIMINISHED OXYGEN to your muscles causes weakness during exercise.

This shows up as shortness of breath during a workout, and if exertion is forced, an unusually rapid heart rate.


Iron plays an essential role in HAIR GROWTH, but this is a condition normally blamed on bad thyroid or bad genes.


Another important (and often underappreciated) role of iron is as a key nutrient required for the immune system.


Low levels of iron negatively affect THYROID function, and could look like the symptoms of HYPOTHYROIDISM, the most obvious ones being poor weight management, decreased energy, constipation, depression, hair loss, etc.

Correcting low iron levels often improves your thyroid function.


As discussed, one of the more common causes of low ferritin is related to gut issues and the POOR ABSORPTION (malabsorption) of iron.

MEDICAL CONDITIONS include things like SIBO, IBD, IBS, low stomach acid (especially caused by some medications), and BOTH chronic diarrhea and constipation.

Also, COMMON (but not healthy) SYMPTOMS such as excessive gas, bloating, or acid reflux indicate some digestive trouble.

3 Keys To Remember to INCREASE Ferritin levels safely

SUPPLEMENTING with iron to increase your ferritin levels?


1) Don’t guess, TEST!

You should only supplement with iron if you are basing your actions on your lab results, using FUNCTIONAL/FOUNDATIONAL ranges for OPTIMAL levels.

2) Human beings do better on WHOLE FOOD SUPPLEMENTS.

We were designed to get our nutrition from REAL FOOD, not SYNTHETIC VITAMINS, which is what 95% of all supplements on the market are made from.

3) ALERT levels of ferritin may indicate a MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

When your ferritin levels are EXTRMELY LOW, you may have severe bleeding and in need of a transfusion.




 Although FERRITIN IMBALANCES are a NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCY, sometimes TOXICITY in our cells may be the CAUSE (or at least a contributing factor) because TOXICITY can be a possible cause of ANY imbalance in the human body.

Our bodies are designed to DETOXIFY from the outside TOXINS as well as from the inside TOXINS made within our bodies.

Our kidneys, liver GI tract, lungs and skin are part of this natural DETOXIFICATION SYSTEM that biochemically transforms a TOXIC substance so that it can be eliminated.

Normally, your immune system defends against the daily assault of all environmental chemicals, including HEAVY METAL TOXICITY, but ONLY WHEN it is working correctly and NOT being OVERWHELMED by the extremely high TOXIC BURDEN all around us.

INFLAMMATION blocks detoxification, too. So, for many of us that have CHRONIC inflammation, this interferes with our ability to self-heal.

Failure of your body’s natural ability to detoxify itself from toxins results in health issues.

Supporting the body’s ability to bind to and eliminate toxins is a key part of healing from environmental exposure.

So, you MUST support your body’s natural detoxification and drainage systems.

New, emerging technology, designed to help remove TOXINS and SUPPORTING DRAINAGE systems (your body’s NATURAL ability to eliminate poisons from itself) are necessary to successfully recover from this kind of toxicity.

Let’s examine this more closely…


How do I get rid of these toxins in my body?


Special agents that BIND toxins in the gut and other tissues so they can be more easily excreted are required.

An excellent, natural REMEDY for BINDING environmental toxins is called Carbon Technology

Made of specially-selected and precisely-formulated extracts of fulvic and humic acids, Carbon Technology uses these natural substances to tightly BIND toxins to help remove them from your body via stools.

The fulvic and humic acids in Carbon Technology have advantages to binders like activated charcoal and bentonite clay, two common binders, discussed below.

One big advantage is that Carbon Technology can travel beyond the gut.

Also, fulvic and humic acid extracts are a good source of nutrition, including amino acids, phytochemicals and minerals.  This is good since cells damaged by pesticides and environmental chemicals NEED TO SELF-REPAIR.




Because many ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS can weaken your immune system, OTHER things like chronic infections — such as PARASITES AND VIRUSES — may more easily take hold in your body.

It becomes a vicious cycle because then these PARASITES make the body more vulnerable to HEAVY METAL toxicity, for example.

Either way, removing unwanted PARASITES from the body helps reduce the STRESS on the immune system.


There Is Hope


In conclusion, FERRITIN LEVELS are essential for OPTIMAL HEALTH.

So, if you’ve ever asked “What is my doctor missing?” and suspect that TOXICITY may be a part of YOUR persistent, unresolved health challenges, (INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO FERRITIN IMBALANCES) do NOT give up.


It’s important to work with an experienced practitioner who can recommend the right supplements designed to remove these toxins directly.

The good news is that there are doctors with specialized knowledge who are ready with a science-backed action plan to DETECT AND CORRECT TOXICITY.

Addressing this will take you from TOXICITY to PURITY, and allow you to get back to looking, feeling and functioning at your best.