Q. Can taking Iron pills a few days before ferritin test give false reading?

Answered by
Dr. Smrita Singh
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Aug 17, 2018

Hello doctor,

I am a 22-year-old woman who is struggling with extreme fatigue, muscle weakness, tire easy or poor endurance, treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, panic disorder, skin picking issues, sensory processing disorder and ADHD. I have been a strict vegetarian for 12 years now and for a lot of that time, my diet was poor and mostly carbohydrate based.

I have suspected an iron deficiency for a very long time. I had a test for it a few years ago and my hemoglobin was normal but my ferritin was only 39. My doctor said it was fine. I recently had a terrible experience with several methods of birth control and for a few months was having 10 day periods twice a month, and at its worst, I was bleeding for a month straight. I started taking a food-based iron for 2 to 3 months (27 mg) and had my iron checked twice within six months. Both times my ferritin was up to around 80.

However, I still feel increasingly tired and other conditions are being ruled out. I just realized that before both of those tests with normal results, I had taken an iron pill within two days of the test.

My question is could that have given me a false reading on the ferritin test? If I would have had iron the day before? Is a couple months of food based on iron enough to have raised my levels that fast? And lastly, given the heavy bleeding and relative lack of dietary iron in my life, how could I not be iron deficient? Currently, I am taking Clonazepam PRN, Lamictal 50 mg.

Dr. Smrita Singh

Hematology Pathology


Welcome to icliniq.com.

Ferritin is an acute phase reactant. This means that apart from reflecting iron stores, it also reflects the inflammatory condition in the body. Taking Iron supplements just a few days before the blood test is not sufficient to raise your serum ferritin levels so quickly.

But if there is any inflammation going on in your body, your serum ferritin levels will be raised. It is thus very important to rule out any inflammatory condition before interpretation of serum ferritin levels.

Have you checked your vitamin D and vitamin B12 levels?

Deficiency in vitamin B12 & Vitamin D can also produce fatigue, weakness and neural disorders.

You should get your blood levels of these two vitamins checked and continue taking your Iron and Folic acid supplements.

I would suggest that you take the regular Iron and Folic acid supplements available in the form of pills along with a glass of orange juice or lemon water for better absorption.

For more information consult a hematologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/hematologist

Was this answer helpful?


Related Questions:
Kindly suggest remedies to raise RBC count in anemic.
Please suggest a cure for my skin rashes based on the report.
I am anemic even after taking iron supplements. Why?

This is a sponsored Ad. icliniq or icliniq doctors do not endorse the content in the Ad.

Consult by PhoneConsult by Phone Video ChatVideo Chat
Also Read Answers From:

Comprehensive Medical Second Opinion.Submit your Case

Related Questions & Answers

I noticed white strings in my stool. I hope it is not parasites. Please help.

Query: Hi, I am a 34 year old female. I noticed what looks like white strings in my stool. I am also having symptoms like abdominal cramps and pain, severe fatigue, memory issues, dizziness, and sometimes constipation. I am hoping it is not parasites. Please help.  Read Full »

What is the maximum iron intake for a man?

Query: Hello doctor, I am a 31 year old male, who is 1.8 m tall, and I weigh 106 kg. I have a problem recently. I went to a dentist for an abscess, and I had blood a bit removed, so I felt a bit weak. And finally some days after, I felt I needed iron supplements. I took one 100 mg and then took another 100...  Read Full »

Do I need vitamin D and iron supplement?

Query: Hi doctor, My 25-OH vitamin D total CLIA test showed result of 13.36 ng/mL. What supplement should I start and for how long? Also my iron is 41.2. Do I need a supplement?  Read Full »

Also Read

Holiday Season During the Pandemic
Most of us wonder if there is a way to celebrate the holiday season during the COVID-19 pandemic safely. Here are some i...  Read more»
What should I take to relieve Flagyl induced constipation?
Hello doctor, I am a 29-year-old female. I am trying to overcome constipation caused by the Flagyl antibiotic, and I do...  Read more»
How long should my dad continue the same dosage of medicines after a stent surgery?
Hello doctor, My father had a heart stent operation six months ago. Doctor prescribed some medicines, and still, he is u...  Read more»

Ask your health query to a doctor online?

Ask a Hematologist Now

* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.

Disclaimer: All health Q&As published on this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek the advice from your physician or other qualified health-care providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website.