Can low Iron be slowing your Thryoid?

Can low Iron be slowing your Thryoid?

 If you’ve already read my post on ‘Iron, the Women’s Essential Nutrient’ and ‘Iron Pathology’  then this will start to make more sense if you have found yourself to be low in Iron and feel it’s your thyroid despite being told you are fine.

Iron is intricately involved with Thyroid hormones, in fact, dependant on the mineral, bottom line, low Iron, low Thyroid despite having a Thyroid condition. 

Having low Iron affects the production of the Thyroid hormone in several ways:

  1. In the Thyroid gland where T4 is made an enzyme called Thyroid Peroxidase enzyme (TPO) depends on Iron to work. So, if there is not enough Iron, the production of T4 will be reduced.  Now you are familiar with how easy it is to be low in Iron, it can make you wonder if your hypothyroid symptoms are not due to an iron deficiency.  This enzyme’s antibody, TPOab is tested for the diagnosis of Hashimotos.
  1. There are enzymes all through the body and brain called Diodinases, de-iodin-ase and they break an iodine molecule from T4 down and convert it into T3. These enzymes depend on Iron to be able to work. The ratio that we like this to happen is a 3:1, ie 3x T4 to 1x T3.  Having low iron may be one of the few reasons that there is poor conversion. 
  1. When the body detects there is low iron in the blood, it increases the amount of T4 that is changed into Reverse T3 (RT3) which is the opposite of active T3, this will slow you down and cause fatigue.
  1. Iron is an important part of the mechanism that transports thyroid hormone into cells and lack of it can lead to pooling of hormone. This can lead to being hypothyroid even though there are normal T3 levels and it produces a thyroxine resistance situation.

Because of the dependence of Iron for the conversion of T4 to T3, some symptoms may worsen if you are put on Thyroxine and the underlying Iron deficiency has not been addressed – that’s like revving the accelerator on the taxi when there is no gas.  Symptoms may be anxiety, palpitations, or irregular heartbeats.

Ironically being hypothyroid may in return cause a lack of Iron because when we are low in thyroid hormones we lack the ability to have good digestion, and tend to have low stomach acid or more susceptible to Immune diseases like being Celiac.

Dysphagia is a term that means difficulty in swallowing.  A frequent need to clear the throat, particularly when under stress, is a classic sign of possible low thyroid activity and low iron status.

Women who experience heavy menstruation can become iron-deplete and therefore create a hypothyroid state.

Ferritin deficiency is the primary cause of hair loss in premenopausal women, and it’s often why women with Hashimotos continue to lose hair despite normal thyroid levels.

As you have read, Iron is extremely important, so make it a priority to have your levels assessed on a regular basis.

If you’d like to know more about this or other topics, you are welcome to join my free membership on face book. Thyroid, Metabolic, Hormone Harmony Hub. 

I’d love to see you there

Inspiring Wellness



Iron, The Essential Woman’s Nutrient

Iron, The Essential Woman’s Nutrient

If you are feeling fatigued and pale, a good place to check is the inside of bottom eyelids, are they pale too?

If so you may be lacking Iron as it is lost daily through sweat, skin shedding and any bleeding. 

Iron is needed for the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen around the body. Not enough Iron, not enough red blood cells that results in not enough oxygen, not enough brain power or energy! 

A point of interest, is that Iron is naturally lower in the blood in the afternoon, so that maybe a reason you may feel a little extra tired at that time. 


If I have low Iron, how would I feel?

This is a list of the most common symptoms of low Iron and some of them you will see are similar to having a hypothyroid condition.  So you may start to ask the question is it my thyroid or low iron? 

Lung                           Breathing difficulties

Skin                            Generalised itching

                                    Cracked corners of the mouth

                                    Mouth ulcers

                                    Sore tongue

                                    Brittle nails


                                    Hair loss


Brain                          Disrupted sleep





                                    Restless legs

 Immune System      Sinusitis

                                    Ear Infections



                                    Chronic Herpes

Muscles                     Fatigue on exertion

                                    Restless legs


How much Iron do I need daily?

To compensate your normal daily use of iron you need to  absorb 1-2mg per day.

Iron is not very well absorbed and because of this it can make getting your Iron intake a challenge.  Especially as absorption can be easily affected by having low stomach acid and poor gut absorption which are quite common

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA), for Women aged 31-50 is 18mg daily. For women over 50 they have a lower RDA of 8mg because they tend to be having sparse or no monthly period and therefore no longer losing blood on a regular basis.

When dosing with Iron, the standard upper level for Women aged 19 – 50 is recommended to be 45mg daily. This is of course a general blanket approach without testing for any deficiency.


How do I get more Iron? 

Dietary sources come in two different forms:

Iron form Meat (Heme iron) and from Plants (Non-heme iron)


The best sources of Meat Heme Iron are:

Clams, Beef, liver, kidney, oysters, poultry.


The best sources of Plant Non-Heme Iron are:

Almonds, apricots, avocado, parsley, pine nuts, soybeans, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, red wine, wheat germ, yeast

Do a mental tally, do you include these items into your food on a daily basis?


Serving size

Iron content

  Chicken liver









  Kidney beans

1 cup


  Green lentils

1 cup






1 cup





  Cashew nuts

30g (20 nuts)





  Raw spinach

1 cup


  Tinned tuna



  Rolled oats






  Lamb brains



  Dried apricot

30g (5 dried apricots)



1 cup





  Cooked brown rice

140g (1 cup)









Why might I be running low on Iron….

  • You may not be consuming enough Iron-containing foods
  • You may not be able to absorb Iron for various reasons (see below)
  • You are losing blood with heavy periods
  • You are pregnant
  • You may have abnormal bleeding that needs to be investigated, so please discuss potential risk factors with your Doctor, e.g. stomach ulcers, hookworm, tumours, ulcerative colitis, and bleeding haemorrhoids.
  • Use of NSAIDS, Nexium, and other ant-acids as they block Iron absorption



 What might be blocking your Iron?

  • Eating dairy products, especially milk and cheese can reduce Iron absorption as much as 60% (although it does depend on what you read) and for young infants and children this is more relevant.  So to be sure, take your Iron well away from these items. 
  • Beware Tea drinkers, the tannic acid also reduces Iron absorption from non-heme Iron. So drink your cup of tea an hour after eating or between meals.  
  • Phytates found in nuts, legumes, and grains may also affect iron absorption, as do egg whites. 
  • To absorb Iron properly it needs an acid environment in the stomach to change the iron structure into an absorbable for the small intestine. If the stomach acid is not strong and someone is taking Nexium or ant-acids, this can lead to poor iron absorption. 
  • Bleeding conditions such as heavy periods, blood in the stool, or bleeding haemorrhoids. It could be a stomach ulcer, bleeding nose, or recurrent bruising. 
  • The mineral called Molybdenum in the body may be deficient due to a block by another mineral called Copper.  Molybdenum is a part of an enzyme that helps with the release of iron from cellular ferritin.
  • Reduced Hepcidin activity. This is the key regulator of iron balance in the body and oral iron supplements increase hepcidin. When there is more hepcidin produced, there is less ability for Iron to be absorbed. If you take iron in the morning it will raise the hepcidin level and it will remain raised.  So if you are to dose later that day and you will absorb less in that dose.  This has been found with doses of 60mg or more of Iron Sulphate and so it maybe more beneficial to have Iron every second day if you are taking more than 60mg per day.  


Iron tests and what do my results mean? 

Pop on over to my blog on Iron Pathology to find out what your Iron results mean.



If you’d like to know more about this or other topics, you are welcome to join my free membership on face book. Thyroid, Metabolic, Hormone Harmony Hub. 


I’d love to see you there


Inspiring Wellness



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