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Dr. Muneeb Ali
Dr. Muneeb Ali, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 7398
Experience:  MBBS, MD, MCCM. Currently working in Critical Care Medicine with 10 year experience in Medicine
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My iron level is 43 mcg/dl. How much iron supplement should

Customer Question

My iron level is 43 mcg/dl. How much iron supplement should I take?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. Muneeb Ali replied 1 year ago.


Thanks for this question, can i ask what is your age and gender as the levels vary for men and women. Secondly, do you have any stomach issues like burning etc?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm a 68 year old female, with three colon polyps removed last week. Also, I had H. pylori and was treated last month. I am very weak from nutrition loss, and my iron level is very low. My doctor doesn't know how much I need.
Expert:  Dr. Muneeb Ali replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the additional information. Well the your iron level is 43 ug/dl while the normal range for women is between 40-155 ug/dl. Even if this is not classified as deficient it is certainly on the lower end of the spectrum. Secondly, before starting iron supplementation i would advise a complete CBC as well as other iron studies which would include serum ferritin, iron binding capacity (TIBC). These additional studies would show if you had a true deficiency or not. Before starting, you should get these done.

If you dont have any severe anemia, then you can use simple OTC iron supplements, the supplements which are mixed with vitamins contain approximately 18 mg of iron in them. These have a low amount of iron and a single tablet a day can be enough provided you dont have anemia and your ferritin levels are adequate. The advantage of these would be that it would not cause problems with your stomach.

If you have anemia then you would need a stronger dose of iron this would involve using a supplement which contains 45-65 mg of iron per pill. The best form to use here would be a single tablet of ferrous gluconate containing supplement, this should be able to help in improving the iron levels. However in case of severe anemia you would also need IV iron supplements, usually they are given once a week for two - three to replenish immediate deficiency and the oral supplement is started.

In the meantime you also need to adjust your diet to include more green leafy vegetables like spinach, apples, lentils, breakfast cereals (fortified), white beans....all these contain a large amount of iron which would also help in improving your levels.

Now as to how much iron you need? I think with your levels, the iron should come back up after using the diet and low dose supplement after 3-4 months and with the high dose supplement after 1-2 months. BUT as i said before starting do get the other tests done, they will help us determine whether you need a high dose supplement or not.

Do you have any more questions?

Please leave a POSITIVE rating by clicking on the stars above, until you do i am not compensated for my time. You can continue to ask follow-up questions even after the POSITIVE rating. You can also ask questions from me directly by going on the link below,

Expert:  Dr. Muneeb Ali replied 1 year ago.

Would you to know anything else? If done for now, please remember to leave a positive rating as that is the only way we are compensated for our time spent helping you. You can continue to ask follow-up questions even after the rating.