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High Ferritin- Causes and Treatment

Lower AIC fast

If you have thyroid or gut issues, fatigue, or brain fog, then you will want to learn about these simple tests that can really help you. My name is Tom Rofrano from the Natural Medicine Clinic in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Over the last 34 years of seeing 100,000+ patient visits, one of the most common things I see when I get lab test results back is the patient’s ferritin level is not within the optimal range. Ferritin is a storage protein for iron, and one of the values it represents is whether you have too much or too little iron. 

Ferritin level is important because if your iron is too low, you can get symptoms like fatigue, weakness, difficulty concentrating, shortness of breath, hair loss, decreased thyroid hormones T4 and T3. Low iron is also involved with Irritable Bowel Syndrome because when you have gut issues like IBS, you tend to have malabsorption of food, so your body does not absorb enough iron. Also, blood loss or too little iron intake are other common causes of low ferritin.

Normal and Optimal Ferritin Lab Values

The normal range of a ferritin lab lest depending on the lab, is usually 10 to 150 ng/ml for females or 20 to 400 ng/ml for men. That means you can have a result of say, 10 ng/ml, and be considered within normal range but feel terrible: exhausted, not able to think straight, and weakness are common symptoms. 

I found that the optimal range for ferritin is between 60 and 90 ng/ml. That is the optimal ferritin level I recommend because below that you can start to suffer from symptoms such as fatigue and weakness. As a matter of fact, one of the common causes of hair loss is low ferritin levels, and once ferritin level drops below 40 or 50 ng/ml, hair loss can occur. This information can be invaluable to someone suffering from an unknown cause of symptoms.

Iron Overload

Now, on the other hand, high ferritin levels can represent iron overload. It can also represent other things which we will delve deeper into later. If your ferritin level is too high, you can also get very similar symptoms to low ferritin, like fatigue, brain fog, abdominal pain, irregular heartbeats, diabetes, hypothyroidism, and infertility.

Yes, infertility can be caused by iron overload and can also be caused by too little iron. And there are many other symptoms and conditions as well that can be caused by either. 

The cause of elevated ferritin level from iron overload can be due to hemochromatosis, which is a genetic condition. There are also other causes of high ferritin levels, such as chronic illnesses like liver disease, certain anemias, and even cancer.

Excessive alcohol consumption over a long period of time can increase ferritin levels, and insulin resistance is a common cause of high ferritin as well. People should not generally assume that a high ferritin level is always from iron overload.

Running the Correct Labs for Ferritin

I made a video on this subject a while back, where I had a 64-year-old female patient whose ferritin levels were over a thousand: 1,094 ng/ml. We did the genetic testing and discovered she had hemochromatosis. 

By following my protocol, she was able to lower her ferritin over 1000 points in four weeks, which is an amazing improvement for iron overload disease. 

Many cases of high ferritin are not from iron overload but are from insulin resistance, which is more common than you think. The way you discover that not just by running a ferritin test alone. You must run a full iron panel and check serum iron, percent saturation, iron-binding capacity, and ferritin level to really get a true picture of what is going on. 

And you really need to go beyond that. So instead of just asking your doctor to run ferritin level, you want to ask for ferritin level plus an iron panel, which covers the %saturation, TIBC, and iron. You also want to get a CBC, a chemistry panel, CRP, which is for inflammation, lipids, thyroid, markers, GGT, uric acid, and insulin. 

There are other functional lab tests that can be helpful as well to find out what is the root cause. Almost every patient I see has either too little ferritin or too much, so it’s really important to get a more complete picture.

Why Running the Correct Labs is Important

I did have a patient recently who had high ferritin levels, but her iron was low, which is like an oxymoron. Her ferritin level was 316 ng/ml, which is about twice the lab normal value. 

At first glance, you may think she had iron overload when in fact, her iron saturation % was low and her iron was on the low side as well. What she did have was insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome. 

Insulin resistance is a condition that can lead to obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure, which she did have. She also had a whole list of other symptoms like digestive, fatigue, skin issues, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. 

We put her on the diet I like to use for these chronic health issues. I call it the FreeDiet®  because it is free of not only gluten but gluten, grains, sugar, yeast, dairy, eggs, soy, legumes, nightshades, and processed foods. It is free of foods commonly responsible for inflammation, digestive, and other chronic health issues.

I ran her blood test after she was on the FreeDiet® for four weeks. Not only was she feeling a lot better and had more energy, but her digestive issues cleared up, and her blood pressure dropped 21 points to normal levels. Her ferritin dropped in half down to 151 from 316, and her cholesterol dropped 61 points to normal. Her liver enzymes, which were elevated, dropped to normal levels by over 50%. Her inflammatory markers dropped by about 50% to normal levels. 

Before I met her, she suffered from PCOS, had infertility, and required IVF to get pregnant. PCOS is a hormone imbalance that can be related to excess ferritin, insulin resistance, elevated DHEA and testosterone. Her testosterone was 70 ng/dl which was almost twice normal levels, but her testosterone dropped dramatically by over 80% in four weeks on the FreeDiet® and supplements.

Supporting the Body to Heal

So, her iron was low and her ferritin was high. As her ferritin decreased, her iron came up to normal, even though she did not take an iron supplement. It is amazing what can happen if you start normalizing the body. Give the body what it needs and take away the things that are causing harm. 

For instance, I tested her, and she had gluten sensitivity. She was sensitive and allergic to other foods as well. So just a matter of getting all those things balanced out. I also gave her, besides the FreeDiet®, what I call the Functional Five™: multivitamin, fish oil, vitamin D, magnesium, and probiotics. She was deficient in vitamin D, which is very common and I also added a Curcumin supplement to her regimen.

For people with iron overload, I often add Metal Cleanse™ if they have high iron or other toxic metals. Liver Support is an important supplement as well. 

If someone is iron deficient, of course, I use an iron supplement instead of Metal Cleanse™. Also, if someone has iron overload, the infrared sauna I use as part of the protocol as it can work very well at excreting out excess heavy metals, including iron.

Your Body Can Heal

It’s good to know that no matter what’s going on with you, if you get the right testing and find out what’s causing it, then you can be provided with specific solutions on how to heal. Not just feel better, but get better.

Thanks for joining me today. If you want a free copy of the FreeDiet® Phase 1 food chart, click here.

For more detailed info on the high ferritin protocol click here to see my book, the FreeDiet®. 

Thanks again for joining me today, and I will see you next time. 

Improve Energy & Brain Function with Iron

Having the proper iron level is so vital to your health and energy!

Neurological symptoms of low iron include:

  • lack of concentration
  • fatigue
  • irritability
  • mood swings
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • dizziness
  • foggy thinking
  • headaches
  • slowed growth & development
  • behavioral problems in children

Other symptoms of low iron include:

  • weakness
  • restless legs
  • coldness in hands and feet
  • low sex drive
  • pale skin
  • arrythmias
  • chest pain
  • heart murmur
  • enlarged heart
  • shortness of breath
  • hair loss

Recently, I saw a 10-year-old girl who was diagnosed with ADHD. Her symptoms were irritability, impulsiveness, mood swings, anger, hyperactivity, restlessness, headaches and sometimes fatigue.

She had seen her pediatrician and a psychiatrist.  Apparently, her blood tests were “normal” and she was prescribed ADHD medication as well as counseling.

The first thing I did was order more complete lab testing including Ferritin (stored iron). As it turns out, her level was 19 ng/ml, which was within the lab normal range 10-143 but way below optimal levels of 70-120.  You can have many symptoms as Ferritin levels drop below 50.

After putting her on a personalized nutrition program which included our  iron supplement, just six weeks later her symptoms were gone and she had been able to go off her ADHD medication.

It’s important to note that, taking iron is not the answer for everything, and you can actually have too much iron which can cause a whole host of other problems. So I would not recommend just taking iron without first getting a blood test to see if and how much you need.

You want to have your Ferritin level checked, which measures how much iron is stored in your body. This is the most accurate measure of whether you have optimal iron levels.

Another patient I saw, a woman in her early 40’s, was experiencing hair loss and low energy.  And if you are a female with hair loss, you know that depression and anxiety about this can soon follow.

Her doctor couldn’t find anything wrong and prescribed Rogaine.  She did not want to take this or any other medication so she came in for a more holistic approach.  After thorough lab testing, we found that her Ferritin level was only 10.  Again, within her “normal” lab ranges of 10-232 but way below optimal levels of 50-80.

I put her on a comprehensive, personalized nutrition program which included the FreeDiet™ and our iron supplement and within two months, no more hair loss and she was feeling great!

Be aware, many iron supplements on the market are not well absorbed, can cause stomach irritation & constipation, and contain aluminum dyes.

I have found a highly absorbable, non-constipating iron that is well tolerated by most everyone; and the cost is just pennies a day. Click here to take a look.

So, make sure you have the proper iron levels; a simple solution for more energy and better brain function!

If you have any questions or would like your or a family member’s Ferritin level checked, email us at  or call us  at 561-627-5800. We would be happy to help.

Yours for Vibrant Health,

Dr. Tom Rofrano


A Simple Ferritin Blood Test (that can save your life!)

test ferritin levels

test ferritin levelsA simple blood test can save your life (or vastly improve your health). It’s amazing how much we can learn about your health by properly analyzing a blood test.  Numerous conditions can show up, such as infections, deficiencies, and even allergies, just by ordering the proper blood test.

One of the most important readings in blood tests is your ferritin levels.  Ferritin indicates the amount of iron in your body’s organs and tissues.  Unfortunately, this is not checked on routine blood tests; and just because someone does not have iron-deficiency anemia does not mean they have normal ferritin levels.  “Normal” ferritin levels vary between different labs, but it can be a range of  10-300 ng/ml. However, my range for optimal ferritin test levels is 60-90 ng/ml.

So, why is this so important? Iron is essential to your health, but too little iron in your body can lead to many health issues. Too much of it can be toxic, causing organ damage, a long list of symptoms, and even death. When you have too little iron in your system, it can cause symptoms like body aches, fatigue, weakness, heart palpitations, low sex drive, irritability, restless leg syndrome, high blood pressure, depression and anxiety, headaches, hair loss, mood swings, dizziness, forgetfulness, and trouble concentrating.

When your iron levels are too high, referred to as “Hemochromatosis,” it can cause many of the exact same symptoms as too little iron.  The biggest difference is that if you don’t treat the high iron levels, then over time, it can cause organ damage and eventually lead to things like cirrhosis of the liver, heart failure, and even death. Ferritin blood tests are something that we commonly include in the lab profiles we order for our patients.  If you haven’t had your levels checked with a ferritin lab test, I would suggest you do.

If you have any questions, please give us a call, email, or contact us here. We would be happy to test ferritin levels, iron levels, and whatever else you need to be your best self.

Dr. Tom Rofrano

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    Content on this website is based upon the opinions of Thomas Rofrano, D.C. and is not considered medical advice. It is designed to be a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Rofrano and his community. Dr. Rofrano encourages you to make your health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional. Dr. Rofrano is a chiropractic physician and offers physical and nutritional support and guidance to those seeking alternative or complementary care to traditional medicine. His care is not meant to replace that from your primary doctor and specialists but rather to help you on your path to achieving life-long vibrant health.

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