Does vitamin intake cause high ferritin levels?
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Hello, I'm a 42 year old male and recently had a routine blood test that showed: ferritin high at 736 ng/mL (had a second follow-up test done few days later, similar level...I had small breakfast the morning of the 2nd test) ALT at 53 IU/L total bilirubin at 26 umol/L MCH 32.3 pg MCHC 354 g/L serum Iron 17.9 umol/L Unsaturated Iron Bg. Capacity 40.3 umol/L Iron Binding Saturation % 30.0% ESR was 2 mm/Hour thyroid test TSH was normal at 2.07 mU/L The blood test was on 40 items, all else was normal (glucose, cholesterol). A year ago in a previous blood test, my ALT was normal at 34 (no ferritin test was taken then). I recently took just the ferritin test again and it was again in the 700’s. As part of investigating IBS, 4 months ago I had a CT scan with contrast of my abdomen and pelvis that was all normal (liver normal), colonoscopy normal too. A year ago, an ultrasound of the same region was also all normal. I have been taking a multivitamin with 14mg of iron each day with breakfast. I also was taking 500mg of vitamin C with each of my 3 meals per day. I had been taking this combination for years. My doctor recommended stopping the vitamins and retesting in a month. I was taking the vitamins on my own advice, there was no medical reason for taking them. Could that vitamin intake really lead to such a high ferritin level? There's no history of hemochromatosis in my family and I do not drink much alcohol and do not smoke. I am a bit overweight...215 lbs on 5'6", although I have a muscular build, so it's not as heavy as being pure fat. The only other ailments I have is plantar fasciitis the last few months in my left foot. And my urologist said my prostate is slightly enlarged (PSA is normal) and an ultrasound showed my bladder wall slightly thickened. My mother had a thyroid issue (not sure hypo or hyper) and also a rare cancer called leiomyosarcoma on her bowel and kidney. She was a smoker and as part of her thyroid treatment took radioactive medicine. Any thoughts on what could be pushing the ferritin so high? The vitamins? Also, does in mean anything that the CT scan with contrast showed nothing 3.5 months before the high ferritin reading? And the ESR being normal rule anything out? Thanks
Posted Wed, 29 Jan 2014 in Blood Disorders
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 7 hours later
Brief Answer: Consideration Detailed Answer: hello and thank you for sending the question. Your question is a very good one and I will work on providing you with some information and recommendations. Your concern regarding ferritin is understandable. elevation of this enzyme does not always reflect a disease process. Many different things can cause elevation of this. Hemachromatosis is and inherited disorder which causes elevation of ferritin. this can be checked with a simple blood test. You can ask your doctor to perform this test. Inflammatory disorders and infections can sometimes also cause elevation. In your case it is possible that if you had some type of viral infection or possibly some inflammation going on in your intestines that this might have contributed to the laboratory results. The most reliable result is if you take this test on an empty stomach while fasting for at least 14 hours prior to the laboratory test. I don't think your mothers history has anything to do with this. Hemachromatosis is a genetic disorder and does tend to run in families so it would be unusual for you to have this without someone in your family also having the disorder. There are different varieties of this disorder as well in which someone might inherit only one defective gene. Other individuals can inherit two defective genes in which case symptoms and problems associated with the disorder are more severe. I do not yet see evidence that you have hemachromatosis but I think you should discuss this with your doctor. Dr G
Follow-up: Does vitamin intake cause high ferritin levels? 2 days later
Thanks Doc, I also took test for Hep B & C last week, both came back normal. I did a CRP, which was also normal. Lastly, did a ANA IgM test, was weak positive between 1:80 and 1:160 with speckled pattern...my understanding is that the reading is not clinically significant at that level? I had mono as a teenager, not sure if that could affect it as well. Any further thoughts? Thanks
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 4 hours later
Brief Answer: Follow up Detailed Answer: hello again. You are absolutely correct regarding the clinical significance of the test results. I would not necessarily worry about this right now. I will await additional information regarding your ferritin level. don't think Mono had anything to do with this. Thanks again for sharing your healthcare concerns.