I got a blood test, and I'm iron deficient and zinc deficient!
I decided to go and get a blood test yesterday. I've been feeling really tired lately, more than usual, absolutely crashing by 11am and noticed being quite out of breath easily. I'm a bit more irritable, super anxious and feeling like I could nap in the afternoons. All little red flags of low iron for me.
I haven't had a blood test since July 2021, and since i really try to stick to one blood test a year - i wrote out my own referral on IScreen.
On my list of bloods is; haemoglobin, iron studies, Vitamin D, TSH, T3, T4, rT3 (I really want to see how my thryoid is coping with all this extra life stress), DHEA (as i'm curious if my adrenal glands are coping?), copper + zinc (high copper can contribue to feelings of anxiety).
*I didn't bother doing B12 or folate because i take an activated B supplement often.*
I have had low iron on and off for my entire life. I know it's no cause for concern; my gut health is great and i know i absorb iron just fine - it's my intake vs. output that is the issue. I don't eat a great deal of red meat - mince beef twice a week. And i get my period monthly, and the first two days are heavier. So the monthly loss of iron can build up for me and these symptoms can start.
About a year ago - my ferritin was 23 and HB was 124 (both too low), coming off the back of a horrible miscarriage and I started taking iron, then stopped without that follow up blood test! So i really have no way of knowing what level i got to, and whether it was high enough to actually stop supplements. But i'm human, and just forgot to get the repeat blood test. (lockdowns got me good).
Anyway, this is my reminder to you all - get the blood test! If you are feeling a little bit off, let's stop putting it off, and we can all get our test this following week.
Haemoglobin 125. This should be above 135.
Ferritin 8 (I know!!!!) This should be above 50
Transferrin 2.8. This should be 2-2.5
TSH 1.38. Perfect
T4 15. Perfect
T3 5.1. Perfect
Zinc 7.8 way too low. This should be between 15-18.
Copper 14. Fine
So i was actually really shocked to see how bad my iron is. I feel bad, but that is really bad. Knowing my periods can be on the heavy side, i probably should be supplementing here and there from now onwards. I'm a firm believer in only supplementing WHEN needed, and since i hadn't had a blood test i had no idea whether i needed it or not. I am kicking myself i didn't get one earlier!
Iron deficient, severely and zinc deficient, severely. My zinc levels were 7.8, and they need to be around 15! Honestly, it all now makes sense.
My severe anxiety, is absolutely being caused by the low zinc and low iron. Because it truly came out of nowhere the last few months, and I've never experienced anything quite like it. Along with it;
Hair loss, tick. Tufts coming out in the shower, legit.
Zero libido, tick.
Crappy immune system, tick.
Flat mood, tick.
Noise sensitivity, tick. Cannot bear the loud noises of the kids.
Horrible PMS, tick.
All either driven by zinc or iron deficiency.
I was really shocked to see my zinc as bad as it is. I think that having covid in may, and constant sickness in June/July with the kids - all that immune system work has depleted my zinc stores. Our immune cells use a lot of zinc up when battling viruses. And we absolutely should be supporting zinc levels after being sick, which I did do for a week or so (clearly not enough!). I'm also going to investigate my gut health a bit because when there is more than one nutrient that is low (and dietary intake is great), there usually is an absorption issue. I've been getting quite terrible 'sick stomachs'/nausea when i start eating so i can't finish the meal. I just put this down to anxiety but it could also be digestive issues.
On the other hand; my thyroid was perfect and my Vitamin D was 175 (ideal is anything above 100). reverse T3 was 419 too, which is a touch high but no doubt from the extra life stress lately. It's not too high. Reverse t3 blocks the action of T3 so if it is too high, will cause you to have symptoms of an under-active thyroid because T3 won't be able to exert it's effects on cells.
Anyway, this really got me thinking. If you don't take care of your health, it's going to ALWAYS come back to bite you. Your body is not a machine, and it won't keep working smoothly without care. I've been running myself into the ground this year, and then some. And look at me now. Thank god these issues are completely workable and nothing too serious.
I've felt such fatigued for so many months, i'm beginning to forget what it feels like to get through an entire day without struggling. Do you feel the same? Because if so, it's absolutely time to get a blood test.