VITAMINS & MINERALS MARKERS
In our cells, iron is bound to proteins to form complexes called ferritin and hemosiderin. The main storage protein is ferritin which is found predominantly in the liver. Ferritin is also found in the spleen, bone marrow and muscle cells. As some ferritin is found circulating in the blood, it forms the best indicator of the amount of iron stored in the body.
How does Ferritin affect my wellbeing?
If you have reduced ferritin levels due to iron deficiency it can make you feel unwell. Some of the clinical symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia can include, pale skin, fatigue, very low energy levels, headaches, difficulty breathing, dry skin and hair, restless leg syndrome, increased heartbeat.
Anaemia can affect your ability to concentrate and may negatively affect your work performance. This is because there is reduced transportation of oxygen in anaemia which can have a serious effect on your energy. The red blood cells are smaller when anaemia is present causing fatigue and breathlessness.
If your ferritin levels are high this could be a sign of iron overload and may be due to an inherited condition known as haemochromatosis. Haemochromatosis or iron overload can cause, fatigue or feeling tired all the time, feeling weak, joint pain, weight loss, women may have irregular periods, men may find it difficult to get or keep an erection.
Other causes of increased ferritin levels may be obesity, kidney failure, inflammation, uncontrolled malignancy, chronic liver disorders and rheumatoid arthritis.
Inflammation can be a cause of raised ferritin levels. Ferritin may be more indicative of inflammation in overweight or obese people rather than due to iron status.