Vitamins 534


What is Ferritin?



Ferritin is a protein that stores iron when there is excess, and releases it when the body needs it. Although it is not the only protein that binds to and stores iron, most iron is stored by and bound to ferritin. It is found all over the body including the liver, bone marrow and spleen. It is further known that the ferritin levels rise with increasing age. In Swedish, ferritin may also go under the name of “järndepå”.

Normal levels of ferritin indicate that the amount of stored iron in the body is within normal ranges, implying normal function in the regulating processes. Maintaining normal ferritin levels together with normal iron levels facilitates an optimal oxygen distribution, increasing stamina and overall vitality.

Ferritin is a protein that stores iron in our bodies. Therefore, ferritin is measured in order to assess the body’s iron stores. Affected iron stores can give health care providers important information on underlying conditions affecting iron metabolism, such as:

Iron deficiency anemia
Iron overload disorders

Since the amount of iron bound to ferritin is so high, you will get a better understanding of your iron levels by measuring ferritin, rather than measuring iron directly.



Low levels Ferritin?



Low levels of ferritin means low amounts of stored iron in the body, which can indicate iron deficiency anemia. Iron deficiency can be the result of either one of the three following reasons:

Lack of iron intake through diet
Excessive iron loss through bleeding
Inability to absorb sufficient amounts of iron through your intestines

Therefore, malnutrition and conditions such as IBS and chronic kidney disease can, apart from bleeding, cause low ferritin levels.



High levels Ferritin?



High ferritin levels could indicate that the body has an excess amount of stored iron. Iron overload disorders such as hemochromatosis or liver disease causing a dysfunction in iron store regulation may therefore be the underlying cause.

Alcohol, causing damage to the liver, will therefore also possibly cause an increased release of ferritin into the bloodstream resulting in elevated levels. Perhaps more frequently seen, ferritin rises in the presence of inflammation or infection. This is because ferritin is a so-called acute phase reactant much like the more famous CRP.

Since high levels of ferritin can damage organs and tissues if left untreated, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider if elevated levels are revealed. Examples of interventions when ferritin levels are elevated include:

Reducing iron intake
Medications that lower iron levels
Phlebotomy (blood removal)