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Causes of low ferritin

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Ferritin is an iron-containing protein that is stored in red blood cells. Based on the amount of ferritin in the blood, we can establish the iron levels in the blood, so when, for whatever reason, iron levels drop, the amount of ferritin in the blood also decreases.

Many times in the field of health we deal with complex concepts the names of which we do not know or are not completely clear, in turn, there are a thousand names, diseases and pathologies that we do not know very well what they mean. That is why if you have been diagnosed and you wonder why do I have low ferritin? , in this FastlyHealarticle we give you the answer to your question.


One of the main causes why we can have low levels of ferritin in the blood is anemia, caused by low levels of iron or low formation of hemoglobin , the protein responsible for transporting oxygen to red blood cells There are different types of anemia depending on of which is the cause that causes it:

Due to iron deficiency

The best known form of anemia is iron deficiency anemia, caused by poor absorption of iron by the digestive system , something that causes a decrease in the formation of hemoglobin.

Due to misuse of iron

In this type of anemia, the problem does not lie in the amount of iron in the blood, the levels are adequate but, despite having the necessary amounts for the body to develop correctly, there is a misuse of this element by the red blood cells .

Due to deficit in iron transport

If the body does not correctly transport the iron present in the liver and in the digestive system to the red blood cells , the body is prevented from forming the amounts of hemoglobin necessary for its proper functioning.

Chronic anemia

The underlying cause of this type of anemia is low red blood cell production. Thousands of red blood cells die every day, so if our body does not manufacture them in the necessary quantities, there is no regeneration, causing fewer and fewer.

In the following FastlyHealarticles we explain what a diet for anemia should be like and 5 recipes for anemia .


If hyperthyroidism produces an overactive thyroid gland, hypothyroidism causes low levels of activity in it, greatly reducing the production of thyroid hormones.

As a result, the body does not produce hydrochloric acid in the necessary amounts and because this acid is vital for absorbing iron , the body cannot supply itself with this nutrient.

Another consequence of hypothyroidism is a drop in body temperature, which decreases the production of red blood cells, causing less hemoglobin in the blood, causing low ferritin.

In the following FastlyHealarticle we give you the keys to having a good diet for hypothyroidism .

Extreme diets

In a society marked by the speed and immediacy of results, many people choose extreme diets to try to lose in an accelerated and drastic way. This way of losing weight can be dangerous, since if the body does not receive the necessary amount of minerals and vitamins, many of its functions will be hampered.

Low ferritin from extreme dieting occurs when the required levels of iron are not consumed , lowering your blood levels and causing low ferritin. These dangers are triggered in the case of women of childbearing age, as the risks of a poor diet are compounded by blood loss during menstruation.

To avoid these consequences, it is very important to follow the guidelines of a doctor or nutritionist who establishes a good diet , with which you can keep your body at the proper levels of nutrients.

Other diseases and conditions

Renal problems

Kidneys that suffer from some type of impediment to properly develop their functions can cause a drop in iron and ferritin. Any pathology that affects the kidneys can prevent this organ from producing erythropoietin , better known as EPO, a hormone that stimulates the production of red blood cells.

Chemotherapy treatment

Anemia is one of the main side effects of chemotherapy. This cancer treatment can kill red blood cells, dramatically lowering ferritin and iron levels. To alleviate these effects, patients undergoing chemotherapy usually undergo blood transfusions to avoid these deficiencies.

Foods to combat low ferratin

Next we will give you a series of tips to prevent low ferritin , based on these foods you can design a suitable diet to increase the amount of this protein in your blood:

  • The first thing you should do is reduce the amount of dairy , since these foods represent an obstacle for the body to properly absorb iron.
  • Parsley is one of the best foods to increase iron levels, you can consume it raw or in juice, blended with lemon juice. Only 25 grams of parsley contain the same iron as a beef fillet.
  • The beets are also a great food to increase the iron in blood, also provide us phosphorus, calcium, magnesium and potassium.
  • Chocolate, especially dark chocolate , can be a tasty way to combat low ferritin, since cocoa contains high levels of iron.

Symptoms of low ferratin

If low ferritin is not properly treated it can lead to a large number of symptoms that, depending on the deficit in the body, can have considerable consequences for your health :


If the ferritin is not high enough, the person can tire easily, causing chronic fatigue . These people feel like their energy is depleted immediately, with the minimum effort and they cannot even follow the usual day-to-day routines.

Hair loss

The hair follicles, from where the hairs are born and grow, contain significant levels of ferritin, so if this is not in its proper levels, there is a sudden loss of hair or its growth is greatly diminished.

Respiratory problems

Faced with a serious ferritin deficiency, the patient can suffer serious respiratory problems. As we have explained before , iron is vital for the transport of oxygen , as a result of this, if the amounts of iron and ferritin are low, the oxygen does not arrive in the amounts that it should and breathing difficulties occur.


Pagophagia is one of the most curious symptoms of a lack of iron and low ferritin, it is an eating disorder characterized by the irrepressible urge to chew and eat ice . This is not good for the body, firstly because ice does not contain iron and does not help to alleviate this deficiency, but on the other hand, chewing frozen water can damage tooth enamel, causing teeth to chip and facilitating the appearance of cavities.

Nail problems

Anomalies in nail growth, the fact that they break easily or an abnormal coloration is usually one of the consequences of low ferritin levels.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Why do I have low ferritin , we recommend that you enter our Blood, heart and circulation category .

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