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Help understanding Iron tests

FuriousAngus

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I recently had a bunch of follow up iron tests since my CBC always comes up with low MCV, MCH, MCHC and high RDW.

My last CBC (on a cruise, 125mg/wk, around 670 free test) showed...

HCT: 47.1 (dehydrated, first thing in the morning, if I recall...)
HGB: 15
RBC: 5.7
MCV: 82.1
MCH: 26.1
MCHC: 31.8


This had me worried about lower iron/anemia, so I had some iron blood tests and this came out...

Serum Iron: 117
Ferritin: 200
TIBC: 506 - HIGH


A high TIBC usually indicates lower than normal iron levels? But both my Ferritin and serum Iron are in range...

Can someone help me interpret these results? I'm uncertain if I should start supplementing iron or not...

*my bloods looked about the same for 3 years now, even during blast (HCT stays under 47%, same goes for RBC)
*I train literally everyday (I divide my volume across), do 1 hour of LISS and 3 days a week i'll do 30 min of LISS instead + 10 rounds of HIIT (kinda, I'll only allow my heart rate to hit 165-170).
 

XstarchildX

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Based on your bloodwork you are slightly iron deficient. It's not bad at all. How are you feeling? This can easily be brought up by increasing iron rich foods and avoiding any calcium rich foods with those iron heavy meals. I would also supplement 500-1000mg vitamin c with those meals. Retest in 1 month.
 

FuriousAngus

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Based on your bloodwork you are slightly iron deficient. It's not bad at all. How are you feeling? This can easily be brought up by increasing iron rich foods and avoiding any calcium rich foods with those iron heavy meals. I would also supplement 500-1000mg vitamin c with those meals. Retest in 1 month.
Thanks for the input. I figured as much, but bloods looked kinda confusing to me (I'd expect ferritin to be on the low end as well but it's 200 despite TIBC being 500+). I'm only taking in 20% of RDA through diet (whey, chicken and eggs, almost never eat red meat).

I never felt like there was anything particularly wrong with me. I'm often light headed and feel kinda weak if I stand up too fast, but I've been that way since I was a teenager. Been supplementing with 18mg iron glycinate for a few days now and honestly all of those things are gone. I do not know if it's placebo or not, though...

I'll retest all including cbc in 1 month and reassess. If iron panels look solid should I continue to supplement or do I cut iron off? and for how long? Given that diet is unlikely to change much, this means that eventually I'll become iron deficient again, no?

I'm very wary/worried about supplementing iron, honestly.
 
D

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MCV, MCH, MCHC all refer to the size of your RBC. You have lots of them but they are small and not fully matured. Your body is efficient at cranking out RBC (partly cause of exogenous test) but there is not enough raw material (iron, copper) to get them up to full size. More red meat or otc iron and copper supps. I would say its nothing to be overly concerned with. You will cary a little less O2 with each RBC but you have lots of them, you probably won`t notice a difference in O2 transport.

I have the same situation on my last blood work but have not been in yet for more blood work yet.
 

heavyhitter

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I use a cast iron skillet to cook most of my foods in. It is a great source of ferrous iron and has been shown to be able to increase iron content in your foods. I have noticed improvements in my iron levels since starting this
 

XstarchildX

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A lot of times this is brought on by frequent blood donations. Keep in mind guys, that not EVERYONE has to donate every 56 days. Some can get away with much less frequent donations. That's why blood work is so vital!
 

FuriousAngus

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MCV, MCH, MCHC all refer to the size of your RBC. You have lots of them but they are small and not fully matured. Your body is efficient at cranking out RBC (partly cause of exogenous test) but there is not enough raw material (iron, copper) to get them up to full size. More red meat or otc iron and copper supps. I would say its nothing to be overly concerned with. You will cary a little less O2 with each RBC but you have lots of them, you probably won`t notice a difference in O2 transport.

I have the same situation on my last blood work but have not been in yet for more blood work yet.
Makes a lot of sense. I'm naturally a bit on the OCD side so little details like this can get me worried pretty easily. Thanks for the explanation.
 

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