What does a ferritin level of 11 mean? Are there any symptoms associated with this level?
A ferritin level of 11 ng/mL is considered low. Ferritin
is a protein in your blood that stores iron; therefore, low ferritin levels may indicate iron deficiency and can lead to iron-deficiency anemia. Iron-deficiency anemia is a condition where you have too few red blood cells, which can hinder sports performance, cognition, immunity, and more.
Symptoms associated with low ferritin include shortness of breath, irritability, fatigue, dizziness, increased hair shedding, and heart palpitations. If you have iron deficiency anemia related to low ferritin, you may also experience brittle nails, pale skin, chest pain, fast heartbeat, cold hands, or a sore or inflamed tongue.
Learn more about what ferritin is
and the recommended range for ferritin levels.
Factors that could contribute to a ferritin level of 11
Numerous factors impact ferritin levels, including [1
Diet: Diets low in iron put you at greater risk of having low ferritin levels. People who don't eat meat may have a greater risk of iron deficiency anemia if they don't get enough dietary iron from other sources.
Your ability to absorb iron: Intestinal surgeries and disorders, like celiac disease, can reduce your body’s ability to absorb iron from digested food, leading to low ferritin levels and possibly iron-deficiency anemia.
Heavy menstruation: Heavy menstrual bleeding increases your body’s iron needs and can lower ferritin levels.
Pregnancy: Pregnancy increases iron needs which can reduce ferritin levels.
Heavy athletic training: Intense physical training may increase your body’s iron needs, which might lead to a drop in ferritin.
GI conditions and diseases: Certain GI diseases and conditions, including ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, colon cancer, and peptic ulcers, can decrease iron absorption and cause lower ferritin levels.
What to do if your ferritin level is 11?
Medications and supplements used to improve ferritin levels
If you have severe anemia in addition to low ferritin, your doctor may recommend intravenous iron to quickly increase your iron levels and help replenish iron stores.
If you have low ferritin, oral iron supplements
can help improve your levels by increasing your iron stores. Iron dosages, tolerance, and effectiveness can vary from person to person, and too much iron can lead to iron toxicity; thus they should be taken under the supervision of a doctor or dietitian.
The most common iron supplements include [6
Generally speaking, ferrous iron supplements tend to be better tolerated and more cost-effective than ferric iron [7
]. Speak with a healthcare professional to decide which form of iron will best fit your needs and minimize any side effects.
How Elo can help
If you want to increase your ferritin levels but are unsure about what type or how much iron you should take, Elo Health
can help. Elo provides curated nutrition recommendations based on your biomarker scores to create personalized supplements that fit your needs. You also get 1:1 dietitian coaching to further help you reach your health goals. Learn more about how we can help you increase your ferritin level and optimize your nutrition here