Reasons for low ferritin

blood testing image by John Keith from

The body's cells stores iron in a protein called ferritin. Blood tests that check the serum ferritin level measure the level of iron in your blood. If you feel especially sluggish or tired, have your iron level tested. Low iron levels will impact your health and energy level.

Checking the serum ferritin level involves taking a blood sample from your vein, a procedure that takes less than a minute.


If you don't have enough iron in your diet, you may have a low serum ferritin level, resulting in an iron deficiency. Ensure that your diet includes meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products and iron-fortified foods. In addition, if you eat a diet with a lot of sugar, you may not eat enough healthy high-iron foods. High-fibre diets may also slow your absorption of iron.

Iron Absorption

Low serum ferritan levels may result from an inability to properly absorb enough iron from foods. If you've undergone intestinal surgery or have an intestinal disease, such as Crohn's or Celiac disease, you may have difficulties absorbing sufficient iron from the foods that you eat. Some prescription medications can reduce stomach acid, impacting iron absorption. Also, ensure that you eat enough foods with folate (beans and legumes, citrus fruits, whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables, liver, poultry, shellfish, pork), vitamin B12 (liver, shellfish, beef, eggs) and vitamin C (citrus fruits, peppers, tomatoes, other brightly-coloured fruits and vegetables) which will help your body's iron absorption.

Blood Loss

People who loose blood have an increased risk of low serum ferritin levels. Sometimes a doctor can easily identify the source of the blood loss, such as women who lose blood from menstruation or after birth, or an individual who has had an accident or injury. In other instances the doctor must determine whether the patient has internal bleeding. Bleeding ulcers, colon cancer or certain medications can cause internal bleeding, and the physician must treat the cause of the bleeding together with administering the necessary treatment for the iron deficiency.