Ideal Ferritin levels? What symptoms have you experienced when low on ferritin, and what levels were they at?

I’ve been training for a few years now, and started feeling deep bouts of fatigue. I started doing lots of research and saw that a possible iron / ferritin deficiency could be triggering it. I got my ferritin tested and it came in around 20. Some labs flag that as normal, but lots of forums and some studies I found talked about ideal being at least 70, and really wanting it above 100. I started supplementing, and got it to above 100, and felt amazing. Reduced fatigue, reduced anxiety, strong power output. I got lazy on supplements and back down to 55, and have all the symptoms. Doctors have told me it’s not a concern, but I’ve tracked it for 3 years now and can have correlation with symptoms at anything below 75.

Any of you experienced something similar?

The figures I heard was around 135 parts was better than normal (for a bloke anyway) and that could fall to 35 before docs get worried and 15 was a catastrophic threshold. When I did the LEJOG it was 12 and my pre op test 5 or so months later was 9. At 55 going by the numbers I was given your 55 at the lower end of normal spectrum but nothing too much to worry about and nothing you can’t sort out.

After some concerns my daughter, who is a runner, had with this I found some interesting papers. I don’t recall numbers off-hand, but I thought the narrative review was very good for perspective.
(Also, I got these papers from the author - I found them online, but with restricted journal access. I emailed him about the narrative review and he sent me extras too.)
Sim et al 2019 EJAP_Iron Considerations For The Athlete PDF (1).pdf (683.4 KB)
McCormick2020_Article_RefiningTreatmentStrategiesFor (1).pdf (907.6 KB)

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My wife had a problem with this. Her level was 4. She was totally tired and completely miserable the whole time. As soon as she started supplementing and her iron levels raised to normal she was transformed.

A side note on this, especially for women - when dealing with my daughter’s issues, I could not find any gummy vitamins that include iron - including the women’s specific ones, and that is what we had been using. Getting at least some iron in through supplementation is likely a good strategy for many people, especially runners, as I recall from the paper above.


My experience mirrors yours except with a high water mark of 63 (and an initial low of 20 something). It was something my psychiatrist brought up. It’s helped as far as I can tell, though I haven’t been meticulous about tracking it and I do need to be more consistent with iron supplements.

Thank you for the reminder.