MTHFR, ferritin, giving blood, and heart failure

(Bob M) #1

TLDR: If you have heart failure and want to give blood, you should check your ferritin and iron/TIBC levels and stop giving if they stay low. If you have heart failure AND have the MTHFR mutation, you should consider not giving blood or give it very rarely.

So, I am part MTHFR, which is a genetic mutation that, well you can read about it here:

From my perspective, my issue is low ferritin. I saw a 2017 presentation (at Keto Fest) where Ivor Cummins discussed how keto made his ferritin level go down, and how it was good to have a lower level. (Not sure he gave values though.) I got a ferritin test, and I was happy to see that my ferritin was low.

Ferritin is discussed as this:

The problem? My ferritin was too low. It was barely above the bottom of the range.

While high values of ferritin are bad, low values are also bad, particularly for me. I was diagnosed with low level heart failure about 10 and a half years ago. What I did not realize that there is a relationship between ferritin and heart failure.

This has an overview:

One of the things they say: “Definition of iron deficiency in heart failure differs from other conditions of chronic inflammation and is defined as: ferritin <100 µg/L or ferritin of 100-299 µg/L with a transferrin saturation <20%.”

This is what I wrote to my wife:

The 7/6 was about 2 weeks after giving blood. The TIBC and UIBC are high, which is bad; the iron saturation and ferritin are low, which is bad.

The blue values are about 3 months later, without giving blood. The results there are much better and are actually what they want to see as per the above quote.

What happens for people with MTHFR is that we have iron in our blood, we just don’t have access to it. That can exacerbate (or possibly even cause) heart failure.

By the way, to raise ferritin and iron saturation, I took some methylated B vitamins - infrequently because 2/3 times per week makes me feel pretty good; more than that, and I feel worse – and ate beef. That’s it.

I got to 6 gallons of donation. Sadly, I may not get higher. It’s the one thing I consistently did to help people, over years (it’s a minimum of 8 years if you give blood the maximum times per year). And now it’s gone. I am so sad.