My Work With Dr. Marla Shapiro!

Earlier this year I had the privilege of working on a project for Canadian Health & Family, hosted by Dr. Marla Shapiro, for a segment called Understanding and Treating Iron Deficiency and Iron Deficiency Anemia – maybe you’ve seen this segment which originally aired on CTV, or you’ve seen it playing in waiting rooms across Canada!

As an advocate for the early diagnosis and treatment of ID & IDA, I was thrilled to be part of this project to spread awareness, discuss the causes, symptoms and effective treatment options for adults and children. Dr. Al-Hashmi, Pediatric Hematologist, also participated in this project to provide child-focused information.

If you haven’t seen this segment you can watch it now, and if you have seen this segment, well, you can watch it again to refresh your memory!

What does this segment offer?

Iron deficiency is the most common and widespread nutritional disorder in the world – according to the World Health Organization, approximately 50% of all cases of anemia are caused by iron deficiency. Check out this 4-minute segment to learn about:


If you suspect iron deficiency, it is recommended to consult your primary healthcare provider!

 Click here to watch the 4-minute video!

Marla Shapiro in Video

Think you might be iron deficient? Check your symptoms here!

This video is a great resource and discusses iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia – causes, symptoms, at-risk groups and treatment options – in a nutshell. Please feel free to ask me any questions you may have using the comments section below! You can also join the conversation on Twitter!

Content and advice provided on The Iron Maiden is for information purposes only and should not serve as a substitute for a licensed health care provider, who is knowledgeable about an individual’s unique health care needs

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10 thoughts on “My Work With Dr. Marla Shapiro!

  1. Sue Doyle says:

    Hi, I have been having problems with iron deficiency for the past four years. I am taking 300 mg of ferrous sulfate twice a day. At my last blood work in August 2014, my levels were at 10. I have had a colonoscopy twice in the last 8 years and nothing was found to cause my deficiency. Is there anything I should be doing to bring up my levels, my doctor thinks I should just continue taking the pills. I would appreciate any response you can give me.

  2. Leona, RN & Blood Specialist says:

    Hi Sue,

    When you say your iron is 10 I am not sure if you are referring to your Ferritin Level, in which case it is too low for any oral iron to replete, or your serum iron level which using my common lab parameters would be low normal range. Unfortunately health care professionals often refer to these very different lab values as “Iron Level”.

    If you are symptomatic of iron deficiency it may be time to have a discussion with your physician and consider switching to another iron supplement with higher elemental iron and better bioavailability.

    Please let me know if I can help further!


  3. Leona, RN & Blood Specialist says:

    Hi Joe – Some of the symptoms of iron deficiency include sleep pattern disturbances (insomnia, restless legs syndrome, and night terrors to name a few). I don’t believe that taking an iron supplement would have an effect on your sleep pattern, expect perhaps improve it over time. Some of the iron supplements available do give gastrointestinal side effects, including nausea, and because of this I suggest taking them about 30 minutes before going to sleep in hopes that you are asleep before the nausea kicks in.

    If you are taking an iron supplement and find your sleep patterns are disturbed you may want to talk to your primary physician or pharmacist as to what supplement may be a better fit for you, your health history and lifestyle.


  4. Brenda says:

    I am anemic due to dermatitis herpetiformis. I have tried two supplements on the advice of my Dr. After two days, I have extreme itching – right back to my problem with my skin. Any suggestions?

  5. Leona, RN & Blood Specialist says:

    Hi Brenda, Unfortunately I cannot give specific medical advice I can ask you to please review the information related to oral iron supplements and encourage you to speak with your dermatologist about your options to find a supplement that suits your needs specific to your health care issues and lifestyle.


  6. Leah says:

    I have had a ferritin level that has gone from 12 to the highest being 28 in the past 15 years. It is currently 14. My goal is to get it above 50 but I can’t seem to achieve that. I have tried 4 different Kinds of iron supplements. I have several of the symptoms of iron deficiency and it seems impossible to increase my levels. My doctor doesn’t want me to get the injections and keeps sending me to specialist but they have not found any reason. Should I see another doctor about getting the injections or is there something else I should be doing?


      Hi Leah,

      Thank you for your question and I commend you for your compliance with oral iron supplementation!

      As we have noted before, a normal ferritin is 20 but patients can be symptomatic at levels less than 50. Being that low for 15 years must really have effected your quality of life!

      Anecdotally, ferritin levels less than 20 are difficult (if not impossible) to increase using oral iron therapy alone. Given the length of time that you have been dealing with iron deficiency, I do think you would be warranted in advocating with your doctor for Intravenous Iron therapy.

      Good Luck, I hope you can get your quality of life back on track.


  7. Monique says:

    I have been trying to take supplements for years. They are not bringing me up to normal levels. Should I be seeking the IV Iron treatment. Recently it got quick severe (it creeps up on you) and it triggered some depression. I didn’t know there was a relationship before. My daughters also have very low iron levels. In fact, one of them suffered from depression last year but no doctor made any connection between her iron and depression. She is off the charts low (literally was in the <5 category. I have a doctor that says, some people are just naturally low in iron. Frustrating.

    And we have a very iron rich diet.


      Hi Monique,

      Thanks for taking the time to ask this question. There is a great deal of information here that you may wish to use in advocating with your doctor for intravenous iron, which is what I would recommend if your were my patient. I would suggest that you take a look at the progression of iron deficiency and the Symptoms Checker (both paediatric and the adult).

      I remember when I heard Dr. McLeod speak, she stated that women who are iron deficient during pregnancy usually pass it on to their female children. It is a big learning curve for health care providers that while iron deficiency may be a common issue it dose need to be treated. It frustrates me that something as easy to diagnose and treat as iron deficiency, a condition that so profoundly effects one’s quality of life, is so frequently under treated. About 20% of all Canadian women and 50% of pregnant Canadian women are iron deficient… this is truly an epidemic that needs the attention of our health care providers. It is a shame that as a patient you have to work so hard, advocating for yourself and your family to get appropriate and timely treatment.

      The struggle is so REAL, good luck in your battle and please let me know if I can be of further assistance.


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