Dumping Iron: How to Ditch This Secret Killer and Reclaim Your Health by P. D. Mangan1
This book did an excellent job illuminating the connection between too much iron and chronic disease.
Quite simply, too much iron can precipitate the same oxidative reaction seen in this car below.
“The chemical quality that makes iron essential for living things, its ease of reaction, also makes it dangerous. Iron is a potent “pro-oxidant, and can react with biological structures, such as proteins and cell membranes, and damage them. Damage accumulates, causing aging and disease. When accumulated in excess, as it is in many, maybe even the majority, of people in the Western world, iron may be one of the most important causes of aging and disease.”
High levels of oxidation correlate with high levels of inflammation. Iron can very directly be tied into the conditions we see all around us as. Evidence put forth here shows cancer, heart disease, neurodegenerative (Alzheimer’s/Parkinson’s/MS), gout, skin cancer, morning sickness, graying hair, liver disease, COPD, macular degeneration, mitochondrial dysfunction, infections (virus, yeast, and bacteria all use iron as a growth factor) and more.
mTOR has been touched on here previously, and it was shown that iron also activates mTOR and its associated growth signaling.
How we accumulate iron
Mangan puts forth that a very simple explanation to why women generally live longer is due to the higher levels men accumulate. Why? Women have a monthly iron excretion process from puberty until menopause. Iron is reduced with loss of blood, and female cycles accomplish this effectively. So, since humans have to way of excreting iron, women are at an advantage here.
Then there is the government. Iron is a required additive to many foods such as flour, cornmeal, and rice. Eaten any of these lately?
So if you cut those at are we safe? A step in the right direction for sure, but not quite.
Two very popular substances humans consume at a high level are actually iron absorption enhancers. Alcohol and sugar, both work to pull more iron in with the foods consumed.
As with any good book, it was more than just a statement of problems with no good solutions. Here are a few ways identified:
- Giving blood
- 1-3 times a year depending on how high your serum ferritin lab result measures
- blood donors had an 88% reduced risk of heart attack
- caloric restriction
- the tie-in here to mTOR is revisited. mTOR signals growth, while caloric restriction influences the rest and recycling pathways. Iron levels are decreased during periods of caloric restriction
- EGCG from green tea and many others from brightly colored fruits and vegetables such as turmeric act as iron chelators, or binders of iron so they can be excreted.
- exercise reduces iron stores
- “A short list of food and drink that can inhibit iron absorption includes: eggs dairy products grains and vegetables foods high in phytates, such as walnuts, almonds, and legumes (beans, peas, lentils) tea and coffee chocolate red wine olive oil”
- “Consuming eggs and dairy products with meals can hinder iron absorption as much as 50%.”
- “No effect is seen when coffee is drunk before a meal; to inhibit iron, the coffee or tea must be drunk with or shortly after a meal.”
- “Vitamin C strongly increases iron absorption. It should not be taken with meals if you want to decrease iron. Likewise, drinks containing it, such as orange juice, do the same. Any acidic drink will also, such as cranberry juice or tomato juice.”
To start, ask your doctor to include serum ferritin on your next lab draw. We have been able to help multiple people by getting started on reducing excess iron with this information
The goal serum ferritin values established; “A review of this issue concluded that optimum adult ferritin values are in the range of 20 to 40 for women, and 50 to 70 for men. Within these ranges, both iron deficiency and iron overload can be avoided.”
This short summary didn’t include much of the citations, but it is meant to demonstrate that iron is something that is critical to pay attention to if you want to stay in as much control over your aging process as possible.
Please reach out if I can be of help, our service has experience in managing iron.
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