Iron In The Diet & Disease

Discussion in 'Fitness & Nutrition' started by METALLlC BLUE, Jun 30, 2002.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. There is an illness which is reponsible for causing high iron levels in the blood (Hemochromatosis), but for those of us who just have "high" iron levels from inappropriate diet - it can be detrimental to health any way shape or form if it occurs over a number of years. High iron levels are associated with first time Stroke - as well as reoccuring strokes, and it has a very close nit connection with the disease Alzheimers.

    Lack of Iron can also have detrimental effects. Some people experience "Pica" or the eating of abnormal items to increase Iron levels. The body will begin craving things such as paper, ice chips or even dirt (children). Lack of Iron in the blood will cause Anemia - this means the oxygen your breath in can't bind at all or poorly to the hemoglobin (blood). When this occurs fatigue and a host of other symptoms can occur from the cells of your body starving. Oxygen is necessary for your cells to produce energy and survive. If anyone here has a low serum iron level and your doctor has prescribed iron supplements, then it's important to note that Iron is most absorbable in the ferrous form (fumarate or sulfate, less so in the gluconate form) than ferric.

    It is possible to suffer from both Iron Overload and Anemia at the same time - the cause of Anemia is not always a result of Iron Deficency. It's very complicated.

  2. Fatghost28

    Fatghost28 Guest

    How do you go about achieving an optimal level of iron in the blood?
  3. Filmboy44

    Filmboy44 Guest

    I have a book entitled "Iron, the double edged sword". It states that you can't find the optimal point you want in your body, that a normal well balanced diet will give you the proper amount of iron needed. Here's a sample:

    Iron deficiency and it’s most serious form, anemia are usually a result of inadequate iron intake in a person’s diet. If we are not consuming enough iron in our daily diet or we are at one of the critical stages noted below, we may become anemic.

    Symptoms include:
    Fatigue, lethargy, difficulty concentrating, shortened attention span, lack of aerobic ability, dizziness, shortness of breath, pallor (conjunctivae, nail beds, skin, gums). At different stages of life, everyone is susceptible to anemia but there are some critical stages that are very important and which everyone should be aware of.

    Early Childhood –
    especially ages six months to two years. Breastmilk contains an adequate supply of iron for infants and many formulas are fortified with iron so they do too. It is recommended that children be breastfed for up to 18 months but if they are not, and when complementary food (solid) is introduced they are at risk for anemia. This age group is in an important stage of growth and development – the brain is growing and learning, cognitive development is occurring, motor skills and behavioral development is happening. Iron deficiency has detrimental effects on all of these. It can cause a loss of 9 IQ points! It slows the brain functions, hurting coordination and motor skills. Iron is critical for complete child development!

    Adolescence –
    both girls and boys. Adolescence is another stage of rapid growth for the human body. Without enough iron, full growth and mental development will not occur. Students will not learn as much. Fatigue, lethargy, and apathy may effect social development and job capability. After adolescence, boys usually are not effected by anemia, their iron levels even out and with adequate nutrition they will maintain adequate levels.

    Women –
    pregnant women need double their normal amount of iron in order to supply their growing fetus. Adequate iron is require in preparation for pregnancy and during breastfeeding so that the child can gain adequate weight and develop properly. Women lose iron during menstruation and those who bleed heavily may become anemic.


    Food-based solutions to the iron deficiency and anemia problem are the most sustainable and desirable method. They are designed to increase iron intake through the diet. Food-based strategies include: improving the year-round availability of iron-rich foods, ensuring access to iron-rich foods (especially those households at risk), and changing feeding/consumptions practices with respect to those foods.

    Only a small portion of the iron in the diet is usually absorbed. This proportion depends on several factors, including:
    - the total amount of iron in the meal eaten
    - the food source of the iron (iron in animal protein foods (such as meat) is easily absorbed by the body. In plant foods (such as green leafy vegetables, legumes) iron must be broken down before it can be used.

    The greater the contribution of meat, fish, and vitamin C to the total diet, the more efficient will be the absorption of the iron from it. Vitamin C is important in the diet, especially diets that do not include animal protein, since it converts iron into a form that can be well absorbed. Coffee and tea work to block absorption of iron. These should not be given to children.

    Dietary Improvement

    Foods high in iron should be eaten on a daily basis. Foods rich in vitamin C should also be encouraged because vitamin C enhances the absorption of the iron. See the list below.


    Sesame seeds
    Mung bean

    Animal - lean meats

    Organ meat, such as liver, heart
    ****HOWEVER****No raw seafood. Cooked is OK but not raw. There is a cholera type bacteria that is in all sea water. It is called vibrio vulnificus and can be catastrophic for people with iron overload disease. It is chiefly found in shell fish, oysters and other filter feeders. In Florida 11-16 people a year die from the coincidence of undetected iron overload and raw seafood. Most iron loaded individuals are unaware of their excess iron.

    Vegetables and fruits

    Dried fruits, such as apricots, raisins, dates, figs, peaches, banana
    Fruit juices, such as prune
    Alfalfa shoots
    Amaranth leaves

    Vitamin C-rich foods
    ****HOWEVER**** you should not take over-the-counter vit. C. Fresh fruits and juices are OK but not in pill form. Vit. C has a very bad association with iron. It will cause you to load iron at the same time it makes storage iron more caustic and can liberate iron from stored tissues into unstored tissues. Heart arrhythmia and cardiac electrical disturbances will be made worse with vit. C. Arthritis is also adversely impacted with vit. C. Be aware that most multi vitamins contain at least some vitamin C. The only safe vitamin for hemochromatosis patients is the B complex. This should include folic acid which is one of the B vitamins. This is particularly beneficial while in aggressive treatment. Watch the labels in the grocery market for added iron or vit. C.

    Lemon, lemon juice
    Sweet potato


    To diagnose hemochromatosis is an easy affair. Basically there are two tests that confirm an iron overload. First there is Transferrin Saturation (TS) or as it is called in some labs Percentage of Saturation:

    Test # 1
    After a 12 hour fast, measure Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC) and the Serum Iron (SI). To achieve the percentage of Saturation you divide the TIBC into SI.

    ------- = Percentage of Saturation or in some labs
    TIBC Transferrin Saturation

    Safe range = 12-44%

    Any values above this range must be considered at risk for iron overload and should cause immediate protocol treatment.
    Any values far below this range may be a sign of bleeding ulcers, chronic infection or cancer.

    Test # 2
    Using the blood from the first draw, next check the amount of storage iron - Serum Ferritin

    Safe range = 5-150

    A patient or a relative of a patient needs to be at the lower end of this range.

    A relative of a patient will need these tests at each and every physical for the rest of their lives no matter the gender no matter the age.

    If both of these tests measure high then aggressive treatment is indicated. Diagnosis without treatment is useless. The patient must be motivated to off load the iron as fast as possible.

    Treatment Confirms Diagnosis:

    If protocol treatment is tolerated after 4-6 weeks without the patient's hematocrit or hemoglobin crashing, (below 30% or 10 respectively ), then that in itself is further confirmation of the overload.

    Liver Biopsy:
    The process is dangerous, one death in a thousand as a result. Also it was reported by Corwin Edwards MD at our 16th Symposium - San Diego 1998 - that there is a high error rate. As much as 13% of patients under going this process have not had their overload discovered. A positive in this procedure yields a grade from 1-4 but this information does not alter treatment in any way. The liver is best served by rapid reduction of iron stores.

    DNA Testing:
    All of the genes have not yet been discovered that might cause an overload. There may be as many as 13 - 17% of these mutations left unidentified. These tests are also expensive - $200-$300 per person. Also all labs do not check for all of the mutations. These labs also want to report to your doctor the results. IOD has had the experience of taking calls from people who have been disqualified from treatment when they were found free of the genetics or with only half genetics for hemochromatosis in spite of their iron overload.


    1. A low iron diet is not recommended or even possible to design. Iron is in everything and foods that contain iron also provide other essential elements to help heal and rebuild the body. Red meat is an important source of B vitamins, as you know. Fresh fruits and vegetables benefit the liver more
    than processed foods.

    2. Iron is not excreted. A normal metabolism for iron refrains from absorbing more than the daily need. One milligram of iron is lost daily through hair, fingernails, dead skin cells and other detritus. The average daily loss for menstruating woman is one and half milligrams. That one or one and a half is the daily need despite outdated levels recommended by the governmental agencies.

    3.Anemias are iron-loading, except for anemias resulting from chronic blood loss or tumor. When iron accumulates in storage instead being used by hemoglobin, the patient's hemoglobin
    will test low. Iron should not be administered. Instead the patient needs a complex of B vitamins, including B6, folate or folic acid and B12. The excess iron must be removed despite the anemia.

    4. When low iron is found, it is essential to seek the source of the blood loss or cancer. Cancer cells require iron to proliferate. It is dangerous to medicate with iron without first knowing the iron levels and then discovering the reason for low iron.

    5. When anemia is severe enough to require transfusions, physicians should be aware that this process will increase the dangerous iron burden. Iron must be simultaneously removed through the iron chelator Desferal.

    6.Alcohol should be avoided until the de-ironing process is completed. When liver enzymes return to normal, the patient may ease back into social drinking.

    7.Tylenol - acetemetaphen - should never be taken with alcohol. The patient who tests with elevated liver enzymes, as many do, must avoid Tylenol altogether.

    8. Those in protocol treatment will benefit from a B complex of vitamins, including B6, folic acid or folate and B12.

    9. Iron patients must check labels of processed foods for added iron or vitamin C. An example is that oatmeal or shredded wheat should be selected instead of the breakfast cereal Total.

    10. Who should take iron? The only candidate for iron supplementation is an individual who has had large portions of gut removed.

    11. The patient must not take any over-the-counter vitamin C. Vitamin C as a pill has been found to mobilize stored iron into the heart muscle where it sets up arrhythmia or heart rhythm disturbances. It can also cause people to over absorb iron even from their ordinary diets. And it can fire the iron that is stored in the joints and makes arthritis worse. The source for vitamin C should be any uncooked food.

    12. The patient must not eat or handle raw seafood. Cooked is OK, but not raw. Iron overloaded patients should also not walk on beaches barefoot. This is because of a bacterium common in all sea water called Vibrio vulnificus. This bacterium when it encounters stored iron is catastrophically toxic. Every year it is the cause of death and maiming when an undiagnosed iron overloaded patient comes in contact with this bacteria.

    13. Drinking tea can help inhibit iron absorption. Tannin is the blocking agent. The patient must not believe that this will be a replacement for protocol treatment.

    14. Excess iron stores in liver, heart, brain, pancreas, joints and everywhere. Iron oxidizes - rusts - and results in deadly and expensive disease. Symptoms of heart disease, cancer, cirrhosis, diabetes, arthritis, sexual dysfunction and others are completely preventable when they are based on iron. Maintaining low iron levels improves immunity, making iron unavailable to viruses, bacteria and cancer cells.

    15. The most common of several iron storage diseases is hemochromatosis. It is caused by the most frequently expressed genetic abnormality in any population and can result in the metabolic defect that leads to iron overload. It is estimated that 42 million Americans are at risk, including those with the double gene and those with the single gene. The single mutation may result in enough excess iron to cause heart attack or stroke, aside from full blown hemochromatosis.

    Sorry for the long ass post
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 30, 2002
  4. MikeMurder

    MikeMurder Guest

    The mods +METALLIC BLUE should really make a website with all kinds of articles on this stuff...... you guys are the best :bowdown:
  5. Filmboy44

    Filmboy44 Guest

    :bigthumb: yep we are working on that right now.
  6. MikeMurder

    MikeMurder Guest


    Me---> :bowdown: :wavey: <---OT Fitness GODS
  7. I didn't know this would be a sticky, but thought it would be good to write about. :)
  8. Fatghost28

    Fatghost28 Guest

    MB, all of your threads are sticky worthy, you do good work!

  9. Ghost I think the only threads that really meant something to me personaly was the one about "meaning of life" and "Adult Level Race Rant". I don't think I've put anything together that meant more then those. You know when you actually surprise yourself? Those were it. I actually patted myself on the back when I put those together. I think some threads we've taken part in both here and the other OnTopic section have changed lives. I like to think that... I hope it has.

    Thanks for adding the additional information here about Iron FilmBoy. It's so much easier when a few people follow up to complete a topic instead of leaving some gaps.

    Pumping Iron now has a new meaning. Get your iron in the foods you eat folks. Be aware. :cool:
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page