Iron (Fe)

Iron is the most important mineral required by the body. One of the most important functions of iron is the production of hemoglobin and myoglobin (the form of hemoglobin found in muscle tissue), and the oxygenation of red bloods cells.

A deficiency of iron results in lack of energy, decreased immunity, weakness and extreme fatigue. Additionally, as less oxygen reaches parts of the body, various bodily functions will be adversely affected, resulting in anemia.

Did you know that’s vitamin C aids in the body’s ability to absorb iron? This is why is it very important that our body’s levels are always balanced.

Iron

Vegetables

  • Green Leafy vegetables
  • Avocados
  • Beets
  • Kelp
  • Watercress

Beans/Lentils/Seeds/Nuts/Grains

  • Almond
  • Kidney Beans
  • Lima Beans
  • Rice
  • Soybeans
  • Lentils
  • Dried seeds
  • Millet
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Wheat Bran
  • Whole Grains

Fruit

  • Dates
  • Dried Prunes
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Raisins
  • Pumpkin
  • Dried Figs

Herbs

  • Alfalfa
  • Burdock Root
  • Catnip
  • Cayenne
  • Chamomile
  • Chickweed
  • Chicory
  • Dandelion
  • Dong Quai
  • Eyebright
  • Fennel Seed
  • Fenugreek
  • Horestail
  • Kelp
  • Lemongrass
  • Licorice
  • Milk Thistle Seed
  • Mullein
  • Nettle
  • Oat Straw
  • Paprika
  • Parsley
  • Peppermint
  • Plantain
  • Rasberry Leaf
  • Rose Hips
  • Sarsaparilla
  • Shepherd’s Purse
  • Uva Ursi
  • Yelow duck

There are times where some people have too much iron and if you have more iron than your body needs to satisfy your hemoglobin requirement (for cell oxygenation), the excess becomes a dangerous surplus. This is an issue that deserves attention, as research examining iron levels in Americans shows that more people have iron levels that are considered too high, than levels that are deficient. In one study of more than 1,000 people, only 3 percent were iron deficient, but 13 percent had iron overload.1

What are the Health Risks of Too Much Iron?

Your body has a limited capacity to excrete iron, which means it can easily build up in organs like your liver, heart and pancreas. This is dangerous because iron is a potent oxidizer and can damage your body tissues contributing to serious health issues, including:

  • Cirrhosis
  • Liver cancer
  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • Diabetes
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Bacterial and viral infections

Regarding Alzheimer’s, high iron levels in your blood can lead to the production of free radicals that can damage neurons in your brain. It’s also believed that iron accumulates at high levels, and is extremely reactive, in the beta-amyloid plaques found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

Iron is also known to accumulate specifically in brain regions associated with memory and thought processes, which are gradually lost as Alzheimer’s progresses. Research has shown that reducing excess iron in your brain can alleviate Alzheimer’s-like symptoms in mice,2 while measuring brain iron has been suggested as a way to detect Alzheimer’s disease in its early stages.3

How Iron Levels and a Faulty Gene Can Cause Bowel Cancer

Cancer researchers have also found new evidence that bowel cancers are two to three times more likely to develop when dietary iron is too high in your body.4The research was done with mice, but the study’s authors said it can potentially help them find effective ways of reducing the odds of developing bowel cancer in those who are at high risk.

The role of the APC gene is this: when it’s faulty or deleted, two proteins that trigger iron build-up in bowel cells get switched on. As the iron builds up, it activates a cell-to-cell signaling pathway that malfunctions in cancer called Wnt, which stimulates cancer cells grow uncontrollably. Dr. Julie Sharp, senior science information manager at Cancer Research UK said:5

“Finding ways of ‘mopping up’ the iron that is in the bowel could have a real impact on the number of people who develop the disease.”

In the featured study, mice with a faulty APC gene that were fed a high-iron diet had a significantly greater risk of developing bowel cancer compared to mice with a working APC gene. Mice with a faulty APC fed a low-iron diet did not have an increased risk.

Who is at Risk of Iron Excess?

One of the best ways you can get rid of excess iron is by bleeding. As a result, most premenopausal women who are menstruating regularly rarely suffer from iron overload. However, most adult men and postmenopausal women tend to be at a high risk for iron overload and all of its toxicity, as they don’t have this monthly blood loss.

Some people also have a genetic predisposition to absorbing too much iron, which is called either hemochromatosis or hemosiderosis. Interestingly, one of the most common causes of excess iron is the regular consumption of alcohol. Alcohol consumed on a regular basis will increase the absorption of any iron in your diet. For instance, if you drink some wine with your steak, you will likely be absorbing more iron than you need. Other potential causes of high iron levels include:

  • Cooking in iron pots or pans. Cooking acidic foods in these types of pots or pans will cause even higher levels of iron absorption.
  • Eating processed food products like cereals and white breads that are “fortified’ with iron. The iron they use in these products is inorganic iron not much different than rust and it is far more dangerous than the iron in meat.
  • Drinking well water that is high in iron. The key here is to make sure you have some type of iron precipitator and/or a reverse osmosis water filter.
  • Taking multiple vitamins and mineral supplements, as both of these frequently have iron in them.

Fortunately, checking your iron levels is easy and can be done with a simple blood test called a serum ferritin test. I believe this is one of the most important tests that everyone should have done on a regular basis as part of a preventive, proactive health screen. The test measures the carrier molecule of iron, a protein found inside cells called ferritin, which stores the iron. If your ferritin levels are low it means your iron levels are also low.

The healthy range of serum ferritin lies between 20 and 80 ng/ml. Below 20 is a strong indicator that you are iron deficient, and above 80 suggests you have an iron surplus. The ideal range is between 40-60 ng/ml. The higher the number over 100 the worse the iron overload, with levels over 300 being particularly toxic and will eventually cause serious damage in nearly everyone that sustains those levels long term.

    Tips for Getting Rid of Excess Iron

  Some people advise using iron chelators like phytic acid or IP6, but Dr. Joseph Mercola don’t think that is a wise approach, as donating your blood is a far safer, more effective and inexpensive approach for this problem.  Other methods in reducing iron absorption are as follows:

  • Certain phenolic-rich herbs and spices, such as green tea and rosemary,5can reduce iron absorption6
  • Curcumin actually acts as an iron chelator, and in mice studies, diets supplemented with this spice extract exhibited a decline in levels of ferritin in the liver7
  • Astaxanthin, which has been researched to have over 100 potential health benefits, has been shown to reduce iron-induced oxidative damage8

I believe the above could work for the average healthy person, however, if you’re up in age, or have any kind of issues I would look further into what is causing your iron to be too high. You would need to find the underlining cause of this problem because it could be causing other problems in your body.

For example, too much Iron could be causing your copper to drop. According to a study that was done by the United States National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, Iron overload can induce mild copper deficiency. Copper is essential for iron absorption and transport. Iron is needed to make hemoglobin, a main component of red blood cells. Therefore, copper deficiency is often linked to iron-deficiency anemia.

What we need to do is be our own health detectives, and try to find out how we are getting these imbalances. Could it be where we live, our soil, water, pipes, pots and pans, or anything really. Jumping the gun with prescription drugs usually creates more problems which leads to more drugs and so on. Our brains need to be free and clear from all drugs so we can focus on what is really going on with our bodies, or in our world, or in our children’s lives and so on. If you haven’t noticed, our world isn’t getting any better, our tainted food that we put into our bodies is where all of our problems are coming from, and the lack of God in our lives will only keep us further from the truth. Ask God for help, you will see how great your life improves.

Below are foods (including meat) that are high in Iron, so if you do have too much Iron in your bodies, you should avoid these.

And Remember……

The following nutrients specifically enhance iron absorption from meals.  Whether from food or from a supplement, care should be taken to avoid these nutrients when consuming foods high in iron:

1.   Vitamin C

2.   Beta Carotene

While iron, vitamin c, and beta carotene are all essential nutrients that we cannot function without, a combination of these vitamins and minerals at the same time can have an additive effect on iron absorption.  Do your best to get your vitamin C and beta carotene AWAY from iron ingestion

These are with the highest amount. (one being the highest amount of iron)

 1.    Squash and Pumpkins seeds

2.    Chicken Liver

3.    Seafood (oysters, mussels, clams)

4.    Nuts (cashew, pine, hazelnut, peanut, almond)

5.    Beef and Lamb (Lean Chuck Roast)

  • Ribeye Steak
  • Lean Lamb Roast
  • Lamb Chop

6.    Beans and Pulses (White Beans, Lentils)

  •    Soybeans
  • Lentils
  •    Kidney Beans
  •   Garbanzo Beans(Chick peas)
  •   Lima Beans
  •   Navy
  •   Black Beans
  •   Pinto
  •   Black Eyes Peas

7.    Whole Grains, Fortified Cereals and Bran

  • Quinoa
  •     Oatmeal
  •     Barley
  •     Rice
  •     Bulgur
  •   Buckwheat
  •   Millet
  •   Cereals

8.    Dark Leafy Greens (Spinach, Swiss Chard)

  •   Spinach
  • Cooked swiss chard
  •    Raw Kale
  •    Raw Beet Greens

9.    Dark Chocolate and Cocoa Powder

  •   Cocoa Powder
  • Candy Bars

10. Tofu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited:

  1. Balch, Phyllis A., CNC. Prescription for Nutritional Healing 4th Ed.  New York, New York:  Penguin Group; 2006.

2. Buse, Mark BSc., Ct., CWR, Synergistic Vitamins & Supplements

3. Merola,PHD Joseph. “Too Much Iron.” (2012): n. pag. Web. Apr. 2017.

4. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2001 Apr;14(4):237-40.

5. PLoS One. 2016 Aug 18;11(8):e0161033. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0161033. eCollection 2016.

 

 

 

 

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