Iron is necessary for life as it essential to transfer oxygen into your tissues. Hemoglobin, the protein in your red blood cells that contains iron at its core, reversibly binds to oxygen and supplies your tissues with it. Without proper oxygenation, your cells quickly start dying.
Iron is also a key component of various proteins and enzymes, and is involved in energy production, immune function, metabolism and endocrine function. For these reasons, low iron (anemia) can cause significant health problems.
However, what many don’t realize is that excess iron is actually more common than too little, and iron overload can be even more problematic, as detailed in “Why Managing Your Iron Level Is Crucial to Your Health,” which features my interview with Gerry Koenig, former chairman of the Iron Disorders Institute and the Hemochromatosis Foundation.
Because your body has a limited capacity to excrete iron, it can easily build up in organs like your liver, heart and pancreas. This is dangerous because iron is a potent oxidizer that can damage your tissues and contribute to a variety of health problems, including but not limited to:
Cancer, including bowel,2 liver3 and lung cancer4 — Elevated ferritin is associated with a 2.9 times higher risk of death from cancer5 and blood donors have been shown to have a lower likelihood of developing certain cancers than nondonors6,7
Hepatitis C8 — As noted in a 2007 paper,9 even “mild or moderate increase of iron stores appears to have significant clinical relevance” in this and other conditions
Cardiovascular diseaseRead further at Dr Mercola
You May Also Like