Dangers of Excess Iron: Why Everyone is Overloaded and not Anemic
Did you know excess iron stuck in our tissues is linked to over 100 autoimmune diseases, cancers, heart disease, COPD, skin wrinkles, Osteoporosis, grey hair, birth defects, Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and Liver Disease? Have you heard about the Iron fortification programs that added over 8 different forms of iron in our food supply after WWII and again in 1969? Did you know we only need 1mg of iron daily through the mouth, and we have an iron recycling system (reticuloendothelial system, R.E.S) that gives us the rest of our iron needs? Have you looked into how the burning of fossil fuels and the Industrial Revolution created acid rain that liberated unnatural amounts of iron in our water (bathing/drinking).
Did you know iron accelerates the aging process, and how 5x more iron is found in a breast cancer cell compared to a healthy cell right next to it? Iron also activates the fear sensor of our cells. You have probably been told that you were iron anemic (low in iron) through a blood test. Maybe you weren’t informed that we used to measure iron through hemoglobin, then we switched iron testing in 1972 to ferritin (blood test for iron). This was a disaster because most iron inside the body is found in the hemoglobin and only 10% is found in ferritin (blood). This is not a great indicator of iron levels.
It is such a secret to us because there are no symptoms from excess iron alone; the only symptoms are from the disease, such as cancer, a heart attack, or an autoimmune condition that iron causes. The fact that excess iron causes disease, aging, and cognitive decline (the breakdown of the brain) is known to very few, including most doctors. We will go more in depth on the topics/questions discussed above to provide clarity, understanding and solutions to eliminate this secret killer.
How Have We Accumulated So Much Iron & What Foods Contain Iron?
The Federal Law required the addition of iron in our food supply after WWII and in the 1970s. Many vital nutrients are removed to improved the products’ shelf life and efficiency of processing, and the government required that certain nutrients be added to them as a measure to protect the public’s health, but the supplementation did not reflect the best science even when it was first made law, since food industry lobbyists managed to impose compromises that led to the use of the cheapest chemicals, rather than those that offered the greatest health benefits. From flour, pasta, cereals, cakes, pastries, cookies, grains, and any ingredient where you find ferrous in its name all have extra iron. In a ½ cup of cereal you will intake 16-18mg of iron. When we understand our body has this recycling system of iron (RES) to regulate 24 out of 25mg, and we only need 1mg in through the mouth, you realize all the bowls of cereals you had in your life can accumulate. That is just in the cereals...not the rest of the iron fortified foods.
For example, studies of processed animal food had demonstrated that the addition of iron (ferrous sulfate, which happens to be cheap and easy to handle) created disease in animals, by destroying vitamins in the food. You should read the label of ingredients and avoid products that contain added iron, when possible. This also goes for all the multivitamins and iron pills. This is just another toxic form of iron that we ingest if we have taken these substances in our lifetime.
How Does Excess Iron Accelerate our Aging Process?
During aging, our tissues tend to store an excess of iron. There is a remarkably close association between the amount of iron stored in our tissues and the risk of death from cancer, heart disease, or from all causes. One of the major lines of aging research, going back to the early part of the century, was based on the accumulation of a brown material in the tissues known as “age-pigment”, or “lipofuscin.” In the 1960s, the “free radical theory” of aging was introduced by Denham Harman and this theory has converged with the age-pigment therory, since we now know that the age-pigment is an oxidized mass of unsaturated fat and iron, formed by uncontrolled free radicals. Now practically every doctor in the country accepts that free radicals are important in the aging process.
Lipofuscin is the definitive marker of toxic waste in aging. As the amount of lipofuscin grows, it impedes important cell functions, leading to a “garbage catastrophe”, so much trash accumulates that nothing works properly. Lipofuscin and the iron in it are huge sources of oxidants and can lead to cells becoming senescent, which is a major problem in aging organisms. This also destroys the function of our mitochondria, the cellular structures often called the powerhouses of the cell, can lead to a cell producing energy at 1% instead of 100%.
Studies Showing How Iron is Toxic
In the 1960s the World Health Organization found that when iron supplements were given to anemic people in Africa, there was a great increase in the death rate from infectious diseases, especially malaria.
The Copenhagen City Heart Study has studied thousands of residents of that city for many years and is similar to the Framingham Study in the U.S. One research group looked at the study’s data on almost 9000 people to determine the relation between ferritin (iron) and death rates.
They found that “stepwise increasing concentrations of ferritin were associated with a stepwise increased risk of premature death overall”. People with a ferritin of greater than 600 had a median survival age of 55, meaning that of those who had a ferritin that high, half were dead by that age. Those with a ferritin of 400 to 599 lived an average of 72 years; at 200-399, 76 years, and if ferritin was less than 200, 79 years.
Excess iron’s role in infectious disease is now well established, and many recent studies show that it is involved in degenerative brain diseases, such as Parkinson’s, ALS, Huntington’s Chorea, and Alzheimer’s. Iron is now believed to have a role in skin aging, atherosclerosis, cataracts, macular degeneration, diabetes, obesity, liver disease, heart disease, MS, and Lyme. Dr. Marianne Wessling-Resnick (Harvard), Dr. Nancy Andrews (Duke), Dr. Rebecca King (Mayo Clinic) have all linked excess unbound iron stuck in our macrophage recycling program to over 100 autoimmune conditions. Studies and articles will be posted below in the resources section.
1. Intake More Bioavailable Copper
- Organ meats (liver, heart, kidney)/Ancestral Beef Liver Capsules, Wild-caught shellfish, Bee Pollen, Camu Camu Powder, Acerola Cherry.
- Copper is the crucial mineral for regulating iron and not allowing it from getting stuck in our tissues. Copper helps our reticuloendothelial system (iron recycling system), to help get the iron out of our macrophages. Copper protects against certain types of free radical, and especially for allowing us to use oxygen properly for the production of biological energy. It is also necessary for the normal functioning of certain nerve cells whose degeneration is involved in Parkinson’s disease. Too much iron can block our absorption of copper, and too little copper makes us store too much iron. With aging, our tissues lose copper as they store excess iron.
- Once a quarter for males, 2x/year for females, and 1x/quarter for menopausal females. Donating blood helps jumpstart the RES to release unbound iron stuck in our tissues and stimulates the EPO hormone. This allows from more red blood cells to be produced, which equals more oxygen delivery to the cells (equals more energy.
3. Avoid Iron Fortified Foods, (pizza, cereal, grains, beans, soy, pastas, pastries, granola, oats, etc), Multivitamins, and Iron Pills.
4. Take 1 Capsule of Vitamin E Daily. Your vitamin E requirement increases with our iron consumption.
5. Avoid toxic heavy metals from vaccines, toxic pans, and dishes.
6. Drinking coffee with iron rich foods can reduce iron’s toxic effects.
7. Taking Gericare Aspirin (325mg) has been shown to lower both iron and cancer rates.
8. Keep your metabolic rate as high as possible (read our blog post here).
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