Protection from the Toxic Effects of Excessive Iron in the Body*

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The accumulation of iron in the body is termed iron overload, or hemochromatosis. Hemochromatosis effects the whole body but specifically effects the the liver, heart, and endocrine glands.  1 

Elevated levels of iron in the body creates excessive highly reactive and the toxic hydroxyl radical which specifically damages:  2

  • cell membranes
  • electron transport proteins
  • mitochondrial DNA

Iron overload creates risk factors for the following disease conditions:

Cardiovascular diseases:

  • Atherosclerosis  2
  • Heart attack  3

Gastrointestinal System:

  • Ulcerative colitis  4

Eyes & Vision:

  • Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD)  5

Immune System:

  • Colon cancer  6
  • Endometrial cancer  7
  • Lung cancer  8

Metabolism:

  • Diabetes Mellitus Type 2  9
  • Damage to the liver  10

Neurological System:

  • Alzheimer’s disease  11
  • Parkinson’s disease  12

Testing for Iron Overload (Stored Iron)

The blood test administered for iron overload is called the serum ferritin test which measures stored iron.  Ferritin is a liver produced protein for the storage of iron. 

Figure 1.  This is a three-dimensional representation showing ferritin, the iron-storage protein in the body. Ferritin has a spherical shape, and iron (brown) is stored as a mineral inside the sphere.  Source: Department of Chemistry, Washington University

Consult with you health care professional to have this test administered to determine your stored iron levels.  Most doctors reccommend that this test be taken on an annual basis.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the typical ranges are:

  • 24 to 336 nanograms per milliliter in men
  • 11 to 307 nanograms per milliliter in women

 

The healthy range of serum ferritin lies between 20 and 80 ng/ml.

  • Serrum ferritin levels below 20 – iron deficiency
  • Serrum ferriton levels above 80 – iron surplus

The ideal range of serrum ferritin is 40-60 ng/ml

Iron Overload Resources:

Mayo Clinic

Healthline

MedlinePlus

Healtheiron

If your ferritin level is high, one solution is to donate your blood.

Natural Substances that May Counteract the Toxic Effects of Iron Overload 

There are certain natural substances that have been shown to be effective in the event that serum ferritin levels are in the high range.  These natural substances are effective against excessive in three areas:

  • Protects from the toxic effects of excessive iron
  • Facilitates the removal (chelation) of excessive iron from the body
  • Inhibits the ability of iron to generate free radicals

Protects from the toxic effects of excessive iron:

  • Alpha lipoic acid  13
  • Folic acid  14
  • Lycopene  15
  • Milk Thistle  16
  • Taurine  17
  • Vitamin C  18
  • Vitamin E  19

Facilitates the removal (chelation) of excessive iron from the body:

  • Carnitine  20
  • Curcumin  21
  • Milk Thistle  22
  • Quercetin  23

Inhibits the ability of iron to generate free radicals:

  • Epigallo-Catechin-Gallate (EGCG) (green tea)  24
  • Inositol Hexaphosphate  (IP6) (Phytic Acid) (inhibits the ability of iron to initiate lipid peroxidation)  25
  • Melatonin  26
  • Manganese  27
  • Whey Protein  28

Informational References:

These lab tests, among many others, can test for ferritin levels:

Lab Tests Online

Life Extension – Ferritin Blood Test

* BioFoundations does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose an illness. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, consult your health care professional.