Quick Resources

  Online Support Group & Forum
  Find Doctor / Treatment Center
  Helpful Forms & Charts
  Diet / Iron Content In Foods

When too much iron results in too little iron

When too much iron results in too little iron

As the human body converts food to energy, oxygen is used to make water. Some of these oxygen molecules, however, bond with other elements to form toxic compounds. These molecules are called reactive oxygen species (ROS) and include superoxide, hydrogen peroxide, and free radicals.

ROS can damage iron-containing proteins, leading to the release of iron. Because this iron is not bound to a protein, it can freely penetrate other cells. These cells could as a result stop growing or die, a process called ferroptosis.

Certain amounts of ROS in the body are necessary for major functions like hormone synthesis and immune responses. Excess iron, however, can convert the beneficial ROS into a form that is very toxic to other cells in the body, such as those that mature into red blood cells.

When ROS accumulation damages red blood cell production in the bone marrow, red blood cells already in the circulatory system aren’t being replaced. Because red blood cells carry iron via hemoglobin, less iron is being transported throughout the body. This process could make conditions like hemolytic anemia worse (even though excess iron is what may have contributed to oxidative stress – ironic!).

Hemolytic anemia is most often seen in patients with sickle cell disease or thalassemia but can also be seen in patients who are marathon runners, infantry soldiers, or who have mechanical heart valves. Decreasing oxidative stress through antioxidants could be good therapy for hemolytic anemia. Antioxidants capture and stabilize free radicals before they can react with other cells and cause serious damage.

Dietary phenols, chemical compounds found in plants, have antioxidant effects and are found in foods like berries, apples, kale, broccoli, and ginger. Nutritionists have been researching how phenols like curcumin (an ingredient of turmeric) and quercetin (a plant pigment) prevent cancer and inflammation in the brain.

To learn more about research on antioxidants and how they impact iron disorders, visit healtheiron.com.

3 comments (Add your own)

1. David Dorris wrote:
The point that I'm trying to make to somebody, anybody is that a low serum ferritin level is not necessarily because of a diet low in iron, but can be because the veins leading away from an organ impede blood flow and cause iron to collect in the nearest upstream organ. So the title of my article would be "When to little iron results in too much iron."

tiredness or weakness
autoimmune disease equivalent (CFS) Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or
(MS) Multiple Sclerosis
abdominal pain
autoimmune disease equivalent (IBS) Irritable Bowel Syndrome Crohn's disease
joint aches or pain
autoimmune disease equivalent (RA) Rheumatoid Arthritis

With severe iron overload, you may experience:

gray-colored or bronze-colored skin
autoimmune disease equivalent psoriasis
autoimmune disease equivalent (RA) Rheumatoid Arthritis
autoimmune disease equivalent diabetes

Sun, July 31, 2016 @ 7:00 PM

2. Theo Constantinides wrote:
I have Thalasemia Minor and discovered only now at the age of 61 that I have high Ferritin levels 525 .I have had three plebotomies and reduced ferritin to 392 I was tested for haemoglobin today before blebotamy and my haemoglobin was
12.4 retest 12.2 so I was not allowed to do plebotomy
Previously my haemoglobin levels around 12.9 and my doctor concerned about ,therefore blood test to ensure haemoglobin high enough
I'm caught between a rock and a hard place because I just can't donate blood due to my condition
I have stopped eating red meat and alcohol and take IP6 inositol Hexaphosphate 2 every morning
What advise due you have to raise haemoglobin levels to above 13
Thank you for the Institute and its help to many suffers of iron overload

Wed, September 21, 2016 @ 10:55 AM

3. Theo Constsntinides wrote:
My symptoms are :

stiff fingers
Pigmentation on skin eg face and arms
Sometimes labored breathing
Memory fog

Blood test show no damage to vital organs
Liver ,spleen heart and no diabetes
Blood pressure good
Thank you
Theo Constantinides

Wed, September 21, 2016 @ 11:08 AM

Add a New Comment


Comment Guidelines: No HTML is allowed. Off-topic or inappropriate comments will be edited or deleted. Thanks.