September 25, 2017
439 Iron Toxicity [25 Sept 2017]
Do you know what your iron levels are? If not, you should. And not just because of anemia. While iron deficiency can be a problem – mostly for children and pregnant or menstruating women – excess iron is actually more common and much more dangerous.
High GGT, a test for free iron, is the “single measure most predictive of early mortality” by the life insurance industry. GGT (gamma-glutamyltransferase) is a liver enzyme that indicates free iron levels and predicts risk of sudden cardiac death. A more common test is serum ferratin which measures iron stores.
High iron levels increase your risk of diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and rheumatoid arthritis (including gout). Some iron is necessary for energy production in the mitochondria [see #302 January 2015] but too much means trouble. Excess iron combines with hydrogen peroxide in the mitochondria to form hydroxyl free radicals which cause severe damage to the mitochondria. Mitochondrial dysfunction is the root of most chronic degenerative diseases.
According to Gerry Koenig, Director of the Iron Disorders Institute, the ideal range of serum ferratin for adult men and post-menopausal women is 30 – 60 ng/ml. The ideal GGT is less than 16U/L for men and less than 9U/L for women; levels above 25 (men) and 18 (women) significantly increase your risk for chronic disease. The medically accepted “normal” ranges for both tests are much too high for chronic disease prevention.
If you find your iron is too high, take steps to reduce it. Eat less red meat and take vitamin C and alcohol away from iron-rich foods (both of which increase iron absorption). Avoid iron supplements and choose iron-free multivitamins. Foods and supplements which increase glutathione [#318 May 2015] will lower GGT. Curcumin chelates iron and will prevent its absorption in the gut. A detox program could help pull iron out of stores and assist your liver to excrete it.
Regularly donating blood is an excellent way to manage iron stores. If for some reason you are unable to donate to Canadian Blood Services, talk to your doctor about other options. Perhaps the medieval doctors were on to something with their blood-letting and leeches (but most of the time did far more harm than good).
Source: Serum Ferratin and GGT - Two Potent Indicators You Need to Know, mercola.com
For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.