Too much iron is not good
If you think about the mineral iron, it is probably in the context of having iron-poor blood or anemia. But there is another condition that is the opposite called hereditary hemochromatosis. There is too much iron absorbed from foods, and it builds up in the body causing big problems. The liver, heart and pancreas are the three organs where iron will accumulate.
The symptoms for hemochromatosis are somewhat benign:
- Fatigue and overall body weakness
- Joint pain
- Abdominal pain
Hemochromatosis may cause, if untreated:
- Diabetes, because of the damage to the pancreas
- Congestive heart failure
- Liver failure or cirrhosis
Treatment of hemochromatosis:
- Removal of blood on a regular basis will lower iron stores
- Avoidance of all iron or vitamin C nutritional supplements – vitamin C enhances the absorption of iron
- Avoidance of all raw shellfish or seafood because of susceptibility to infections with liver problems
Some doctors will suggest avoiding high dietary sources of iron, but there really are not too many of these – just liver. However, just as you would need to avoid iron supplements, so to should you avoid the foods fortified with iron. And most commonly those will be ready-to-eat breakfast cereals and breads– many are fortified with iron. You can check the side panel to be sure there is no iron listed – sometimes 100 percent of the daily requirement of iron is in each serving of cereal – an example is Total cereal which has many vitamins and minerals added.