Iron­ing Out The Con­fu­sion About Iron

Alternative Medicine - - Quick Nutrition -

Why iron sup­ple­ments are not the an­swer to work­out fa­tigue o the phys­i­cal de­mands of ev­ery­day life like your new work­out rou­tine have you suc­cumb­ing to bouts of fa­tigue? Do you feel driven to—along with your en­ergy shake, pro­tein pow­der, and mul­ti­ple vi­ta­mins—sup­ple­ment your diet with a lit­tle ex­tra iron to keep up?

You are not alone. Many peo­ple bring sup­ple­men­tal iron into their daily nu­tri­tion equa­tion af­ter adding a work­out plan. It makes sense. Af­ter all, iron is the min­eral sup­ple­ment that builds red blood cells and boosts en­ergy.

How­ever, the as­sump­tion that lack of en­ergy, lin­ger­ing fa­tigue, and late-day slug­gish­ness af­ter nor­mal ac­tiv­ity al­ways points to­ward an iron de­fi­ciency is not ac­cu­rate—and some­times leads to big­ger prob­lems. Self-treat­ment with iron sup­ple­ments at the first sign of fa­tigue risks trig­ger­ing the some­times life-threat­en­ing dan­ger of iron over­load. Health jour­nal­ist and author Bill Sardi be­lieves iron can build up to the point of tox­i­c­ity and dis­rupt the body’s del­i­cate meta­bolic ma­chin­ery.

MORE ISN’T AL­WAYS BET­TER

While iron is ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary to sus­tain life, bio­chem­i­cal dis­tur­bances can oc­cur when the sys­tem be­comes over­whelmed with more iron than it can han­dle. For ex­am­ple, iron over­load has been im­pli­cated as a causative fac­tor in the de­vel­op­ment of Alzheimer’s dis­ease, can­cer, liver mal­func­tion, cir­rho­sis of the liver, di­a­betes, epilepsy, heart at­tack or fail­ure, hy­per­thy­roidism, hy­pog­o­nadism (dys­func­tion of ovaries in women and testes in men), mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis, os­teoarthri­tis, os­teo­poro­sis, Parkin­son’s dis­ease, and pre­ma­ture death. Why? Iron over­load up­sets nor­mal meta­bolic func­tion, mak­ing any ex­cess iron per­fect food for bac­te­ria, fungi, tu­mor cells, and viruses.

HOW DOES IRON OVER­LOAD HAP­PEN?

Iron’s main fuc­tion is to work with the min­eral cop­per to make he­mo­glo­bin. It is in­volved with the en­tire res­pi­ra­tory process that pro­duces bi­o­log­i­cal en­ergy—with­out which, life couldn’t sus­tain it­self. Usu­ally bound to cer­tain pro­teins, iron sits at the cen­ter of each he­mo­glo­bin mol­e­cule, which car­ries

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