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Iron Toxicity

Ian Goddard igoddard at erols.mom
Sat Aug 2 00:00:30 EST 2003

 After mentioning potential risks associated with iron intake 
 above necessary levels to some friends, some of whom seemed
 skeptical, I gathered some of the data, which, having 
 collected, I thought I'd share with folks here... 

 This review from "Nutrition Today" (5/6/97) by two leading 
 researchers examines risks associated with iron and concludes 
 that apart from deficiencies, "There is little reason to support 
 a general need for iron supplementation in the diet at any age. 
 [...] don't expose your system to more iron than it needs." 
 While essential at recommended levels, iron generates toxic 
 oxygen radicals. It also notes that iron intake is cumulative, 
 since "iron accumulates in the brain with normal aging." 

 Iron's possible supporting role in neurological degeneration:

 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (May 28, 2002): 
 "Whereas a decade ago thoughts of metals and Alzheimer's disease
 (AD) conjured up thoughts of tossing out your aluminum cookware,
 more recently, zinc, copper, and iron have been implicated in 
 AD pathology." 

 Cellular and Molecular Biology (June 2000): "In several 
 neurodegenerative diseases, iron accumulates at sites of 
 brain pathology. Since post-mortem examination cannot 
 distinguish whether iron accumulation caused the damage or 
 resulted from damage, it is necessary to manipulate iron in 
 animal and tissue culture models to assess its causal role(s). 
 [...] iron supplementation to ID rats increased damage and 
 microgliosis in the above regions. [...] In addition, 
 iron+zinc supplementation dramatically increased damage to 
 hippocampal CA1 whereas zinc supplementation alone had no effect."

 Journal of Neurochemistry (July 1992): "Iron, a transition 
 metal possibly involved in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's 
 disease, was tested for its toxic effects toward cultures of 
 dissociated rat mesencephalic cells. [...] Altogether, these 
 results suggest (a) that ferrous iron is a potent neurotoxin 
 for dopaminergic neurons as well as for other cell types in 
 dissociated mesencephalic cultures [...]."

 Professor James Connor (author of "Nutrition Today" review 
 quoted at top of post): "Our data had led to the discovery 
 that the brain's ability to mobilize iron is diminished in 
 Alzheimer's Disease and in specific regions of the brain 
 in Parkinson's Disease. This diminished iron mobilization 
 could lead to increased susceptibility to oxidative damage 
 and cell death; both of which are prominent features in 
 Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases."

 Current Opinion in Chemical Biology (April 4, 2000): "Data 
 are now rapidly accumulating to show that metallochemical 
 reactions might be the common denominator underlying 
 Alzheimer's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, prion 
 diseases, cataracts, mitochondrial disorders and Parkinson's 
 disease. In these disorders, an abnormal reaction between a 
 protein and a redox-active metal ion (copper or iron) 
 promotes the formation of reactive oxygen species or radicalization."

 Alzheimer’s disease (AD) appears to be associated with 
 a dysregulation of heavy metals, possibly as a result of
 impairment of metallothione (the body's natural defense 
 against metal toxicity) that may be associated with the
 ApoE genetic defect that increases the risk of AD.  

 Aluminum and Alzheimer's disease:

 Mercury and Alzheimer's disease:


  "To lengthen thy life, lessen thy meals." Ben Franklin

  Ongoing CR-monkey-study update: "In the monkeys...those on
  reduced feeding since the study started are dying at a rate 
  that is about half that of the monkeys receiving a full food
  ration." Associated Press: Eating less may extend human life.
  August 1, 2002 : http://www.msnbc.com/news/788746.asp?0si=- 


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