Low Iron Linked with Muscle Health, Sleep Disorders, Mood, Stroke Risk, and Mitochondria

Do you have iron deficiency and not know it? Fatigue, weakness, and cold intolerance are common symptoms of low iron. Standard blood tests may not reflect early iron deficiency. There is, however, a special lab test that tells you how good your iron stores are even before extensive changes occur. This lab test is called serum ferritin. Serum ferritin levels reflect the actual amount of iron stores in the body. A depletion of iron stores indicates a functional deficiency and early iron deficiency, which can cause a variety of health disorders. There is more to low serum ferritin and iron deficiency than meets the eye.

Symptoms of Iron Deficiency

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Why the Niacin-Statin Study Didn’t Work

I know many of you have heard that the big niacin-statin drug study was halted. U.S. officials pulled the plug on this major National Institutes of Health (NIH) study—18 months early! Their reason? The researchers didn’t find what they’d set out to accomplish.

For their study, NIH recruited 3,400 people at high risk for cardiac events. What the researchers had hoped to learn is that by pairing high-dose niacin to raise HDL (good) cholesterol with a statin drug to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, they could lower the risk of cardiac events. But what they learned instead is that this combination had no effect on the incidence of heart attacks and strokes.

This is no surprise to me…

Researchers were literally barking up the wrong tree (more…)

Chelating Iron in Conditions of Iron Overload (Hemochromatosis)

Biochemistry
Iron is one of the most abundant earth elements, yet only traces are essential for living cells of plants and animals. In humans, most of the iron is contained within the porphyrin ring of heme in proteins such as hemoglobin, myoglobin, catalase, peroxidases, and cytochromes. as well as iron-sulfur proteins such as NADH dehydrogenase and succinate dehydrogenase, in which iron is present in clusters with inorganic sulfur. In all these systems, iron has the ability to interact reversibly with oxygen and to function in election transfer reactions that makes it biologically indispensable.

Pathophysiology
The average adult male contains approximately 4 grams of body iron. About 65% to 70% is found in hemoglobin, 4% in myoglobin, and less than 1% in other iron-containing enzymes and proteins. The remaining 25% to 30% represent the storage pool of iron. By contrast, women have a much smaller iron reserve, with the adult female body containing about 3 grams of iron. Women also have a slightly lower hemoglobin concentration in blood than males. Patients with iron overload diseases may store as much as 20 g of iron.

Excess iron can result in cell injury. Menstruation, bleeding due to injury, or bloodletting help to excrete excess iron. Other than that, humans do not excrete excess iron effectively.

Iron overload can result from an increased absorption of dietary iron or from parenteral administration of iron. When the iron burden exceeds the body’s capacity for safe storage, the result is widespread damage to the liver, heart, joints, pancreas, and other endocrine organs.1 It must be noted that low serum iron alone is not an indicator of iron deficiency. Serum ferritin, transferrin levels and total iron binding capacity must confirm the diagnosis before iron is supplemented. To improve iron absorption and utilization, adequate amounts of vitamins C and B, especially folic acid, B6, and B12, must be provided. (more…)