Men don't need a ton of iron!

Nutrition

By pH health care professionals

All your life, you are told that iron makes you strong. Just look at Popeye! But what many people don’t realize is that iron is a double-edged sword. Not enough, and you may end up with anemia. Too much, and you may end up with serious health problems. The latter point is especially important for men, who need much less than women of child-bearing age.

Generally, men only need about 8 mg/day. To give you an idea, 8-oz. of a blade steak has 6.8 mg of iron. Account for the fact that many whole grain products are fortified with iron, that you get iron from plant and nut sources as well, and that many people eat iron-rich meat with two or three meals a day, it’s easy to see why men can easily exceed their iron recommendations if they are not mindful.

Heme iron, found in meat sources and not in plant sources, is more easily absorbed, and is the type of iron that is more likely to cause some of these problems when consumed in excess.

What are some of the potential health problems that can stem from iron excess?

  • Heart problems. Carnivores, beware! Men who have high iron levels may be more at risk for a heart attack and coronary heart disease, research shows.
  • Cancer. study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that iron reduction was associated with lower cancer risk and mortality. This study used patients with peripheral arterial disease.
  • Gallstones. Heme iron is a type of iron found in meats. A 16-year study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that heme iron is “associated with a greater risk of gallstone disease among men.”
  • Diabetes. Iron overload may increase your risk for developing Type 2 diabetes – especially red meat, Diabetes Care said.

Be proactive and take inventory of how much iron you are taking in. If you think you have excessive iron stored up in your blood, your doctor may recommend a blood test to confirm, and then go from there. Giving blood may be a good option for people who have been told by their doctor that they have too much iron.

Men don’t have a means of ridding their blood of excess iron, whereas women have monthly periods, so men should be proactive.

Enjoy Your Healthy Life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. To learn more about the pH Health Care Team, click here.

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