I have tried to answer the query how to get rid of excess iron levels in the human body naturally via this article.
I (LeanAndFit reviewer) have also made an effort to make people aware of this lesser known phenomenon wherein the human body tends to absorb far more than its required amount of iron.
While iron is an essential mineral, excess absorption of iron can prove to be harmful. When your body is ingesting high amounts of iron in, it is indirectly triggering organ damage.
So, the only alternative that you have is to get rid of the excess iron running through your bloodstream. Alas! This is easier said than done.
Nonetheless, it is not an impossible task.
To be able to flush out the extra iron that is ruining your health, you simply need to learn how to do it yourself. But first, you should know a bit more about iron and what it does for your body.
So, here goes!
How to Get Rid of Excess Iron Levels in the Human Body Naturally Article Contents:
1) What is the Role of Iron in the Human Body?
2) How does Iron Help in Improving My Overall Health?
3) How Much Iron Intake is Good for My Body?
4) What is Iron Toxicity & Why does it Happen?
5) How to Get Rid of Excess Iron Levels in the Human Body Naturally?
What is the Role of Iron in the Human Body?
Iron is a mineral that is needed by the human body to produce hemoglobin. As most of us may already be aware, hemoglobin is a certain type of protein. This protein is present in the red blood cells of the human body.
While the role of iron is to produce hemoglobin, the role of hemoglobin is to spread oxygen throughout the human body. Basically, hemoglobin transports oxygen to all parts of the body via the blood stream.
How does one Deliver Iron to the Body?
Your body does not produce iron on its own accord. So, you need to add this chemical by consuming supplements or food. It is best to consume foods that are high in iron content.
Some of the most common food items high in iron are red meats, spinach, kale, eggs, fish, almonds, dates etc. etc. You can also add iron supplements in your diet (usually consumed in pill form).
So, it is via the foods that you eat that iron is absorbed into your body.
What is the Role of Ferritin?
Ferritin is a protein that is present in the cells of the human body. This protein is directly responsible for absorbing protein derived from the food you eat.
Ferritin first stores iron in the body. Thereafter, this protein determines the correct amount of iron that your body requires. Ferritin tends to store 1000mg of iron reserves.
This storage is ample to allow a man to carry on for the next two to three years. So, you can carry on for another 2 years without needing iron in your diet.
For women, the stored iron content is 300mgs. This is ample to allow a woman to carry on with normal life for the next 7 to 8 months.
If your diet is lacking in iron then, your hemoglobin levels shall reduce dramatically.
What are the Different Types of Irons found in Foods?
Well, there are 2 types of irons that can be derived from the food you eat. The first is termed as heme iron and the second category is non-hemi iron.
This is a type of iron that is easily assimilated by the body. This type of iron is found mostly in meat and poultry. So, you can easily hope to find heme iron in eggs, pork and other types of meats.
When you consume heme iron, it gets easily absorbed by the body. In this case, your body does not have to struggle in order to try and absorb iron in the body.
Non-hemi iron is found in vegetarian foods. So, you can hope to find non-hemi iron is nuts, fruits, vegetables, pulses and green leafy vegetables.
Health experts are of the opinion that while non-heme iron is easy to digest (as the food is vegetarian), the absorption rate of this food type is 50% as that of heme iron based foods.
Even in meats, the heme-iron content is 45%. The remaining 55% is non-hemi iron in meats.
Facts on the Absorption Rate:
If you suffer from iron deficiency then, you should consume heme iron based diet. These include meat and poultry.
The absorption rate of iron is 25% (if they consume heme based irons). If you consume a vegetarian diet then, the iron absorption rate is reduced to 10% only.
If you suffer from iron deficiency then, your iron absorption rate increases to 80%. This is why you should consume meat based diet in order to recover from iron deficiency.
The top 5 foods that have the highest iron content per serving include clams, beef liver, liverwurst, oysters and mussels. So, if you have iron deficiency then, you need to include these 5 foods in your diet.
How does Iron Help in Improving My Overall Health?
Iron is an important mineral that is needed to purify your blood and transfer oxygen to all parts of your body. Iron is responsible for enabling optimal functionality of hemoglobin.
Iron clubs with hemoglobin and helps extract oxygen from the lungs. The oxygen is then distributed to all parts of your body.
Hemoglobin then extracts carbon dioxide from the organs of your body and then transfers it back to the lungs. Carbon dioxide present in the tissues is also absorbed by hemoglobin and dispatched to the lungs.
So, hemoglobin and iron have a two way process.
First, it extracts oxygen from the lungs and transfers it to your body.
Second, it extracts oxygen from the body tissues and organs and sends it back to the lungs.
Iron is therefore vital for energizing the body and enabling it to function optimally.
Here are the top Benefits of Iron for the human body:
Helps in Blood Clotting:
Iron is a mineral that helps in healing injuries. Blood clots is what is needed when you suffer from a bruise. Iron helps your blood clot.
When your blood clots then, you can easily hope to recover from an injury. Iron helps in the production of platelets. They helps clot the blood on the injured area thereby speeding up the recovery process.
Helps in the Production of Hemoglobin:
Hemoglobin count increases with the help of iron. When your hemoglobin count is high then, you have the added advantage of carrying oxygen to other parts of the body.
If your hemoglobin count is less then, you shall develop anemia. Lack of hemoglobin tends to reduce the production of red blood cells.
Maintains Your Energy Levels:
Lower iron levels in the human body tends to cause fatigue. You tend to become irritable and your focus is wavered. This is why you need to consume ample amount of iron via the food you eat.
When your iron content is sufficient then, oxygen runs flawlessly to all parts of your body. This reduces fatigue and enables you to maintain optimal focus.
Helps You Sleep Well:
Iron is directly responsible for helping you sleep well at night. This is because iron flushes out toxins from within the body. Environmental pollutants does not adversely affect the body when your iron intake is adequate.
Viral & Fungal Infections are Kept at Bay:
Damage to the organs and tissues of the human body are repaired with the help of iron. By producing haemoglobin and transporting oxygen to your organs, your immune system is kept robust.
When your immune system is working well then, fungal, viral and bacterial infections are kept at bay. So, you shall not suffer from common cold and cough.
Helps You Run Fast and Swim Well:
Hemoglobin is produced with the help of iron. It helps transport oxygen to all parts of your body. Optimal oxygen supply to your body enables you to improve your immunity levels.
Lack of iron shall reduce muscle endurance levels. You shall also get fatigued. At the same time, iron helps improve recovery from a physical activity.
So, your stamina increases, your energy levels improve and you are able to perform well in the athletic field.
Your Brain Power Improves:
Your brain tends to function optimally only when the oxygen supply is optimal. Iron tends to improve oxygen supply to your brain. This in turn improves your cognitive performance.
You become more attentive and your memory improves for the better. So, iron tends to improve and increase your brain power.
Your Hair & Skin Improves:
Iron is directly responsible for maintaining optimal oxygen supply to all parts of your body. When your body is enriched with fresh supply of oxygen then, your skin improves automatically.
Your hair too improves considerably. Optimal oxygen supply to your scalp helps in nourishing the hair. This in turn enables you to enjoy smooth and shiny hair.
Basically, iron helps push nutrients to the roots of your hair. This helps in their optimal growth.
Expecting Mothers Benefit from Iron Intake:
The fetus of a pregnant woman needs regular supply of nutrition. This is only possible when the oxygen supply to the fetus is optimal. Iron within the body of a pregnant women is responsible for making that happen.
When the fetus is supplied with nutrients, the overall health of the child shall be optimal. The cognitive function of the unborn child is also optimal when iron intake is adequate.
Lack of iron consumption by a pregnant woman may lead to unwanted infections in the unborn child.
How Much Iron Intake is Good for My Body?
The Food and Nutrition Board has established certain standards with regards to the daily iron consumption. The Institute of Medicine also upholds this recommendation.
Please Note: Iron intake differs from person to person. It is totally dependent on the age of the individual, gender and current medical condition.
So, let me share these details in brief:
@ A child from the day of his/her birth till he/she is 6 months of age needs 0.27 mg of iron daily.
@ When your child is 7 months and older, he/she needs 7mg of iron daily. This should be maintained till the child reaches 1 year of age.
@ When your child is over 1 year old then, the daily iron intake is once again reduced to 7 mg. This needs to continue till the kid is 3 years of age.
@ The moment your kid turns 4 years old then, the daily iron intake is again increased to 10mg per day. This is for both boys and girls. It goes on till the kid is 8 years old.
@ When the child turns 9 years of age then, the daily iron consumption is again reduced to 8 mg a day. This goes on till the child reaches 13 years of age.
@ The moment your child turns 14 then, gender based daily iron intake is infused in their lives. A 14 year old boy needs 11 mg of iron daily whereas a 14 year old girl needs 15mgs daily. This goes on till the child becomes as adult – 18 years of age.
@ When you are 19 years of age then, a man needs 9mg of iron daily. A 19 year old woman (on the other hand) needs 18mg of iron daily. This continues till the age of 50 years.
@ When you are 51 years of age and above then, both men and women need 8mg of iron daily.
@ Pregnant women need 27mg of iron daily. Lactating mothers on the other hand, need about 10mg of iron daily.
What is Iron Toxicity & Why does it Happen?
It is not common to witness iron excess in a human body. Nonetheless, iron based toxicity is not a myth.
If you are consuming foods and supplements that exceed 25 mg of iron a day then, excess iron can accumulate within the body.
The excess amounts of iron can then hamper your body’s natural ability to absorb zinc. By far the biggest drawback of excess iron consumption is an upset digestive system.
Iron toxicity shall lead to diarrhea, abdominal pain, an upset stomach acid reflux and even constipation. Those individuals who consume high amounts of iron daily (140 mg daily), can develop gastric lesions.
What are the Different Levels of Iron Toxicity in the Human Body?
There are three levels of iron toxicity in the human body. This is measured by measuring peak serum iron levels in the human body.
@ The first level of iron toxicity in the human body is considered to be when your peak serum level of iron in the body is below 350 mcg/dl.
@ The second level (second stage) of iron toxicity is when your peak serum level of iron is in between 350 mcg/dl and 500 mcg/dl.
@ The last and final stage of iron toxicity is when your peak iron serum level is 500 mcg/dl. In this stage, your body is stated to be under severe systemic toxicity.
Why does Iron Poisoning Happen?
Iron toxicity is caused when you are consuming far more amount of iron than what your body needs. So, if you are consuming 20mg iron per kilogram of body weight then, it is considered iron toxicity of a high intensity.
So, if you weigh 68 kilograms and you are consuming 1365mg of iron a day then, you are at the highest iron toxicity level. If unchecked, this rampant iron abuse may lead to corrosive neurosis.
Such high dose of iron can damage your tissue, send you in a state of shock and causes fluid or even blood loss. It can even cause permanent damage to your organs.
Taking the same example, if a 68 kilogram individual consumes 4100 mg of iron just once then also, he/she is at a high risk of losing his/her life.
So, it is an accidental overdose of iron supplement that usually causes iron toxicity. While adults may be able to handle this, children below the age of 6 are at the highest threat when exposed to iron overdose.
The main reason cited behind iron toxicity is supplementation without prior medical approval. Overdose of iron cannot be caused by food alone. It has to be fortified with iron based supplementations.
Facts on the Upper Limit of Iron Supplementations
@ You should not exceed the recommended daily intake of iron via food and supplements combined.
@ From the birth of a child till he/she is 6 months of age, the recommended daily dosage of iron supplement cannot exceed the 40mg mark.
@ If your child is 7 months of age and less than 1 year then also, the maximum recommended iron supplement intake should not exceed the 40mg mark daily.
@ A child in between 1 to 3 years of age should not take more than 40mg iron intake per day.
@ If your kid is 4 years of age and less than 13 years of age then again, the daily iron intake should not exceed the 40mg mark.
@ When your child turns 14 years of age and above then, the maximum daily iron intake should not exceed the 45mg mark.
How to Get Rid of Excess Iron Levels in the Human Body Naturally?
When your iron intake has crossed its upper limit then, it leads to toxicity. In order to get rid of this toxicity, you need to concentrate on flushing iron right out of your system.
There are three ways to reduce this issue:
@ First, you should try and reduce your daily intake of iron. This is by stopping iron supplements completely and by minimizing foods with high iron content.
@ Second, iron does not build-up in the body overnight. It takes weeks, months and even years. So, you need to slowly but steadily flush it out of your system.
@ Third, you should try and reduce the damage that iron toxicity has already done to your body. This is via adopting holistic practices.
The Three Step Cleaning Process for Removing Extra Iron in the Body
Step # 1: You should include supplements that have the ability to scrape away iron from within your body.
Step#2: Include natural foods and supplements that can inhibit the absorption of iron in your body.
Step #3: Lastly, consume supplements that are organic or foods that can reverse the damage already done by iron toxicity.
Let me elaborate these three steps in detais:
Scrape Away Iron Deposits from the Body:
The first effective way to treat hemochromatosis is to literally remove extra iron deposited onto the blood vessels, tissues, muscles, organs etc. Only when this is done that you are able to maintain a healthy body.
As your body does not have an internal mechanism to remove extra iron naturally, you need to help your body to get rid of iron overload. This is via natural supplements and foods.
Here is how iron can be removed from the body naturally:
Popularly known as a “superfood”, resveratrol is a naturally occurring supplement that is found in the form of berries. It grows on trees and is found in peanuts, apples, grapes and even blueberries.
This superfood helps dissolve iron deposits and flushes it out of the system. As resveratrol is high in antioxidants, it enables your body to fight free radical damage caused by iron toxicity.
When clubbed with quercetin, the effect of resveratrol is simply doubled. Quercetin is a flavonoid that is bitter in taste. It is found in red onions, seeds, vegetables, capers and fruits. It is even present in leaves.
Milk Thistle and Herbal Tea:
Iron chelating is quite possible with the aid of milk thistle. You may take this supplement for a couple of months in order to scrape excess iron from within your body.
If you would like to hasten the iron chelating process then, it is advisable to include green tea into your diet. This is a polyphenol that tends to bind iron thereby inhibiting its absorption in the human body.
At the same time, the high antioxidant level in green tea helps treat free radicle damage done by iron toxicity. When you have a cup of green tea daily then, very little iron tends to make it to your liver.
Increase Calcium Intake
In order to decrease the absorption of iron from the food you eat or the supplements you consume, include calcium into your daily diet.
You can include milk, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, almonds, kale, yogurt and cheese in your diet. You may also take calcium supplements in order to reduce the iron absorption from your diet.
Include Phytates in Your Diet
Phytates is a phytic acid that is supposed to be found in seeds, grains and even pulses. The good part here is that when you consume these foods in your diet, you automatically reduce iron absorption from the food you consume.
Phytates combine with iron and zinc. They form an insoluble complex that cannot be absorbed by the human digestive tract. So, they are excreted via feces.
Many individuals suffering from hemochromatosis, take IP-6 phytate in the form of a supplement pill.
Reducing Oxidative Stress
Owing to excessive iron buildup in your body, your cells tend to get damaged. This is owing to oxidative stress that damages the walls and inner linings of the cells.
So, when the structure and normal functionality of the cells are compromised, they tend to damage the normal functionality of the human body.
To reduce oxidative stress, you should increase the intake of antioxidants. Selenium, Vitamin C and turmeric is a boon for people suffering from oxidative stress. So, include these in your diet.
Consult a Doctor:
In many cases, iron toxicity shall lead to serious complications in the body. The most common ones include malfunctioning in the liver and heart.
Many people have also experienced aches and pains in their joint and muscle groups as well. Iron toxicity also makes one feel lethargic and fatigued rather quickly.
In such circumstances, you should consult a trained and certified medical practitioner at the earliest given opportunity.
Avoid Certain Supplements
When you are suffering from iron toxicity then, you have to avoid supplements of certain types. This is with special regards to multi vitamin pills that are fortified with extra iron.
Energy bars or drinks that have added iron too should be avoided by people suffering from hemochromatosis. Even protein supplements that have added iron should be done away with.
Conclusive Analysis on Iron Poisoning
If doses of iron are consumed in excess of 20mg per kilogram of body weight then, it is termed as iron toxicity. In such a scenario, you need to stop iron intake and perform detoxification.
Be informed that the same level of iron consumption may react adversely in a 2 year old and may not affect a 20 year old. So, the iron toxicity also depends on your age and other medical factors.
If you have accidently taken an overdose of iron supplement then, the adverse symptoms shall start to display themselves as soon as 12 hours post the consumption of such pills.
Major Vs Minor Toxicity:
Minor toxicity is considered when you consume 20mg of iron per kilogram of body weight. Severe toxic levels are when you consume 60 mg of iron supplement per gram of body weight.
Your age and medical history also matter in how your body shall react to the iron toxicity. Also remember that iron is NOT produced by the body naturally.
Iron accumulates within the human body over the years. These reserves are then depleted over time. Excess consumption of iron causes iron poisoning.
So, always use natural methods to ensure that your iron content (within the body) is neither too low nor too high.