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Excess Iron Can Be Harmful For the Brain

Posted in: Conditions
By Dr. Pantea Etminan, NHD
Jul 19, 2012 - 1:21:07 PM

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Did you know that Aluminum is not the only metal that would present harm to the brain and raise the risk of Alzheimer's disease? As a matter of fact there are number of metals that could easily accumulate in the organ system, in particular in the brain area to cause health issues, including Alzheimer's. Being wise about your food intake, vitamin, mineral, medication and anything that you would ingest would be important to your health and wellbeing.

Importance of Iron

As we all know, Iron is an important metal that we all need in the appropriate balance within our cells for vital life existence, as it is one of the key components of proteins and enzymes. It is involved in the transportation of oxygen and regulation of cell growth. As a matter of fact, without proper iron the cells may start to suffocate and die off--as it is an integral part of cell integrity. Iron provides hemoglobin, which are the protein in the red blood cells, that binds to oxygen and carry it within the tissues. This process if quiet vital and is what gives your body and every cell energy to do what it needs to, be energetic and vital.

While sufficient amount of iron is quiet necessary for optimal health, too much of it can be quiet harmful and toxic.

The body has a very limited capacity to rid the system and organs from excess amounts of iron. This is why it can and will build up in the tissues and organs of the system. Since iron is a very potent oxidizer it has the ability to damage the body tissues easily leading to different types of health issues such as Alzheimer's disease. Through years of research it has been seen that excess iron accumulation in the brain has been consistent observation in Alzheimer's disease. It has been seen that with reduction of iron levels in the blood, levels of beta-amyloid have been returned to normal. Levels of beta-amyloid have been seen as a factor in Alzheimer's disease--it disturbs the ability of neurons to conduct electrical signals to return to normal.

Research on Mice and Iron

In a study done on mice has shown that reduction of excess iron in the brain can alleviate Alzheimer's like symptoms. Yet measuring iron levels have been shown to detect Alzheimer's disease in its early stages.

Where Does Iron Tend to Accumulate the Most?

It has been shown through years of research that iron seems to accumulate the most in the brain regions associated with memory and thought processes. In Alzheimer's disease this is one of the main things that take place as it progresses, the loss of memory.
The researcher's have not been able to pin point where exactly this iron excess could be accumulated from--whether it is from an outside sources, such as diet, supplements, or pans, or it would be due to a genetic predisposition which would allow the system to absorb too much iron or biochemical changes that could cause an imbalance internally. But it is clear that too much iron accumulated within the system and organs is dangerous and could cause neuron degeneration.

It is of great importance to take note that no one is exempt from this issue. There is a limit where our body can take iron levels. That would go for other metals as well, such as copper, aluminum, and zinc which have been seen to have damaging effect on the brain and in Alzheimer's diseases. Mercury is another one to be highly cautious of. In general, it is good note to be cautious of all metals, because they can accumulate within our body and cause problems. The body is not made to handle loads of metals and it can been seen as toxin which would react with the neurons and optimal health levels. Be cautious of what you choose to put in your mouth. Know what everything contains, including all your vitamins, medications, shots, food, pots and pans and water. They all can and will affect your body. Metals are easily found in so many things these days, including many food items and supplements. Be sure to check out the details and know what you ingest.

Many pots and pans are made of metals which could easily leak into your food while cooking, especially at high levels of heat. Aluminum pans are very popular and many households may use them. Become aware--many pots and pans that their non-stick surface have been removed are vulnerable into leaking metals into your food. Even the non-stick source could be harmful. Please be wise and do some research on what would be best choice for cooking pots. Ceramic has been shown to be quiet safe. But then again, there may be many different types out there, so do your homework and do invest in some good types of cooking pots that would be healthy for you and your family.

Metals Can be Harmful for More Reasons than Just Alzheimer's

Metals are not easily processed throughout the body and could cause accumulation and damage to different areas including the nervous system. Many disease's including autoimmune disease and MS are sensitive to neuron damage. Since metals are neurotoxin, it is vital to understand and be wise about metal usage in life.

Check Your Iron Levels for Safety

It is easy to find out what the iron levels of your body is. It is a simple blood test that your doctor could order. It is called serum ferritin test. This test measures the carrier molecule of iron, a protein found inside cells (ferritin) that stores the iron.
The normal and healthy range for serum ferritin is between 20 and 80 ng/ml. Below 20 would be a indicator that you would be too low on iron or deficient. Above 80 would be too high and considered toxic and dangerous. Range between 40 and 60 ng/ml would be ideal. Levels that would go above 100 would need to be looked into very carefully and consider treatment.

Women who go through menses regularly have much less to worry about, because their system is flushing itself and getting riding excess iron(in most cases). Post menopausal women and men would have more concern in regards to iron build up and would need to be more aware. For such individuals blood test for iron and watching their diet would be very important.

Natural Ways to Get Rid of Excess Iron

There are ways that excess iron could be detox from the body. Bloodletting is one efficient way. This is an ancient method that has been utilized for centuries, but may not be practiced widely today. Another way to clear the blood would be to give blood, which would be similar to bloodletting of ancient medicine. Of course, please do make sure that your blood would be healthy enough for blood banks (of course, they do check that themselves).

Certain herbs and natural supplement could have a chelating effect. Turmeric is one spice that has been shown to be able to take out some iron from the system. Of course, medicinal amounts would need to be utilized to achieve this goal. That is why it's best to work with a natural health practitioner who would be able to assist you in such process.
Alpha lipoic acid, vitamin C, blue green algae all have some chelating effect. Again, the amount would make a difference. Other factors that would be of matter would be how high your iron levels are and what type of sensitivities you may have. This is another important reason to consult with a doctor who is knowledgeable about such areas. It is safer to do this wisely than other wise. Whichever way you choose to utilize, be safe and make sure that you do rid your system from excess toxins and metals, because they could and will cause you detrimental health issues that would be much more difficult to handle later. Prevention is the key.

Also, foods rich in antioxidants and catechins are highly effective in ridding the body of toxins. Blueberries, black berries, raspberries, cherries, green tea, raw apple cider vinegar, certain other fermented foods, vegetables, and foods that are rich in chlorophyll are examples of such foods that are considered superfood and can behave as chelating factors within the body while providing it with much needed nutrients at the same time.

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