In the body, the iron cycle is very conserved (on average we lose Img / d due to micro-bleeding) because iron is:
- very corrosive
- growth factor for viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, cancer cells, etc.
- Iron is compartmentalized, fixed on proteins that retain it, in order to avoid its deleterious effects as much as possible
- in case of infection or inflammation, the liver picks up it, and it drops into the blood (which can give anemia called inflammatory which is not an iron deficiency but a protection)
If the iron is food, it is enveloped in protein and fiber niches and it is less aggressive because it does not come into direct contact with the environment.
Iron is mainly found in the red blood cell to transport O2 with hemoglobin. When iron comes out of the red blood cell with hemoglobin because the red blood cell dies, it is picked up by transferrin and returned to the bone marrow to remake hemoglobin in new red blood cells.
To run out of Iron, you have to
- either a very important anabolism (growth, adolescence, pregnancy, ..)
- either bleeding
Advantage of menstruation: iron loss contributes to slowing down aging and reducing the risk of degenerative pathologies. This is one of the major mechanisms by which women live on average 7 years longer than men (who also stupidly eat more meat and less plants than they) and suffer from less of most degenerative diseases (for example 3 in 10 women will be affected by cancer compared to 4 in 10 men). Men who donate blood regularly to blood centers or who are vegetarians or flexitarians gain the same benefits as women.
On the other hand the lack of iron
- makes them vulnerable to infections
- can contribute to weaken the synthesis of noradrenaline (concentration, combativeness)
It is about bringing the optimal amounts of iron, without missing or overloading.
Iron makes Vitamin C pro-oxidant = Fenton reaction , interesting inside the white blood cell but outside it creates a lot of damage.
Only polyphenols remain antioxidants against iron (and copper)
RDA: 18 mg / d (Woman) – 15 mg / d (Man) – overestimated except for pregnant women since we only lose one mg of iron / d without bleeding
Major roles in the transport of oxygen and the proper functioning of the mitochondria. Before producing anemia, iron deficiency leads to a decrease in energy and intellectual capacities.
1- Role in immunity:
- Manufactures the OH ° hydoxyl radical with H202 hydrogen peroxide, the most toxic oxidant of the LRs (very short lifespan) in the heart of the white blood cell, which does not damage it and is not inflammatory
> if iron deficiency, it is immuno-depressing because lack of energy, less OH in white blood cells
- Iron increases the harmfulness of peroxinitrite ONOO °
- Iron is a factor in the proliferation of bacteria, viruses, cancer cells
- Studies: mortality from infections in patients with iron injection increased by 70%; overall mortality increased by 85% in consumers of oral supplements containing iron (study on 38,000 people)
2- Potentiator of the arachidonic cascade – Pro-inflammatory and cardiotoxic:
- Reduction of the risk of heart attack in blood donors by 86% (donation of 500 ml of blood decreases Vz ferritin)
- Regulated women: 50% reduction in the risk of heart attack
- Women with ferritin> 200 have a doubling of the risk of infarction
- Highest iron intake quintiles increase cardiovascular mortality by + 46%, + 52%, + 73% and + 147% (worse if alcohol)
- Iron is a powerful pro-thrombotic promoting the activation of fibrinogen into fibrin
- Factor of stroke, diabetes
- The difference in life expectancy of about 7 years between men and women is mainly explained by the absence of periods in men and the higher consumption of meat.
3- Important role of iron in the synthesis of neurotransmitters:
- catecholamines (noradrenaline and dopamine) active in attention and memory
- switch from phenylalanine to tyrosine thanks to iron
- rehydroxylation of TYR to DOPA using iron
- iron deficiency can contribute to a decrease in concentration and a tendency to depression in adults
- iron deficiency is an aggravating factor in hyperactivity in children => first of all meat!
- iron deficiency reduces learning abilities in children, mood drop, fatigue, cognitive disturbance, …
4- Stress is pro-inflammatory because it brings a lot of Iron into the cells via noradrenaline (less Mq therefore entry of Ca and Iron), stress is a factor of vulnerability to infections: when you are stressed, it there is a loss of energy linked to:
- stress, muscle contraction, heart rate, …
- the production of white blood cells
- when growth factors (attackers) enter the cell (iron)
- THEREFORE STRESS-RELATED FATIGUE GIVES INFECTIONS EASIER THAN NORMAL FATIGUE
UV is an oxidative stress, it is an immunosuppressant, because it mobilizes iron in cells eg: herpes outbreaks, but also stimulates HIV viral multiplication
5- Pro-oxidant, pro-inflammatory role:
- in cirrhotic degeneration of the liver
- in hepatic inflammation linked to exposure to pollutants (activation of iron cyt P450)
- in joint destruction during osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (iron metalloproteases => digest the proteins of the cartilage
- in the neuronal destruction that takes place in Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
Iron can accelerate all acute (infectious, allergic, inflammatory) and chronic or degenerative pathologies (cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, etc.)
6- High iron intakes are correlated with an increase in 10 cancers vs zinc which decreases 12 cancers
Consequences of iron deficiency:
Fatigue, repercussions on immunity, on morale, iron deficiency can be responsible for psychic and physical asthenia (fatigue), learning delays (slowing down of the synthesis of catecholaminergic NT). Reduces thermogenesis.
Consequence of anemia: fatigue, shortness of breath, pale skin, ocular conjunctivitis (inside white eyelid),
- Red meat (heme iron surrounded by fibers), blood sausage, organic liver, white meat, fish – they must be chosen non-industrial, organic and not be attacked by heat during cooking. A good risk / benefit ratio of their consumption is only found for children and teenagers in high growth, pregnant women and women deficient in iron. For women with menstruation a consumption of 2 to 3 red meats per week remains acceptable. For others: women after menopause and men, more than one meat per week is associated with increased risks of overweight, diabetes and early degenerative diseases.
- The tannins in green tea decrease by absorption of iron.
- The vitamin C potentiates iron absorption by multiplying its bioavailability 5
- Vegetarian anemic
- Emergency in early pregnancy! We cannot wait to correct the iron status through food because the iron deficiency is a cause of malformations (if pregnancy with ferritin <30, supplement; if pregnancy desire, give yourself 6 months with the consumption of ‘a red meat / day before conception)
The least tolerated iron supplements are based on iron bisglycinates. But their prescription should remain exceptional and associated with protectors (magnesium, polyphenols).
If iron deficiency:
- Avoid bleeding
- Vitamin C (but not Vitamin C + iron supplement) at the end of meals
- Meat consumption (black pudding, liver, red meat), better tolerated sources of iron
- No green tea at meals with meat
- Limit supplements to exceptional cases
Conversely if iron overload:
- Therapeutic bloodletting
- Blood donation until ferritin return between 50-100
- Green tea antagonizes iron absorption
- Avoid vitamin C after iron-rich meals
- Cut down on meats – liver
Deficiency with anemia under 12
Without anemia under 12
Between 12 and 30 deficit
Normal between 30 and 100
But rather aim for 100 for pregnancy
Above 100 overload
Over 200 degenerative consequences
Optimal ferritin is between 20 and 30 ng / ml except for pregnant women (between 90 and 120 ng / ml)
PRE CAUTIONS FOR USE etC.I.
- Infection, inflammation stop iron supplementation as this inflames the pathology
- Never supplement with iron in cases of cancer, chronic infections, chronic hepatitis, rheumatoid arthritis
- Reduce excess iron if allergy, inflammation
NO IRON IN GENERALIST SUPPLEMENTS: This all the more so as iron catalyzes the oxidation of vitamin C associated with it, destroying it and generating free radicals. Moreover, it destroys all other antioxidant substances. It is the strongest known antagonist of zinc absorption, also present in these multi-mineral-vitamin supplements.
Precautions for use IF IRON SUPPLEMENT:
- Rather 10 to 20 mg of elemental iron rather than 50 mg
- Bioavailable salt : bisglycinate or glycerophosphate
- Do not combine iron supplement and antioxidants (vit C), or zinc
- Stop if infection because a growth factor for bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, cancer cells
- Always combine polyphenols to protect against increased free radical production and magnesium which reduces the penetration of iron into the cell. As polyphenols protect against iron, they should not be taken at the same meal as the iron supplement if the objective is to increase the iron!). And take low molecular weight polyphenols that will not antagonize the iron we are trying to bring up!
Author Jean-Paul Curtay