Published On: Wed, Jan 13th, 2021

Study: Too Much of This Mineral Can Shorten Your Life

A recent study found that having too much iron in your blood reduces longevity. The study analyzed data from three genetic surveys of over one million people, according to Eat This, Not That! The lead study author Dr. Paul Timmers, an expert on human aging from the University of Edinburgh in the U.K., said: “Using genetics, we found multiple lines of evidence indicting poor control of blood iron levels is causally linked to a shorter lifespan and fewer years in good health.”

The research was published in Nature Communications and measured not only the lifespan of study participants but also how many years they lived disease-free. They discovered that the way the body metabolizes iron has an influence on healthy aging.

To summarize, the authors said that people who have high iron levels have an increased risk of dying early. One of the researchers pointed out it has been well known that iron deficiency can wreak havoc on your health, but this is the first time scientists have made the connection about the damage too much of this mineral can cause to the human body.

This does not mean you should eschew meat and other iron rich foods altogether, said the experts, according to Eat This, Not That! But it does indicate that people, especially as they get older and have a harder time metabolizing iron, should have their levels checked.

According to the University of California at San Francisco, iron is an important element for blood production and about 70% of your body's iron is found in the red blood cells. These cells are called hemoglobin and are essential for transferring the oxygen in your blood to the lungs. Iron also helps transport oxygen to muscles. According to UCSF, the adult minimum daily requirement of iron is 1.8 milligrams, which can be achieved from the foods we eat as well as from supplements.

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