The Evil of Excess Iron

Why Men Incur More Disease and Age Faster

by Bill Sardi by Bill Sardi


The Lew Rockwell website recently linked to an article by New York Times staff writer Roni Rabin about men being the weaker sex, that men die earlier and incur more disease than women.

The editor of a new journal for male health is quoted in Rabin’s article as saying "We’ve got men dying at higher rates of just about every disease, and we don’t know why." Sometimes the obvious escapes attention.

The suggestion that that the federal government establish an office for men’s health is unlikely to reveal a fact that is well hidden in modern medicine — that males have higher iron stores and higher risks for disease and shorter lifespans.

During youth, virtually all of the iron that is ingested in the diet is directed towards the production of new red blood cells, which contain about 80% of the body’s iron stores. Since red blood cell volume is expanding during youth, it is virtually impossible to become iron overloaded.

The primary reason why very young children need to take naps is to catch upon on red blood cell production. During growth spurts, young children may experience difficulty with mental tasks due to a shortage of iron, a fact that is often misdiagnosed as attention deficit disorder. A pale, easily fatigued child with cold hands and feet should be fed iron-rich foods, like red meat (iron pills are problematic and induce nausea).

But once full growth is achieved, the demand for iron wanes and males begin to accumulate about 1 excess milligram of iron per day of life thereafter. By middle age males have twice the iron load as females and double the rate of diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Males are also subject to higher rates of infection since bacteria, viruses and fungi all require iron for growth. Virtually all of the age-related brain disorders (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s) involve the loss of iron control.

Females on the other hand lose about 30 milligrams of iron in monthly menstrual blood loss. This is nature’s way of keeping the baby carriers of the species healthy. True, women are pale, weak and easily fatigued, but they outlive males by 5—8 years.

If women undergo early hysterectomy or reach menopause, which halts the menstrual cycle, they lose their advantage and have the same rates of disease as males. About a third of women undergo hysterectomy in the U.S., may take iron pills, still thinking they are still subject to iron deficiency anemia as when they were young. They are never informed of the change in their need for iron. The onset of a major disease 1—2 years following hysterectomy is very common.

The idea of relieving women of the inconvenience of a monthly cycle by using hormone pills, which is currently being promoted, is absolute folly.

The fact that women are on the anemic side and often purchase and prepare most of the food for the family, and crave iron-rich foods like red meat, results in accelerated aging, disease and mortality among males. The fatter the meat (marbeling), the greater the iron absorption. Should a man habitually consume red meat with an alcoholic beverage like beer, even more iron will be absorbed at a meal.

Virtually every health measure that is widely practiced controls iron. Exercise causes loss of iron in sweat. A vegetarian diet reduces iron absorption since iron from plant foods is only absorbed on an as-needed basis. A daily aspirin tablet induces a small amount of blood loss and subsequent loss of iron. Tea, wine, grapes, olives and whole grains, all considered healthy foods, bind to iron and inhibit its absorption.

Dr. Francesco S. Facchini, author of The Iron Factor of Aging (Fenestra Books 2002), has conclusively shown that removal of iron stores from the body by bloodletting effectively treats diabetes, gout and heart disease. Bloodletting has even been suggested as therapy for cancer and liver diseases. [Seminar Liver Diseases 16: 65—82, 1996] The liver is where iron is stored outside of red blood cells.

The removal of too much blood led to the demise of President George Washington, but the practice of blood letting throughout the ages was not archaic. It should be undergoing a renaissance. It’s indiscriminate use in children, who have a high demand for iron to facilitate growth, was a misdirection by ancient physicians.

In third-world human populations, intestinal parasites often consume much of the iron in the diet, which results in stunted growth and poor mental development in children, but the parasites protect against mortal disease. The removal of intestinal parasites, which is being achieved by de-worming campaigns in China, results in increased iron levels and an increase in diseases such as diabetes.

Iron can also be removed by intravenous EDTA chelation therapy, or more conveniently and economically by the use of IP6 rice bran extract, available at health food stores or online (brands: Jarrow, Source Naturals, Purity Products). The consumption of IP6 rice bran extract on an empty stomach with water will chelate (remove) excess iron and other heavy metals from the liver, kidneys, gallbladder, brain, heart and other organs. IP6 does not remove iron from red blood cells. If IP6 is used excessively for long periods of time it could induce anemia, which would cause symptoms of fatigue, paleness, craving of acidic foods (tomatoes) and cold hands and feet.