Author Topic: Blood Iron Surplus - Anyone?  (Read 872 times)

Offline ultravista

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Blood Iron Surplus - Anyone?
« on: April 23, 2015, 01:35:31 PM »
During a recent physical, my Dr. advised me that my blood iron content was a bit high - 240 mcg/dL with a normal range of 50-180 mcg/dL. Most everything else is good, including liver fat.

I do not consume much red meat, maybe once every two weeks, and can't figure out where the surplus of Iron is coming from. Pork and chicken are my go to meats.

In full disclosure, I told my Dr. that I brew my own beer and consume in moderation (at least to me ..). She suggested that I reduce alcohol and moderate my diet. No other suggestions.

Anyone else have higher than 'normal' Iron in their blood for homebrewed beer or beer consumption in general?

Offline Stevie

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Re: Blood Iron Surplus - Anyone?
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2015, 01:55:16 PM »
Mushrooms, spinach and other leafy greens are high in iron.

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Blood Iron Surplus - Anyone?
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2015, 02:43:46 PM »
Guinness is Good For You.

Or is it?
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Offline flbrewer

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Re: Blood Iron Surplus - Anyone?
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2015, 03:25:09 PM »
Are you taking a daily vitamin with iron by accident?

Offline erockrph

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Re: Blood Iron Surplus - Anyone?
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2015, 04:35:22 PM »
I can't blame your doctor for advising you to moderate your alcohol intake. Dietary iron is rarely the cause of elevated serum iron. Hepatitis, hepatic necrosis (i.e., liver cell death) and long-term alcoholism are some of the most common causes if increased serum iron levels. If your LFT's are normal, then you're probably OK with that, but it can't hurt to be prudent.

It is also a potential result of some types of anemia, B-6 or B-12 deficiency, anabolic steroids (among other medications) and certain genetic disorders.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Blood Iron Surplus - Anyone?
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2015, 04:51:18 PM »
I can't blame your doctor for advising you to moderate your alcohol intake. Dietary iron is rarely the cause of elevated serum iron. Hepatitis, hepatic necrosis (i.e., liver cell death) and long-term alcoholism are some of the most common causes if increased serum iron levels. If your LFT's are normal, then you're probably OK with that, but it can't hurt to be prudent.

It is also a potential result of some types of anemia, B-6 or B-12 deficiency, anabolic steroids (among other medications) and certain genetic disorders.
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Offline heavydeadlifts

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Re: Blood Iron Surplus - Anyone?
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2015, 05:13:10 PM »
None of us can tell much without knowing your ferritin, TIBC, MCV, mchc and HGB
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Offline flbrewer

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Re: Blood Iron Surplus - Anyone?
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2015, 05:32:03 PM »
Didn't the MD elaborate on this or give you some possible causation?

Offline ultravista

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Re: Blood Iron Surplus - Anyone?
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2015, 09:00:06 PM »
I take no vitamins, rarely take any non-prescription drugs, take no prescription drugs, no steroids, etc. No hepatitis. B-12 is good.

The iron workup is:
* Iron: 240 mcg/dL (HIGH - range 50-180)
* TIBC:  396 mcg/dL
* Trans. Sat.%: 61% (HIGH - range 15-60)
* UIBC: 156 mc/dL

CBC:
* Hematocrit: 50.5% (HIGH - range 38.5-50.0)
* Hemoglobin: 16.6%
* MCH: 29.3 pg
* MCHC: 32.9 g/dL
* MCV: 89.2 fl
* MPV: 8.7 fl
* Red Blood Cell Count: 5.66 million/uL

The Dr. advised me to reduce iron intake and moderate alcohol. Nothing else. No causation. The doctor did not do an LFT although said my liver appeared to be fine.

After researching the issue, I found that donating blood is the primary method of reducing blood iron.

At 45, I have not donated blood for 20+ years. I am not accident prone so what blood I have stays with me. I do eat beef once or twice a week, am addicted to sunflower seeds, and salt the crap out of everything. I cannot think of a single thing that I eat that is iron rich.

A friend who has hemochromatosis told me that iron stores increase in the body over time. Is that an accurate statement?
« Last Edit: April 23, 2015, 09:13:02 PM by ultravista »

Offline heavydeadlifts

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Re: Blood Iron Surplus - Anyone?
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2015, 10:06:39 PM »
Looks like hemochromatosis to me, I would ask to be tested for it and to get a referral to a hematologist. You don't want to go untreated. Here is patient instructions we would give at the hospital:

What is hemochromatosis? — Hemochromatosis is a condition that can cause too much iron to build up in the body. This can lead to problems, such as liver damage, joint pain, and weakness.

Hemochromatosis is caused by abnormal genes and can run in families. If your parent, brother, sister, or child has hemochromatosis, ask your doctor or nurse about getting tested for it.

Most people find out they have hemochromatosis after a routine blood test or after being tested because a family member has it.

What are the symptoms of hemochromatosis? — Many people find out they have hemochromatosis before they have any symptoms.

If people do have symptoms before they are diagnosed, the symptoms can include:

●An increase in the size of the liver (figure 1)
●Feeling weak or tired
●Changes in the color of the skin that make it look darker
●Joint pain
If hemochromatosis is not treated, it can lead to long-term problems that include:

●High sugar levels in the blood (diabetes mellitus)
●Trouble getting or keeping an erection (in men)
●Absent or irregular monthly periods (in women)
●Heart, thyroid, or liver problems
Is there a test for hemochromatosis? — Yes. Your doctor or nurse can do different blood tests to check the iron level in your blood. Based on the results, your doctor or nurse might order other tests.

How is hemochromatosis treated? — Sometimes, doctors do not treat hemochromatosis right away. People who do not have any symptoms are not usually treated at first. But their doctor will follow them closely by doing tests until treatment is needed.

When treatment is needed, most people are treated by having some of their blood removed on a regular basis. Having blood taken from your body is also called “phlebotomy.” This treatment works because taking blood from a person’s body can lower his or her iron level.

If you are being treated for hemochromatosis, you will probably have blood taken once a week until your iron level is normal. This usually takes about 9 to 12 months. To track how well the treatment is working, your doctor or nurse will probably do a blood test to check your iron levels every 1 to 2 months.

Once your iron level is normal, you will have treatment to keep your iron level from getting too high again. This involves having blood taken every 2 to 4 months. Most people need this treatment for the rest of their life.

What other treatments might I need? — You might need other treatments if your hemochromatosis leads to long-term problems. For example, if you get diabetes, you might need to take diabetes medicines.

If you have certain liver problems, you will need follow-up tests to check your liver for the rest of your life. That’s because people with certain liver problems caused by hemochromatosis have a higher chance of getting liver cancer.

Is there anything I can do on my own to help keep my iron levels low? — Yes. You should avoid iron and vitamin C supplements. Supplements are pills, capsules, liquids, or tablets that have nutrients in them. Vitamin C supplements can cause the body to take in too much iron.

Can I drink alcohol? — It depends. Ask your doctor or nurse if it is OK for you to drink alcohol. People who have hemochromatosis and certain liver problems should not drink alcohol.

What if I want to get pregnant? — If you have hemochromatosis and want to get pregnant, talk with your doctor or nurse. He or she might suggest that your partner be tested for hemochromatosis. That way, you will know if your child has a higher chance of getting it.
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Offline ultravista

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Re: Blood Iron Surplus - Anyone?
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2015, 06:12:04 AM »
heavydeadlifts - thanks for the feedback. My Dr. mentioned hemochromatosis but wanted me to moderate my diet and ethanol intake and test again in 6 months.

My father confirmed it is not something that runs in his side of the family. I'll check with my aunt/uncle on my mothers side.

I plan on donating blood today to start the de-ironing process. Not sure yet if I'll go with whole blood or the double red blood cell (DRBC). From what I have read, whole blood will drop hematocrit/hemoglobin by one point while DRBC ranges from 1.5-2 points.

Now I need to figure out what that relates to from an iron perspective. Perhaps 30-50 mcg/dL reduction.