Despite what we’ve all been led to believe, most people don’t need more iron in their diets. In fact, getting too much can be downright dangerous.
I’ve given the inside story about how the NIH and CDC went to great lengths to resist exposing the truth about iron (Subscribe to Insiders’ Cures and get the free report: Classified Cancer Answers). And the truth is, excess iron consumption increases the risk of cancer.
So, why oh why, does the government still “fortify” our food supply with iron when most people don’t need it—and many are harmed (or even killed) by too much?
And to add insult to injury, iron fortification of foods has never been clearly proven to improve iron deficiency or anemia.
But after decades of following a policy of fortifying the food supply with iron, one group of researchers finally took the time to investigate this question.
They analyzed 60 different clinical trials. And they found that that consumption of iron-fortified foods results in a slight improvement in hemoglobin and reduced risk of remaining anemic and iron deficient. But before you start patting the government on the back for getting it right, consider this: The stronger results were seen in the weaker studies.
I can tell you from ample personal experience evaluating clinical trials that a truly significant finding should be stronger in the better-designed trials, and weaker in the poorer-quality ones.
Plus, this new analysis did not evaluate the long-term risks of developing chronic diseases like cancer.
So proceed with caution! And stay away from all those iron-fortified foods.
For those few people who do need more iron, it is far easier—and safer—to work with a doctor to increase iron intake through dietary supplements.
“Effect of iron-fortified foods on hematologic and biological outcomes: systematic review of randomized controlled trials,” Am J Clin Nutr 2012; July 3 (epub ahead of print)