Too much iron is killing you more quickly than you think — here’s how

Never take any dietary supplement with iron as part of any dietary or health regimen. If you have been diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia, a doctor will prescribe it to you. Otherwise, don’t take it.

What’s wrong with iron, you might be wondering?

A lot, actually. In fact, a new study shows iron supplements can damage your DNA in as little as 10 minutes. I’ll tell you all about that eye-opening research in a moment. But first, let’s back up…

National Cancer Institute denies us access to public data

As you may recall, I worked with Nobel laureate Baruch Blumberg back during the 1980s on analyses that clearly linked excess iron in the body with increased rates of cancers of all sites in men and women.

To get these analyses off the ground, we asked the National Cancer Institute for access to government-held data from the U.S. National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (U.S. NHANES).

They refused to give us access to it.

Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Energy funded the study. So eventually we gained access to this taxpayer-funded data. And we ultimately published our findings about the iron-cancer link in the New England Journal of Medicine and the International Journal of Epidemiology.

Other ongoing research over the years had shown excess iron increases the risk of heart disease, inflammation, and infections as well. In some people who are susceptible to iron storage, it also leads to failure of the heart, kidneys, liver, and other organs.

How does iron cause these failures?

Well, when there is too much iron in the body, it acts as an oxidant. In other words, it acts in the opposite way that “antioxidants” benefit and protect your cells.

In fact, oxidants cause damage to DNA, which can lead to cancer and other diseases. That’s why people take “antioxidants” to protect their DNA and cells. This oxidant damage caused by iron accumulates over time and eventually leads to chronic diseases.

A couple of career public health bureaucrats at the CDC viciously attacked me and my respected Nobel laureate colleague for publishing the facts about the dangers of iron 25 years ago.

They said our research findings “undermined” the CDC’s program to promote iron supplements to the small proportion of the population that might benefit from them. They claimed we were “irresponsible” to publish our factual findings, which passed peer-review in two of the top medical journals in the world.

That’s the way political science works in the world of crony capitalist government. You better never interfere with some bureaucrat who is making a career out of pushing politically correct dogma onto the public and the medical profession –regardless of the evidence or lack thereof.

Your body naturally recycles iron

There are four grams of iron naturally present in the human body. And science shows the human body actually recycles this naturally present iron. Your body doesn’t burn iron metabolically; and it does not excrete it in feces or urine. The only way to lose iron is to lose blood. So, it does make sense that some women of child-bearing age may lose enough blood during menstruation to require additional iron. Other than that, lack of iron shows up as anemia, an abnormal condition caused by blood loss or a B vitamin deficiency. These are the only two instances where someone would need to take supplemental iron.

So you can understand why, for most people, taking an over-the-counter, daily supplement that contains iron is a complete disaster for your health. If you are one of the rare people who is truly iron deficient, you doctor will prescribe something. And hopefully monitor whatever condition is causing it.

They ignore the critical nutrients you DO need

Ironically, many health “experts” still recommend iron supplements, even though the science shows most Americans don’t need it. On the other hand, most Americans DO need more nutritional support in the form of vitamin D, B, and other critical micronutrients. Yet, some doctors even remain reluctant to recommend vitamin B to their patients who take metformin, which is well-known to cause B vitamin deficiencies. Nor will they recommend Co-Q10 to their patients who take toxic statin drugs.

Worse yet, many Americans still unknowingly take once-per-day supplements that typically contain 18 mg of iron, the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for men and women over 50. Since most people recycle the four grams of iron naturally present in their bodies, it makes no sense to have such a high established RDA for iron. Much less take a daily supplement with iron to reach unneeded and harmful levels.

The new study I mentioned earlier is perhaps the most disturbing evidence we have yet on iron.

For this study, investigators added an iron solution to human endothelial cells, which line the blood vessels. The concentration matched the amount of iron observed in the blood after taking a typical iron supplement.

Within just 10 minutes, the researchers noted the presence of iron-activated DNA repair mechanisms, indicating DNA damage had already occurred. The effect lasted for six hours.

Many previous lab studies showed that iron in higher concentrations damages cells. This observation provided the “biological plausibility” sought by Nobel laureate. Blumberg. It explains why excess iron is associated with higher risks of chronic diseases like cancer, cardiovascular diseases, Type II diabetes, and neurodegenerative diseases like dementia.

But the new study is important for two reasons. One, it confirms “too much” iron damages cells in just 10 minutes. Second, the amount of iron typically found in a once-per-day supplement constitutes “too much iron.”

Turns out, cells are even more sensitive to iron damage than previously thought. And the “margin of safety” for taking iron supplements appears nonexistent.

Bottom line?

Don’t take a dietary supplement with iron. And don’t take those laughable little “once-per-day” pills with (or without) iron. They contain too much of the wrong ingredients and too few of the right ones in doses and combinations that make no sense.

The simple fact is, you can’t get optimal dietary supplementation in any one, little, tiny pill, with or without iron. Sorry, George Jetson.



  1. “Low Dose Iron Treatments Induce a DNA Damage Response in Human Endothelial Cells within Minutes,” PLOS ONE ( 2/11/2016