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How much iron is too much iron?

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  • How much iron is too much iron?

    I've been doing a lot of cooking in my iron pan, which sounds like the preferred method:

    Safe Cookware | Mark's Daily Apple

    My wife told me that using it every day is probably leading to me getting too much iron, which isn't a good thing for a man. She said that I should limit its use to just a few times a week. Is that true? Am I getting too much iron if I cook with it once, sometimes twice a day?

    Last time I tracked my diet on fitday I was getting an average of 17.6mg of iron a day. I've fine tuned my diet quite a bit since then, but that is probably still in the ball park.

    Any advise you could give would be appreciated. Thanks!

  • #2
    If the pan is seasoned well and you aren't cooking with acidic ingredients like tomato sauce and wine on a regular basis, you probably aren't getting all that much iron from the pan. I think it is just an old wive's tale that spread due to the seeming logic of it. Kind of like the myths about dietary cholesterol raising serum cholesterol and eating fat making you fat.

    Also, if your blood levels of iron are high, you could donate blood, assuming you are eligible.

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    • #3
      Unless you are cooking very acidic food, I doubt you are getting that much iron from your cookware. You would have to be cooking something like tomatoes or adding vinegar to your pan to leach out that much iron from general use. If you are concerned about your iron levels being high, just become a regular blood donor if you can. That will do far more for your iron levels than changing your cookware. Besides most of the alternate cookware is worse for you unless you spring for stainless pans.

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      • #4
        Gotcha. I fry eggs most mornings in it, and occasionally cook up a paleo dinner like liver and onions. It's pretty rare for me to cook tomatoes or vinegar, so I should be fine, sounds like. Thanks a bunch!

        Since we're talking cookware, what if you're boiling water for hard boiled eggs? I only have one cast iron pan, so if it's not a big deal to use others for different things that would be great. What about steaming vegetables? I have one pan I use all the time that has a colander that sits inside it. It's perfect for steaming. It's not cast iron though. (I don't know what the hell it is. Some coated metal pan. The coating is black, speckled with white. It looks like this roaster, so I guess it must be enamelware: VINTAGE LARGE BLACK AND WHITE SPECKLED ENAMELWARE ROASTER PAN | eBay )

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        • #5
          Give blood and ask for your haemoglobin level (I'm assuming they check that when donating wherever you are).
          Better than guessing.

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          • #6
            Eggs can be hard boiled in any pan you want, they get cooked in the shell and that will protect them. The enamel ware should be fine. I don't think there is much that will leach out of it.

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            • #7
              One advantage of fasting every now and then? If you think you are getting too much of a particular nutrient, it gives your body a period to rest and adjust levels of the nutrient somewhat.

              This is just one of the many regenerative effects of a fast, so if you're up to it, this might be a great thing to do on occassion to regulate your body's level of certain minerals that you might be getting a bit much of.
              "The cling and a clang is the metal in my head when I walk. I hear a sort of, this tinging noise - cling clang. The cling clang. So many things happen while walking. The metal in my head clangs and clings as I walk - freaks my balance out. So the natural thought is just clogged up. Totally clogged up. So we need to unplug these dams, and make the the natural flow... It sort of freaks me out. We need to unplug the dams. You cannot stop the natural flow of thought with a cling and a clang..."

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              • #8
                Originally posted by yodiewan View Post
                If the pan is seasoned well and you aren't cooking with acidic ingredients like tomato sauce and wine on a regular basis, you probably aren't getting all that much iron from the pan. I think it is just an old wive's tale that spread due to the seeming logic of it. Kind of like the myths about dietary cholesterol raising serum cholesterol and eating fat making you fat.

                Also, if your blood levels of iron are high, you could donate blood, assuming you are eligible.
                +1 on donating blood. It will take care of the issue very quickly and since we have a Severe shortage of donated blood you'll be helping a few people out in the process.
                F/37yr/5' 5"
                SW: 154 March 2011
                CW: 140 July to Oct 2011
                PB: 145 gained 5lbs in first 4 months March to July 2012
                With a combo of PB and IF-ing 5 days a week (1 x 1200 calorie meal per day) I have lost 15 lbs PB/IF = 130 lbs July 2012 to current
                GW: 120
                Ultimate Goals ar to be: Happy/ Fit/ Energetic/ Feel great/ Balanced/ cure my thyroid and adrenals

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by mike_h View Post
                  Give blood and ask for your haemoglobin level (I'm assuming they check that when donating wherever you are).
                  Better than guessing.
                  Haemoglobin level doesn't tell you much. Serum ferritin and transferrin saturation are much better indicators of iron overload

                  +1 on giving blood though
                  Four years Primal with influences from Jaminet & Shanahan and a focus on being anti-inflammatory. Using Primal to treat CVD and prevent stents from blocking free of drugs.

                  Eat creatures nose-to-tail (animal, fowl, fish, crustacea, molluscs), a large variety of vegetables (raw, cooked and fermented, including safe starches), dairy (cheese & yoghurt), occasional fruit, cocoa, turmeric & red wine

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                  • #10
                    Thanks everyone! Great replies, as always.

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