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Red meat consumption, iron metabolism and accelerated aging

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  • Red meat consumption, iron metabolism and accelerated aging

    I came across a book that described how, what are now thought of as "normal" iron levels in the blood may actually be excessive. It wouldn't be the first time CW is wrong of course. Turns out the iron ions in the blood are essential for the formation of free radicals, accelerated aging's best friend.

    This seems to be an emerging area of research, but possibly quite relevant to the Paleo diet.
    Here's a link (not the book I found) that gives a basic overview of the connection:

    Centenarians - More Differences Between the Sexes | HealthandAge – Medical Articles and News for Health in Aging > Live Well, Live Longer

    The book I found went into more detail about statistics showing how post-menopausal women begin to have the same rate of cardiovascular disease as men of the same age. Pre-menopausal women have statistically lower rates of cardio related disease than men of the same age.

    Of course red meat is red because of the iron content in the blood.
    So, finishing the logic here, consuming red meat elevates iron levels in the blood.
    Elevated blood iron levels accelerates aging due to the enhanced rate of free radical formation.

    Does anybody know any more about this topic? Please share if so.
    (1) I am 100% on-board with the primal exercise blue print. It reduces the problem of exercise down to its simplest form and provides a solution that can be used for a lifetime.

    (2) I'm not on-board with the primal diet blue print. In fact, I'm not on-board with any diet plan but a man can hope to find the right answer before it's too late.

  • #2
    Haemochromatosis, aka iron overload, is a genetic disorder that causes a toxic build up of iron in the blood, leading to disease and death if not treated. The treatment is simple, phlebotomy or bleeding.

    My mother learned of her haemochromatosis too late. She died of liver failure. Of course, this means I'm heterozygous in the mutation. I have had elevated iron levels, addressed by donating blood. I've also had a heart attack. Have no idea if they are related.

    If you are concerned about iron uptake, you can do a few simple things: reduce alcohol intake, reduce vitamin C intake and drink more tea

    Don't know about any relationship with free radical formation.
    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

    Comment


    • #3
      I'm not concerned about iron overload, per se. Well no more than anybody else should be.
      I'm healthy.

      Your mother's condition shows how serious iron overload is. It seems that even people without the genetic disorder can't "down regulate" excessive iron levels without giving blood. In other words, there is no "normal" physiological mechanism to dilute iron levels in the blood.

      If true, and I have not confirmed this, it is strong evidence __against__ a high red meat diet.
      But not "lean proteins".

      So, I think this is a question of central importance to the Paleo diet based community.

      I'm on board with the rest of the diet. I'm clearly on the fence about the _frequency_ of red meat consumption.
      (1) I am 100% on-board with the primal exercise blue print. It reduces the problem of exercise down to its simplest form and provides a solution that can be used for a lifetime.

      (2) I'm not on-board with the primal diet blue print. In fact, I'm not on-board with any diet plan but a man can hope to find the right answer before it's too late.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by PaleoLogicCheck View Post
        I'm not concerned about iron overload, per se. Well no more than anybody else should be.
        I'm healthy.

        Your mother's condition shows how serious iron overload is. It seems that even people without the genetic disorder can't "down regulate" excessive iron levels without giving blood. In other words, there is no "normal" physiological mechanism to dilute iron levels in the blood.

        If true, and I have not confirmed this, it is strong evidence __against__ a high red meat diet.
        But not "lean proteins".

        So, I think this is a question of central importance to the Paleo diet based community.

        I'm on board with the rest of the diet. I'm clearly on the fence about the _frequency_ of red meat consumption.
        Let's be frank. You are concerned specifically about excess iron associated with red meat. Iron is essential for oxygen uptake by the blood, so you can only be concerned about excess.

        Two things to bear in mind here:

        1. Iron levels are easily monitored
        2. Iron is easily shed by donating blood

        Note that I went primal after my heart attack in 2009. That also disqualified me from giving blood. I enjoy red meat. In that time my Transferrin, TIBC and Transferrin Saturation have all normalised, having been out of range. Serum ferritin has increased but is still well within the normal range. In short, eating a high red meat but primal diet has only done my iron levels good. Early days yet though.

        Certainly nothing here to support your proposition
        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

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by peril View Post
          Let's be frank. You are concerned specifically about excess iron associated with red meat. Iron is essential for oxygen uptake by the blood, so you can only be concerned about excess.

          Two things to bear in mind here:

          1. Iron levels are easily monitored
          2. Iron is easily shed by donating blood

          Note that I went primal after my heart attack in 2009. That also disqualified me from giving blood. I enjoy red meat. In that time my Transferrin, TIBC and Transferrin Saturation have all normalised, having been out of range. Serum ferritin has increased but is still well within the normal range. In short, eating a high red meat but primal diet has only done my iron levels good. Early days yet though.

          Certainly nothing here to support your proposition
          This is not my proposition - medical researchers, with clinical studies, are putting it out there. I keep an open mind and try to look at every side of an issue. Their question seems to be whether or not "normal" iron levels are in fact excessive. "Normal levels" are of course just an garden variety AMA recommendation based on CW. New data, like the data from these studies, can easily change that.

          I enjoy red meat very much myself and for a long time. So, it's a practical question for me.

          Another question, more philosophical, is if lowering iron levels actually requires "giving blood" then that means humans haven't evolved a mechanism to deal with too much blood iron. And that would mean Grok did not eat high levels of red meat. Again, "white meats" are a different story.
          (1) I am 100% on-board with the primal exercise blue print. It reduces the problem of exercise down to its simplest form and provides a solution that can be used for a lifetime.

          (2) I'm not on-board with the primal diet blue print. In fact, I'm not on-board with any diet plan but a man can hope to find the right answer before it's too late.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by PaleoLogicCheck View Post
            Another question, more philosophical, is if lowering iron levels actually requires "giving blood" then that means humans haven't evolved a mechanism to deal with too much blood iron. And that would mean Grok did not eat high levels of red meat. Again, "white meats" are a different story.
            Logic error is that giving blood or any other technique is required to lower serum iron levels. It is merely a quick and convenient way to do it. What evidence do you have, aside from haemochromatosis, that eating red meat leads to iron overload, however you define it?
            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

            Comment


            • #7
              Even though it's nothing new, this is a very relevant and worthy question. I do want to dig more into the numbers and studies on my own. The last time I looked into this was two years ago - and I'm sure I was being bombarded with vegan propaganda without realizing it.

              I've just been doating blood as insurance, but they've never said my iron was high by any means. The scar on my vein makes me want to stop donating blood, so I might have to reduce the red meat intake - if I ever test high...
              Crohn's, doing SCD

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by peril View Post
                Logic error is that giving blood or any other technique is required to lower serum iron levels. It is merely a quick and convenient way to do it. What evidence do you have, aside from haemochromatosis, that eating red meat leads to iron overload, however you define it?
                These are exactly my questions. However, from what I've read some researchers are. It seems very strange that the human body doesn't have a mechanism (other than losing blood) for lowering blood iron levels.

                I'd guess the level will lower 'naturally' (with low dietary iron intake) but, as you suggest, I would also guess it would happen much more slowly (as compared to giving blood).

                But again even if that's true it still sounds like the AMA will most likely be lowering their recommended 'normal' range for blood iron levels based on the clinical studies.
                (1) I am 100% on-board with the primal exercise blue print. It reduces the problem of exercise down to its simplest form and provides a solution that can be used for a lifetime.

                (2) I'm not on-board with the primal diet blue print. In fact, I'm not on-board with any diet plan but a man can hope to find the right answer before it's too late.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Knifegill View Post
                  Even though it's nothing new, this is a very relevant and worthy question. I do want to dig more into the numbers and studies on my own. The last time I looked into this was two years ago - and I'm sure I was being bombarded with vegan propaganda without realizing it.

                  I've just been doating blood as insurance, but they've never said my iron was high by any means. The scar on my vein makes me want to stop donating blood, so I might have to reduce the red meat intake - if I ever test high...
                  It's still 'new' to most people, it definitely hasn't hit the main stream.

                  And like you, I'd like to know how much red meat is too much (based on blood iron levels).
                  I don't want to go through the whole fake-period thing (giving blood monthly) to stay healthy.
                  I'd rather just lower the amount of red meat I consume.

                  Oh, and BTW, that also holds true for any 'high iron' content food. Spinach and orange juice come to mind.
                  (1) I am 100% on-board with the primal exercise blue print. It reduces the problem of exercise down to its simplest form and provides a solution that can be used for a lifetime.

                  (2) I'm not on-board with the primal diet blue print. In fact, I'm not on-board with any diet plan but a man can hope to find the right answer before it's too late.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I remember Dr. Eades writing about this a number of years back. His take is that earlier humans would have had ways to shed iron. Boo boo's, parasites, bug bites, etc. I say why worry? We should all give blood from time to time anyway.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Ohhh, the well runs deeper. There's a whole 'institute' dedicated to this subject:

                      Iron Disorders Institute:: Chronic Diseases Affected by Iron

                      To quote one scary claim:

                      "This iron-mediated disease process is associated with iron levels well below those observed in hemochromatosis and has been implicated in multiple metabolic disorders, the worsening of many disease conditions, and premature death and disability."

                      This page makes it sound like giving blood is the only way to effectively lower levels near the high end of normal:

                      Iron Disorders Institute:: Therapies

                      This page gives a good list of iron content in foods:

                      Iron Disorders Institute:: Diet

                      Showed me I was wrong about orange juice but right about red meat and spinach.
                      (1) I am 100% on-board with the primal exercise blue print. It reduces the problem of exercise down to its simplest form and provides a solution that can be used for a lifetime.

                      (2) I'm not on-board with the primal diet blue print. In fact, I'm not on-board with any diet plan but a man can hope to find the right answer before it's too late.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Orange juice is an issue because vitamin C promotes the uptake of dietary iron
                        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

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The human body actually does have a large number of compounds and systems related to regulating systemic iron levels as well as ways to regulate the amount of iron actually absorbed from the diet (which can vary but normally runs at a paltry 15%). Hell, your body even sweats the stuff out. Simply put, if your body is functioning properly then it simply sheds iron in the digestive system before it can be absorbed into your body.

                          More importantly one of the primary compounds that your body uses to deal with dangerous free iron levels is to simply bind it with (apo)transferrin. This protein does a great job at preventing iron toxicity in your body, but there is one main thing that can prevent it from accomplishing this task. Transferrin production and utilization is negatively affected by inflammation. Inflammation is already well associated with "multiple metabolic disorders, the worsening of many disease conditions, and premature death and disability."

                          Vitamin C only significantly improves the absorption of non-heme (plant form) iron but has not been shown to significantly improve heme iron absorption in humans.
                          "You can demonstrate the purpose and limits of human digestion with a simple experiment: eat a steak with some whole corn kernels, and see what comes out the other end. It won’t be the steak."
                          -J.Stanton

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                          • #14
                            An uncle of mine has hemochromatosis and my brother recently found out that the has it as well, which means that for the rest of his life he might have to practice blood letting to keep his levels in check (like my uncle has to do). Both of them eat shit food prone to cause inflammation. Meanwhile I red meat daily and liver multiple times a week and never test high. If your body is functioning properly then you have nothing to worry about.
                            "You can demonstrate the purpose and limits of human digestion with a simple experiment: eat a steak with some whole corn kernels, and see what comes out the other end. It won’t be the steak."
                            -J.Stanton

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Thanks for the info ProtoAlex!...my education continues.
                              Some comments/questions below->

                              Originally posted by ProtoAlex View Post
                              Simply put, if your body is functioning properly then it simply sheds iron in the digestive system before it can be absorbed into your body.
                              But a diet 'high' in heme iron could certainly overload this capacity. What I mean is even if 'only' 15% of dietary iron is absorbed, that could lead to excessive blood iron levels if the diet consists of large quantities of 'high iron content' foods. But what is 'large quantities'? I don't know, that gets back to my question of the optimal frequency of red meat consumption.

                              Originally posted by ProtoAlex View Post
                              More importantly one of the primary compounds that your body uses to deal with dangerous free iron levels is to simply bind it with (apo)transferrin. This protein does a great job at preventing iron toxicity in your body, but there is one main thing that can prevent it from accomplishing this task.
                              According to Wikipedia (I know, I know):"Transferrin is a glycoprotein that binds iron very tightly but reversibly. Although iron bound to transferrin is less than 0.1% (4 mg) of the total body iron, it is the most important iron pool, with the highest rate of turnover (25 mg/24 h)."
                              In other words, at best it can regulated blood iron levels by a mere 0.1%. The reason is seems to be something else the article stated: it's main role is to 'transport' iron from iron absoprtion centers to cells throughout the body.

                              Originally posted by ProtoAlex View Post
                              Transferrin production and utilization is negatively affected by inflammation. Inflammation is already well associated with "multiple metabolic disorders, the worsening of many disease conditions, and premature death and disability."
                              I'd like to learn more about this if you have any links to share.

                              Originally posted by ProtoAlex View Post
                              Meanwhile I red meat daily and liver multiple times a week and never test high.
                              I used to eat red meat almost daily. I'm limiting now to about once a week. The Harvard study on centenarians (who all had blood iron levels at the 'low' end of the recommended range for 10 or more years) convinced me of that. But I may be wrong, I'd prefer to eat it daily.

                              As for liver, I eat one serving weekly. Are you aware it's full of vitamin A? Vitamin A is fat soluble - i.e. it gets stored in fat. There are many case studies of people who developed toxic vitamin A levels from excess liver consumption. Apparently there's no easy way to "flush" vitamin A (or any other fat soluble vitamin) out of the fat reserves once they're in there.

                              Lastly, once again, I'll point out the AMA is considering lowering the 'normal' range of blood iron. In other words whats been considered 'normal' range may in fact be 'high'.
                              (1) I am 100% on-board with the primal exercise blue print. It reduces the problem of exercise down to its simplest form and provides a solution that can be used for a lifetime.

                              (2) I'm not on-board with the primal diet blue print. In fact, I'm not on-board with any diet plan but a man can hope to find the right answer before it's too late.

                              Comment

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