Taking Iron for Anemia Can Be Harmful

May 08, 2024

Wait, what?! That’s right.


Anemia has inaccurately become almost synonymous with low iron, or iron deficiency. However, low iron (or what appears to be low iron) is nearly always a consequence, and not the cause. 


And if you’re focusing on increasing your iron intake because you’ve been told you’re anemic, it’s a mistake that could worsen your health.


Here are just three common anemia examples where low iron is misleading:


1. Anemia of Chronic Disease or Inflammation  (ACD):


➡️ Also known as anemia of inflammation, it shows up with chronic infections, autoimmune diseases, or even cancer. 


➡️ Inflammation increases hepcidin, a hormone that reduces iron absorption in the gut while also storing it away in tissues like the liver and spleen.


➡️ Stored or trapped iron can’t enter the bloodstream, which leads to low iron in the blood. However, this is a result of inflammation, not a lack of iron in the diet or low iron stores.


2. Vitamin Deficiencies:


➡️ Vitamin B12 and folate are crucial for red blood cell production. 


➡️ When these nutrients are unavailable to make enough red blood cells that contain iron, it can show up as low iron in the blood. 


➡️ However, this decrease in iron is a consequence of the vitamin deficiency limiting red blood cell production, not low iron.


3. Copper Deficiency:


➡️ Copper is necessary for the formation of ceruloplasmin, a protein that helps convert iron into a form that can be transported. 


➡️ Deficiency can result in reduced ceruloplasmin and iron transport, leading to low serum iron and anemia.


➡️ However, the primary cause is the lack of copper, not low dietary iron.



In each of these forms of anemia, enough iron isn’t the problem - rather, it’s the body’s inability to access iron, build a home for iron, or carry iron around.


Unfortunately, when iron appears low in the blood, it’s assumed that not enough iron is the reason. And the misuse of iron fortification and supplementation can exacerbate health problems rather than resolve them.


Here are several common ways:

  • Internal “rusting” (oxidative stress) 

  • Achy and stiff joints (widespread inflammation)

  • Compromised gut health (leaky gut)

  • Compromised digestion (IBS, gas, bloat, nausea)

  • Low energy (toxic mitochondria)

  • Hair loss (iron dysregulation)

  • Iron accumulation (iron overload)

  • Liver stress (excess iron stores)


So if you’ve been told you’re anemic, it’s time to take a much closer look! We can help.


Click HERE for your complimentary consultation today!


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