They say too much of a good thing is bad for you, which most of us realise after we’ve overstuffed ourselves with a huge meal. But it’s also important to note that iron can also be harmful in high amounts. We’re often told about the benefits of this essential mineral, but we’re here to give you the lowdown on the potential risks of overloading on iron.
Why do we need iron?
First things first, why is iron such a vital part of a healthy diet? Its importance is down to the part it plays in several essential functions in the body. This multitasker helps maintain healthy skin, hair and nails as well as helping to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body. In addition to iron supplements, rich sources of iron include foods like meat, eggs, nuts and dark leafy green vegetables.
How can too much iron affect the body?
In contrast to its benefits, like many other nutrients, iron can also harm our bodies. Our digestive systems naturally protect us from iron’s harmful effects by stopping us from absorbing too much. But, in some cases the body is not able to cope with extremely high doses which can even be fatal, especially if taken by children. Stomach pain, constipation, nausea and vomiting are common side effects of taking doses of over 20mg of iron.
What is iron overload disorder?
Normally inherited from family, Haemochromatosis is a condition that lets iron levels slowly build up in the body over many years. If left untreated, the extra iron stores in the places like the heart, liver and other organs. In some cases, this can lead to more serious conditions like liver disease or heart failure.
So, now you know how much is too much, continue to include iron-rich foods in your diet for overall health.