Symptoms, conditions and causes

Why you should avoid iron supplements when sick?

Why You Should Avoid Iron When Sick

Feeling sick? Skip the iron. While it's crucial for our bodies, extra iron intake during illness can be counterproductive.

The Protective Mechanism of Ferritin Storage

Ferritin stores iron and acts as a protective mechanism when we get sick. By limiting iron availability in the bloodstream, ferritin helps prevent disease-causing microbes from thriving.

However, consuming additional iron while ill could feed harmful bacteria instead of starving them off.

Risks Associated with Excess Iron Consumption When Unwell

Taking extra iron when sick undermines your body's natural defenses and poses other risks. For instance, excessive free iron levels have been linked with increased oxidative stress, inflammation, and disease progression in certain conditions like infections or cancer.

  • Oxidative Stress: Occurs when there's an imbalance between free radical and antioxidant activity in your body. An imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body may cause cellular and tissue harm.

  • Inflammation: High levels of circulating free iron have also been associated with inflammation - another factor that can exacerbate illness symptoms.

  • Disease Progression: Some studies suggest excess dietary or supplemental iron may contribute to disease progression in certain conditions like infections or cancer.

Avoiding high-iron foods and supplements might be beneficial during sickness periods, especially considering how easy it is for most people to meet their daily recommended intake without supplementation.

Last updated: Apr 26, 2024 14:13 PM