People in the modern-day lifestyles are much more aware of health issues. The majority now tries to follow a diet rich in particular healthful minerals. However, in doing so people usually forget the fundamental limitations to all nutrients. This also results in problems like higher levels of iron.
Iron is one of the most essential nutrients in the body. A lack of it can lead to many dangerous and irreversible health issues. For instance, the production of hemoglobin is not possible with enough iron levels.
Lack of hemoglobin means that the red blood cells are unable to carry oxygen molecules. This further leads to deoxygenated blood and organs. Without treatment, such a condition can be fatal. Similarly, there are many other procedures in the body which require stable levels of iron.
However, this does not mean that one should consume more iron than needed. Using iron supplements or making major dietary interventions without asking a health professional is not suggested.
As mentioned before, too much of anything is always harmful. There are studies on the many positive effects of having higher iron levels.
A new study explores further and takes into account the effects of having higher iron levels. Mainly it focuses on the relationship between iron and the following health conditions: deep vein thrombosis, carotid artery wall thickness, and carotid artery plaque.
The positive findings confirm the conclusions of the research from the past. On the other hand, they also show a negative aspect of iron. These appear in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
What Was the Research Method?
The studies from the past suggest that iron is necessary for boosting cardiovascular health. As mentioned before, iron does have a major role in the human body. However, new studies are now looking at the unknown effects of such minerals.
The new study, by researchers at Imperial College London in the UK, is actually a part of a whole series of international research.
In the many different sections of the research, there is data from around 500,000 participants. The researchers aim to explore potential connections between iron and as many as nine hundred health conditions.
The researchers in the study were able to do so mainly because of Mendelian randomization. This method can help examine a person’s natural iron levels and its potential contribution to disease.
According to the team, this method is better than observational trials on such topics. This is using MR does not cause the problems that occur alongside observation.
Firstly, there was an observation of genetic markers of naturally higher levels of iron. The researchers used data from around fifty thousand people from Europe.
After doing so, they moved on to use the identified genetic iron level markers to look at its links with cardiovascular conditions.
What Was the Result?
In the final stages of the study, the researchers found two opposite effects of iron on cardiovascular diseases. The positive findings confirmed the conclusions from the previous studies by stating higher levels of iron prevent atherosclerosis.
However, higher levels of iron were not that beneficial in case of DVT. Instead, it seemed to be contributing to clot formation and artery narrowing. Lastly, there were no effects of iron on carotid wall thickness.
The effects of higher levels of iron on DVT were most surprising. The researchers state this paves the way for further research on the effects of iron in the body.