“But Laura, I’m anemic!”
Here’s the deal, before 1972 doctors would test heme iron because that is where 70% of iron is found. But somehow we got a little lost along the way and started testing ferritin iron levels which is the storage form found inside the cell where it should be. It’s not the iron we are actually using.
Did you know we have an iron recycling system? Yup, our bodies are pretty rad. We basically re-use iron over and over again. In this iron recycling system, iron changes from the dangerous form ferrous to the safe form ferric. The only way to do this without creating rust in the body (yes, I said rust) is with bio-available copper. So when we are testing for iron levels we really need to be testing hem iron + the mineral balance of copper and iron. When someone is “anemic” its most likely a copper deficiency.
The iron recycling system can recycle 25 mg of iron that leaves us needing 1mg of iron from food a day. And unfortunately our food has WAY too much iron in it leaving us with WAY too much iron floating around than we ever need.
Think about all the iron fortified foods we grew on. One cup of cereal has about 25mg of iron 🤯 And birth control pills- some contain 75mg per pill! All that excess iron is just built up from years and years.
So since we can recycle 25mg of iron a day where is all this extra iron going? Our tissues! This excess iron has been linked to 100 different autoimmune diseases, liver issues, skin agin, heart disease, osteoporosis etc…
Excess iron is where we run into problems. Got gut probs? Iron could be the culprit. Excess iron feeds pathogens, fungus, viruses and bacteria. It also stimulates our nervous system and puts us in a chronic inflammatory state. Got brown liver spots, melasma or “age spots”? Remember those PUFAs I talked about- yup those excess PUFAs mix with this excess iron in the tissues and cause Lipofuscin basically increased aging – we will talk about this another day… 😜
⫸ As women we are blessed with that period every month which helps us detox excess iron (reason having a regular cycle is SO important)
⫸ Eat more copper rich foods like beef liver, oysters, bone broth, + bee pollen