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Is There A Link Between Iron Supplements And Colon Cancer?

Vitamins and Minerals Should Be Obtained Through Healthy Foods

Dr Padma Garvey/Plant-Based Doctor Mom

Is There a Link Between Iron Supplements and Colon Cancer?

Doctors and patients need to have faith in the power of a healthy diet to deal with all sorts of medical problems.  It is astonishing how many people take vitamin and iron supplements in this country.  It may surprise you to know that doing so may have some risks associated with it. It may also surprise you to learn that doctors in other countries where nutrition is taught in medical schools do not advise their patients to take supplements.  Countries like Germany and Sweden actually warn their patients against taking supplements.

Numerous studies have shown that people who consume iron supplements may have an increased risk of colon cancer.  At the bottom of this blog are links to two studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, one discussing the link between meat and dairy consumption and colon  cancer. The second study discusses the link between iron supplements and colon cancer.

Ours bodies are geared to search for vitamins and minerals in the foods we eat.  Iron is typically absorbed by our bodies in our intestines.  Proper absorption of iron requires a healthy stomach and intestines as well as the cooperation of good gut bugs.  People who have had bariatric surgery or people who take stomach acid blockers tend to have issues with iron levels because signals from their stomachs are off, leading to iron deficiency.  People with altered gut bugs also have problems absorbing iron.

Also the foods your iron is in makes a difference.  If your body has enough iron in it or if your body can't absorb iron from the intestines, then this unused iron sits in your colon.  There it gets converted to free-radicals which are cancer causing.  Animal protein has more iron in it than plant protein and can lead to increased iron sitting there in your colon.  High fiber foods help remove excess iron in our guts.  So if you eat a high-fiber, plant-based diet, then  excess iron is less likely to accumulate in our guts.  Moreover, anitoxidants are chemicals that protect us from the cancer-causing free-radicals.  High fiber, plant-based foods are loaded with antioxidants.

Recently IV iron infusion therapy has become a popular way to help people with poor gut absorption of iron.  But this is a costly and invasive treatment.  It makes more sense to address gut absorption issues by encouraging patients to eat a high fiber, plant-based diet.

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