Experts say iron tablets could be causing more harm than good

New research has uncovered an alarming discovery about iron tablets, with experts saying the common supplement can damage vital DNA

New research has uncovered an alarming discovery about iron tablets, with experts saying the common supplement can damage vital DNA in your blood cells.

Tests conducted in the lab show the high levels of iron in tablets start to affect the DNA and blood vessels in just 10 minutes. Iron affects our DNA repair system, and researchers found the high dose from the supplements kept the system activated for over six hours – a lot longer than normal.

Dr Claire Shovlin, who was the lead author on the National Heart and Lung Institute study, said our bodies rely on the DNA repair system to heal cells and keep us healthy.

“All of the body’s cells have DNA repair systems that can fix all sorts of things in cells,” Dr Shovlin explained.

“But when we added iron, we saw that these systems had to work harder than normal.”

It’s thought this increased activity could do significant damage to our systems in the long run.

Dr Shovlin said supplements may contain 10 times more iron than we actually need for a healthy and balanced body and that an overdose of the mineral could be harmful.

While iron is an important part of a healthy diet, experts say we should be able to get our daily dose from our diet, rather than taking a supplement.

Generally, men and woman aged 51 years and over need about 8mg of iron a day. With a 100gm piece of red meat containing 3mg of iron and the same amount of spinach containing about 2.7mg, it should be easy for people to achieve their daily requirements without a supplement.

The researches say they need to conduct further testing before they hand down any concrete recommendations for reducing iron supplement intake, but say doctors should think about prescribing a lower dose of the mineral to patients.

Do you take an iron supplement? Will this make you think twice about how you get your iron intake?

  1. When I was younger I had to take it,and strangely I never felt well on it, and just stopped taking it.But is this an animal study or what group did they test? Is there a new drug and they want to bump the existing one off the market? Yes,I will wait for those further studies,but if it is so,there are going to be an awful lot of women,particularly, walking around with damaged immune repair systems and changed DNA!

  2. I find it amazing all these wonder drugs are recommended then down the track they come out and say they are doing you more harm than good

    • I agree. I think it is best to try to get all of our essential nutrients and vitamins from the food we eat.

    • Then they come up with another one to counteract that one… How the hell did we survive without the science in our days?

  3. I’ve never liked iron supplements and being a veggie person sometimes my body does need a boost. If my energy is very low I usually have to go to the other side and put some meat into my body but I have to go to out to do this as I cannot stand the smell of cooking meat.

    • I understand Bea. I was vegetarian for a few years and couldn’t even stand the smell of a butchers shop when I walked past.

  4. My m.i.l took iron for sixty years because her mum said it was a good idea. She ended up with crippling arthritis. The sad thing was her doctor admitted her to a nursing home with … Iron deficiency anaemia! Hadn’t done a blood test and didn’t question why she was taking iron. Doctor took the huge post 75 health check fee from Medicare too.

  5. My daughter is allergic to iron tablets. Apparently 5% of the population are allergic. She had problems with puberty and became very iron deficient and the doctor put her on iron tablets. They damaged the wall of her stomach in a bad way. She then had to take high dose Nexium and could not eat food containing iron for the pain. She had to have iron injections and she had to start taking the pill. She was only 14, she was very sick. She also was Zinc deficient. All this was because she grew too fast. She went from a little girl to a size 14 woman in 6 months. Her system could not handle it. The doctor had never seen anything like it.

    • Lyn Pride She is fine now. She turned 26 two days ago. She has to keep taking the pill. I don’t what will happen if she decides to have children. I don’t know what effect coming off the pill will have.

  6. Dawn Croft  

    Quite a few people have Haemochromatosis which is an inherited disease where your body stores iron and does not get rid of it. Often goes undiagnosed but can lead to major health problems if not treated by venesections. Don’t take iron unless doctor has done iron studies.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *