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Another Hidden Cause of Diabetes and Belly Fat

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 04/25/2024

Even though many people have not even heard of hemochromatosis, it can be a devastating condition for people who suffer from it. Some people may not even realize it has led to their diabetes.

Learn about how hemochromatosis affects the body, how diabetes interacts with insulin resistance, and what steps you can take to safeguard your health.

The Hidden Link Between Iron Overload and Diabetes

Hemochromatosis can cause excessive iron in the body, triggering inflammation and insulin resistance.

The Role of Hemochromatosis in Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance prevents glucose from entering cells effectively. With too much iron from hemochromatosis acting as an insulin blocker, you're setting yourself up for diabetes.

A study found that people with hereditary hemochromatosis are five times more likely to develop diabetes than those without.

Iron Accumulation in the Pancreas and Its Effects

An overloaded pancreas leads to insulin depletion.

When excess iron accumulates, particularly within insulin-producing cells (beta-cells), it can damage them or impair their function, contributing directly to the onset of diabetes.

The Impact of Food Fortification on Obesity Rates

Have you ever wondered about the link between fortified foods and obesity?

Tracing Obesity Trends Post-Iron Fortification

Obesity rates have skyrocketed since food fortification began. Some studies show a direct correlation between these two trends.

Research data reveals that in 1969, when iron was added to flour products, there was an alarming increase in obesity cases across America.

FDA's Role in Rising Obesity Rates

The spike in obesity directly correlates with the FDA's move to boost iron levels in flour-based goods. Next time you grab a bagel or hunk of bread, consider the possible consequences for your waistline.

Strategies to Reduce Excessive Iron Intake

The first step in controlling iron overload is minimizing your intake. How can one achieve this goal? Two simple strategies can help: avoiding fortified foods and cutting down on red meat.

Avoiding Fortified Foods for Better Health

Many processed foods are fortified with iron. These include breads, cereals, and kinds of pasta.

Our bodies aren't designed to handle large amounts of synthetic vitamins or minerals. So, reducing these products from your diet could lower your iron levels naturally.

Reducing Red Meat Consumption as a Strategy

If you're serious about tackling excessive iron intake, you need to examine your carnivorous habits.

Red meat is rich in heme-iron, which the body absorbs more efficiently than non-heme sources found in plant-based food.

While you do not need to cut out red meat entirely, moderation is key here until iron levels are back at normal levels.

Effective Methods for Removing Excess Iron from the Body

If you have too much iron in your system, two viable solutions exist to help balance things: chelation therapy and blood donation.

Understanding Chelation Therapy

In simple terms, chelation therapy involves using certain substances that can bind to excess iron in the body. These substances act like magnets, drawing out surplus metal ions like iron.

A commonly used substance for this purpose is IP6 (inositol hexaphosphate). It's found naturally in certain foods but is also available as a supplement.

The Benefits of Blood Donation

Blood donation helps save lives and reduces high levels of stored iron. Regular contributions can help maintain healthy levels because a small amount of iron leaves your body each time you donate, along with the blood drawn.

Iron Supplements: When to Use and What to Choose

Iron supplements can be a real boon when dealing with anemia. However, different forms of iron can vary in terms of absorption rate.

The Dangers of Unnecessary Iron Supplementation

Taking unnecessary iron supplements might do more harm than good. Excess iron in the body could lead to health complications like hemochromatosis—a condition causing too much iron build-up—which could potentially result in diabetes or liver disease.

Opting for Easily Digestible Iron Sources

If you need help boosting your iron levels due to anemia, consider natural sources before reaching for a pill bottle. The grass-fed liver is one such source that's easily digestible and packed with nutrients beyond just iron.

Listen to your body and make informed decisions based on reliable medical advice.

Iron Intake and Its Relevance to a Prediabetes Diet

Iron is essential for overall health, but its relationship with prediabetes and diabetes is significant. Maintaining an adequate but proper iron intake is crucial for individuals with prediabetes.

While iron is essential for carrying oxygen in the blood, excessive intake, particularly from red meat and highly processed foods, can contribute to insulin resistance and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Therefore, individuals following a prediabetes diet should pay attention to their iron intake. Opting for lean sources of iron like poultry and fish, as well as incorporating plant-based iron sources such as beans, lentils, and spinach, can be beneficial.

Adequately meeting iron needs and avoiding excessive consumption are essential parts of an overall strategy to manage prediabetes and maintain optimal health.

Consulting a healthcare provider or registered dietitian can provide personalized guidance on iron intake and its connection to a prediabetes diet.


Hemochromatosis, characterized by excessive iron accumulation, poses a significant yet often overlooked risk for diabetes.

Excess iron can trigger inflammation and insulin resistance, increasing diabetes risk. Strategies like avoiding fortified foods, moderating red meat intake, and considering therapies like chelation or blood donation can help manage iron levels.

Individuals with prediabetes should monitor iron intake as part of their dietary approach. Raising awareness of this connection empowers proactive health decisions, promoting better outcomes and quality of life.

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