( Hemochromatosis )
Iron overload, also known as hemochromatosis, is an unusual health condition wherein the body accumulates excessive iron which causes the body to ‘rust'. In such cases, the excessive iron stored by the body actually degrades the cell membranes in the heart, liver and pancreas. It is important to note that only in the United States more than one million people suffer from full-scale iron overload or hemochromatosis disease, while another 30 million have a gene that result in a milder type of this malady.
People, who have close family members who have already been identified as having iron overload or hemochromatosis, face the maximum risk of developing the disorder. Generally, iron overload happens to people who are already enduring type 2 diabetes or have suffered a heart attack or have high liver enzymes that are not attributable to viral hepatitis. Such people are likely to have spotting or dark patches on their skin. In fact, iron overload is a permanent health condition, but the symptoms of this disorder do not become visible till the patients are around 40 years old. Compared to women, men are more vulnerable to this malady.
Any medical diagnosis of full-scale iron overload disorder is generally only done following a needle biopsy of the liver. However, if a blood examination for ferritin is done, it might reveal elevated levels of iron that are related to augmented risk for complication, even though the liver biopsy may not exhibit disproportionate amounts of iron.
The usual cure of iron overload or hemochromatosis comprises phlebotomy - drawing blood at habitual intervals. If the iron overload disorder is not cured, this malady might result in cirrhosis as well as diabetes, liver cancer and even heart failure. On the other hand, if the disorder is identified and cured in the initial stages, the patient will not experience any severe symptoms. Even if the symptoms of iron overload emerge, it is possible to avoid heart attack and liver cancer as well as notably annul diabetes attributable to this malady through proper treatment. Nevertheless, phlebotomy is essential for effectual treatment of iron overload. This is one major reason why phlebotomy cannot be substituted by using herbal medications or undergoing any other form of treatment. However, using herbal medicines may facilitate speedy recovery from the condition when they are used in the form of supplemental therapies.
Supplements and herbs
As mentioned above, use of herbal preparations is effective in accelerating the recovery from iron overload or hemochromatosis. A combination of different herbs in capsule or powder form may offer utmost benefit and also help to adjust while the condition of the patient gets better. The medicinal dosage of the combination of the herbs mentioned below is equivalent to one capsule of each herb or one full liquid dropper of herbal tincture taken thrice every day.
You may use rosemary leaves, which possess antioxidant properties and, at the same time, encourage blood circulation to the brain. This herb also helps in protecting the heart. Similarly, the gingko leaves too possess antioxidant qualities and are helpful in protecting the veins, arteries, heart and the brain. On the other hand, schisandra berries are basically an adaptogen (any natural substance employed in herbal medicine to regulate as well as normalize the bodily systems) herb meant for hemochromatosis and help in protecting adrenals, liver as well as the respiratory system. Another herb, reishi mushroom also helps to protect the immune system, as well as safeguards the nerves, liver and the heart.
Even cordyceps mushroom is an adaptogen, protects the liver as well as augments the quality of blood. Another adaptogen is rhodiola root. This herb possesses antioxidant properties, protects the heart and also makes the mind more intelligent.
Homeopathy is among the most widely accepted complete systems of medicine. In homeopathy, remedies are selected to treat individuals on the theory that the reason behind the symptoms endured by the person would itself cure them - a holistic approach for treating ailments. It is believed that homeopathy is the solitary method by which the condition of total health may be salvaged by means of getting rid of all the signs and symptoms a patient may be suffering from. The objective of homeopathy is not just to treat iron overload or hemochromatosis, but also to deal with its fundamental reason and personal vulnerability of the patients. To the extent that therapeutic medication is involved, there are a number of remedies that are available to treat hemochromatosis, which may be opted for depending on the cause, feeling as well as modalities of the symptoms.
For personalized selection of medications as well as treatments, it is important that the patient talks to a qualified and competent homeopathic physician personally. As mentioned earlier, there are several homeopathic remedies which may be opted to cure iron overload or hemochromatosis and some of them include Arsenic Iod, Argentum Nitricum, Arsenic. Album, Bryonia, China, Calcaria Ars, Cuprum Met., Hydrastis, Hepar Sulph, Lycopodium, Muriatic Acid, Nitric Acid, Phosphorus, Rhus Tox, Sulphur, Sepia, Thuja and others.
Additional things you may do
Besides taking conventional medications, herbs and supplements and homeopathic remedies, you may do many other things to cure iron overload or hemochromatosis. First and foremost, you need to lessen the amount of iron intake and for this you need to restrict the servings of poultry products, fish and meat to just one every day. In addition, you ought to keep off from eating organ meats totally. Meats contain a type of iron called heme iron, which not only adds to developing the iron overload or hemochromatosis malady. In addition, heme iron also augments the risks of having heart attacks.
People suffering from iron overload or hemochromatosis should also seek the advice of a practitioner of alternative healthcare regarding the use of chelation therapy to supplement phlebotomy. It may be noted that chelation therapy facilitates to get rid of iron from blood circulation more slowly compared to phlebotomy.
The main therapeutic treatment for the iron overload malady is basically a contemporary update on the conventional utilization of leeches - phlebotomy. The model treatment for hemochromatosis is to get rid of half to one pint (250 ml to 500 ml) of blood each week till the levels of iron becomes normal in the bloodstream. Generally, people suffering from hemochromatosis have approximately 25 grams (25,000 milligrams) of surplus iron in their systems. Every session of phlebotomy helps to get rid of about 250 milligrams of iron, therefore, it means that a minimum of 100 phlebotomy sessions are needed to bring back the iron levels in the system to normal.
When an individual has been diagnosed of suffering from iron overload or hemochromatosis, it is essential to regulate the person's diet keeping in view that he/ she does not intake excessive iron by eating inappropriate meals. Nevertheless, it is not necessary that the dietary modifications are made in such a way that the patient is deprived of taking the pleasures of life as well as good food.
For people enduring hemochromatosis, the major concern is keeping away from medicines that enclose excessive iron, drinking alcoholic beverages or taking vitamin C. It may be noted that it has been found that consuming too much alcohol actually enhances iron absorption significantly with people having hemochromatosis fixed at the level of 60 grams daily. Hence, it is vital to remain significantly lower than this level. Ideally, the limit ought to be 30 grams daily in men and 20 grams a day in women. In case a patient has two duplicates of C282Y and consumes too much alcohol, he/ she is likely to experience burgeoning effects - not necessarily an effect of chemical addition - on soaking up iron by the systems. Remember, for people having iron overload or hemochromatosis, drinking excessive alcohol may prove to be fatal. In fact, the impact of consuming too much alcohol by people having hemochromatosis cannot be exaggerated.
On the other hand, taking vitamin C augments the absorption of iron by the body. Therefore, it is prudent to only consume a reasonable quantity of vitamin C and never take vitamin C tablets ever. In addition, it has been established that vitamin C hasten heart palpitations in people having hemochromatosis.
Contrarily, taking black tea has shown to lessen the absorption of iron by the body. In this regard, it may be noted that the African tea, which is gradually turning out to be very popular, might enclose iron and, hence, it is advisable not to consume this tea in excess.
People enduring hemochromatosis ought to never take any supplement until they provide evidence regarding deficiencies. There is substantial proof that people having iron overload are also likely to have an augmented aptitude to soak up other different heavy metals. It is possible to remove iron from the system by bleeding, but very difficult to get rid of the other heavy metals present in excessive amounts in the body.
People having iron overloading should never take the herb milk thistle although it is often promoted as an herb that is beneficial for the liver. In fact, if people suffering from hemochromatosis take milk thistle, it may result in acute problems for them. Hemochromatosis or iron overload patients should also never consume raw shellfish. It is possible that the raw shellfish may be polluted with Vibrio vulnificans that flourish in an ecosystem that is rich in iron. There have been a number of reports from the northern hemisphere that hemochromatosis patients taking raw shellfish have met with untimely ends. However, they can take cooked shellfish, since cooking this species incapacitates this organism.
Although vitamin E possesses antioxidant properties and may prove to be beneficial for people with hemochromatosis, taking excessive of this vitamin may eventually work as an oxidant. In any case, it is not advisable that you take vitamin E in excess of 400 IU to 800 IU in a day.
In the case of hemochromatosis, the body generally excessively absorbs non-heme iron or the type of iron naturally present in sources like vegetables. Hence, it is likely that a patient suffering from iron overload or hemochromatosis would consume a steak and not be exaggeratedly concerned. It may be noted that meat as well as blood are two main sources of heme iron.
It may be underlined that it is not necessary to be of the opinion that people having iron overload or hemochromatosis ought to control their diet more than usually. Actually, when the hemochromatosis patients follow the above mentioned suggestion related to the intake of iron, other measures adopted by them to reduce iron intake is unlikely to be very effective. Precisely speaking, an extremely strict diet, which is devoid of all other sources of iron, would be very effective in keeping the ferritin level low. However, nothing more can be achieved in comparison to having just one phlebotomy once in every six months. Therefore, it is imperative that people suffering from hemochromatosis or iron overload should enjoy their food - there is no reason to worry that the malady would prove to be an obstacle in this regard.
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- From MJDRN
- People with iron overload should also avoid vitamin C supplements as vitamin C carries iron to the organs. Danger of vitamin C found in foods hasn't been established that I know of, however, I would still avoid high vitamin C foods, not only citrus but dark greens.