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Author Topic: Hemochromatosis  (Read 6165 times)

Offline JoyceM

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« on: August 21, 2007, 09:04:13 AM »
Hello friends in health:

I recently learned from a man I am seeing, that he has a condition called 'Hemochromatosis'.  It is something I had never learned of before, so I inquired over the internet for information.  It is an inherited condition that allows the body to absorb more iron than the body can use, thus it begins to build up in the major organs which over time can cause diseases such as cirrhosis and diabetes.  Although there are many diagnosed medical conditions  in the United States that cause too much iron in the body, hemochromatosis is the most frequent cause of high blood iron.

Right now, the method of treatment is to remove blood from the body at intervals necessary to keep the iron count down.  People with this condition find that as the iron levels creep up, they become easily fatigued with aching joints and feel lethargic.

I would like more information on ways this disorder can be treated and lifestyle (health and nutrition) suggestions that can help alleviate some of the side effects.

The link for information can be found at

Thanks for your professional input and personal experience.
Joyce Mack

Offline Nori

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Re: Hemochromatosis
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2007, 12:02:43 PM »
From my experience and conference with my lab tech sister, avoiding enriched foods (see for a video clip on iron filings) and supplements containing iron, reducing iron-rich foods, using vitamin C away from regular meals (as it increases absorption), and periodic phlebotomy can help.  Liver and blood sugar support could help reduce the side effects of this disease. 

Jonathan Wright, MD, has this to say about milk thistle:

I've been treating patients suffering from the iron-overload disease hemochromatosis with relatively high doses of milk thistle extract for quite some time (three to four tablets per day containing 200 mg of extract standardized to 168 mg of silymarin). Milk thistle can help protect the liver against the oxidative damage caused by iron accumulation. But another study I read recently suggests that it could have significant additional benefits too.

A group of Italian scientists investigated the iron-binding capacity of silybin, a component of the complex silymarin found in milk thistle.3 The scientists found that silybin strongly binds the iron, even at acidic conditions. It demonstrated remarkable stability and seemed to offer an effective non-toxic alternative to the commonly used synthetic drug desferrioxamine, which has been known to cause such side effects as bone deformities, sensory abnormalities and cerebral toxicity.

So, based on this research, it looks as if milk thistle tablets can not only inhibit iron and heavy metal absorption, but they may also facilitate the removal of iron from tissues.

I also think that, because certain pathogens need iron (often an issue cited in connection anemia), perhaps there is a connection betwaen hemochromatosis and infection.  Here is just one result from a Google search: hemochromatosis+pathogens:

Worthy further exploration, I'd say!
Nori M. Hudson, BA, MS
Instructor, Bauman College, Berkeley
Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition by and Registered with NANP
Certified Diet Counselor, Nutrition Educator,  Nutrition Consultant, and Nutrition Teacher through Bauman College