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Topic summary contributed by volunteer(s): Jim

Since the human body has no mechanism to excrete excess iron, it is probably best to refrain from consuming blood-based (heme) iron and taking iron supplements unless prescribed (for example, for pregnant women who are demonstrably anemic). This is because iron pills have been linked to birth complications such as preterm birth and maternal hypertension. Presumably because of iron’s pro-oxidant qualities, it can be a double-edged sword; lowering the iron level of cancer patients has been associated with dropping death rates. The absorption of plant-based (non-heme) iron can be regulated by the body, though, making dark green leafy veggies and legumes such as lentils preferable sources, especially since food is a package deal.


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