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Iron 301 – Treatment of Iron Deficiency or Overload

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by Mila McManus, MD

(Third in a three-part series)  

*** If you missed the previous articles, click here for part 1 and here for part 2.

In Functional Medicine we take an individual and multi-faceted approach to resolving iron deficiency. First, we search for the root causes of the deficiency which may include examining the diet, current female status regarding pregnancy, breast feeding, and menstrual cycle, medical history, possible lab work, and determination of whether there may be internal sources of bleeding.

Iron deficiency treatment includes some combination of supplemental or IV irondietary and lifestyle adjustments, and addressing gut health issues that may be affecting absorption of dietary iron. Mitigating and correcting other medical issues regarding menstrual cycles, liver or kidney function may also be included.

Supplemental iron is not ideal for everyone. Iron supplements can cause nausea, constipation, stomach aches, and/or diarrhea. Additionally, supplement quality is an important factor to consider.  Supplements are NOT all created equal. An iron IV is a possible solution with much fewer side effects, and they are offered here at The Woodlands Institute for Health and Wellness. Click on: Iron Sources and Ideas for a guide to dietary tips to maximize iron absorption. 

Something else to consider is that a copper or vitamin A (Retinol) deficiency may contribute to iron deficiency, and supplementing with these correctly, could be the treatment of choice!

Hemochromatosis, both primary and secondary, where there is too much iron in the blood, is normally handled by removing blood from the body through a process called phlebotomy, or bloodletting.  Another possible avenue is chelation therapy using an iron binding medication so that extra iron can be carried out of the body through the bowels and urine.
 

[1] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/166455#causes

[1] Winters, N. & Kelley, J. (2017). The metabolic approach to cancer: Integrating deep nutrition, the Ketogenic diet, and nontoxic bio-individualized therapies. Chelsea Green.

[1] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hemochromatosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351443

[1] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/166455#causes

[1] https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/22824-iron-deficiency-anemia

[1] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/166455#causes

[1] mercola.com September 2022 article on iron

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