4 Things You Can Do to Offload Iron
Updated: Dec 20, 2022
Too much iron in your body is causing your beta cells to shut down. So, in theory, removing that excess iron opens a door where new cells (implanted or regrown) can flourish.
If you're like me, you didn't even know you were taking too much in the first place.
Do I poop it out? Hold a magnet to my stomach and pull?
And that's the thing, iron just doesn't leave. Your body is efficient with recycling what naturally occurs in a healthy diet. Efficiency, like 95% efficient. Any more than needed? It's stashed in your liver. Too much for your liver and its in your pancreas, heart, and intestines...
So what to do? Here's four ways to get your iron levels down:
Eliminate added iron from your diet
Seems pretty simple until you realize just how prevalent it is in the Standard American Diet. Breakfast cereals, commercial breads and pastries, anything containing enriched wheat flour. The FDA decided to fortify our grains in the 1970s to bolster our health. It hasn't turned out as planned.
2. Filter your water
From the water you drink to the water you bathe in, it should be filtered. There's a good chance your tap water has fluorine, chlorine, pesticides, iron and other hard minerals. Iron aside, all of those other reactive elements wreak havoc on the biological cascade of basic cellular function.
I grew up in a house supplied by well water which is notorious for iron content. I never thought anything of the yellow stains around our faucets and drains...
3. Donate Blood
In all of the studies examining the ties between iron and diabetes, donating blood is the method of choice in offloading iron. You can offload from 220mg up to almost 500 mg, depending on the type of donation (regular vs. Power Red).
For those averse to donating, it is possible to naturally decrease your iron levels. But dammit it's slow. And you have a LOT of iron in your system. So it may be something to worth reconsidering depending on the severity of your condition.
4. Increase Your Copper Intake
Copper is the body's counterbalance to iron. Too much iron leads to not enough copper. Not enough iron and you get too much copper. The copper-carrying protein ceruloplasmin plays an important role in mobilizing iron stored in tissue.
Where do you get copper? You don't have to look far. Whole foods like potatoes, dark leafy greens, and organ meats (like liver). Supplementing is recommended for those starting out.
It's important to remember that this process of iron dumping and restoring balance to your body is just that, a process. Gone are the reductionist ways of medicine where you can plug and play missing pieces willy nilly. There is a sea of supporting vitamins and minerals that help in restoring balance.
Your body is incredibly adaptive, and yet surprisingly stubborn. It works hard with what it has. So to truly enact lasting change, you must be persistent. It takes time to establish a new normal. Some will be a few months. Others a year or more.
Either way, it's time to shake off some of that rust.