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  • Writer's picture Bowie Matteson

Iron + Diabetes: A Love Story

Updated: Dec 20, 2022

From our list of suspects (the spleen and liver), what are some common features that would lead you to believe that they could be inflammatory?

Let's start with the fact that they both handle blood. The spleen helps fight germs, remove damaged RBCs and maintains fluid levels. The liver filters toxins while also recycling and storing iron.

Iron is what catches my attention here. Hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen on the RBCs, is iron-rich. The liver stores and recycles it with the spleen as an accomplice.

I know that there exists states of iron overload, where too much iron leads to complications. Hemochromatosis is a condition where iron is not recycled properly and it leads to toxic levels in the body.

So, at the very least, worth a Google...

When I tell you that my jaw hit the floor after I clicked "Search"...

Turns out there is a history between iron and diabetes. A fairly extensive and well-documented history at that.

Titles like:

"Cross-Talk Between Iron Metabolism and Diabetes" via the American Diabetes Association from 2002

"Iron Metabolism in Pancreatic Beta-Cell Function and Dysfunction" (PMID:34831062) 2021

"Need for Reclassification of Diabetes Secondary to Iron Overload in the ADA and WHO Classifications"

Excuse me?? You mean to tell me that iron has been on the diabetes radar for 20 years?! Guess the number of times I had ever heard the word "iron" spoken in an endocrinologist visit or conference?


How... How has no even mentioned this?

Google "Iron and diabetes", read a few articles and let me know what you find.

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