Diet recommendations for people with Hemochromatosis…

What Is Hemochromatosis?

Hemochromatosis is a disease in which too much iron builds up in your body. Iron is a mineral found in many foods.

Too much iron is toxic to our body. It can poison your organs and cause organ failure. In hemochromatosis, iron can build up in most of our body’s organs, but especially in the liver, heart, and pancreas.

Too much iron in the liver can cause an enlarged liver, liver failure, liver cancer, or cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is scarring of the liver, which causes the organ to not work well.

Too much iron in the heart can cause irregular heartbeats called arrhythmias and in severe cases heart failure if not managed well. Too much iron in the pancreas can also lead to diabetes. Hemochromatosis must be treated.

The two types of hemochromatosis are primary and secondary. Primary hemochromatosis is caused by a defect in the genes that control how much iron you absorb from food. Secondary hemochromatosis usually is the result of another disease or condition that causes iron overload.

Most people who have primary hemochromatosis inherit it from their parents. If you inherit two hemochromatosis genes one from each parent you’re at risk for iron overload and signs and symptoms of the disease. The two faulty genes causes your body to absorb more iron than usual from the foods you eat. While many people manage this disease well, the following may assist with some guidelines for those new to the disorder.

People wanting to lose weight with the disease still can. Firstly, by avoiding certain foods and also by counting calories and making substitutes where applicable, I hope the following information helps those managing their hemochromatosis and educating those with an interest in diet, exercise and general health for their fitness clients.

We consume two types of iron in our diet heme iron contained in meat and non-heme iron found in plants and some supplements. Non-heme iron is absorbed less well. Therefore reduce red meat, avoid foods high in animal fat, ,limit Vitamin C,( as it increases iron uptake), reduce alcohol consumption as it enhances the uptake of iron and puts more pressure on the liver which is trying to cope with the disease, avoid sugar as it also assists with iron absorption, avoid fitness supplements, however it is good to consume fruits, vegetables, including spinach, these foods contain fibre and limits the uptake of iron into the blood stream, also eat nuts, grains, rice and beans, avoid raw shellfish as they can contain a bacterium called “vibrio vulnificus” which can be fatal to people with already high blood iron. Drinking tea and coffee can reduce the absorption of iron due to the tannins which also inhibit iron absorption. If you are wanting to lose body fat stick with these guide lines and ensure you count calories base on a sensible weight loss diet. No need to starve yourself.

By: John Hart

Master’s In Education” (Disability/Rehab) Newcastle University Australia

“Grad Cert Education” Newcastle University Australia

“Diploma Fitness/Recreation”

“Diploma of Sport and Recreation”

“Cert 4 Personal Training”

“Level 1 Strength and Conditioning Coach”

Member of ASCA (Australian Strength and Conditioning Association)

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