Scientists Talk About The Health Effects Of Low And High Iron In The Body

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Scientists Talk About The Health Effects Of Low And High Iron In The Body
Scientists Talk About The Health Effects Of Low And High Iron In The Body
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Scientists talk about the health effects of low and high iron in the body

A global, international study found the health effects of both low and high iron in the body - news was mixed. This study used genetic and clinical data from the UK Biobank to study the role of iron in 900 diseases.

Scientists talk about the health effects of low and high iron in the body
Scientists talk about the health effects of low and high iron in the body

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A global international study by Imperial College London, the University of South Australia and the University of Ioannina found the health effects of both low and high iron in the body - news was mixed.

This study, published in PLOS Medicine, used genetic and clinical data from the UK Biobank (approximately 500,000 people) to study the role of iron in 900 diseases.

The negative effect of iron deficiency in the body has been scientifically proven. Approximately 1.2 billion people worldwide live with anemia, which, if left untreated, can lead to serious health problems. People with high iron levels are not only protected from anemia, they are also less likely to have high cholesterol levels. Less studied is the effects of excess iron, which in extreme cases can lead to liver disease, heart problems, and diabetes.

According to the researchers, about 25-65% of the differences between people in iron levels are due to genetic factors.

“We used a statistical technique called Mendelian randomization, which uses genetic data to better estimate the causal effect of iron in 900 diseases and conditions. Through this, we found a link between excess iron and a lower risk of high cholesterol,”explained the first author of the publication, Dr. Beben Benyamin, a geneticist at the University of South Australia.

This is important information, since it is high cholesterol levels that are the main factor in cardiovascular disease and stroke, which, according to WHO, cause about 2.6 million deaths a year.

However, this is a double-edged sword - high iron levels increase the risk of bacterial skin infections such as cellulitis and abscess. For example, phlegmon affects about 21 million people every year, causing more than 17,000 deaths worldwide and becoming a global health priority.

Previous research has shown that bacteria need iron to survive and grow. But Biobank's study is the first to use large-scale data to support a link between iron overload and bacterial skin infections.

The strength of the study is its ability to "quickly and effectively determine the genetic effect of elevated iron levels in the body in hundreds of clinically significant results using the data already collected."

“We have identified a previously established protective effect of higher iron on signs associated with anemia and further demonstrated protective effects associated with the risk of high cholesterol and harmful effects on the risk of skin and soft tissue infections,” said co-author Dr Dipender Gill. (DipenderGill) from Imperial College London.

Clinical trials have previously been conducted to regulate iron levels in anemic patients, but to date, none of the studies have focused on iron levels to prevent or treat skin infections or regulate cholesterol levels. Test data is also needed before regulating the iron levels recommended for these disorders.

“In this study, we presented population data on the association of iron with certain diseases. The next step is to study, through clinical trials, whether direct regulation of iron levels improves health outcomes,”concluded Dr. Benjamin.

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