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Iron Supplements: Do You Need Them?

 

A poll result published on 26 Nov 2015 indicates that nearly 50% of females in Singapore may not be aware that they have iron deficiency. Doctors said that symptoms such as physical and mental fatigue, hair loss, brittle nails, may point to iron deficiency – but most people may put them down to stress and/or lack of sleep.

Iron deficiency is more often found in women who have heavy menstruations or are pregnant. While iron supplements may be readily available, doctors recommend a balanced diet as the best way to maintain healthy iron levels.

iron supplements

How about the reverse – iron overload?

In the article published by PhysiciansCommittee, iron is called a double-edged sword.

The body requires iron for healthy blood cells but beyond a certain level, iron becomes a dangerous substance as it acts as a catalyst for the formation of free radicals. Once the excess iron is absorbed by the digestive tract, the body stores it. Because of this, research studies have shown that higher amounts of iron in the blood mean higher risk of cancer.

In spite of advertising from health supplement manufacturers, iron overload exists and the tendency is higher for men and for women after menopause.

anaemia

Major contributors to iron excess are taking vitamin and mineral supplements that contain iron. Some people may be taking certain multi-vitamins without knowing that there is iron in it. Other factors include eating excessive red meat and to some extent, processed foods that have iron added.

It was mentioned earlier that women with heavy menstruations may have iron deficiency. The reverse may be true for women after menopause or women who don’t menstruate regularly. Which explains why men have a higher tendency of iron overload – because they don’t menstruate!

Hence, it is prudent to have your doctor check your iron level before taking any supplements containing iron.

What are the symptoms of iron overload?

  • stomach pain
  • heart palpitations or chest pains
  • unexplained weakness
  • joint pain
  • unexplained fatigue

joint pain

The test used to check one’s iron level is known as ferritin. Ferritin is a protein that stores iron, releasing it when the body needs it. Ferritin is stored in the body’s cells until it’s time to make more red blood cells. Thus, if a person has an iron overload, it may take months before the normal level can be reached.

It’s an inexpensive test, likely costing less than a bottle of iron supplements, and it can help ensure that you do not over or under-consume iron.

For more information on integrated health management, visit www.vitalay.earth

Contributed by LayYong, Wellness Entrepreneur.


References:

The Straits Times “Women not aware of iron deficiency”, Nov 26 2015

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Iron: The Double Edged Sword, www.pcrm.org

Photo credits: Pixabay and JustSaying.Asia

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Suffering From Poor Memory? Scientists May Have The Solution

Do you suffer from bad memory and are increasingly frustrated with this? Memories are part of how we understand and navigate the world, which is why when we start losing our memory, it becomes frustrating – whether it be ourselves or for our family and friends. The onset of ageing also brings about other diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s which affect memory too.

Your brain doesn’t just lose memory through diseases though, head injuries such as concussions (depending on how drastic they are) can also lead to memory loss or make it easier for the person suffering from such injuries to develop one of the mental problems mentioned above. This has been the case for veteran soldiers who have fought in wars as well as athletes (specifically American Football athletes) who have sustained a lot of head injuries for one reason or another.

Scientists are starting to make progress in discovering ways to win against dementia and head-trauma based diseases. All it takes is an electro-shock.

calcium

 

In a recent study carried out by the University of Pennsylvania and funded by the US Department of Defense, scientists gathered patients who had acute epilepsy and monitored their brain waves and cognition abilities; this was done to see the level of damage their memory had taken.

Once recorded, patients had an array of electrodes installed through their skull. The electrodes were set up to send out electric pulses to the brain to (hopefully) kickstart their cognitive ability and allow their memory to improve.

The basis for how this works is rooted in the fact that our brains utilise electrons in other to connect the dots that make up our memories, and diseases such as Alzheimer’s or head injuries directly affect them, making it harder for them to send out their pulses.

Previous studies used this approach previously, specifically one in 2014 which was also funded by the Department of Defense. However, the results of that study were muddled, some patients seemed to have good results from the pulses while others got worse.

 

According to Michael Kahana, one of the leading researchers of the study, the reason for these failed attempts might’ve been due to the timing in which the electron pulses released. Just like how we can have days where we don’t feel like ourselves; people who suffer from memory loss also have moments where their cognitive abilities are better or worse.

Kahana and Youssef Ezzyat (the other leading researcher) believe that the timing of the pulses influence whether or not our memories can recover. They, in turn, made quite an exciting discovery. It seems like our cognitive abilities improve when the electrodes send out pulses as our memories are on the lower side than when they are better.

Using this hypothesis, they discovered that patients who had the stimulus at the time when their memory was at its lowest had a twelve to thirteen percent increase, whereas subjects who received the pulses when they could remember things easier had a fifteen to twenty percent decrease.

Of course, the results aren’t perfect; they can vary from person to person and sometimes they might not even work. There’s more research going into it though, and the team behind the project as well as the Department of Defense seem hopeful in what they’ve discovered so far. With any luck, they’ll be able to make more progress and open a path to new discoveries that can help revolutionise the way we look at our memory.


Photo Credits: Eczema Outreach Scotland, Eat Right Ontario, QuickBase

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Could This Drug Help Remove the Danger of Heart Disease?

Heart attacks are scary, that’s a known fact of life. In fact, humans have spent a long time trying to figure out ways to reduce the risk of heart attack or just eliminate it all together. We’ve heard it all too, from getting proper exercise to eating and living as healthy as possible, which usually requires you to have checkups and, if you’re at high risk of going through one, take medications that might hopefully help you out. But what if there was a drug that could do away with heart disease altogether?

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Could Hormonal Therapy Help Improve Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer is one of the most common diseases that men can develop throughout their lives, akin to breast cancer for women. Because of this, a lot of research has been put into figuring out ways to deal with it as, even when treated, 30% of patients can have a recurrence at some point in their lives.

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