It is commonly thought that those who eat plant-based diets may be more prone to iron deficiency, but it turns out that they’re no more likely to suffer from iron deficiency anemia than anybody else. This may be because not only do those eating meat-free diets tend to get more fiber, magnesium, and vitamins like A, C, and E, but they also get more iron.
The iron found predominantly in plants is non-heme iron, which isn’t absorbed as well as the heme iron found in blood and muscle, but this may be a good thing. As seen in my video, The Safety of Heme vs. Non-Heme Iron, avoidance of heme iron may be one of the key elements of plant-based protection against metabolic syndrome, and may also be beneficial in lowering the risk from other chronic diseases such as heart disease.
The data linking coronary heart disease and the intake of iron, in general, has been mixed. This inconsistency of evidence may be because of where the iron comes from. The majority of total dietary iron is non-heme iron, coming mostly from plants. So, total iron intake is associated with lower heart disease risk, but iron intake from meat is associated with significantly higher risk for heart disease. This is thought to be because iron can act as a pro-oxidant, contributing to the development of atherosclerosis by oxidizing cholesterol with free radicals. The risk has been quantified as a 27% increase in coronary heart disease risk for every 1 milligram of heme iron consumed daily.
The same has been found for stroke risk. The studies on iron intake and stroke have had conflicting results, but that may be because they had never separated out heme iron from non-heme iron… until now. Researchers found that the intake of meat (heme) iron, but not plant (non-heme) iron, was associated with an increased risk of stroke.
The researchers also found that higher intake of heme iron—but not total or plant (non-heme) iron—was significantly associated with greater risk for type 2 diabetes. There may be a 16% increase in risk for type 2 diabetes for every 1 milligram of heme iron consumed daily.
The same has also been found for cancer, with up to 12% increased risk for every milligram of daily heme iron exposure. In fact, we can actually tell how much meat someone is eating by looking at their tumors. To characterize the mechanisms underlying meat-related lung cancer development, researchers asked lung cancer patients how much meat they ate and examined the gene expression patterns in their tumors. They identified a signature pattern of heme-related gene expression. Although they looked specifically at lung cancer, they expect these meat-related gene expression changes may occur in other cancers as well.
We do need to get enough iron, but only about 3% of premenopausal white women have iron deficiency anemia these days. However, the rates are worse in African and Mexican Americans. Taking into account our leading killers—heart disease, cancer, and diabetes—the healthiest source of iron appears to be non-heme iron, found naturally in abundance in whole grains, beans, split peas, chickpeas, lentils, dark green leafy vegetables, dried fruits, nuts, and seeds.
But how much money can be made on beans, though? The processed food industry came up with a blood-based crisp bread, made out of rye flour and blood from cattle and pigs, which is one of the most concentrated sources of heme iron, about two-thirds more than blood from chickens. If blood-based crackers don’t sound particularly appetizing, you can always snack on cow blood cookies. And, there are always blood-filled biscuits, whose filling has been described as “a dark-colored, chocolate flavored paste with a very pleasant taste.” (It’s dark-colored because spray-dried pig blood can have a darkening effect on the food product’s color.) The worry is not the color or taste, it’s the heme iron, which, because of its potential cancer risk, is not considered safe to add to foods intended for the general population.
Previously, I’ve touched on the double-edged iron sword in Risk Associated With Iron Supplements and Phytates for the Prevention of Cancer. It may also help answer Why Was Heart Disease Rare in the Mediterranean?
Those eating plant-based diets get more of most nutrients since whole plant foods are so nutrient dense. See Nutrient-Dense Approach to Weight Management.
Michael Greger, M.D.
PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations:
- 2012: Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death
- 2013: More Than an Apple a Day
- 2014: From Table to Able: Combating Disabling Diseases with Food
- 2015: Food as Medicine: Preventing and Treating the Most Dreaded Diseases with Diet
- 2016: How Not To Die: The Role of Diet in Preventing, Arresting, and Reversing Our Top 15 Killers
This is the Covid-19: EXPOSED Official Movie. This is a 30-minute film in which the world-renowned pediatrician, Dr. Lawrence B. Palevsky, reveals the scientifically-backed TRUTH regarding the coronavirus.
In case this video is censored/deleted from YouTube, it will also be available to watch and download on my website: https://www.jasonshurka.com/covid-19-…
I look forward for you all to see this film filled with TRUTH!
Much Love, Jason 🙂
Overmedicated, overfed, and malnourished, most Americans fail to realize the answer to lower disease rates doesn’t lie in more pills but in the foods we eat.With so much misleading nutritional information regarded as common knowledge, from “everything in moderation” to “avoid carbs,” the average American is ill-equipped to recognize the deadly force of abundant, cheap, unhealthy food options that not only offer no nutritional benefits but actually bring on a disease.
In this lecture, Pamela A. Popper, Ph.D. ND, speaks about the dire state of American health—the result of poor nutrition choices stemming from food politics and medical misinformation. But, more important, she shares the key to getting and staying healthy for life.
Backed by numerous scientific studies, Pamela A. Popper, Ph.D., ND details how dietary choices either build health or destroy it.
Connect with The Real Truth About Health http://www.therealtruthabouthealth.com/
Passionate believers in whole food plant based diets, no chemicals, minimal pharmaceutical drugs, no GMO’s. Fighting to stop climate change and extinction.”
Also see: Arthritis
A dentist writes, “In April of 1994 I met you briefly at the Michigan Dental Association Annual Meeting in Grand Rapids. During this seminar, I asked you about my 4-year-old son having juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Bryan was on 35 mg of prednisone (a powerful steroid) and 1200 mg of Advil daily. He was in so much pain he screamed and cried day and night. In one year he lost weight and did not grow one inch. His blood work reflected a sed rate of over 40 (This is a measurement of severity of inflammation and should be below 5). The suggestions you gave me that day lead me to remove all animal products from his diet, as well as refined carbohydrates.”
“Within six months, we had Bryan off all his medication. He was free of pain, gaining weight and growing again. His last blood work was superb with a sed rate of 1 – can you believe it!”
That’s how bad it can get. But for millions arthritis is much more subtle. Marvin Burk (Louise’s husband–Louise works in the McDougall Health Center office) couldn’t hardly get out of the chair. Then he would walk straddle-legged halfway across the room until he could loosen up enough to get his joints moving. His hands were so stiff he could not use his tools and he often dropped things. He figured a man of 65 shouldn’t be so crippled and decided he’d do whatever it takes to get well. He changed his diet 8 years ago with immediate and dramatic results. Now he pops out of the chair, walks without a bit of stiffness or pain and he handles his tools with no trouble. Many of us can relate to Marvin’s troubles.
People’s Most Common Affliction
Diseases of the muscles and bones are among the most common of all human afflictions, affecting all ages, but becoming more prevalent with years. Government surveys indicate in the United States approximately 33% of adults currently suffer from troublesome arthritis with symptoms of swelling, limitation of motion, or pain. Approximately half of all people over 65 years report having arthritis. The regions of the body most affected are the neck, lower back, hip and shoulder.
Arthritis means inflammation of a joint–no more, no less. The fact that a person has arthritis tells nothing about the cause or the cure. Joints can be inflamed as a result of an injury, such as from tripping and spraining an ankle. That’s called traumatic arthritis. Joints can be infected with bacteria resulting in suppurative arthritis. Uric acid crystals can accumulate in the joints causing gouty arthritis. The causes of all three of these forms of arthritis are known and once the causes are stopped the joints heal. Unfortunately, most forms of arthritis are said by doctors to have “no known cause.” And whether or not they will admit it, there is no cure to be found in modern drug therapy either.
Degenerative and Inflammatory
Arthritis of “no known cause” can be divided into two broad categories: degenerative arthritis and inflammatory arthritis. Degenerative arthritis most commonly represents a condition known as osteoarthritis. This is the most common arthritis found in people living in Western civilizations–seen in x-rays of the hands of over 70% of people 65 years and older. However, this same disease is comparatively rare in African and Asian countries, where people physically labor to survive (Br J Rheumatol 24:321, 1985). How can that be? Osteoarthritis is said to be due to wear and tear on the joints, so why is it less common among hard working people of underdeveloped countries? Nor does it explain why with light use, the hands of women often become twisted and deformed with age.
The inflammatory forms of arthritis include juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, lupus, and ankylosing spondylitis. These aggressive diseases affect less than 5% of the people living in the United States today. Classifying these inflammatory diseases by different names, such as rheumatoid or lupus provides no further benefits to the patient, because it does not lead to better understanding of the cause of the inflammation, or to the successful treatment of the disease.
People diagnosed with degenerative arthritis (osteoarthritis) have inflammation in their joints in addition to the long-standing damage (degeneration). This inflammation can often be stopped with a change in diet and the swelling, pain, and stiffness relieved. What won’t change in either form of arthritis is the permanent destruction left by years of disease, leaving deformity, stiffness and pain. To understand how most people with arthritis can be helped by a healthy diet, I will focus on the more aggressive inflammatory forms of arthritis.
Hope for Arthritis Sufferers
Arthritis is not a genetic disease, nor is it an inevitable part of growing older–there are causes for these joint afflictions, and they lie in our environment–our closest contact with our environment is our food. Some researchers believe rheumatoid arthritis did not exist anywhere in the world before 1800 (Arthritis Rheum 34:248, 1991). It is well documented that these forms of arthritis were once rare to nonexistent in rural populations of Asia and Africa (Chung Hua Nei Ko Tsa Chih 34:79, 1995; Arthritis Rheum 34:248, 1991). As recently as 1957, no case of rheumatoid arthritis could be found in Africa. That was a time when people in Africa followed diets based on grains and vegetables.
These once unknown joint diseases are now becoming common as people migrate to wealthier nations or move to the big cities in their native countries. With these changes they abandoned their traditional diets of grains and vegetables for meat, dairy products, and highly processed foods (J Rheumatol 19:2, 1992; Ann Rheum Dis 49:400, 1991). For example, although unknown in Africa before 1960, African-Americans lead in the incidence of lupus in the US (J Am Med Women’s Assoc 1998;53(1):9-12). The mechanisms by which an unhealthy diet causes inflammatory arthritis are complex and poorly understood, but involve our intestine and immune system.
Stacy is co-founder and co-director of U.S. Right to Know, a nonprofit investigative research group focused on the food industry. She is the author of the award-winning book, Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry (New Society, 2007), and a co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a coalition of nonprofit health and environmental groups that inspired cosmetics companies to remove hazardous chemicals from nail polish, baby products, make-up and hair products. Stacy’s work has been published in Time magazine, the New York Times, Washington Post, Nature Biotechnology and many other outlets and she has appeared in Teen Vogue, Wall Street Journal, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, Good Morning America, Democracy Now and several documentary films including The Human Experiment produced by Sean Penn, Pink Skies and Stink Movie (now playing on Netflix). In 2012, Stacy served as media director for the historic California Right to Know ballot initiative to label genetically engineered foods. She is the former communications director for Health Care Without Harm, which got mercury out of hospitals and closed down medical waste incinerators around the world. Prior to her work in environmental health, Stacy worked for eight years as a journalist and managing editor, and she published an investigative newspaper covering land use and environmental issues in Colorado. She lives in the Bay Area with her husband and son.
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Why not just conduct a randomized controlled trial to test whether masks work against COVID-19? Why assume such a draconian and dehumanizing mandate works as if it’s an article of faith and create such division when we can discover which side is correct? That’s what a group of Danish researchers felt, which is why, over the spring, they conducted such a study. So why have the results not been published, three months later? According to one Danish newspaper, the study has been rejected by three medical journals because the results are too controversial.
Berlingske, Denmark’s oldest operating daily newspaper, published an article on Thursday titled, “Professor: Large Danish mask study rejected by three top journals” (translation from Google translate), which finally reveals the mystery of the disappearing Danish mask study.
According to the Danish newspaper @berlingske tre scientific journals have refused to publish the results of the first major scientific investigation the effect of use of masks during the Covid-19 pandemic. Apparently because the results might not show what is politically correct pic.twitter.com/OJ6ZRq8idp
— Lars Christensen (@MaMoMVPY) October 21, 2020
“The researchers behind a large and unique Danish study on the effect of wearing a mask even have great difficulty in getting their research results published,” wrote the Berlingske in the subtitle. “One of the participating professors in the study admits that the still secret research result can be perceived as ‘controversial’.”
The article reveals that, thus far, the study has been rejected by the Lancet, the New England Journal of Medicine, and the American Medical Association’s journal JAMA, three of the publications that have been posting much of the research on coronavirus.
The CDC, prior to changing its position on universal mask-wearing, had previously cited 10 randomized controlled trials that showed “no significant reduction in influenza transmission with the use of face masks.” Now, the CDC and other elite institutions would have us believe that coronavirus is somehow different. The Danes were the first to actually study the effect of large-scale universal mask-wearing specifically against the spread of COVID-19.
The rest of the article is behind a paywall, but Dr. Andrew Bostom of Brown University posted a translation of the text he obtained. The professor who spoke to the newspaper did not reveal why the publications felt the study was “controversial,” but did defend the study as an “outstanding sample.”
The researcher involved told the Berlingske, “The study and its size are unique in the world, and the purpose was once and for all to try to clarify the extent to which the use of masks in public space provides protection against corona infection.”
Fair use excerpt. Read the whole article here.
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