Could this essential mineral CAUSE diabetes?
We all know we need iron.
It's an "essential" mineral, after all -- and if your levels are too low, you could face serious problems such as fatigue, dizziness, weakness, and even heartbeat trouble.
But these days, there's a much bigger risk, especially for older men.
It's not too little iron.
It's too much!
And if you're an "IRON MAN" yourself, you're not getting a metal suit with super powers in the deal.
You could get diabetes!
New research shows how guys are up to 61 percent more likely to develop the disease when compared to women -- but the difference isn't due to gender alone.
In many cases, it's the iron. Men's bodies tend to accumulate it more than those of women.
And high iron and diabetes go hand-in-hand so often that the researchers say it explains up to 40 percent of the gender difference in diabetes risk, according to the study in the Annals of Clinical Biochemistry.
Obviously, you don't want to go to any extremes, because you don't want those levels to fall too far, either.
The study even finds that LOW levels will ALSO increase your risk of the disease!
The key is to get somewhere right in the middle of the range for your age.
The problem, of course, is that most folks not only have no idea where they are in that range, but they don't even know what the range is.
Don't expect your doc to tell you where you stand, either. He can't -- because he doesn't know himself!
Many doctors don't check for iron, and those that do run incomplete tests by measuring only one form. If you're concerned (or just curious), ask your doc to test both your circulating iron as well as your ferritin levels.
Low iron levels can often be fixed easily with supplements, but don't start taking them without speaking to your doctor about it first.
And if your levels are too high, the answer is usually a few tweaks to your diet.
A study a few years back found men who eat meat four or more times a week have the highest levels of iron. That's no doubt due to the fact that meat contains the "heme" form of iron, which is more easily absorbed by your body than the nonheme form found in vegetables, such as spinach.
Cut back on meat, boost your intake of fruits and veggies and your iron levels should return to normal… but get checked again just to be sure.
And if you're in the San Diego area, I can run those tests right here at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine.
Not in the area? I'm also available for advice by phone. Call 855-DOC-MARK to schedule a consultation.