Last Modified on Jun 19, 2014
What Is Hemochromatosis?
A genetic disorder, hemochromatosis is a condition in which the body renders and stores too much iron. Typically, the hereditary issue causes the body to absorb too much iron from the food an individual eats, which leads to excess iron stores in the organs, particularly the liver, heart and pancreas. As the iron stores increase, life-threatening conditions may arise including cancer, heart arrhythmias and cirrhosis of the liver.
While some individuals with hereditary hemochromatosis never experience symptoms, several of the signs and symptoms associated with the condition mimic those of other common health conditions. Symptoms typically include joint pain, fatigue and overall weakness. Generally speaking, hemochromatosis is more likely to be serious in men. As such, the typical first sign of the disease in males involves organ damage including joint pain, diabetes, loss of sex drive, impotence and heart failure.
The actual cause of hemochromatosis is a genetic mutation that affects the body’s absorption of iron. As such, the condition is genetic and passed from parents to children. The mutated gene that is typically involved in the development of hemochromatosis is labeled HFE, and the common mutations are C282Y and H63D. An individual must inherit two of the abnormal genes, one from the mother and one from the father, to develop the disorder.
Natural Hemochromatosis Remedies
One of the most effective ways to maintain appropriate iron levels is to periodically donate blood. Typically donations can be made every eight weeks. Herbal treatment options are also effective. Dandelion, wild hyssop and milk thistle supplements help regulate the body’s systems and minimize iron storage. Calcium, vitamin B6, vitamin E, manganese and black tea are also effective treatment options. Additionally, individuals affected by hemochromatosis should avoid vitamin C supplements and drink green tea, as it is a powerful chelator that works to remove iron from the body.
01/09/2013: Vadim from Washington, Usa: "Ayurvedic Treatment for Hemochromatosis and Ferromagnetic Cancer Theory.
The most effective treatment for hemochromatosis is to reduce iron in the body by phlebotomy (withdrawal of blood from the arm veins). The Ayurvedic treatment for hemochromatosis is aimed at removing the excess iron from the body, preventing excessive iron absorption, treating the symptoms and preventing complications. High iron absorption from the intestines is prevented using medicines like Kutaj-Parpati, Panchamrut-Parpati, Suvarna-Parpati, Sukshma-Triphala, Triphala (Three Fruits), Arogya-Vardhini, Bilva-Avaleha, Psyllium (Plantago Ovata), Gandharva-Haritaki, Kutki (Picrorrhiza Kurroa), Abhrak-Bhasma, Praval-Panchamrut and Trivang-Bhasma. Iron Conception (Ferromagnetic Cancer Theory): CANCER is the generic term used to describe a group of disorders caused by an uncontrolled multiplication of cells; any cancer should be interpreted as intracellular superpara-ferri-ferromagnetic infection; intracellular molecules FeO;Fe2O3;Fe3O4 are the main 'creators' of intracellular superpara-, ferri- and ferromagnetic nanoparticles; any cancer can attack patients with/without iron overload and patients with iron-deficiency anemia.
Cancer researchers can use Ayurvedic treatment for hemochromatosis as Ayurvedic treatment for cancer because any cancer is a subtle iron disease. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/166455.php ; http://www.earthclinic.com/CURES/iron-overload.html ; Vadim Shapoval"
12/01/2012: Suzy from Eugene, Or: "I do not want to open a can of worms here... Just wondering if anyone else has found relief from any problems by becoming a regular blood donor? I have been donating on a regular basis for more than 6 years. I have noticed a decline in the number of headaches I get. Also... I tend to run a little rich in iron in my blood so regular blood donation also keeps that in check. I do not have a lot of health problems- but I notice I feel more "Up" after donating. I realize many of the issues that people on this site would exclude them from blood donation, but among those who can and do what has your experience been?"Replies
12/02/2012: Mr. Ree from Nowhere replies: "Giving blood will lower your ferritin level which means iron level. This in turn will help with people with hepatitis c as the virus NEEDS iron to replicate. I know people who JUST give blood once a month and have NO problems with their dis-ease...
You may have hemochromatosis... Get checked please as this is an inherited problem that is easily treated with giving blood... Any one want further info on hep-c and iron, "Google" "Rousch hepatitis C" and read an amazing article about hepatitis c. This one will make you think..."
12/04/2012: Alegreviajero from Nha Trang, Vietnam replies: "I also have been a regular blood donor more than 200 times (I'm 68). I keep donating here in Vietnam (I told them my age, but they so badly need blood, the take a minimum each time). I also feel "good" each time. It is, I've read because of too much iron accumulation in our blood at least for some.
One word of evident caution: To give blood in order to primarily "feel good" is not exactly the right attitude. We need to remember that someone might NOT "feel good" if we know we cannot make a donation at some point. I'm sure everyone understands this.
I've read, a long time ago, that woman, because of their menstruations, are in someway "giving blood" getting rid of excess iron without knowing it. After their menopause, most of their symptoms of "bad feelings" "could" be related to not "giving blood" anymore. So, maybe, if they can, they should go to give blood every 90 days and iron. It could help.
For the same reason, especially men, if possible, we should consider giving blood every 90 days. There is absolutely no side effect, no dependence and no harm except for that little needle pinch!
But If anyone knows to be lacking iron, or having any other health issue, discuss this clearly with the nurse before making a donation. To give blood is not always a good thing in some cases."
01/22/2013: Cindy from Flint, Mi: "I am an Afro-American woman in her 50s that has been diagnosed with non-herditary hemocromatosis but I also have very low hemoglobin levels so I cannot donate blood or have phlebotomies. I am not a drinker or drug abuser and never have been. I am getting worse and my doctor has done everything he knows to do. I go to a cancer center and they are very thorough and very knowledgeable but still of no help. I just wanted to let all of you know that I am so glad this site is here and am requesting any advice on what I can do to slow down iron absorbtion and raise my HgB levels at the same time. I appreciate any comments and offers of advice. God bless all of you and I look forward to hearing from you."Replies
10/01/2013: Lisa from So Cal replies: "I saw a post where someone recommended eating cabbage to reduce iron levels. He ate a little coleslaw everyday. This is what I'm going to try."
10/03/2013: Mr. Ree from Usa replies: "Have a phlebotomy and your iron levels (ferritin) will go down 30-50 points from just one treatment. It's covered by insurance. Get your ferritin below 50 points and you'll be fine... This applies very much to hepatitis c people as less iron means your enzymes go down as well. Way down... No drugs no supplements... just a phlebotomy..."
10/03/2013: Rsw from Uniontown, Oh replies: "I have high iron levels and poor insurance coverage. I found out you can go to a blood donation center and donate for free, or in my case, since I have had Hep A, I got an order from my doctor and paid $20. If I had homochromotosis (mine was slightly lower than this), it would have been free with a dr order. This was at a blood donation center run by a local hospital."
03/07/2014: David from Nanning, China replies: "Hi Cindy. Drinking tea, green or black after meals can inhibit iron absorbtion. Ditto, dairy though its downside is that sugars exacerbate liver heat and can make you irritable. I recommend that you check out the iron disorders institute whose forums and expertise have proven invaluable to many. God bless you from China!"
07/14/2011: Catherine from Wellington, New Zealand : "About iron and cancer.. The body's defence mechanism when pathogens, parasites or cancer cells are present is to withdraw iron from the blood and store it in ferritin molecules. This in turn shows up as low iron levels in the blood (anemia) Not to be alarmed, not all anemia is iron related, it can be brought on by low Vitamin B levels. When a blood test is required to measure iron in the blood it is a good safeguard to also have a serum ferritin check as well to measure how much iron is being stored!
Anyone of Celtic ancestry should have their ferritin levels checked in case they have the iron storage disease called hereditary hemochromatosis. This condition causes much misery and limited life span from such things as liver cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes2, arthritis and other health conditions. Males are affected sooner than females whose iron levels are reduced by their menses and childbirth. After menopause they soon catch up (which is why their rate for heart disease increases then). Statistics show that 0.5% to 1.5% of the population (depending on racial mix) can have the gene for this disorder. It runs in families and members who do not have the condition are likely carriers of the gene. We have all heard the stories of a man who died of cirhossis of the liver in spite of being an avowed tee-totaller, and the mourners at the funeral whispering how he must have been a secret drinker to have had such a disease!! Not so, poor man was a victim no doubt of hemochromatosis and the massive amount of iron stored in his liver."
[YEA] 01/29/2013: Kathleen from Los Angeles, Ca: "I suffered from Hemochromatosis and have been having phlebotomies for almost 20 years. In the beginning I was having one pint depleted once a week. Then I got bad so quickly the started drawing two... Yes 2... Pints of blood a WEEK! This went on for over a year. Then once a week for several years.... Until I found ip6 [inositol hexophosphate]. Once I started taking it regularly, I didn't have to have a phlebotomy for 2 years! Not one treatment for two whole years! I stopped taking it for a while and recently started again. I'm having phlebotomies about 3x a year now and I'm happy and I thank God I'm alive! I hope this helps...."
06/20/2013: Newborn from Chicago, Il, USA: "My granddaughter is only 5 days old. She was born Sat June the 15th. My granddaughter has a lot of things wrong with her, she had fluid on her spine, an enlarged liver and she had too be put on oxygen 100%. She did a lot of blood work on her and one thing they know for sure that she has a overload of iron in her system. They were able to treat the fluid around her spine and get her oxygen level down to 60 which is they said her oxygen level needs to be at 21 they are suspected that it may be hemochromatosis they did a mri and it didnt show really nothing so they did the biospy today and now waiting for those results. What do you think we are dealing with?"Replies
07/02/2013: Catherine from Wellington, New Zealand replies: "Infants do have high iron levels, but google iron overload disorder (Hemochromatosis) for more info or check out the medifocus website http://www.medifocus.com/2009/landingp.php?gid=GS020&?a=a."
09/27/2012: Wayseeker from Modesto, Ca/ Usa: "Oosps! Forgot to ask my question. Has anyone used lactoferrin (apololactoferrin) to reduce iron overload (I understand that HCV feeds or attaches upon iron)?
07/06/2010: Lizeth from San Bruno, Ca: "Dear Ted: I really don't know much about Hemochromatosis just the fact that your body can not get rid of the iron in the blood. I know you have helped I lot of people so I am wondering if you could take some of your time to share your insights with me. I don't suffer this illness but a very good friend of mine is really in bad shape please, please write to me at my email since I don't really know how to look at the answers in here. My English is kinda not so good but I do understand everything when I read so please share."Replies
07/16/2010: Bessie from Calgary, Alberta, Canada replies: "Hi Lizeth - I'm sure Ted will be answering your question about your friend's excessive iron in the blood, but - in the meantime - one thing that may help is donating blood. Google Hemochromatosis blood donation and read how it helps with iron overload (plus it assists those in need of a blood transfusion). In case anyone is wondering about safety, the FDA has guidelines established for those with Hemochromatosis who want to donate blood. Best of health!"
11/22/2010: Ksuter from Henderson, Nevada, Usa replies: "Hi Lizeth from San Bruno, Ca I found on the internet that IP-6 with Inosital helps the body get rid of the stored iron leaving the useful iron alone. I am using it myself but do not know if it is working yet. I bought it in the powder form cause it is expensive in the tablet form. Mine is pharamacuetical grade. Just google the IP6 and uses or therapy for more info. I take it first thing in the morning to give me about an hour before eating and either late afternoon or before bed so that it doesn't take away the circulating iron my body needs. I just hope it is working. Good luck I didn't want to do the blood giving thing."
12/26/2010: Catherine from Wellington, New Zealand replies: "I have recently been diagnosed at age 68 with genetic hemochromatosis. I immediately started to research all the information I could find on the internet. Discovering that agressive venesection (having blood taken) is the simplest and quickest way to lower iron stores I arranged, not without difficulty, for weekly sessions. Not all physicians are up to date with iron overload disorder!!! Apparently removal by chelation agents is not as effective as venesection. If the iron overload is not genetic but lifestyle induced (eg metabolic syndrome, heavy drinking etc. ) then lowering iron stores is very rapid with venesection. The genetic type has a much slower rate of reduction.
One thing is certain, chronic fatigue very often presents as a first symptom. Anyone with fatigue should have their SERUM FERRITIN levels checked. The earlier the disease is diagnosed the less likely for major organ damage. Unchecked iron overload reduces life expectancy. Some outcomes are liver cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, alzheimers, epilepsy and more. Should you have the genetic strain all relatives should also be checked, including children!! The genetic strain is more common in caucasians particularly of Irish/Scottish descent. Some sensible diet restrictions are indicated, no alcohol or sugar, reduce red meat consumption, no Vit C with food. There are foods that inhibit iron absorption. Info is readily available on the intenet check out firstname.lastname@example.org also of particular note calcium is the only element that completely inhibits iron absorption. Hope this helps someone.. Wish I had known about it before my problems started. Love this wonderful site."
03/26/2011: Catherine from Wellington, New Zealand replies: "Hemochromatosis update: Have been having weekly venesections for 3 months now and have started to get improvements mostly in the last month. A lessening of joint pain plus a loosening of muscles which has allowed me to walk more freely and quickly (instead of the old hobble) I get longer and deeper sleep, now up to 4-5 hrs instead of 2-3 as before. Also I have a more cheerful frame of mind, I used to be irritated easily, now hardly at all. (losing weight too! ) Iron levels have moved down from just under 1000 to 300. (apparently liver damage occurs over 1000) in NZ venesections are stopped when levels get to 50 but overseas evidence suggests a ferritin level of 0-9 is a better outcome.
This is a very common disorder and I believe all people presenting with CHRONIC FATIGUE, ARTHRITIS OR DIABETES2 should have their FERRITIN levels checked, particularly if of Celtic or African ancestry.
Maybe the colour of your blood will give you an indication, mine is still thick and a dark reddish brown.. I'm waiting till it looks more like tomato juice, then I'll know I'm coming right. Even then I will have to have blood drawn periodically to keep levels down. At last I have the solution to why it was no matter what I did or remedies I tried, none were truly effective. Who knew the remedy could be so simple and the complaint so ovewhelmingly overlooked by most physicians, and the general populace so generally ignorant of the disorder at all. Apparently as much as 0.5% of the population are affected... Do the math, the numbers are appalling!!!!!"
12/24/2011: Rolo from Palm Desert, California replies: "I would like to know the result of Ksuter from Henderson, Nevada about her use of EP-6 and Inositol to treat her high ferritin in her blood. My wife was just advised that hers was very high and before she start taking Exjade, which is a very dangerous drug, I would like to know the result, if any, of her taking EP-6 and Inositol."
12/24/2011: Bess from Calgary, Alberta, Canada replies: "Hi Rolo - Has your wife considered Iron Reduction Therapy? This Web site has some information.
Good luck! Bess"
12/30/2011: Sally_oh from Escazu, San Jose, Costa Rica replies: "My husband has Hemochromatosis and has been giving blood off and on for several years now. In the summer of 2010, he stopped due to some other health issues and an international move. When he started up again March 2011, his ferritin was 3000ng. It had never been that high! He's been giving blood weekly for almost 8 months and his ferritin is down to 300. He also lost just over 15 pounds in the first six months which was unnerving, but the phlebotomist said this is not uncommon.
We looked at IP6 but the information was not conclusive so we never went that route. From what I know about it, I don't think it will work fast enough to be of benefit."
02/01/2013: Hoke from Oakland, Ca replies: "Try eating more cabbage for iron overload. It seems to eork"