Posted by Susan (Catskills, New York, USA) on 10/30/2008
PLEASE, PLEASE use caution when increasing iron intake from any source (particularly something like molasses that has been SO over processed -- it astounds me that people will turn their nose up at sugar as being a "processed" food, but ladle on tons of molasses, which is the sludge material left over from processing sugar, and is then further processed). Do I eschew molasses? No, it adds a nice touch of flavor to sweet treats and other foods.
Iron is good for the body, but can also lead to serious toxic problems. My mother had always taken iron supplements (she was once tested as low iron even with supplements -- I am the same). Then, she developed cancer and her iron levels became very, very low. The cancer was happily feeding on all the iron she was putting into her system. While one doctor just advised upping her iron more and more to keep iron levels up, a later doctor indicated that the excessive iron contributed to the rapid spread and return of her cancer. Before I knew the dangers of iron overload, I would eat the same iron-rich foods as I made for her, and even popped an iron supplement or two. Bad move. I damaged my heart.
So, please, before engaging in any iron supplement regimen, get another doctor's opinion about YOUR specific needs. And please, don't treat yourself for an iron deficiency without medical advice. Remember, iron is a heavy metal, and many people -- such as I -- have had to have chelation therapy to detox.
May I suggest maple syrup as a alternative choice for iron and nutrients?
I have excerpted the following from two cancer information website.
"Iron encourages the formation of cancer-causing free radicals. Of course, the body needs a certain amount of iron for healthy blood cells. But beyond this rather small amount, iron becomes a dangerous substance, acting as a catalyst for the formation of free radicals. Because of this, research studies have shown that higher amounts of iron in the blood mean higher cancer risk.,
Once iron is absorbed by the digestive tract, the body stores it. Most of us accumulate much more iron than we need. In spite of the advertising from iron supplement manufacturers, "iron overload" is much more common in America than iron deficiency. The reason is the daily diet of red meats, which contributes much more iron than most people can safely handle over the long run. A diet of grains, vegetables, fruits, and beans, and natural sugars such as maple, provides adequate iron, without the risk of overload."
"Iron acts as a cancer-promoting agent by two separate yet synergistic mechanisms: 1) by producing "free radicals," and 2) by feeding cancer cells. Iron increases the production of free radicals, and-in fact-the production of free radicals is largely proportionate to the level of iron.4 This means that the more iron there is in the body, the more free radicals will be produced and thus the greater the risk of disease, in this case, cancer. Free radicals are oxygen-containing molecules which damage (oxidize) the DNA of cells. Since DNA controls the activities of the cell, once the DNA is damaged, the cell becomes "out of control." Essentially, all cancer cells are out of control. These cancer cells then replicate and grow rapidly and eventually infiltrate and damage the body's organs.
Additionally, cancer cells consume many nutrients and thereby starve the host. One of the nutrients cancer cells need most is iron. In fact, researchers now think that iron may be a "rate-limiting" nutrient for cancer cell growth.5 This means that the more iron that is available, the more the cancer cells will divide and flourish, and the better chance they have of killing the host. Recent research has shown that people with high levels of iron have an increased risk for cancer."