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excess iron

FAQ Minerals & Supplements: Can Excess Iron Bring on A-Fib?

FAQ Minerals Deficiencies: Excess Iron

8. “Can excess iron in the blood (Iron Overload Disease, IOD) cause Atrial Fibrillation? How do I know if I have IOD? What can I do about it?”

Yes, not only does excess iron in the blood trigger or predispose you to A-Fib, it injures and eventually can kill a variety of body organs like the liver and gall bladder.

According to the Iron Disorder Institute: “Excess iron in vital organs, even in mild cases of iron overload, increases the risk for liver disease (cirrhosis, cancer), heart attack or heart failure, diabetes mellitus, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, metabolic syndrome, hypothyroidism, hypogonadism, numerous symptoms and in some cases premature death. Iron mismanagement resulting in overload can accelerate such neurodegenerative diseases as Alzheimer’s, early-onset Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.

Excess iron is toxic and can injure every part of the body, including the brain. Iron Overload is a much more widespread condition than people are aware of affecting approximately 1 out of 6 people in the United States. One can develop excess iron by absorbing too much from supplements, iron-rich diet, tobacco and other sources.

When you have your annual physical exam, your doctor should check for iron overload. The most common tests are:

1. Transferrin saturation (TS), also called “Percentage of Saturation.” After fasting, blood is taken to measure Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC) and Serum Iron (SI). SI is divided by TIBC to get the Percentage of Saturation. A safe range is 12-44%. Over that is considered iron overload.
2. Serum ferritin concentration (stored iron). A safe range is 5-150. (If the TS test comes out OK, this test may not be done.)
3. Hemoglobin: Iron is used by the body for hemoglobin production. Hemoglobin is the iron-containing respiratory pigment in red blood cells. The top normal level is 14 for women, 15 for men.
4. Red blood cells: the percentage by volume of packed red blood cells in a given sample of blood after centrifugation (i.e., the percentage of red blood cells in your blood). The top normal level is 42 for women, 45 for men.
5. Unbound Iron Binding Capacity (UIBC) is another test, but is used less frequently. A safe range is above 146. If you’re below that, you should be treated for iron overload.

Pre-menopausal women normally loose blood monthly thereby lowering their iron levels. In men the iron just accumulates with age. “Unfortunately, the body has no way to rid itself of excess iron.”

To get your iron levels down, you may have to give blood through a phlebotomy program at your doctor’s office or blood bank as often as once or twice a week. Drugs known as chelators can also remove excess iron from the blood.

To prevent iron overload (IOD), many of us, particularly men, would benefit from donating blood on a regular basis.  “When you donate blood, the life you save may be your own.”

Thanks to Isabelle Horowitz for much of this info on IOD.
References for this Article

Last updated: Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Return to: FAQ Minerals & Supplements

 

 

FAQs: Mineral Deficiencies & Supplements for a Healthy Heart

FAQs: Mineral Deficiencies & Supplements for a Healthy Heart

A-Fib patients often look for non-drug approaches to ease or prevent the symptoms of their Atrial Fibrillation. Here we share answers to the most often asked questions about minerals deficiencies and the use of supplements.

1. Dementia: “I’m scared of getting dementia. Can the right minerals help? I’ve read about the link with A-Fib. What does research reveal about this risk?”

2. Vitamin D: “How can I tell if I’m lacking in Vitamin D? I’m concerned because Vitamin D deficiency has been tied to both A-Fib and Dementia. What is a normal level of Vitamin D?

3. PVCs and PACs: “I have annoying PVCs and PACs with my A-Fib. Are there natural remedies to reduce these extra beats and palpitations? My doctor says to ignore them.”

4. Nutritional Info: I tried to talk with my doctor about magnesium and other nutritional supplements. His response was ‘There’s no proof that they work.’ Why are doctors so opposed to nutrition as a way of helping A-Fib.

Related Question:What’s the best way to take supplements—at the same time each day or spread throughout the day? In one lot or in divided doses?”

Related Question:Where can I find reliable, unbiased research and information on specific vitamins and supplements? (I want an independent resource, not some site trying to sell me their products.)”

5. BCAA+G: “The supplement BCAA+G helps builds muscle. Is it a natural remedy that could help my A-Fib? Are A-Fib patients BCAA-deficient?”

6. Iron levels: “I’m anemic. Is too little iron in the blood (anemia) a cause of Atrial Fibrillation? Any advice on how A-Fib patients can deal with iron deficiency?”

Related Question: Can excess iron in the blood (Iron Overload Disease, IOD) cause Atrial Fibrillation? How do I know if I have IOD? What can I do about it?

7. Chelate: “What does ‘chelate’ or ‘chelated formulas’ mean when talking about vitamin and minerals? Is it important?

8. Magnesium: “Regarding Magnesium, can supplementing and restoring Mg to healthy levels reverse my A-Fib? I’m about to schedule a catheter ablation. But if supplementing can cure my A-Fib, why do an ablation?

9. CoQ10  “Can I take the supplement CoQ10 while on Eliquis for Atrial Fibrillation? On your site it says CoQ10 could be helpful. But on my bottle of CoQ10, it says “do not take if you are on blood thinners.

10. Krill Oil: “I’m interested in the supplement, Krill Oil, that has natural blood thinning properties. I’m taking Eliquis for my risk of A-Fib stroke. Is It OK to take Krill Oil along with Eliquis?”

If you find any errors on this page, email us. Y Last updated: Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Return to Frequently Asked Questions

 

FAQs Coping With Your A-Fib Day-to-Day Issues

FAQs A-Fib afibFAQs Coping With Your Atrial Fibrillation: Day-to-Day Issues

Coping with your Atrial Fibrillation means a patient and their family have many and varied questions. Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about dealing with the day-to-day issues of having Atrial Fibrillation. (Click on the question to jump to the answer.)

1.  Specialist: I like my cardiologist, but he has not talked about me seeing an Electrophysiologist [heart rhythm specialist]. Should I ask for a second opinion?”

2.  Forewarning? Is there any way to predict when I’m going to have an A-Fib attack?”

3.  Exercise: Can I damage my heart if I exercise in A-Fib? Should I exercise when in A-Fib or skip it and rest?”

4.  Progression of A-Fib: How long do I have before my A-Fib goes into chronic or permanent A-Fib? I know it’s harder to cure. My A-Fib episodes seem to be getting longer and more frequent.”

5.  A-Flutter:They want to do an Atrial Flutter-only ablation, will that help if I possibly have A-Fib as well?”

6.  Medical Marijuana:Is smoking medical marijuana or using Marinol going to trigger or cause A-Fib? Will it help my A-Fib?

7.  Action Plan:During an A-Fib episode, when should I call paramedics (911 in the US) and/or take my husband to the hospital? I’m petrified. I need a plan.”

Related Question:When my husband has an Atrial Fibrillation episode, what can I do for him? How can I be supportive?”

Related Question:In case I have a stroke, what does my family need to know to help me? (I’m already on a blood thinner.)  What can I do to improve my odds of surviving it?”

8.  PVC/PACs:I have a lot of extra beats and palpitations (PVCs or PACs) They seem to proceed an A-Fib attack. What can or should I do about them?”

9.  DIY Monitors:What kind of monitors are available for atrial fibrillation? Is there any way to tell how often I get A-Fib or how long the episodes last?”

Related Question:My mom is 94 with A-Fib. Are there consumer heart rate monitors she can wear to alert me at work if her heart rate exceeds a certain number?”

10.  Heart Rate:Can I have A-Fib when my heart rate stays between 50-60 BPM? My doctor tells me I have A-Fib, but I don’t always have a rapid heart rate.”

Related Question:My doctor says I need a pacemaker because my heart rate is too slow. I’m an athlete with A-Fib and have a naturally slow heart rate.”

11.  Circulation:Is there any way I can improve my circulation? I feel tired and a little light-headed, probably because my atria aren’t pumping properly. Is there a way without having to undergo a Catheter Ablation (poor success rate and risky at my age) or Surgery (even more risky)? I am in Chronic A-Fib. “”

12.  Hereditary A-Fib: Both my uncles and my Dad have Atrial Fibrillation. I’m worried. How can I avoid developing A-Fib? Can dietary changes help? Or lifestyle changes?”

13. Treatment choices: “How do I know which is the best A-Fib treatment option for me?”

Related Question:In one of your articles it said that having an ablation was better than living in A-Fib. If your article means all types of A-Fib [including Paroxysmal], then I will consider an ablation.”

If you find any errors on this page, email us. Y Last updated: Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Return to Frequently Asked Questions

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FAQs Coping with A-Fib: Excess Iron

 FAQs Coping with A-Fib: Excess Iron

FAQs A-Fib afib14. “Can excess iron in the blood (Iron Overload Deficiency, IOD) cause Atrial Fibrillation? How do I know if I have IOD? What can I do about it?”

Not only does excess iron in the blood trigger or predispose you to A-Fib, it injures and eventually can kill a variety of body organs like the liver and gall bladder.

According to the Iron Disorder Institute: “Excess iron in vital organs, even in mild cases of iron overload, increases the risk for liver disease (cirrhosis, cancer), heart attack or heart failure, diabetes mellitus, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, metabolic syndrome, hypothyroidism, hypogonadism, numerous symptoms and in some cases premature death. Iron mismanagement resulting in overload can accelerate such neurodegenerative diseases as Alzheimer’s, early-onset Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.

Excess iron is toxic and can injure every part of the body, including the brain. Iron Overload is a much more widespread condition than people are aware of affecting approximately 1 out of 6 people in the United States. One can develop excess iron by absorbing too much from supplements, iron-rich diet, tobacco and other sources.

When you have your annual physical exam, your doctor should check for iron overload. The most common tests are:

1. Transferrin saturation (TS), also called “Percentage of Saturation.” After fasting, blood is taken to measure Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC) and Serum Iron (SI). SI is divided by TIBC to get the Percentage of Saturation. A safe range is 12-44%. Over that is considered iron overload.
2. Serum ferritin concentration (stored iron). A safe range is 5-150. (If the TS test comes out OK, this test may not be done.)
3. Hemoglobin: Iron is used by the body for hemoglobin production. Hemoglobin is the iron-containing respiratory pigment in red blood cells. The top normal level is 14 for women, 15 for men.
4. Red blood cells: the percentage by volume of packed red blood cells in a given sample of blood after centrifugation (i.e., the percentage of red blood cells in your blood). The top normal level is 42 for women, 45 for men.
5. The Unbound Iron Binding Capacity (UIBC) is another test used less frequently. A safe range is above 146. If you’re below that, you should be treated for iron overload.

Pre-menopausal women normally loose blood monthly thereby lowering their iron levels. In men the iron just accumulates with age. “Unfortunately, the body has no way to rid itself of excess iron.”

To get your iron levels down, you may have to give blood through a phlebotomy program at your doctor’s office or blood bank as often as once or twice a week. Drugs known as chelators can also remove excess iron from the blood.

To prevent iron overload (IOD), many of us, particularly men, would benefit from donating blood on a regular basis.  “When you donate blood, the life you save may be your own.” (But be advised that some A-Fib medications like some blood thinners may preclude you from giving blood at the Red Cross.)

Thanks to Isabelle Horowitz for much of this info on IOD.

Resources:
¤  Iron Overload. Iron Disorders Institute website. Last accessed March 29, 2014. URL: http://www.irondisorders.org/iron-overload
¤  Iron Overload Diseases Association, Inc (IOD) website. Last accessed March 29, 2014 http://www.irondisorders.org/iron-overload
¤  Hereditary Hemochromatosis (Iron Overload). Medicine.net website. Last accessed March 29, 2014. http://www.medicinenet.com/iron_overload/article.htm
¤  Iron Overload Diseases Association, Inc (IOD) website. Last accessed March 29, 2014
¤  Iron: The Double-Edged Sword. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine website. Last accessed March 29, 2014.http://tinyurl.com/ironinthebody

Back to FAQs: Coping with Your A-Fib

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