Too Much Iron May Boost Appetite

You may want to cut down on your red meat intake. Researchers from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center found that consuming high amounts of dietary iron, often in red meat, suppresses an appetite-regulating hormone called leptin.

And since humans can’t excrete iron, having a high amount in your diet may trigger overeating due to increased appetite. Study authors also said high iron amounts are associated with an increased risk for several conditions, such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

For the study,published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, one group of male mice was fed a high-iron diet (2000 mg/kg) for two months and another group of male mice were fed a low-normal iron diet (35 mg/kg) for two months. Researchers then measured iron levels in the mice’s fat tissue. Mice fed a high-iron diet had a 215 percent increase of iron compared to mice fed a low-normal iron diet. Also, leptin levels were down 42 percent in mice fed a high-iron diet compared to mice fed a low-normal iron diet.

The results were verified using blood tests from a large number of human participants in a previous clinical study. The researchers found that fat tissue responds to the amount of iron by adjusting leptin levels, a hormone that helps regulate appetite, energy expenditure and metabolism.

Researchers are hoping to do a clinical trial to see if reducing iron levels can affect diabetes and obesity risk.

_This Week's Slice of History: _Taking on DDT: Aug. 29, 1962

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