The Role of Iron in Diabetes and Its Complications

The role of iron in the induction of diabetes

Evidence that systemic iron overload could contribute to abnormal glucose metabolism was first derived from the observation that the frequency of diabetes is increased in classic hereditary hemochromatosis (HH). However, with the discovery of novel genetic disorders of iron metabolism, it is obvious that iron overload, irrespective of the cause or the gene involved, results in an increased incidence of type 2 diabetes. The role of iron in the pathogenesis of diabetes is suggested by 1) an increased incidence of type 2 diabetes in diverse causes of iron overload and 2) reversal or improvement in diabetes (glycemic control) with a reduction in iron load achieved using either phlebotomy or iron chelation therapy.

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  • also


    It will also be necessary to explore whether important elements of iron metabolism are altered in diabetes, namely the transporters DMT1, ferroportin, and MTP1, which are critical in intestinal absorption and entry of iron into the circulation, and haephastin, which oxidizes Fe2+ to Fe3+ during this process (85). Interestingly, certain genes appear to be simultaneously involved in iron balance, inflammation, and glucose responsiveness, suggesting a link between these pathways and type 2 diabetes (85).

  • What about anemia caused due to iron deficiency?I understand body also requires adequate amount of iron in the diet to maintain adequate red blood count so that one does not become anemic

  • Yes adequate.....not more nor less....

  • true

  • Cases of iron deficiency get benefited with little millets , kodos ,bajra etc which are very rich in B vitamin , iron , potassium , magneseum , zink ,calcium and fibres. Sorghum has high levels of unsaturrated fats , proteins and other nutrients and are as good as promegranates and blue berrieswhich are highly recommended for type 2 dibetes. Instead of going for food supplements and other nutrients ,taking the food prepared by these millets is good for controlling diabetes .

  • Yes.i understand among vegetables brinjals are good in iron

  • even spinach??? and raddish??


    It is well established that humans need a certain level of iron for health, but higher levels are potentially toxic (Kell 2009). From the point of view of evolution, normal stores of iron during reproductive years provided reserves for hemorrhage or periods of severe dietary restrictions or starvation. However there is no homeostatic mechanism for excreting excess iron to maintain a certain level.......

    ......Curcumin was recently found to be a very good iron chelator (Jiao 2006). A recent randomized controlled trial demonstrated the effectiveness of curcumin in significantly improving markers of glucose metabolism in diabetics (Chuengsamarn 2012).......

  • cure

    "However there is no homeostatic mechanism for excreting excess iron to maintain a certain level......." there are. Iron is transported across intestinal wall only if there is ferritin free from iron load. There is a definite control.

  • cure Never heard that D interferes with iron absorption. Yes many factors unrelated to D do hamper iron absorption.

  • Hemochromatosis , usually goes with bronzed skin and all kinds of diabetes do not come under excess iron stores . Anamia is altogether different .

  • @Hidden

    it's a disease. Genetic cause. So pathogenesis is different.

  • Hidden means account deleted. One user has been signing up with new usernames, deleting account and then coming back with new username since quite sometime now, and doing it pretty regularly. This was 8th or 9th time, IIRC.

  • @ suramo ,

    YES It is a genetic problem . But how many doctors go for a test to confirm the presence of iron overload . The first thing a patient comes they prescribe metformin at least tha t s what I had seen .

  • bhaswathy

    Hemochromatosis has different presentation. It's diagnosed before D occurs. Now if doctors go for all tests it becomes very costly for patients. Then also doctors will be criticized. Patients can't afford so only relevant investigations are advised.

  • Yes , I understand . It is rather rare .But when a patient comes with a long history, especially with the bronzed look , that should be ruled out because the patient may not be in a position to explain the symptom.

  • Hereditary hemochromatosis single disease gene afflicting one in 200 people. But strangely there is no awareness about this factor in general public and many of the medical professionals also overlook that factor .It can cause diabetes via damage to the pancreas. The excess iron from the food gets absorbed in the intestines and overtime if it is not excreted , it gets accumulated in the pancreas , liver , heart etc. Over a period of time all those important organs get damaged irrevocably. Joint pains , fatigue , general sense of weakness ,pain in the abdomin are the symptoms and the attending physian may think that they are due to weakness . Though the damage can't be reversed improvement can be seen with phlebotomy. . In the past blood donations were not accepted from peoplle suffering with hemochromatosis . But of late the rules are relaxed and donations are taken as it is genetic defect not passed on from the donar . Any person suffering with irregular heart beat , hypothyroidism , impotence ,hormonal imbalance , osteoporosis , osteoarthritis ,liver cirrhosis , enlarged spleen or enlarged liver ,liver failure , liver cancer is advised to go for test '' serum Ferritin' to know whether the the amount of iron is too high . Surprisingly , when a patient complains about weakness , the first thing the doctor gives is an iron tonic or B complex injections or tonics . This is the information , I gathered from the patients and not any biased opinion .Any way my sincere advise is to go for the test for iron overload , whether it is needed or not according to the doctor .It is not very costly . Since it is very common now with a rate of one in 200 people , it is better to rule this out .There are many causative factors like wrong eating habits , excess weight , excess strain , pollution in food , water ,air ,LIght etc which contribute to diabetes. But some unknown factors like this also , though it is genetic disorder ,can cause a horror in life.

  • Effect of Iron Reduction by Phlebotomy for Type 2 Diabetes

  • Donate blood.

  • @anup I act very swiftly.... ;) already donated blood on 9th Sept. :P

    actually I donated blood first time when I was in college....since then I use to donate blood on my birthday every year.,,,

    But when I approached them on my 50th birthday they refused saying they over age of 50 is not allowed to donate blood.

    But to my surprise now it seems they have changed rules...they said they accept blood till age of 60

  • Why I said this is:

    There was one NON INDIAN lady who reported the same issue on the "other forum" that some hate here.

    Suggested her to try blood donation and go for retest.

    She did and reported back great results. I will have to dig that thread out to give the exact numbers :)

    Bhai mere, I always talk based on "Experience/First hand information on hand" and never yap for sake of yapping or to seek attention ;)

    Rest, I read and except for the Latin and Greek names, I find it easy to grasp and understand. Latin and Greek names in literature I find difficult to remember.

  • I already donated as I far not much change in FBS....let us wait... and watch...

  • No, this was for Iron not for Blood sugar readings.

  • actually @anup bhai I have my blood iron level reports ...they are posted on forum.

    Let me see when I go for next check up after 2 months from now...

    Meanwhile thinking of stopping metformin. right now I am on 250 Mg morning and 500 Mg evening dose.

  • Day dose u can stop, wait for 2 weeks.

    If all goes well, then taper night dose by 50% and watch for another two weeks, specially FBS in the case of tapering night dose.

    Never drop drugs abruptly.

    Once you start dropping drugs aim to hit same numbers through diet tweaks and if needed some walks after every meal.

  • sure...thank you very much...yes I have same thing in mind.... and if every thing goes well I am planning to give a try to Vijaysar

  • My thought on herbs is:

    As a temporary helping aid - always yes.

    As a long-term aid - NEVER.

    Diet should always be looked at and if one needs supplementary help, something is not right. Maybe we have to experiment and take a call based on data.

    For something that body cannot make, external supplementation -- ALWAYS :)

  • @anup LCHF is excellent tool to control doubt about this.... there are many herbs to help us in controlling D ....but results are very individualistic... differs from person to person...

    But it is said it is only vijaysar which helps in rejuvenating beta cells...

    Let us have experiment and then say yes or No...

    let us see...

  • Yes, no harm in trying but don't extend any such trials beyond 6 months. If it doesn't work in that time frame, it will in all probability never work.

    Also, one is not sure what the definition and parameter is to judge rejuvenation. If it is increased insulin in blood which is the basis of defining, then I would stay away from any such thing and you already know why I hold that view :)

  • hmm...there is no other way to check but to check fasting insulin level.....

    Is there any other way to check beta cells health???

  • HOMA 2 is the only cheap way I guess.


    look at this study @anup

    here it says...

    The mean fall in fasting

    blood glucose was 2.4 mmol/l from the baseline of 9.4

    mmol/l in the vijayasar group, compared to 2.7 mmol/l

    from the baseline of 9.4 mmol/l in the tolbutamide

    group (Table 2). The mean fall in the postprandial

    blood glucose was 4.3 mmol/l from the baseline of 13.9

    mmol/l in the vijayasar group, compared to 4.4 mmol/l

    from the baseline of 13.8 mmol/l in the tolbutamide


    Hmmm any reason for more fall in PPBS in Vijaysar group ?????

  • Did they measure insulin? Surprising most don't focus on insulin levels at all.

    We can decrease blood sugar by taking glimi too, by increasing residual insulin in blood and keep increasing the dose of glimi gradually as more and more of insulin is needed for the same buzz.

  • not any where they have measured insulin.....why??? I don't know...may be they don't think it really they see the result in terms of reduction in BS.

    I don't know why they do not consider the IR issue.

    So what is best method to know health of beta cells we will know if there is improvement in health of beta cells.....unless we ourselves measuring fating insulin....IR....

  • even if we see reduction in IR..then also it is beneficial....there are many studies across the net on beneficial action of Vijaysar on lipid profile....

  • Because, they don't want to get EXPOSED with ADA's HIGH CARB DIET. Simple reason. They don't want to arm everyone with one more data to argue with doctors who push ADA diet.

    It's we who understand these things and do it on our own and find out how horrible ADA's diet is.

  • ye ADA yaha kaha se aa gya??? :O

  • Kyunki ADA nahin bolta fasting insulin kay barey main. :D

  • hmmmmm

  • Effects of phlebotomy-induced reduction of body iron stores on metabolic syndrome: results from a randomized clinical trial


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