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Can Too Much Iron Affect Your Kidneys

Diarrhea Can Result From Too Much Vitamin B5

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If you’re wondering which foods contain B5, you won’t have to look far. Also known as pantothenate and pantothenic acid, B5 is in just about all types of food, ranging from pork and organ meat to shellfish, egg yolks, lentils, whole grain breads, kale, and mushrooms . So, as you can imagine, it’s not often you’ll meet someone with a B5 deficiency.

But as Medical News Today explained, taking 10 to 20 grams per day of B5 can have a negative impact on your system. Typical side effects include diarrhea, increased risk of bleeding, and a possible imbalance of other vitamins in the B family. This is why taking a B complex vitamin with food and water might be a better option than a separate B5 supplement.

B5 supplements might also interact with certain drugs such as blood thinners and cholinesterase inhibitors, which are used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, according to the publication. And while all foods contain at least a small amount of the vitamin, Medical News Today recommends against consuming royal jelly, a honeybee byproduct, and taking a vitamin B5 supplement at the same time.

What Are The Complications Of Anemia In Someone With Ckd

In people with CKD, severe anemia can increase the chance of developing heart problems because the heart is getting less oxygen than normal and is working harder to pump enough red blood cells to organs and tissues. People with CKD and anemia may also be at an increased risk for complications due to strokes.

Anemia Iron Deficiency Linked To Chronic Kidney Disease

Written byEmily LunardoPublished onNovember 2, 2015

Anemia, a condition caused by iron deficiency, has been linked to chronic kidney disease. When the body does not produce enough red blood cells it can lead to anemia. Red blood cells are the cells that carry oxygen around the body. When there is a shortage of red blood cells it means fewer cells can convert glucose from food into energy, thus causing feelings of fatigue, weakness and overall tiredness because the body does not have enough energy to perform its many tasks.

To treat anemia iron supplements are often prescribed, along with a diet of iron-rich foods like red meat or kale. If anemia goes untreated, then major organs, such as our heart and brain, can become affected. Research also shows that it is linked to chronic kidney disease as well.

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How Is Anemia Treated

Getting your anemia treated can help you feel better. Depending on the cause of your anemia, your doctor may recommend one of the following treatments:

  • Erythropoiesis-stimulating agents ESAs are injectable medicines that work by sending a signal to the your body to make more red blood cells.
  • Iron supplementation Your doctor may give you iron supplements as pills or as a shot. If you are on dialysis, you may be given an iron supplement during your dialysis treatment.
  • Red blood cell transfusion A red blood cell transfusion is a procedure to increase the number of red blood cells in your body by giving you red blood cells from someone elses body through an IV. This can temporarily improve your anemia symptoms.

Doctors and researchers are working on potential new treatments for anemia. New treatments in development are tested in clinical trials. If youre interested in joining a clinical trial to try an investigational new treatment for anemia, visit to learn about all available clinical trials for anemia.

If you have CKD, getting early treatment for your anemia can help slow the progress of your CKD. If you think you might have anemia, talk to your doctor about getting tested.

Avoid Iron Supplements If You Have These Conditions

Can Supplements Damage Your Kidneys

If you have any of the following conditions, avoid iron supplements as they may increase your risk of iron toxicity.


Hemochromatosis is a genetically inherited disease that can cause iron to accumulate to toxic levels in the body. Without treatment, this disease can lead to problems like liver cancer, liver cirrhosis, and heart disease. People with this condition should not use iron supplements or vitamin C supplements, which increase iron absorption.

African Iron Overload

First observed among the people of African descent, this is a rare condition caused due to the high intake of dietary iron. The condition is believed to result from the consumption of a traditional African beer, which contains dissolved iron from metal drums in which it is brewed. People with this condition should avoid taking iron supplements.

The excess iron accumulates in the immune cells in the bone marrow and spleen and compromises the infection-fighting ability of the immune system. As the condition progresses, iron also accumulates in the liver cells, causing toxicity, liver disease, and even cancer.12

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Symptoms Diagnosis And Treatment

Haemochromatosis sounds like it should be easy to diagnose, but the problem is its general symptoms are relatively common health complaintstiredness, abdominal pain, joint pain, and weakness. Sufferers of HH may experience one or two of these, all of them, or none of them .

The disorder is generally diagnosed in people over 40 years of age, because it takes time for iron levels in the body to accumulate. Women may be diagnosed later due to blood loss during child-bearing years , which removes iron from the body. Younger people may have the condition, but have not yet experienced any adverse symptoms. Each patient will also have their own unique level at which they may begin to feel the effects of iron overload. Because haemochromatosis is hereditary, it helps to know your family health history and talk about it with relatives.

Symptoms of higher levels of iron overload in the system include:


Impotence, loss of libido, shrinking testicles, development of man boobs.

Hypogonadisminhibited production of testosterone

Being aware of the symptoms yourself, and having a doctor who is familiar with the condition, can assist in early detection. A simple blood test can confirm haemochromatosis and, if discovered early, treatment is relatively simple and easy. The aim is to restore and then maintain safe iron levels in the body.

What Is Hereditary Haemochromatosis

Haemochromatosisalso known as inherited iron overloadis a condition that causes the body to absorb and store excess amounts of iron. Its the most common genetic disorder in Australia, affecting around 1 in every 200 people of Northern European decent.

Just like Goldilocks, our bodies like things to be just right. So while its true that iron is essential for the human body to function properly , too much of a good thing can be harmful. Unfortunately, excess iron doesnt equate to excess energy in fact its often quite the opposite.

Sufferers may experience a range of symptoms including fatigue, joint pain, weakness, weight loss and abdominal pain. Over time, the excess iron accumulates in specific areas of the body, eventually causing damage to tissues and organs including the liver and heart. This can result in complications such as liver disease , liver cancer, heart failure, diabetes, pigmented skin, arthritis, early menopause and impotence. If left undiagnosed, HH can be fatal.

The good news is that early diagnosis, intervention and treatment can prevent further complications and allow a patient to live a normal life.

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When Does Positive Iron Balance Become Iron Toxicity

Across therapeutic areas and disease states, the transition from positive iron balance to iron toxicity appears to be dependent on factors beyond the magnitude of body iron content. For instance, the cellular pattern of iron deposition within the liver during states of positive iron balance appears to greatly impact the risk of tissue damage and subsequent adverse outcomes . When excess iron is predominately deposited in hepatocytes , as might be observed in hereditary HFE-associated hemochromatosis, tissue damage is common . In such conditions, iron deposition into Kupffer cells is a later finding . In contrast, when reticuloendothelial deposition of iron predominates, as is expected with IV iron administration, tissue damage is less frequent. Data from other disease states suggest that a spill over of iron from macrophages is dependent upon both the rapidity and magnitude of iron accumulation. In the setting of CKD and IV iron therapy, iron would be expected to spill over into hepatocytes if NTBI is present. Clinically relevant concentrations of NTBI would be expected if the iron-carrying capacity of transferrin is saturated.

Table 1.

For additional information:

Thedrugs And Supplements That Should Cause Concern

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The following drugs andsupplements can affect kidney function:


NSAIDs are very effectivemedications for multiple medical problems. But taking NSAIDS can affectthe kidneys, and can cause damage, especially if youre also takingdiuretics or ACE inhibitors.

NSAIDS include over-the-counterpainkillers like aspirin , ibuprofen , and naproxen .

They also includeprescription drugs like:

  • Naproxen sodium .
  • Naproxen/esomeprazole .
  • Diclofenac .

Using these medications withcaffeine can further harm your kidneys. When taking these medications, be sureto check regularly with your doctor if you have impaired kidney function.

2. Antibiotics

Certain antibiotics areremoved from the body through the kidneys, so taking them can put extra strainon your kidneys. Penicillin, cephalosporins and sulfonamides in particular canbe harmful to your kidneys.

Long-term antibiotic use caninjure your kidneys, even if youre otherwise healthy. And for people whosekidneys arent functioning at 100% to begin with, antibiotics can build up inthe body and cause damage.

Despite this, its importantto keep in mind that antibiotics can be safely used if needed as long as thedose is adjusted for your bodys level of kidney function.

3. Dietary supplements

Certain herbs or nutritionalsupplements are associated with kidney injury, even among healthy people. Withsuch a wide variety of supplements available, the best way to know if asupplement is safe is to ask your doctor to review all the ingredients.

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Less Erythropoietin Than Normal

All of the cells in your body live for a certain amount of time and then die. Your body is always working to make new cells to replace the ones that have died. Red blood cells live for about 115 days. Your kidneys help your body make red blood cells.

Healthy kidneys make a hormone called erythropoietin . EPO sends a signal to the body to make more red blood cells. If your kidneys are not working as well as they should, they cant make enough EPO. Without enough EPO, your body doesnt know to make enough red blood cells. This means fewer red blood cells are available for carrying oxygen through your body, leading to anemia.

Effects Of Too Much Exercise

Exercising over three hours per day — unless it’s an event like kayaking, hiking, even running a marathon — can be detrimental to your health, especially if you are not supplementing the calories you’ve burned with additional calorie consumption. When your body doesn’t have enough nutrients, it cannot perform basic functions properly, including the function of your kidneys. Your kidneys help cleanse toxins from your body, regulate acid concentration and maintain water balance. Malnutrition and vitamin or nutrient-deficiency will increase your risk for kidney infection, and thus increase your risk for kidney damage or failure.

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Types Of Iron In Our Diets

The two types of iron found in our diets are:

  • haem iron found in animal tissue such as beef, lamb, kangaroo, chicken and fish. Offal products such as liver and kidney are particularly rich in haem iron . This form of iron is most easily absorbed by the body
  • non-haem iron found in animal tissue, animal-based products and plant foods such as dried beans and lentils. Good vegetarian sources of non-haem iron include iron-fortified breakfast cereals, wholegrains and legumes .

What Causes Too Much Iron In The Body

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The inherited disorder of hemochromatosis causes severe iron excess or overload in the body.

It is caused by an abnormal mutation in the HFE gene and you have to have 2 of these to have hemochromatosis. This abnormality causes an increased absorption of iron from the intestines around 3 times that of normal absorption. This occurs because of a deficiency in hepcidin in the liver.

Hemochromatosis is rather common and affects 1 in 200 people of Caucasian race who carry two C282Y mutations on their HFE genes. Another type of gene mutation called H63D can cause iron overload in association with one C282Y mutation but to a much lesser degree.

People with hemochromatosis can suffer severe consequences of iron overload including liver scarring , liver cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, low sex hormones and a bronzing of the skin colour. The excess iron damages various organs in the body.It is important to diagnose hemochromatosis early by doing a blood test for the HFE gene mutation and iron studies to check serum iron, ferritin, transferrin saturation and serum iron.

It is possible to prevent the excess iron from causing organ damage by removing blood on a regular basis. The treatment of blood removal is known as venesection. It may take many months or even several years to unload the body of excess iron and the venesections must be done regularly.

High Ferritin

The most common causes of high ferritin are

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Why Is Too Much Iron Dangerous

Too much iron can be toxic.

In the heart, it can cause:

  • Problems with the spleen, adrenal glands, pituitary gland, gallbladder or thyroid.
  • Problems with the reproductive system, such as erectile dysfunction in men and early menopause in women.
  • Skin that may look noticeably more gray or bronze than usual.

If the condition isn’t treated, it can lead to death.

Dont Accept The Health Risks Of Iron In Your Drinking Water

Iron in tap water is a common problem in Prince Georges and Montgomery County and across the rest of Maryland. However, while the risk is real, you dont have to accept it.

Hague Quality Water of MD offers a powerful and effective 2510AIO Iron Removal filter. The filter works by mixing oxygen in with water to oxidize ferrous iron. The water is then filtered through a special bed that raises pH levels, thus creating a barrier that blocks the iron.

This way, you and your family can enjoy safe, filtered water straight from the tap.

  • Monday – Friday 9 am to 6 pmSaturday 9 am to 1 pm

Ocean City

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Liver Damage Can Be A Sign Of Too Much Iron

There’s no denying how important iron is to the body. Just as lungs are essential to take in oxygen, the iron in red blood cells delivers that oxygen to all of the body’s cells . Naturally, being low on iron can be bad for your health, but that doesn’t mean too much iron isn’t dangerous.

As Healthline noted, taking one dose of an iron supplement or iron-containing multivitamin with 10 to 20 mg/kg can be enough to trigger side effects, including stomach pain and vomiting. Medical help is needed if you take in anything higher than 40 mg/kg. Long-term use of supplements at high doses can also be unsafe because as the iron builds up in the body, it causes life-threatening damage to your brain and liver. In addition, excessive iron can encourage the growth of bacteria and viruses, taxing the immune system.

While red meat is known for being rich in iron, the Mayo Clinic explained that other animal-based meats as well as plant-based foods have high iron content. Also, vitamin C helps your body absorb iron.

Dietary Factors Affecting Iron Absorption

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Certain foods and drinks affect how much iron your body absorbs.

To boost iron absorption:

  • Consume vitamin C .
  • Include animal protein with plant sources of iron, such as meat with beans for example, beef and kidney beans in a chilli con carne.
  • Cook plant sources of iron . In most cases, cooking increases the amount of available non-haem iron in vegetables. For example, the body absorbs six per cent of the iron from raw broccoli, compared to 30 per cent from cooked broccoli.

Foods and drinks that reduce your bodys ability to absorb iron:

  • Soy proteins can reduce absorption from plant sources.
  • Tea, coffee and wine contain tannins that reduce iron absorption by binding to the iron and carrying it out of the body.
  • Phytates and fibres found in wholegrains such as bran can reduce the absorption of iron and other minerals.
  • Inadequate vitamin A in your diet could lead to iron deficiency because vitamin A helps to release stored iron.
  • Calcium and phosphorus reduce the absorption of plant-sourced iron.

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Iron Has Been Linked To Acne And Other Skin Conditions

If your skin is exposed to water with high iron content, your risks of suffering acne and other skin conditions may increase. Iron could potentially clog up pores, resulting in breakouts. The iron particles could also damage the skin cells themselves.

If you or someone in your family is regularly suffering from skin conditions, the culprit might be iron. While medications may help, you might ultimately need to remove the iron from your water to see your skin clear up permanently.

Are There Any Negative Side Effects To Taking Collagen

There are no negative effects of collagen supplementation. , but it is important to note that collagen is a very strong and stable protein. It is not possible to take collagen supplements for long periods of time without damaging the collagen. If you are taking a supplement that contains collagen, you should be aware of the potential for damage to the protein and to your body.

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What Does The Department Of Health And Social Care Advise

Most people should be able to get all the iron they need by eating a varied and balanced diet. If you take iron supplements, do not take too much as this could be harmful.

Taking 17mg or less a day of iron supplements is unlikely to cause any harm. But continue taking a higher dose if advised to by a GP.

Page last reviewed: 03 August 2020 Next review due: 03 August 2023


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