Iron dumping

I donated blood today. Any thoughts on the research suggesting the benefits of lowering iron, ferritin etc? Sinclair (on the Huberman podcast) recently referenced the correlation between lower iron and longevity. PD Mangan has a book about it. I run a borderline anaemia (using the conventional reference range) for which my GP always wants to prescribe iron supplements.

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  • Do a full iron panel and check your saturation. Ferritin is a very poor measure of cellular iron stores. 

  • See the interview with Preston Estep in the January, 2022, edition of Life Extension Magazine (as well as Preston's book, Mindspan Diet). Iron is more concerning than many realize.

  • Iron saturation all fine, as is rest of panel. Thanks for the links. Interesting. 

  • Pretty rare and unusual for a guy to be borderline anemic. I would focus on getting to the bottom of that. Unless you are a vegan, something isn't right.

  • Care to share your lab panels including CBC and relevant iron markers? What about diet, do you eat sufficient iron? And donations, how frequent do you donate? 

    I donate every 8 weeks, I am borderline IDS (iron deficiency) without anemia based on my ferritin (15-20) and saturation (20%). This is where I’d like to run…just above anemia. I am a high daily exerciser, including days of donation, and don’t have any anemic side effects. My cbc and iron haemoglobin are within range. I am also homozygous H63D, so prone to mild iron elevation, another reason for my iron dumping bias. I eat dark chocolate every day, along with a variety of whole foods containing iron, so I know I am replenishing daily some of the iron from donation. But I do watch my markers and how I feel like a hawk, ready to intervene if necessary. I’ve been donating and eating a steady diet for years. 56 yo male.

    My doc of course is mildly concerned, wants me to have a ferritin around 80, which is way too high, and he dosent have a clue on iron/aging. But I’ve overwhelmed him with the iron dumping literature; he’s a functional medicine doctor, so our partnership is all about optimizing healthspan/lifespan and he supports my longevity hacks, science based of course. 

    He has not pushed iron supplementation on me. So far so good! 

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    • MAC. Impressive numbers if you can tolerate it, I am shocked you dont have any fatigue from that, those numbers would make me feel horrible. I need to be above 35 ferritin and above 25% saturation otherwise I get fatigue.

      • John
      • John.3
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view


      Very similar story. Im aged 57, limited red meat, (steak once a week maybe) and exercise a lot. Hb at 137 and ferritin between 15-35. No fatigue. No other causes for lower-end Hb ie all investigated two years ago (as my primary care physician was alarmed about possible bleeding or malignancy in an older man). Has no idea about potential iron-related risks and similarly wants a higher ferritin. 

      • MAC.
      • MAC2
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      John One should always listen to their trusted doctor for real concerns as to root cause of significant changes to iron biomarkers. But in my deep dive of the iron/health literature, I've found nothing to support the need for iron above the bare minimum for males. Quite the opposite...a great many health benefits to lower iron stores. 

  • So far in this journey, yes, no apparent issues. I am very fit, not sure if I have muscular/aerobic "reserve", such that I can tolerate lower limits of cellular/blood iron and still function without issue? Perhaps my HFE genes are really storing more iron than the "conventional" iron deficiency/anemia blood markers indicate? I am going to maintain my regular blood donations and dietary iron intake, and follow if my iron panel markers trend further down (especially saturation), but I will also pay close attention to how I feel and typical symptoms of anemia to set the lower limit.

    From this link:

    You can have low iron and still have a normal hematocrit level, but health problems from low iron are RARE before the hematocrit falls. 

    Before every donation, they test my hematocrit, and so far, I've been staying above the lower limit threshold for donation allowance.

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