What do hormone imbalance, hair thinning and shedding, accelerated aging and dementia all have in common?
While everyone is debating how much vitamin d and zinc to take, researchers are marching on and finding deeper root causes for the above-mentioned issues.
As the Healthy Gut Girl, I am always bringing every imbalance back to gut dysbiosis, and though this is profoundly true, there is a component to this that I have embraced and that is that mineral imbalance is equally as important. In fact, they work in tandem. You cannot fully absorb the minerals from your food if you have a leaky gut and you cannot heal your leaky gut if you don’t have adequate mineral balance.
Well what is Mineral Balance anyway?
Is it just finding out what minerals you are deficient in and taking supplements for those?
NO, I wish it were that easy.
At the very core of our existence are microbes and minerals and at the very core of microbes, are minerals. Minerals, make up everything. Our bodies, our food, our pets, air, water, our earth our stars our universe. And just like our micro-biomes, our minerals need balance and harmony.
Now that you have that visual, let’s talk about one of the most pervasive minerals on our planet. IRON. There is no shortage of it. It’s everywhere and in everything. It is also easy to acquire from our diets, many foods are abundant in usable iron. There are different forms of iron. Types that we can use in our body and types that we cannot use.
What’s the difference between toxic iron and usable iron?
During the industrial revolution, the ‘civilized’ world was obsessed with convenience and making things easier for humans. And for good reason. Refrigeration, preservation, pasteurization and mass production not only made life simpler, cheaper and fun, it also saved lives.
Refining, pasteurizing and canning food products like grains, flours, juices, milks, beans, cereals, and the like made it possible for food to be transported long distances and sit on shelves for longer periods of time. But the refining and processing meant denaturing the food and leaving it devoid of nutrition. SO, they had a brilliant idea,
Food fortification – the process of adding micronutrients such as essential trace elements and vitamins to a food item. It is done to improve the nutritive values of the food. These nutrients may or may not have been originally present in the food before processing.
I am going to assume that this idea was made with the greatest of intentions however what has transpired since this process is nothing short of shocking.
The governmental agencies at the time of this processing and even to this day, have made gross generalizations regarding how much of certain nutrients we need in our diets based on their research. For example, adding extra iron to cereals with pregnant mothers in mind with no attention to the fact that everyone else is getting additional iron in their diets as well. Add this fortification to nearly ALL processed foods and the amount of toxic iron being ingested by humans had increased 50% by 1969.
The RDA for iron is 18mg per day, however 95% of our iron comes from a recycling system we have in our bodies, we need only 5% or 1 mg from our diets. (Jym moon, PhD, 2008, “iron: the most toxic metal” )
What’s the big deal, can’t we just poop it out if we don’t need it?
The naturally occurring iron in our food is an organic usable form and the iron used in most supplements and fortified foods in an inorganic and somewhat non-usable form of iron.
The body can chelate this iron naturally, if you are well mineralized and have a healthy system. However, these foods have been consumed by us, day after day, year after year. At a certain point the body becomes burdened with this metal and what it cannot dump, it will store. It will store in tissues like the uterus, gut, joints, eyes and most commonly the liver. Research is beginning to emerge that iron can be responsible for the amyloid plaques in the brains of dementia and Alzheimer’s patients.
Not only does this metal/mineral get stored in the body but it upsets the balance that I mentioned earlier. The balance of other important minerals, like copper which is crucial for healthy hormone balance and magnesium which plays a role in almost every function of the body.
This toxic iron overload in our tissues goes mostly unnoticed as young adults but as we begin to age and the need for antioxidants like glutathione, ceruloplasmin and CoQ10 and even the hormone estrogen which also acts as an antioxidant, increases but our levels of these important antioxidants and hormones begins to decrease and our bodies ability to reverse the oxidation process gets harder and harder.
IRON + OXIDATION = RUST = ACCELERATED AGING
IRON + OXIDATION + ANTIOXIDANTS = SLOWER AGING
Very good question and something that many medical doctors don’t fully understand or even know about.
When toxic levels of iron are stored in our tissues this will affect the way you metabolize usable forms of iron. In fact, it will upset the entire mineral balance of the body.
Your blood iron levels will read low and the logical thing for a doctor to do would be to then prescribe you more iron.
Though taking iron supplements or iron infusions may help resolve the issue for a short while it will compound the bigger problem exponentially as we age.
This form of anemia is referred to as anemia of inflammation, meaning it isn’t the low hemoglobin causing the anemia, it is the inflammation in the tissues caused by the toxic stored iron causing the anemia.
As Morley Robbins of the Root Cause Protocol says, “having anemia and blaming low iron is like blaming the flies for the trash.”
How do I know I have toxic iron overload and mineral imbalance?
Like I said at the beginning of this blog, at the core of EVERYTHING are minerals. So, you can be certain that at the core of every imbalance is going to be this toxic iron and mineral disharmony. Which is why the founder of the protocol calls it The Root Cause Protocol.
But some of the most common and severe imbalances are:
- Dementia, Alzheimer’s and other neurological imbalances
- Fibroids, cysts, polyps and other reproductive masses
- Heavy menstrual bleeding, clotting and cramping
- Dry skin, yellow tinted skin, sunken eyes
- Hair thinning, shedding and hair loss
- Fatty liver, gallbladder disease, gall stones
- Hormone imbalance in men and women
- Candida and leaky gut
This brings us to the root cause. So, if you cannot blame the flies for the trash, then you must get down to the cause of the trash and what can be done to prevent more of it from collecting.
- Stop vitamin D supplementing which kills liver retinol needed for anti-oxidation
- Stop multi-vitamins and anything with supplemental iron
- Stop Ascorbic acid supplements (I only use Ascorbic acid for therapeutic use when I am sick or healing and whole food vitamin C daily)
- Stop low fat diets, fake sweeteners, refined oils like canola, corn and soybean, they lower copper
- Stop eating refined, fortified, processed foods
- Start getting your D from high quality Alaskan Cod Liver Oil click HERE which also has Vitamin A, these forms of A and D help increase anti-oxidation and boost immunity
- Start B vitamins click HERE and grass fed beef liver HERE and bee pollen HERE
- Start using a dry or infrared saunaregularly and dry brushing
- Start Diatomaceous earth which helps remove toxic iron from the gut
- Heal the Leaky Gut using a product like IonGut
- Start high quality magnesium like THIS
- Start whole food vitamin C like THIS
This blog is as concise and simple as I could make this very complex subject.
I was introduced to this research many years ago by Morley Robbins and as a practitioner and gut health specialist I had a hard time wrapping my head around it. But trust me when I say, it is well worth the exploration and efforts to begin to incorporate this education into your life and begin to reduce your exposure to unusable iron as well as detox the existing iron from your tissues. And if you have unresolved health issues that you have tried everything to balance, you may be looking at your answers. For more information about this topic click HERE.