I made an appointment for a blood donation this morning. I donate blood regularly to help those in need and myself by reducing my iron level.
One of the labs I have checked is serum ferritin, which measures stored iron in the body. Most adult men and postmenopausal women are at risk for iron overload because they do not lose blood regularly. The body has no active excretion mechanism for excess iron. High iron can contribute to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, and other health problems, including gouty arthritis.
Iron causes all this harm by catalyzing a reaction within the inner mitochondrial membrane. When iron reacts with hydrogen peroxide, hydroxyl free radicals are formed. These are among the most damaging free radicals known, causing severe mitochondrial dysfunction, which is at the heart of most chronic degenerative diseases. This process has been described as “rusting from the inside.”
The optimum range of serum ferritin is between 30 and 60 ng/mL. My iron has been as high as 1076 ng/mL. On my last lab report in July 2022, my ferritin level was 285.6 ng/mL. I’m very curious about the next measurement since I have donated blood multiple times since the last lab work.
I give a “Power Red” donation, which takes two units of red blood cells and returns the rest of the blood components and saline back to me. I feel no ill effects. I can give a Power Red donation every 112 days.
Now that the blood donation is done, I need to schedule an appointment with my doctor for lab work.
I would guess the biology of our ancestors was better able to handle iron, and they probably weren’t getting so much in the diet.
This always made me wonder… how did humans in the past stay healthy then, before the invention of blood transfusion? Wouldnt all their iron levels be crazy?