Friday, December 1, 2023

High dietary iron levels could strengthen Salmonella and bacterial infections in humans

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Anemia, or having low iron levels in the blood stream, is a common issue in many Americans, but the solution of iron supplements could be more problematic if not consumed properly.

Dr. Manfred Nairz of Innsbruck Medical University in Austria and his colleagues recently published a report in Frontiers in Cellular Infection and Microbiology about high iron levels in the blood and its effect in the human body. According to the study, if blood cells are too full of iron, Salmonella, specifically Salmonella Typhimurium, and other bacterial infections can take advantage of the nutrient and infect more cells faster, making it difficult for the immune system to continue fighting off the bacteria effectively.

Salmonella feeds on iron and uses it to further infect the host. According to Eureka Alert, the body cannot dispose of excess iron like it does other vitamins; the blood cells simply become swollen. It is important that a person, even a person with low iron, does not take too many iron dietary supplements or eat a lot of foods that are high in iron.

The good news is that people with naturally high iron levels in their blood do not have increased risks of salmonella infections, only people who overdose on dietary iron. The scientists experimented with mice that had naturally high iron levels and those with regular levels. They found that when the normal mice had ingested high amounts of iron, then they were more easily infected by salmonella.

Consistent amounts of iron supplements or foods as recommended by a doctor or, if using pills, then by following the recommended daily dose on the label.

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