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Alcohol Pushes Iron Over the Limit

Booze leaves iron in the heart, liver and other organs. It doesn't go well.

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Write this down as another way that drinking too much can be a health menace: In a study of African women, published in the journal Clinical Nutrition, British and South African researchers found that levels of ferritin, a protein that stores iron, were higher in drinkers than in nondrinkers. Ferritin levels are a predictor for all-cause mortality.

It seems that heavy drinking can cause the body to absorb too much iron, and, over time, that degrades liver, heart and other organ functioning. More specifically, the increased levels of iron put strain on the cardiovascular system through oxidation, thereby damaging cells, proteins and DNA. Teetotalers: You’re on the right track.

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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