~ Iron

Iron and Liquid Liver Extract

Iron is critical to human life. It plays the central role in the hemoglobin molecule of our red blood cells RBC where it functions in transporting oxygen from the lungs to the body's tissues and carbon dioxide from the tissues to the lungs. Iron also functions in several key enzymes in energy production and metabolism including DNA synthesis. Iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency in the United States. The groups at highest risk for iron deficiency are infants under two years of age, teen age girls, pregnant women, and the elderly.

Studies have found evidence of iron deficiency in as many as 30%-50% of people in these groups. For example, some degree of iron deficiency occurs in 35% to 58% of young, healthy women. During pregnancy, the number is even higher.

What causes iron deficiency?
Iron deficiency may be due to an increased iron requirement, decreased dietary intake of iron, diminished iron absorption or utilization, blood loss, or a combination of factors. Increased requirements for iron occur during the growth spurts of infancy and adolescence, and during pregnancy and lactation.

Currently, the vast majority of pregnant women are given iron supplements during their pregnancy. The dramatic increase for iron during pregnancy cannot usually be met through diet alone. Inadequate intake of iron is common in many parts of the world, especially those in which people consume a primarily vegetarian diet. Typical infant diets in developed countries (high in milk and cereals) are also low in iron. The adolescent consuming a "junk food" diet is at high risk for iron deficiency.

However, the population at greatest risk for a diet deficient in iron is the low-income elderly population. This iron-deficient diet is complicated by the fact that decreased absorption of iron is extremely common in the elderly. Decreased absorption of iron is often due to a lack of hydrochloric acid secretion in the stomach an extremely common condition in the elderly. Other causes of decreased absorption include chronic diarrhea or malabsorption, the surgical removal of the stomach, and antacid use. Blood loss is the most common cause of iron deficiency in women of childbearing age. This is most often due to excessive menstrual bleeding. Interestingly enough, iron deficiency is a common cause of excessive menstrual blood Ioss. Other common causes of blood loss include bleeding from peptic ulcers, hemorrhoids, and donating blood.

What are the consequences of iron deficiency? A The negative effects of iron deficiency are due largely to the impaired delivery of oxygen to the tissues and the impaired activity of iron-containing enzymes in various tissues. Iron deficiency can lead to anemia, excessive menstrual blood loss, learning disabilities, impaired immune function, and decreased energy levels and physical performances.

Anemia refers to a condition in which the blood is deficient in red blood cells or the hemoglobin (iron-containing) portion of red blood cells. The primary function of the red blood cell is to transport oxygen from the lungs to the tissues of the body in exchange for carbon dioxide. The symptoms of anemia, such as extreme fatigue, reflect a lack of oxygen being delivered to tissues and a build-up of carbon dioxide.

Iron deficiency is the most common cause of anemia. However, it must be pointed out that anemia is the last stage of iron deficiency. Iron-dependent enzymes involved in energy production and metabolism are the first to be affected by low iron levels. Several researchers have clearly demonstrated that even slight iron-deficiency anemia leads to a reduction in physical work capacity and productivity Nutrition surveys done in the U.S. have indicated that iron-deficiency is a major impairment of health and work capacity and a consequence of this is an economic loss to the individual and the country. Supplementation with iron has shown rapid improvements in work capacity in iron-deficient individuals.

How is iron deficiency diagnosed? Serum ferritin is the best laboratory test for determining body iron stores.

Can low iron levels lead to lower energy levels even if I am not anemic? Yes. Impaired physical performance due to iron deficiency is not dependent on anemia. The iron-dependent enzymes involved in energy production and metabolism will be impaired long before anemia occurs.

What is the best form of iron? A There are two forms of dietary iron, "heme" iron and "non-heme" iron. Heme iron is iron bound to hemoglobin and myoglobin. It is the most efficiently absorbed form of iron. The absorption rate of non-heme iron supplements such as ferrous sulfate and ferrous fumarate is 2.9% on an empty stomach and 0.9% with food. This is much less than the absorption rate of heme iron, as found in liver, which is as high as 35% In addition, heme iron is without the side effects associated with nonheme sources of iron such as nausea, flatulence, and diarrhea.

Unbound non-heme iron is also more likely to spin off prooxidants and lead to the formation of free radicals than heme iron. For this reason, many practitioners elect to use heme iron sources when iron supplementation is necessary.

Despite the superiority of heme iron, non-heme iron salts are the most popular iron supplements. One reason is that even though heme iron is better absorbed, it is easy to take higher quantities of non-heme iron salts so that the net amount of iron absorbed is about equal. In other words, if you take 3 ing of heme iron and 50 ing of non-heme iron the net absorption for each will be about the same. The best form of non-heme iron is ferrous succinate. The best supplemental form of heme-iron is hydrolyzed liver extract-a special extract prepared from bovine (beef) liver.

What is hydrolyzed liver extract? A These extracts are produced by exposing the liver material to enzymes which hydrolyze (add water to) the protein bonds. This process "liquefies" the liver fraction and is the reason hydrolyzed extracts are often referred to as "liquid liver -finmd extracts." Beef liver is the richest natural source of many vitamins and minerals including iron. Liquid liver extract contains more than 20 times the concentration of nutrients found in raw liver, but is free of the fats and cholesterol. The product should be obtained from animals that have not been exposed to chemical sprays, pesticides, or antibiotics in their livestock feed.

Liquid liver extracts provide the best form of iron heme iron-and are therefore considered by many experts to be the best iron supplements. Liquid liver extracts also contain other nutritional and physiological substances which promote healthy red blood cells including vitamin B 12 and folic acid. These nutrients also function in maintaining a healthy nervous system and increasing energy levels.

Are there any studies with liquid liver extract? Yes. Some of the most interesting studies were conducted by Dr. B.H. Ershoff of the University of Southern California. In one of Dr. Ershoff's classic experiments, three groups of laboratory rats were fed different diets over a 12-week period. The first group was fed a usual laboratory diet to which 11 different vitamins were added. The second group was fed the same diet plus all known B vitamins. The third group was fed the original diet with 10% raw liver in place of the vitamins.

At the end of the 12 weeks each group of rats was placed in drums of water from which they could not escape. The first group of rats swain for an average of 13.3 minutes and the second group swam an average of 13.4 minutes before giving up, indicating all their available strength And energy had been exhausted. The third group, however, demonstrated amazing results. Three rats swam for 63, 83, and 87 minutes, while the balance of the group was still swimming vigorously at the end of the two-hour test period.

The mysterious effects of liver have puzzled researchers and scientists for decades. It is believed that liver contains a physiological substance that has not yet been identified that promotes stamina, strength, and endurance. These attributes have made liver preparations extremely popular among bodybuilders and athletes.

Can liquid liver extracts be useful in the treatment of liver disorders? Yes. For almost as long as historic records have been kept, glandular therapy has been an important form of medicine. The basic concept underlying the medicinal use of glandular substances from animals is that "like heals like." For example, if your liver needs support or you are suffering from liver disease then you may benefit from eating beef liver. Modem glandular therapy, however, primarily involves the use of concentrated glandular extracts.

Liquid liver extracts have long been used to improve liver function. In fact, they have been used in the treatment of many chronic liver diseases since 1896. Numerous scientific investigations into the therapeutic efficacy of liver extracts have demonnong into the therapeutic of liver extracts have demonstrated that these extracts possess an ability to improve fat utilization, promote tissue regeneration, and prevent damage to the liver. In short, clinical studies have demonstrated that oral administration of liquid liver extracts can be quite effective in improving liver function.

For example, in one double-blind study, 556 patients with chronic hepatitis were given either 70 ing of liver hydrosylate or a placebo three times daily. 14 At the end of three months of treatment, the group receiving the liver extract was shown to have far lower liver enzyme levels. Since the level of liver enzymes in the blood reflect damage to the liver, it can be concluded that the liver extract is effective in chronic hepatitis via an ability to improve the function of damaged liver cells as well as prevent further damage to the liver.

What are some of the major benefits of using a liquid liver extract? One of the key benefits from the use of liver extracts is that since the liver is the most important organ of metabolism, when liver function improves, metabolism improves. An improved metabolism creates high energy levels and greater feelings of health and well-being. In short, liquid liver extracts are a remarkable tonic for well-being.

How much iron do I need? It depends. For iron deficiency, I recommend 30 ing of iron bound to either successors, glycinate, or fumarate twice daily between meals. If this recommendation results in abdominal discomfort, take 30 ing with meals three times daily. An alternate recommendation is to take a high quality liquid liver extract at a level that provides a daily intake of 4-6 ing of heme iron.

For women in their menstruating years, I recommend taking a high quality multiple vitamin and mineral formula that includes iron (15-18 ing daily). For children, I recommend supplementation at the RDA. For men and non-menstruating women, there is usually no need for iron supplementation. Dietary sources usually provide ample levels.

Recommended Dietary Allowance

Infants:
  • 0-0.5 year - 6 ing
  • 0:5-1 year - 10 ing


Children:
  • 1-10 years - 10 ing


Young Adults and Adults:
  • Males 11-18 years - 12 ing
  • Males 19+ years - 10 ing
  • Females 11-50 years - 15 ing
  • Females 51+ years - 10 ing
  • Pregnant women - 30 ing
  • Lactating women - 15 ing


Can you get too much iron? Yes. Recent news accounts have highlighted the possible role of elevated iron levels and the risk for heart attacks. Elevated levels of unbound (non-heme) iron may lead to an increased risk of heart disease by spinning off free radicals in the blood and either damaging cholesterol or the artery walls directly. Antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin E have been shown to protect against iron-induced oxidative damage.

The articles that have appeared in popular press are based on several scientific studies. However, the news accounts do not provide all the information. For example, let's look at the study published in the medical journal circulation 15 In this study of Finnish men it was demonstrated that high stored iron levels produced by a diet of excess meat is associated with excess risk of heart attack. Although iron was singled out, the study also demonstrated an increased risk for a heart attack when LDL CHOLESTEROL levels were elevated. In other words, the strongest link between increased stored iron levels and risk for a heart attack was found in men with LDL-cholesterol levels greater than 193 mg/dI. Furthermore, the strongest dietary link to an increased risk for a heart attack in the study was meat intake. Meat intake was also linked to increased LDL-cholesterol levels and increased dietary intake of saturated fats.

Another way of expressing the results of the study would have been to simply state: Finnish men eating more meat have an increased risk for heart attacks, elevated LDL-cholesterol levels, and elevated iron stores. Therefore, the study simply provided additional evidence that high meat intake increases the risk of heart attack.

Warning: Acute iron poisoning in infants can result in serious consequences. Keep all iron supplements out of the reach of children. Severe iron poisoning is characterized by damage to the intestinal lining, liver failure, nausea and vomiting, and shock.

If I do not need iron, why should I take liquid liver extract? A liquid liver extract provides much marathon iron - it is a rich source of other important nutrients and physiological compounds. I recommend it as nutritional support to patients who want higher energy levels; body builders and athletes who want more endurance; and patients with various liver disorders. Caution: Liquid liver extracts should not be used by patients suffering from an iron-storage disorder such as hemochromatosis.


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