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Dumping Iron: How to Ditch This Secret Killer and Reclaim Your Health Paperback – March 17, 2016
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Here are just a few of the things the book mentions:
• Women live several years longer, on average, than men in the United States and most other countries. This may be because women lose significant amounts of iron through menstruation.
• "At age 45, men have about four times the amount of iron in their bodies as women do, and they also have four times the rate of heart attacks."
• Nonagenarians and centenarians have significantly lower iron levels than middle-aged people from the same cultures. "This can be attributed to the faster death rate of men with high iron levels and the greater survival of those men with low iron levels."
• Blood donors, who lower their iron levels when they give blood, are significantly healthier than non-donors. The is true even after accounting for the "healthy donor" effect. "[B]lood donors had an 88% reduced risk of heart attack."
If iron is so bad, why aren't its risks better known? The main reason is that it isn't the root cause of any specific disease. Instead, it's a general factor that increases one's susceptibility to a wide range of health problems. For example, bacteria need iron to reproduce, so someone with high bodily iron will be much more susceptible to infections, but iron isn't the root of those infections so it's usually overlooked.
Also, iron isn't always harmful. It's actually essential, in small doses, to many chemical processes within the body. And dietary iron was scarce in the prehistoric past, and so our bodies have evolved to absorb it readily and let go of it grudgingly. But now that we live in a world of plenty, that tendency to hold on to iron--and the resulting tendency for one's iron level to rise steadily with age--causes health problems.
Since mainstream medical advice almost never mentions iron as a health risk, skeptical readers might wonder if this is just some kooky fringe theory. Quite the opposite: "Dumping Iron" has nearly 150 scientific references, along with testimonials by several medical researchers who have studied iron's effects on the body. I think this book represents the best of alternative medicine: it offers an idea that's far outside the medical consensus while staying rooted in research.
But "Dumping Iron" isn't just a scientific treatise. It also offers practical advice about how to measure iron levels, what the ideal level of bodily iron is, and how people can attain that ideal level. The best way to do so is to donate blood, but many people aren't eligible to donate, so the book offers several alternatives.
This is my favorite health/nutrition book of the past few years, and I'd encourage everyone to check it out and consider its ideas.
According to the book, iron starts accumulating in men at age 19 and in most women starting at about age 50 after the end of their menses. At 50, the average man has 4 times as much iron in his body as the average women; he also has 4 times the mortality from diseases that appear to be caused by high iron. Women’s mortality increases as their iron levels reach the same high levels as men. Though women live 4 years longer than men, at their death the average iron levels of women are the same as the average men's level. The author notes that the majority of the oldest people alive have had low levels of iron most of their lives and populations that are long lived have low levels of iron in their blood.
According to the book, there was a dramatic rise in iron levels in the US population due to the addition of iron to grains and cereals, which has caused the average person to have higher levels of iron than is healthy. One of the issues with iron is that the body has no natural way to get rid of it so it builds up first in the liver, then in the pancreas, then other organs including the heart and brain. To make matters worse, sugar and fructose increase iron absorption significantly. So all the sugary drinks and foods people have added to their diet over the past few decades has further increased their iron levels.
High iron levels damages cellular mitochondria and is suspected to cause cancer. Even more interesting, cancer cells need large amounts of iron to grow and spread. Tumors in people with low iron tend to be very small and grow slowly.
Iron is also implicated in cancer reoccurring after treatments of chemotherapy and radiation because iron is needed for cancer stem cells to form. Cancer stem cells are special cancer cells that can travel throughout the body and restart cancer growth after treatment. Low levels of iron in the blood may prevent them from forming.
I was surprised to learn that high iron levels are needed for invasive bacteria to grow in the body and low iron levels actually increase immunity to bacteria. Even viruses, like colds and flu, need lots of iron to grow so low iron levels are also antiviral. It helps explains why people with low levels of iron live so long.
Evidence is also growing that high iron levels contribute to obesity because it destroys the hormone leptin, the key hormone that reduces hunger after eating. High iron levels can make you insatiably hungry which can lead to obesity.
The author believes that the best blood iron level is just over what would normally be considered anemia. He recommends that people keep their iron levels much lower than the normal ranges and consume things that both remove iron from the body and take things that decrease iron absorption from the foods you eat. What is really interesting about this is that most of the things that decrease iron absorption are considered life-extending like green tea, dark chocolate, red wine, low dose aspirin, low calorie diets, high fiber, vegetarian diets, and exercise.
I highly recommend this book for anyone wanting to improve the quality of their health and longevity using recent discoveries about iron biology. Five stars!!!!
Posted by Hilo Living at 7:05 PM 2 comments
Labels: Boomer Health, Hawaii Health, Weight loss
Saturday, November 12, 2016
Keto Clarity, A Guide to Low-Carb, High-Fat Diet
The book, Keto Clarity: Your Definitive Guide to the Benefits of a Low-Carb, High-Fat Diet, is blogger Jimmy Moore's personal story of losing weight on the ketogenic diet. Jimmy began his blog in 2011 at the of age 32 while losing 180 pounds on a ketogenic diet. The success he had losing weight made him a big fan of the diet and his blog became popular with others wanting to lose weight. He interviewed experts on the ketogenic diet and wrote about all the issues and concerns with living long term on the diet. The book is a combination of his personal experiences on a ketogenic diet for 13 years and the advice and experiences of 21 experts in the ketogenic field, mostly doctors, dietitians and researchers.
Interesting details about being on a ketogenic diet (some new to me) from the book were:
1. Being in ketosis can cause you to test positive for alcohol on a breathalyzer.
2. When you get into ketosis it can cause a huge surge in Uric acid in the body which could bring about a gout attack; the Uric acid levels will usually normalize in 4 to 8 weeks.
3. Living in ketosis can improve your fertility and increase your sex drive from better hormone production.
5. Using urine ketone strips to test for ketosis has several draw backs: 1) it does not test for the critical ketone of beta-hydroxybutyrate but instead for acetoacetate so it does not tell you if you are producing the right ketones; 2) after several months in ketosis your kidneys may stop releasing ketones in the urine so you could be in deep ketosis and not tell from a urine strip.
6. A better way to test for ketosis is by using a home kit that analyzes a pin prick of blood for the right ketones.
7. It is possible to produce ketones and still have high blood sugar levels, something you want to avoid. The best way to avoid this is to use a home kit to test a pin prick of blood for glucose so you can monitor your blood glucose level to make sure it is going down as your ketones go up.
9. Being in ketosis improves your brain’s functioning and your mental energy.
10. Being in ketosis also improves your overall energy and heart functioning.
11. Carbohydrates are not an essential nutrient. If you don’t eat any, your body will produce them by breaking down protein. You actually have to limit your protein intake to stay in ketosis, although the amount varies from person to person.
13. Living on a ketogenic diet reduces inflammation.
14. There is solid scientific evidence that ketogenic diets work therapeutically for epilepsy, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, polycystic ovary syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, GERD and heartburn, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. There is also good evidence of the benefits from ketosis for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, narcolepsy and other sleep disorders. Emerging areas of research that look very promising are cancer, autism, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, migraines, traumatic brain injury, stroke, gum disease, tooth decay, acne, eyesight, Lou Gehrig’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Huntington’s disease, kidney disease, restless leg syndrome, and aging.
Although it is hard for me to imagine how so many chronic diseases could be cured or improved by a ketogenic diet, it has been suggested that these diseases are all made worse by high levels of insulin in the blood and since the ketogenic diet cuts out all sugar, the reduction of insulin as a result could be the primary factor.
We have been on a ketogenic diet for a while, but the book inspired us to cut back on our protein intake and to get a blood sugar analyzer. We also ordered a ketone blood analyzer to determine the ratio of glucose and ketones in our blood.
Overall this was a great book that was easy to read and did a great job of explaining very abstract concepts. It was the best book on ketogenic living I have read, (and I have read a dozen or more). I highly recommend the book for anyone interested in their health. Five stars !
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