Iron from red meat may boost diabetes risk

January 21, 2004 in Diabetes & Diabetes Prevention, Nutrition Topics in the News, Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements

Iron from red meat may boost diabetes risk

There may be another reason to be wary of eating too much red meat. High intake of iron from red meat may raise a person's risk of diabetes, new research suggests. Iron from other sources does not seem to have this effect, however.

The results of several studies have suggested a link between excessive body levels of iron and the development of diabetes. However, there has been little evidence from forward-looking studies to support this association.

To investigate, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues assessed the link between iron intake and type 2 diabetes in 38,394 men who participated in the Health Professionals' Follow-up Study.

The risk of type 2 diabetes increased as heme-iron intake from red meat sources rose. Heme-iron is a type of iron found in red blood cells. In contrast, total iron intake, heme-iron intake from non-red meat sources, and receiving blood transfusions were not associated with diabetes risk.

"Heme-iron intake from red meat appears to be associated with an increase risk of type 2 diabetes, but our study was unable to determine whether this association was due to heme-iron per se or to other components of red meat," the investigators state.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.