We all know that lack of iron in the body can put you at risk of hair loss and iron-deficiency anaemia. But not many are aware that the intake of excess iron can increase your risk of liver damage and cancer as well. Hence, it is important to ensure you meet your daily recommended dose of 21 mg of iron to stay fit and healthy, and not go overboard. Here are some of the common health conditions caused due to excess iron intake.
Heart disease: One important reason to check your iron intake of iron and not exceed the limit is that excessive iron can lead to oxidative damage of the tissues. And if left unattended, it can affect the heart, increasing your risk of heart attack, stroke and heart diseases, says Dr Prashant Pandey, Executive Consultant, Blood Bank & Transfusion Medicine, Jaypee Hospital, Noida.
Liver damage: According to Dr Nitin Agarwal, Associate Consultant, Blood Bank & Transfusion Medicine, Jaypee Hospital, Noida, excess iron in the body puts pressure on the liver and also causes oxidation of the liver tissue, damaging the organ and scarring the liver tissue. Moreover, it also increases your risk of liver cancer, in rare cases.
Insulin resistance: Excess of iron and high fat diet is one of the key reasons for metabolic syndrome as it impairs glucose and lipid metabolism. It not only alters the level of enzymes related to glucose synthesis but also increases mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress .
Osteoporosis: A 2015 study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry  revealed that excess iron can cause imbalance in the oxidation and anti-oxidation mechanism related to the bone formation and bone absorption of calcium. This in the long run can lead to bone loss, decreased bone mineral density and osteoporosis.
Parkinson’s disease: Did you know that excess iron in the brain indicates Parkinson’s disease? As iron plays a key role in brain development, consumption of iron in excess can wreak damage on the neurons, that can lead to an incurable neurodegenerative damage and affect motor function, a symptom of Parkinson’s disease .
Cancer: People with increased body iron stores, commonly seen in people consuming excess iron through diet, are at a high risk of cancer . This is because, excessive iron is not filtered, increasing the toxic load and free radicals in the body, which puts you at a high risk of cancer.