Ironing Out Neurodegeneration

Is Iron Intake Important During the Teenage Years?

Paul M Thompson; Neda Jahanshad


Expert Rev Neurother. 2012;12(6):629-631. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


When did you last take an iron supplement? As a dietary supplement, iron has enjoyed varying popularity over the years; for decades, commercials for multivitamins enriched in iron have promised a remedy for 'tired blood'. More recently, however, several studies began to link increasing iron levels as we age with a heightened risk of heart attack and cardiovascular disease;[1] these links remain controversial and are the target of intense research.

A recent study now reports that our iron levels when we are young affect the integrity of the brain years later – differences visible in brain scans.[2] This line of work also establishes new genetic links between iron, brain integrity and a gene that causes the commonest hereditary disease in the world – hemochromatosis. This iron overload disease affects one in every 200–300 people in the USA alone, according to the National Library of Medicine in 2010.[101]


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