The email below went out to ~2,000 email subscribers on October 17, 2021. Email isn’t something I’ve done much of thus far, so it was an experiment.
Email Subject: FLH Newsletter #1 – Lowering Your Iron Stores for Better Health + more
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I’m writing to share about a few new posts on the blog that may be of interest:
1) The Problem of Excess Iron Accumulation & Its Link to Accelerated Aging (Or how blood donations can help you live longer & healthier) – link
2) Lowering Iron Levels Through Blood Donation – My Experience – link
If any of those sound of interest – you now know where to find them!
For anyone with a bit more time on their hands, here’s an overview of those posts…
1) The Problem of Excess Iron Accumulation & Its Link to Accelerated Aging
I’ve written a review and summary of a book called “Dumping Iron” (link).
This book shares really crucial information for men and post-menopausal women, who may have elevated levels of iron stores causing long-term damage – and don’t even know it.
Why did I single out men and pre-menopausal women? Well, for women who are menstruating, that monthly blood loss is enough to naturally keep iron levels low. At least, until menopause, when iron levels gradually rise.
You may not be familiar with the book author yet (P.D. Mangan), however, you’re probably familiar with Tim Ferriss. Tim wrote about the same subject, briefly, in his book the 4 Hour Work Week(see page 451). Where he says, quote:
“Thought bloodletting went out of fashion around the time of the Salem witch trials? Not entirely.
I’m betting on a major resurgence, and it all has to do with excess iron.
More than estrogen, it’s thought to partially explain why post-menopausal (but not pre-menopausal) women have a similar incidence of heart attack to men. I’ve donated blood since 2001 to be on the safe side.”
Similarly, Dr David Sinclair recently tweeted about how blood donations slow aspects of aging.
So, when it comes to iron, there’s 3 key problems:
- Firstly, iron is essential to the human body, and has lots of important uses. Perhaps in the past it wasn’t super easy to come by, so our bodies have become very efficient at absorbing and holding on to it. This means that men accumulate it gradually, without a safety relief valve, post-puberty onwards.
- Whilst its generally common knowledge that super high levels of iron, are bad, as are super low levels – there’s very little mainstream awareness of problems in between.
- The reference range on ferritin (which is the protein that our body uses to store excess iron), when checked via a blood test, is set for what’s observed in a central 95% of a test population. Labcorps reference range for men runs from 30 – 400 ng/ml (link). Only after 400 do they consider it a health issue. Meanwhile, a recent paper (link) suggested optimal is between 20 – 100 ng/ml. With levels above 194 ng/ml associated with an increase in all cause mortality!
This results in a situation where people are walking around with elevated iron levels, which is bad for their long-term health, and neither they nor their doctors are even aware.
If this piques your curiosity, see the post, which covers important questions such as:
- Why is too much iron a problem?
- How, specifically, it causes damage?
- What evidence is there for excess iron being a problem?
- What are optimal ferritin values?
- How to test your iron levels?
- How to (quickly) reduce your iron levels?
2) Lowering My Iron Levels Through Blood Donation – My Experience
The next new post (link) is a quick summary of how I personally had elevated ferritin levels (which I noticed after reading the above book), and how I got it down via blood donations.
It’s important to point out that I’m not a doctor, and whilst I was personally convinced by the data suggesting that excess iron over time can negatively affect health, you should do your own research and consult with your doctor prior.
3) Andrew Huberman Posts
Lastly, I wrote a couple of posts on the Stanford Professor of Neurology, Andrew Huberman.
The first post covers some of the supplements he has been taking and talking about (link).
The second post covers his recent experiment using Testosterone Replacement Therapy, aka TRT (link).
If you’re not already familiar with Andrew, he has a really good YouTube channel, on which he shares lots of information related many aspects of health.
Personally, I’ve found his content on dopamine and addiction particularly interesting. I’m currently working my way through a book he recommended on Twitter called Dopamine Nation. Sometimes I find it difficult to disconnect digitally, so I’m open to learning more about how to manage this!
A couple of quotes I’ve enjoyed so far:
“The smartphone is the modern-day hypodermic needle, delivering digital dopamine 24/7 for a wired generation. If you haven’t met your drug of choice yet, it’s coming soon to a website near you.”
“Increased access to addictive substances may be the most important risk factor facing modern people. Supply has created demand as we all fall prey to the vortex of compulsive overuse. Our dopamine economy, or what historian David Courtwright has called “limbic capitalism,” is driving this change, aided by transformational technology that has increased not just access but also drug numbers, variety, and potency”
Fortunately, the book shares tips and strategies for better managing addictive habits.
So that’s it for this newsletter – hopefully there was something useful.