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Iron, Human Growth, and the Global Epidemic of Obesity
Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, PA 17821, USA
Environmental Public Health Division, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, US Environmental Protection Agency, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 August 2013; in revised form: 27 September 2013 / Accepted: 12 October 2013 / Published: 22 October 2013
Abstract: Iron is an essential nutrient utilized in almost every aspect of cell function and its availability has previously limited life. Those same properties which allow iron to function as a catalyst in the reactions of life also present a threat via generation of oxygen-based free radicals. Accordingly; life exists at the interface of iron-deficiency and iron-sufficiency. We propose that: (1) human life is no longer positioned at the limits of iron availability following several decades of fortification and supplementation and there is now an overabundance of the metal among individuals of many societies; (2) this increased iron availability exerts a positive effect on growth by targeting molecules critical in regulating the progression of the cell cycle; there is increased growth in humans provided greater amounts of this metal; and indices of obesity can positively correlate with body stores of iron; and (3) diseases of obesity reflect this over-abundance of iron. Testing potential associations between iron availability and both obesity and obesity-related diseases in populations will be difficult since fortification and supplementation is so extensively practiced.
Keywords: ferritin; iron-deficiency anemia; foods; fortified; oxidative stress
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Sangani, R.G.; Ghio, A.J. Iron, Human Growth, and the Global Epidemic of Obesity. Nutrients 2013, 5, 4231-4249.
Sangani RG, Ghio AJ. Iron, Human Growth, and the Global Epidemic of Obesity. Nutrients. 2013; 5(10):4231-4249.
Sangani, Rahul G.; Ghio, Andrew J. 2013. "Iron, Human Growth, and the Global Epidemic of Obesity." Nutrients 5, no. 10: 4231-4249.