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Ask the experts: Haemochromatosis

Q: “I would like some advice from your experts on a diet for those who suffer haemochromatosis.”

Kim

A: Nutritionist Amanda Johnson responds:

“Haemochromatosis is a metabolic disorder that causes increased absorption of iron. If untreated, an excess of iron is deposited in organs such as the liver, pancreas and heart, and over a number of years this can cause damage to the body. Iron can also be deposited in the joints, which can cause problems.

Diet alone cannot treat genetic haemochromatosis, and a low-iron or iron-free diet is not usually recommended  since foods that provide iron also provide a range of other important nutrients as well.

It’s recommended you follow a healthy balanced diet, including a variety of different foods. Some dietary precautions, however, are advisable. For example, it is recommended that highly iron-fortified foods are avoided, and you may wish to consume iron-rich foods such as red meat and offal in moderation. Avoid any supplements that contain added iron. Vitamin C can promote iron absorption too, so it’s best to steer clear of supplements that provide large doses of vitamin C. For those with liver abnormalities as a result of iron overloading, it may be advised that alcohol intake is restricted, but for more specific individual advice consult your doctor or dietitian.”

First published: Sep 2008



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