Seeking My Best Self

trying to make sense of my life – and lose some weight

Astaxanthin to the Rescue

on February 7, 2014
Astaxanthin - super-oxidant!

Astaxanthin – super-oxidant!

The fun continues. As I mentioned in my last post, I visited the doctor for the first time in five years and discovered my cholesterol is too high. It turns out, the iron in my blood is also too high. WAY too high. A healthy range is 20-80 ng/ml. Mine is 166. Too high? You’ve got to be kidding me. I spent decades of my life with borderline anemia – at best –  due to heavy menstrual flow. Now it seems that menopause has wrought the opposite issue.

High iron blood levels aren’t good. They can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer, cardiac arrhythmias, diabetes and Alzheimer’s. Yowza! Symptoms include fatigue, weakness, arthritic aches and pains, heart arrthymias, skin pigment changes, diabetes and premature menopause. If you’re over 40 and have any of these symptoms, it’s probably a good idea to have your iron levels tested.

Common causes of high iron levels are cooking in iron pans; eating processed foods that are fortified; drinking well water that’s high in iron; and taking vitamins with iron supplements.

I don’t eat processed foods – no boxed cereal, white bread, etc. I don’t take iron supplements. I don’t know the iron content of the well water I drink, but we use a Brita filter before drinking it, so I’m *probably* ok. (Though I’ll be checking it.) But I’ve spent a lifetime cooking with cast iron. I love my cast iron pans. Sigh. I’ve discontinued their use.

The easiest way to lower my blood iron level is by giving blood. I’ve avoided it most of my life because my constant anemia caused me to be dizzy and faint for days after donating. I’m happy to know that won’t be a problem anymore.

In addition, ingesting green tea and rosemary helps reduce iron absorption. Also helpful is turmeric. An iron chelator, it helps remove iron from the body. Here’s a earlier post about the wonders of tumeric:  Tumeric, Gardens, and not being a Know-It-All.

Finally, in my research, I discovered an amazing antioxidant: Astaxanthin. Found in salmon, krill and shrimp, it has many health benefits, including removing iron from the blood. Other researched uses include:

  • pain and inflammation relief. It blocks chemicals in the blood that trigger pain. It reduces inflammation – and unlike most anti-inflammatories, it’s completely natural.
  • fatigue fighting. It reduces muscle fatigue, increasing indurance and energy.
  • eye health. It reaches the retina, reducing diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, as well as everyday eye-strain and fatigue.
  • cell cleansing. It gets into every cell of the body, both the fat-soluble and the water-soluble parts. It’s far stronger than vitamin C, CoQ10 and green tea.
  • skin protection. It provides natural sunscreen when taken internally, preventing UVA damage.

I’m almost glad my iron levels were too high, because I might not otherwise have discovered this antioxidant. I’ve ordered a bottle. I’ll let you know what I find.

PS: I get all my supplements from Swanson Vitamins. Not all companies provide reliable products, but in every expose’ article I’ve read, Swanson is highly rated. I trust them.

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