Low Iron Levels Don't Mean You Need More Iron

by Jon Sasmor RCPC (Mineral Guide, MinBalance LLC)
Updated September 29, 2021

The usual conception of "iron deficiency" is that if your blood test shows low iron, it means you need more iron.

Unfortunately, a lack of iron function rarely means a lack of iron. Many people measure low iron function with blood tests, then assume total iron is low. They're usually wrong, I think. This is a dangerous mistake because adding more iron will make things worse.

Missing Iron Function ≠ (Doesn't Equal) Missing Iron

"Iron deficiency" indicates an absolute lack of iron in one's body. As my previous blog post addressed, iron deficiency is unlikely to happen to you. These days, we all get way more iron than we need, due to VERY overzealous iron amounts in food fortification, supplements, and nutrition guidelines. Iron also accumulates when we are under STRESS. The excess iron causes problems, even when blood levels of iron appear low.

"Bioavailable iron deficiency" indicates iron isn't performing its functions in your body. This is common, even in people who have more than enough iron.

Bioavailable iron deficiency may accompany "iron overload", which also is common. Iron overload indicates an absolute excess of iron in one's body.

Bioavailable iron deficiency usually doesn't mean you need more iron. It means the abundant iron you already have isn't working well. Instead, the abundant iron has become stuck in the wrong places.

Because iron got stuck, your cells and their mitochondria aren't getting enough oxygen to make energy. Stuck iron causing lack of oxygen may explain why you feel so tired and stressed.

The Danger from Excess Iron

IRON MAKES EXPLOSIONS! These explosions are known as "the Fenton reaction" which produces damaging "hydroxyl radicals". The previous blog post includes a video and diagram of the Fenton reaction explosions.

These Fenton explosions are why supplemental iron or fortified food iron or iron infusions are among the WORST, most dangerous, and also most ineffective ways to increase bioavailable iron.

More excess, biounavailable iron makes more explosions. Many people report severe health damage from iron infusions and supplements. They often find their way to mineral balancing, which can help rebalance from the excess iron.

Added iron can make things worse even when blood tests are below "reference range" for popular blood tests such as hemoglobin, hematocrit, red blood cells, anemia panels, serum iron, ferritin, and others.

For those of you on facebook (I'm not), you can find others describing severe damage from iron in Magnesium Advocacy Group, and also severe damage from "vitamin D" in Secosteroid Hormone D Group.

How to Increase Bioavailable Iron Without Making More Explosions

IRON NEEDS COPPER AT EVERY STEP, to absorb, move, recycle, and stay in a safe oxidation state. Iron also needs retinol-A (the retinol form of vitamin A) to make hemoglobin for red blood cells. Copper needs retinol-A to make active ceruloplasmin, which oxidizes iron and permits it to move. Bioavailable copper and retinol-A are commonly deficient today.

Bioavailable copper and retinol-A make iron bioavailable, which makes oxygenation work, which makes you feel truly energized! Not just overstimulated, in overdrive, or hyped up.

Bioavailable iron makes real energy. Bioavailable iron comes from bioavailable copper and retinol-A, NOT from additional total iron.

Since (a) iron is usually consumed in excess and (b) other supporting factors are usually deficient: then bioavailable iron deficiency typically requires us to limit iron and to do everything we can to support the nutrients that make iron bioavailable.

That's why true mineral balance requires an approach that optimizes bioavailable copper and retinol-A. To do this, we must mostly or entirely eliminate synthetic supplements of antagonists of bioavailable copper and retinol-A: zinc, molybdenum, vitamin D, ascorbic-acid-C (the synthetic version of one portion of natural vitamin C), and citrate. Natural food forms of all these nutrients are sufficient without synthetic supplementation.

Bioavailable Iron Is Very Important, Which is Why We Focus on Copper and Retinol-A

The importance can't be overstated of the need to support oxygenation and bioavailable iron, through supporting bioavailable copper and retinol-A. We can support bioavailable copper and retinol-A with the Root Cause Protocol.

Look for whether other websites about anemia or iron even mention "copper" and "retinol". If you take another approach which ignores "copper" and "retinol", you accumulate stuck iron in your body, making explosions.

In summary, most authorities seem to agree that:

  • Bioavailable iron is needed to oxygenate tissues.
  • Oxygenation of tissues is extremely important.

However, many sources seem to ignore or overlook that:

  • Simply adding more iron doesn't make it bioavailable.
  • Excess iron makes damaging explosions in your cells.
  • Copper and retinol-A are needed to make iron bioavailable.

Mineral balancing using the Root Cause Protocol can help you restore bioavailable iron!