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Obesity may influence blood iron levels

Category: Anemia and RBC disorders

Obese individuals may benefit from blood iron testing, as a new study has found that overweight people have higher levels of a hormone that inhibits the activity of iron molecules in the body.

Hepcidin is a key regulator of iron levels. It binds to excess molecules and carries them to the liver for processing. However, when levels of this hormone rise too high, it can result in dangerously low iron blood levels.

Researchers reported in the Italian Journal of Pediatrics that obese children tend to have much higher hepcidin levels. When overweight young people become iron deficient, they respond poorly to treatment. The team arrived at this conclusion after analyzing the hormone and blood iron levels of 70 iron-deficient children, half of whom were obese.

The team noted that previous studies have found a strong correlation between excess fat and higher hepcidin levels. It appears to be associated with excess adipose tissue. This could have important implications for treating individuals who receive unhealthy blood iron tests, as it suggests that they may not benefit as much from conventional treatments.

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