Tag Archives: iron


A young girl holding the pink breast cancer ribbon

Dr Miller and colleagues from cancer centers of North Carolina studied the genetic signatures of 674 breast cancer patients to predict how regulation of iron by an individual is linked to recovery. They published their work in the November issue of the journal Cancer Research in 2011.

Genes involved: There are 61 genes involved in regulation of iron and of them 49% appeared to be significantly associated with metastasis -free survival. This has a potential to affect therapeutic decision making.

Regulators of iron efflux: Dr. Nemeth and colleagues from California and Boston hospitals reported in an article in the journal Science in 2004 on how the liver regulates cellular iron levels. Hepcidin is a hormone secreted by the liver in response to iron loading and inflammation. Decreased hepcidin leads to tissue iron overload whereas increased hepcidin leads to hypoferremia and the anaemia of inflammation. (cancer research 71:6728)

The hormone hepcidin binds to a protein ferroportin on the surface of cells. This signals the cells to internalize the protein ferroportin and degrade it. This leads to decreased export of cellular iron. This is a loop. Iron regulates the secretion of hepcidin from the liver, which regulates internalization of the protein ferroportin on cell surfaces, which controls iron export from cells. Less export leads to overload of iron in cells.

Iron overload disorders: It is important to have a balanced amount of iron in the cells. Too much or too little iron is bad. The amount of iron differs during different stages in one’s life with a menstruating woman needing far more iron than a post menopausal woman. An excellent 2011 review in the journal, Internal Journal of Hematology by Dr  Kaplan and colleagues at Utah school of Medicine summarizes the current knowledge on levels of iron in cells, disorders and anaemia.

Special Diet for iron overload: Read the Hemochromatosis cookbook and this excellent blog from the Iron Disorders Institute:: Iron overload. Find a doctor immediately who will listen to you and is knowledgeable about this topic. Usually a gastroenterologist or hematologist. Blood donation is often the suggested therapy for iron overload and appears to help.

Scientist to encourage in this field: If research in this field is important to you then do write to the researchers involved in such research and encourage them. The value of Dr Miller’s work can be emphasized by emailing her colleague Dr Torti E-mail: ftorti@wakehealth.edu

Dr Kaplan to encourage and for questions on iron overload Email:  jerry.kaplan@path.utah.edu

Scientists work alone, often long hours in isolated settings. Letting them know that you consider their work important inspires them and spurs them to undertake often risky research. Help them find funding. Shower them with accolades.

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January 5, 2012 · 4:20 pm

Kidney care and okra


Okra (or ladysfinger) has some reputation as a kidney cleanser. I shall look for peer-reviewed journal publications on this subject and post them here. Once kidneys fail, dialysis assistance is begun. If prevention of kidney failure is a goal then it may be prudent to include in one’s diet vegetables such as okra, which have a reputation for maintaining kidney health, until proven otherwise. Kidney care may be essential for the generous donors who are left with a single kidney to ensure renal function (Click here to read a story about one such donor, written by the donor).

Some may find okra cumbersome to handle, and you too may be intimidated, if you handle okra for the first time. Please, trust me. Do not be turned – off. Continue to explore this little, green, ribbed pod, full of these magnificent protein packed seeds. Together, they deliver a major dose of a beautiful, mixture of vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, iron and iodine. On top of all this it includes crude fiber bringing with it a totally separate set of benefits. If the little okra did not deliver a serious benefit why else would ancient people on two separate continents be so devoted to the cultivation of fresh okra until current times? Click here for more than 400 photos of okra and okra recipes. A mucilaginous exudate appears when one chops the okra. Does this exudate have preventive properties? I shall look into it and post it here. Also, should I find a collection of tested recipes using okra, I shall post them here. Please, feel free to share your favorite okra recipes here too. Many kitchens have successfully conquered the art of cooking okra to include it as part of a renal – care menu, while celebrating the joy of a good meal. Please, visit by clicking on the international recipes featured here by different authors. You may be delightfully surprised by how flavorfully you can add okra to your own table through some of these following recipes:

1) Some, like their okras stuffed with masala, as in this Indian recipe.

2) Others like their okra fried, as in this Southern USA recipe.

3) While still others like it delicately spiced as in this Persian recipe.

4) The young fruit is eaten fresh in Nigeria, which perhaps is the only country that has two equally popular varieties of okra; one which is popular in the other countries and the second native to a restricted part of Nigeria. Although, there are several delicious African recipes to cook okra.

5) Chicago Tribune features this Indian style  okra with tomatillos recipe along with a weight loss cartoon!

It is evident that okra has long been revered from these ancient recipes. Some more recipes sites are mentioned in the Bon Appetit magazine.

Okras are difficult in find in stores but you may want to look out for them. Also, they are easy to grow from seed in the summer. Exploring both options may prove rewarding.

Research on the cultivation and utilization of Abelmoschus esculentus or okra has mainly focused on several aspects, including its cultivation as a vegetable, as a medicine and for health care, as a beverage, and in gardening. The vegetable it produces contains many nutritious ingredients: 100 g of dry, tender okra pods includes 2.11 g of deoxidized sugar, 1.06 g of cellulose, 2.44 g of CP, 0.682 g of carotene, 26.5 mg of vitamin C, 1.25 mg of vitamin A, 10.2 mg of vitamin B, and many minerals, having slightly more than common vegetables and fruits. In addition to being a good source of vitamins A, B, C it is also provides protein, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, iron and iodine (Diaz and Ortegon, 1997). Consuming 100g of fresh okra pods provides 20, 15 and 50% of the daily recommended requirement of calcium, iron and ascorbic acid, respectively (Hamon, 1988; Schippers, 2002). It is advisable to eat the whole seeds. The seeds and their kernels are rich in protein as well as fat. Most of the protein and fat of the seed is found in the kernel while the seed coat is composed of crude fiber. It is a good source of essential amino acids but its levels are lower than that of whole egg protein.

References:

ISBN 90 – 5782 – 147 – 8

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