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Iron May Help Lower the Risk of Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. A recent study suggests that low levels of iron increase the risk of developing heart disease, and that taking an iron supplement may be a low-cost way of lowering that risk.

The researchers focused on three points in the genome where one letter alteration in the DNA — also known as a single nucleotide polymorphism — can result in an increase or decrease in a person’s iron status.

The main study group included 48,972 people. The researchers also examined data from a genome-wide association study meta-analysis of 60,801 cardiovascular disease cases and 123,504 controls, as well as a meta-analysis of 63,746 cardiovascular disease cases and 130,681 controls. The last two datasets were used to determine the association between single nucleotide polymorphism and cardiovascular disease.

After examining the data, the researchers found that people with the single nucleotide polymorphism for higher iron status also had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

Researchers from Imperial College conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on July 6, 2017, in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology.

Iron is essential for healthy blood, and iron consumption affects many things including muscle function, brain function, and regulation of body temperature. If you’re looking to add more iron to your daily diet, try to eat more lean, low-fat red meats. If you’re a vegetarian or just prefer not to consume too much meat, legumes, lentils, soybeans, whole grains and green leafy vegetables are great dietary sources of iron.

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