I finished this book last night. Marie Warder the founder of the Canadian Hemochromatosis Society, the founder of International Associations Of Hemochromatosis Societies, the founder of the South African Hemochromatosis Society... the story is unbelievable. This was not a wealthy woman, and she devoted her life to educating doctors and the general public about the dangers of too much iron. Her husband was homozygous, meaning that he had both genetic mutations and therefore developed full-blown hemochromatosis. Marie it turned out was a heterozygote, carried one gene... but because of this her daughter developed full-blown hemochromatosis. Fortunately, I then Marie and her husband knew enough to have her tested and got the diagnosis early before she developed organ damage.
People with hemochromatosis lack an enzyme in the gut the controls iron absorption. Normal people of absorb maybe 2% of the iron they eat, but people with genetic mutations can absorb up to 10% of what they eat and therefore accumulate iron in the liver, pancreas, kidneys, heart muscle, all over the body... there seems to be a strong Northern European factor going on... these genetic mutations are very rare in the Inuit, North American Indian, not very common in Asian ancestry. The book was written in 1999, so I'm not sure how current some of the information is. Because in the book she says there has never been a case of HH (Hereditary Hemochromatosis) in North American Indian populations or the Inuit... isn't this the group that very rarely develops MS????
What blew me away is the treatment. In cases where the hemochromatosis has been undiagnosed until the person is in middle age, phlebotomy (bloodletting) must be continued for life... but get this! In order to get the iron down to normal levels, blood must be given/let twice a week for up to three years!! People have to get a gallon of blood a month for 2 to 3 years before their levels get down to normal. Iron is stored in the liver and other organs causing all kinds of damage.
What this tells me is that chelation will take a long time. Also, what is interesting is that in the last decade they are discovering new mutations for iron loading. We do not know who all is at risk, one because they do not test people properly, serum ferritin is not a very standard test yet (I had to ask my doctor to run this, and then he said that I could not have a problem with iron because the hemoglobin was always normal... this is totally false hemoglobin is always normal in hemochromatosis!) My doctor is Irish of all things, and he didn't even know about how common hemochromatosis is the Irish. In fact, he said "well I'm Irish, I would know about it!"
This woman's story flattened me with awe. She dedicated her life to educating the medical profession and the lay public about the ravages of hemochromatosis, living on a shoestring to do so. I suspect that MS is a iron loading condition, and I am going to press for DNA testing to see if I am a heterozygote. Marie Warder says in Darwinian language, that when iron was hard to get in the diet way back when, it meant survival to have the ability to absorb more iron in your diet. But now, especially because they are adding iron to absolutely everything, it is a dangerous dangerous mutation. Just reading this book made me want to join the campaign to get nutritionists to demand that they stop iron addition to absolutely everything like white flour. Nobody needs that much iron! Some products that are already made with white flour, are then "enriched" with even more iron. And I am as guilty as sin. For some stupid reason, despite studying nutrition and heavy metals, I have believed that the more iron the better. Thank you Marie Warder for opening my eyes. This woman was absolutely brilliant.
http://blogcritics.org/scitech/article/ ... is/page-2/
One possible involvement I had steered clear of was that of esophageal varices or enlarged veins in the throat. To me this was just too horrible to contemplate. I now consider that I erred in this omission from my booklet, for I now believe that to have shrunk from all mention of this complication was sheer cowardice. Could this have been simply another manifestation of my never-failing inclination towards euphemism? Since the time when one of my earliest correspondents had described to me her husband’s death as the result of a massive hemorrhage, I had added to my files several accounts that were similar. If I had written about them, I might have done much good.
In general the word “varices” refers to distended veins (from "varix," a word derived from the Latin word for “twisted”).