Iron And The Human Body
I am going to eat like an ancient human being – it’s doctors orders! Like my pagan ancestor Zuri, I must consume meat and offal. Oddly enough, in my book I did mention iron and the human body. Iron deficiency anaemia was an issue for Zuri’s people, made worse because they were infested with gut worms. The worms cause blood to be lost into the intestines.
My last blood test required 13 samples as part of being in a research project on blood cancer. One of those showed that my iron level was very low. The consultant assumed no gut worms so asked whether I was eating meat. It occurred to me that I should express my concerns at how meat is destroying the environment but, no was my answer. I could have recounted how Ann and I had discussed becoming vegetarian but I understood the problem; that heme iron from animal protein is easy to absorb whereas iron from plant sources is not.
The Iron Age
As we age we become less able to absorb nutrients. If we exercise then it is worse because we lose iron in our sweat. If you drink milk or tea then it restricts the absorption of iron. The iron in beans, courgettes and many other vegetables is called non-heme iron and we appear less able to absorb this. Heme iron is in animal protein and we seem able to utilise it with ease. The best source is liver but all offal is good. So, it’s back to the faggots of my council house diet and perhaps black pudding and haggis. As with Zuri, I cannot waste these parts of the animal; all must be consumed.
Iron and the human body
I now have six months on three 200 mg tablets every other day. It appears that this intermittent approach stops the body closing down absorption. Yes, my faeces has turned black but no other side effects. You might ask whether I experienced any symptoms of anaemia. Yes, I was feeling tired in the evenings but that was after running and cycling. I just blamed that on my age. Ah well, back to the paleo diet!