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Highway to Health
High dietary iron associated with increased MI risk in elderly: Researchers reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology (Am J Epidemiol 1999; 149:421-8) that those who consume a diet that is high in heme iron (found mainly in meat and meat products) have a greater risk of myocardial infarction. This is consistent with previous research. A study reported in the same journal in Sep 1998 showed that those who donate blood (and therefore lower their iron stores) are less likely to have a heart attack. The researchers in this 1999 study looked at 4,802 subjects over about 4 years. Their hypothesis is that the iron increases oxygen free radical production and so increases LDL cholesterol oxidation. PRACTICAL APPLICATION: if you are not anemic, do not take iron supplementation, give blood once a year, tend toward a vegetarian diet.
About alcohol: Two studies out this month concerning alcohol. Both were reliable results. One showed again that high alcohol intake increases blood pressure. Another showed that wine helped prevent lung cancer when kept at 2 or less drinks per day but that other forms of alcohol increased the chances of lung cancer. PRACTICAL APPLICATION: I still think that it's pretty hard to define moderation: it means different things to different people. But, everybody knows what you mean when you say you don't drink alcohol at all. If you want the benefits of alcohol without the risks you must keep your intake to 2 or less drinks per day every day. Even occasionally going over that amount puts you at risk for other problems that outweigh the benefits of the 2-drinks per day routine.
Charles runels MD