The pale, thin, anaemic, vegetarian schoolgirl who gets constipated on iron tablets would benefit from an iron infusion. The tired 40 year old woman with low iron stores will feel a whole lot better with some iron tablets (or a B12 injection). The plethoric smoking, drinking, overweight 50 year old male with a high ferritin should pop down to the Red Cross for some regular blood donations.
These and other myths are debunked in Dr Louise Imlay-Gillespie's talk on modern iron management at the inaugural Nordocs Unconference held on 30 June 2018 at UCRH, Lismore.
Just when you thought you had iron management sorted they go and invent some new mechanisms for iron metabolism. Hepcidin and Erfe sound like something from a Moroccan travel guide but are the keys to explaining chronic iron dysregulation. It turns out that adequate iron is not beneficial just for humans but fungi, bacteria and viruses are also up for a bit of the old Fe2+. Feeding the fungi might be good for the fungi but our duty of care lies with the host.
In her talk Dr Imlay-Gillespie takes us through some of the common pitfalls in the management of inadequate and excess iron disorders and provides some advice for avoiding them. We should listen.