Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Oxidative stress in feces

While reading a book recently called Vitamin E & Health published by the New York Academy of Sciences, I came across something entirely new for us to worry about. Here's the scoop on stressed-out stools:

Dr. Charles Babbs of Purdue University made the "chance discovery" that one part feces in 10,000 parts liquid generated detectable quantities of highly reactive hydroxyl radicals." (I wonder what he was doing when he accidentally stumbled on that little pearl of wisdom?). In other words, the bacteria in poop makes such great quantities of these bad actor hydroxyl molecules, it is as if the rotting wad that daily traverses your colon had been exposed to 10,000 rads of gamma irradiation! And you do NOT want highly reactive slop making its way through your abdomen, messing with your colonic DNA.

So how do we keep from harboring such a molecular time bomb within our colons? No surprises from a book about vitamin E--take vitamin E...and avoid dietary iron and fat. Why not iron?

Iron is an essential part of the hemoglobin molecule which transports oxygen to our tissues. No iron, no life. Excessive iron intake, however, may rust out your lungs, your bowels, and your pancreas, at least if you happen to be a rat from the South or an aging woman from Iowa.

Data from Tennessee rodents showed that dietary iron increased oxidative stress in feces, and stressed-out stools, as noted above, increases risk of DNA mutations and cancer in colon cells. Midwestern investigators found that postmenopausal women in the Iowa Women's Health Study with high iron diets were more likely to get lung cancer, colon cancer, and type 2 diabetes, especially if they drank alcohol.

I recommend multi-vitamins WITHOUT iron to all my patients (and the rats that love them) who are no longer growing or losing blood through their monthly cycle.


kenju said...

I am going to go look at my latest multi-vitamin bottle to see if it includes iron. Do you mean no iron at all? or are small amounts acceptable?

Thanks for the visit and the comments regarding our doctor problem. He is not with Kaiser, but apparently the university system he is with took their ideas from the same place as Kaiser. Now I know why Kaiser went out of business around here.

My daughter had a wonderful pediatrician when her children were small, and she got a notice that the doctor was leaving her practice and joining Kaiser. My daughter got Kaiser insurance, and she moved with the doctor to Kaiser. About 7=8 months later, the doctor left and went back into private practice - for all the same reasons you cite.

Mauigirl said...

Another good reason to leave out the iron. My husband and I have been taking the "over 50" formulations of vitamins for quite a few years now - no iron in those, thank goodness.