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Iron Overload (Hemochromatosis) Cured by Cabbage?

Iron Overload (Hemochromatosis) Cured by Cabbage?
Lower ferritin, help hemochromatosis

Every once in awhile someone sends us a remedy that is so unusual that it stops us cold. Such was the case when Ken D. contacted us about his dietary solution to a very serious condition called hemochromatosis. In this genetic disorder, iron accumulates in the body and can cause serious damage to the liver, heart, pancreas and joints.

People can develop cirrhosis, diabetes, heart enlargement and arthritis. The usual treatment for this condition is regular removal of blood. The reference to a barber’s pole below refers to the historical function of barbers as professionals who did surgery and bloodletting.

“Hemochromatosis runs in my family. We all find it incredibly amusing that the single best known treatment “modern” medicine has to offer is bloodletting.

“When headed to the lab for a phlebotomy session, I would always get a chuckle when the mental image of a barber’s pole popped into my head. I mentioned my condition to a chemist friend of mine, and he told me I should eat cabbage. Huh?

“His explanation was simple: it would help to chelate the iron in my tissues. The long and short of it is that my ferritin levels dropped so significantly once I took his advice that my primary care physician ordered a second test to confirm the results, thinking it must have been a lab error. By the time those numbers came back, they had dropped even more.

“I can’t say it will do the same for anyone else, but if you are willing to swap cole slaw for fries at lunch for a few months (which was all I did) they can find out for themselves.

“Wild, right?” -Ken D.

We checked the medical literature to see whether this connection between cabbage and iron levels in the blood had been documented. We could find no research. We welcome others to try this experiment and let us know how it works.

Joe & Terry

The People’s Pharmacy

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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