Can Iron Intake Increase the Risk of Type 2?

Higher intakes of heme iron (iron derived from animal products) is associated with a “significantly increased risk of type 2 diabetes,” according to Harvard University researchers.

From 1980 to 2000, in a study of 85,031 healthy women, aged 34 to 59 years, dietary data were collected every four years. During the 20 years of follow-up, 4,599 incident cases of type 2 were documented.

“We found no association between total, dietary, supplemental or non-heme iron and the risk of type 2 diabetes,” write the researchers. “However, heme iron intake was positively associated with risk.”

The researchers add that the association between heme iron and the risk of diabetes was significant in both overweight and lean women.

Diabetes Care, June 2006

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