Daily Health Headlines

Too Much Iron Linked to Gestational Diabetes

👤by Steven Reinberg 0 comments 🕔Friday, November 11th, 2016

THURSDAY, Nov. 10, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- High levels of iron have been linked with an increased risk of developing diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes), begging the question whether routine recommendations of iron supplements are warranted, a new study says.

The new research found that women with the highest iron levels during the second trimester of pregnancy had more than twice the risk of developing gestational diabetes, compared with women with the lowest iron levels.

"Our study findings raise potential concerns about the recommendation of routine iron supplementation among pregnant women who already have sufficient iron," said study author Shristi Rawal. She's an epidemiologist with the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

But, the study only showed an association between iron levels and gestational diabetes; the research wasn't designed to prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

Still, at least one expert expressed concern. This study shows that "you can't globally treat every pregnant woman with iron," said Dr. Robert Courgi, an endocrinologist at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, N.Y.

"We should diagnose iron deficiency, then treat," he said. "It is true that there will be a large proportion of pregnant women who require iron therapy," Courgi noted.

"If follow-up studies can confirm the link of iron therapy to gestational diabetes, then we should identify women who are iron sufficient so they can avoid unnecessary iron therapy and the risk of gestational diabetes," Courgi said.

The study included 107 women who had gestational diabetes. The researchers compared them with 214 women who didn't develop the condition.

Specifically, the researchers looked at several markers in the blood from which they could calculate the amount of iron in the body. These markers include hepcidin, ferritin and soluble transferrin receptor.

According to Rawal, "Pregnant women with high levels of iron markers in either the first or second trimester of pregnancy had an increased risk of gestational diabetes."

For example, in the first trimester, women who were in the top 25 percent for levels of ferritin, a marker that indicates the amount of iron stored in the body, had more than two times the risk of gestational diabetes compared to those in the bottom 25 percent, she said.

"The women who were in the top 25 percent for levels of ferritin in the second trimester had almost four times the risk of gestational diabetes, compared with those in the bottom 25 percent," Rawal added.

Iron may play a role in the development of gestational diabetes by increasing the levels of oxidative stress. In turn, that stress can cause damage or even death to pancreatic beta cells. These cells produce insulin, and damage or loss could lead to impaired insulin function. In the liver, high iron may induce insulin resistance, the researchers said.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends screening and treatment only as necessary for iron deficiency. Other groups, such as the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recommend routine iron supplementation, the researchers noted.

Too much iron may cause gestational diabetes, but too little can be even more harmful, said Dr. Jill Rabin. She's co-chief of the division of ambulatory care in the Women's Health Programs-PCAP Services at Northwell Health in New Hyde Park, N.Y.

Iron in the blood carries oxygen to the cells of the body. "You need enough iron to nourish the baby to carry enough oxygen to the fetus," she said. "If there isn't enough oxygen reaching the baby, it can affect the infant's development," Rabin said.

"The best protection we have against gestational diabetes is optimizing a woman's weight before she decides to become pregnant," she said. "Women should be more concerned with becoming healthy before they become pregnant."

The report was published Nov. 10 in the journal Diabetologia.

Article Credits / Source

Steven Reinberg / HealthDay

Steven Reinberg wrote this story for HealthDay. HealthDay provides up to the minute breaking health news. Click here to view this full article from HealthDay.

SOURCES: Shristi Rawal, Ph.D., epidemiologist, U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; Jill Rabin, M.D., co-chief, division of ambulatory care, Women's Health Programs-PCAP Services, Northwell Health, New Hyde Park, N.Y.; Robert Courgi, M.D., endocrinologist, Southside Hospital, Bay Shore, N.Y.; Nov. 10, 2016, Diabetologia

View More Articles From Steven Reinberg 🌎View Article Website

Sponsored Product

Lunar Sleep for $1.95

Lunar Sleep for $1.95

People who have trouble sleeping typically have low levels of melatonin, so melatonin supplements seem like a logical fix for insomnia. There is a high demand for sleep aids, especially in the U.S. The National Health Interview Survey done in 2002, and again in 2007, found 1.6 million US adults were using complementary and alternative sleep aids for insomnia. Lunar Sleep was a top choice. Use Promo Code: Sleep2014 and only pay $1.95 S&H.

Get Lunar Sleep for $1.95

More Diabetes Articles

Low Blood Sugar Linked to Death Risk for Hospital Patients

Low Blood Sugar Linked to Death Risk for Hospital Patients0

THURSDAY, Nov. 17, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Hospital patients with low blood sugar may be at increased risk for death, a new study from Israel suggests. The study included nearly 3,000 patients with low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Nearly 32 ...

Can Protein, Probiotics Help With Blood Sugar Control?

Can Protein, Probiotics Help With Blood Sugar Control?0

THURSDAY, Nov. 17, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Adding protein-rich or probiotic-laden foods to your diet may help control your blood sugar levels, according to a pair of new studies. Both proteins and probiotics appear to slow down digestion of ...

Health Tip: Creating an Insulin Routine

Health Tip: Creating an Insulin Routine0

(HealthDay News) -- If you take insulin, you'll need to create a comfortable routine to keep blood glucose under control. The American Diabetes Association explains: Type 1 diabetes typically needs at least two daily injections of two ...

Daily Can of Soda Boosts Odds for Prediabetes, Study Finds

Daily Can of Soda Boosts Odds for Prediabetes, Study Finds0

THURSDAY, Nov. 10, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Drinking a can of sugary soda every day can dramatically heighten a person's risk of developing prediabetes, a "warning sign" condition that precedes full-blown type 2 diabetes, a new study reports. A ...

Nearly 6 in 10 Diabetics Skip Eye Exams, Study Finds

Nearly 6 in 10 Diabetics Skip Eye Exams, Study Finds0

THURSDAY, Nov. 10, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Almost two-thirds of people with diabetes don't get annual eye exams, despite having an increased risk for serious eye disease and vision loss, researchers say. About one in 10 Americans has diabetes. ...

View More Diabetes Articles

0 Comments

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our Mailing List

Subscribe to our mailing list to get the latest health news as it breaks!

Your information will not be shared with anyone!