Health implications of iron overload: the role of diet and genotype

Anne-Louise M Heath, Susan J Fairweather-Tait

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


The relationship between high dietary iron intake, mutations of the HFE gene, and iron status, and their effects on human health are reviewed. Prolonged high dietary intakes of iron are unlikely to result in iron overload in the general population. Homozygotes for the C282Y mutation of the HFE gene have elevated body iron levels. Heterozygotes have normal iron stores but some may be at increased risk for cardiovascular disease. There is no convincing evidence that elevated iron status increases the risk of coronary heart disease or type 2 diabetes, but high iron intakes may increase the risk of colorectal cancer. The dietary levels of iron associated with health risks in different HFE genotypes must be determined.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-62
Number of pages18
JournalNutrition Reviews
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2003


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Colorectal Neoplasms
  • Coronary Disease
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iron Overload
  • Iron, Dietary
  • Male
  • Middle Aged

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