FoodHealth.info


Hemochromatosis Diet

based on NIH guidelines. Alcohol, Vitamin C and Iron content of 8,000 foods

Search entire U.S. food database:

  Enter any parts of food name then hit Return to search.

  Browse our Nutrition Software Catalog.


Food NameAlcoholVit. CIron
Milk, human0.05.00.0
Milk0.00.10.0
Milk, cow's, fluid, whole0.00.00.0
Milk, cow's, fluid, whole, low-sodium0.00.90.1
Milk, calcium fortified, cow's, fluid, whole0.00.00.0
Milk, calcium fortified, cow's, fluid, 1% fat0.00.00.0
Milk, calcium fortified, cow's, fluid, skim or nonfat0.01.00.0
Milk, cow's, fluid, other than whole ("lowfat")0.00.10.0
Milk, cow's, fluid, 2% fat0.00.20.0
Milk, cow's, fluid, acidophilus, 1% fat0.00.00.0
Milk, cow's, fluid, acidophilus, 2% fat0.00.20.0
Milk, cow's, fluid, 1% fat0.00.00.0
Milk, cow's, fluid, skim or nonfat, 0.5% or less butterfat0.00.00.0
Milk, cow's, fluid, filled with vegetable oil0.00.90.1
1234567891011121314151617181920...Last

Usage Note

  • Iron and vitamin C contents are in milligrams and calculated per 100g of food weight.
  • Alcohol values are in grams.
  • Click on column header to sort foods by name or by column's content.

Hemochromatosis

information from the National Institutes of Health

Hemochromatosis is the most common form of iron overload disease. Primary hemochromatosis, also called hereditary hemochromatosis, is an inherited disease. Secondary hemochromatosis is caused by anemia, alcoholism, and other disorders.

Juvenile hemochromatosis and neonatal hemochromatosis are two additional forms of the disease. Juvenile hemochromatosis leads to severe iron overload and liver and heart disease in adolescents and young adults between the ages of 15 and 30. The neonatal form causes rapid iron buildup in a baby's liver that can lead to death.

Hemochromatosis causes the body to absorb and store too much iron. The extra iron builds up in the body's organs and damages them. Without treatment, the disease can cause the liver, heart, and pancreas to fail.

Iron is an essential nutrient found in many foods. The greatest amount is found in red meat and iron-fortified breads and cereals. In the body, iron becomes part of hemoglobin, a molecule in the blood that transports oxygen from the lungs to all body tissues.

Healthy people usually absorb about 10 percent of the iron contained in the food they eat, which meets normal dietary requirements. People with hemochromatosis absorb up to 30 percent of iron. Over time, they absorb and retain between five to 20 times more iron than the body needs.

Because the body has no natural way to rid itself of the excess iron, it is stored in body tissues, specifically the liver, heart, and pancreas.

Diet for Hemochromatosis

If you are diagnosed with hemochromatosis, you should follow a special diet to reduce how much iron is absorbed from your digestive tract. Your doctor will recommend:

  • Do not drink alcohol, especially if you have liver damage
  • Do not take iron pills or vitamins containing iron
  • Do not use iron cookware
  • Do not eat raw seafood (cooked is fine)
  • Do not eat foods fortified with iron, such as 100% iron breakfast cereals
  • Do not take vitamin C supplements. Vitamin C might unduly enhance the absorption of dietary iron in persons with high iron stores or in patients with iron overload, possibly increasing the potential risk of iron toxicity.

Our Liver Disease Nutrition Online Food Databases

nutrition recommendations are based on National Institutes of Health guidelines

Symptoms of Hemochromatosis

Joint pain is the most common complaint of people with hemochromatosis. Other common symptoms include fatigue, lack of energy, abdominal pain, loss of sex drive, and heart problems. However, many people have no symptoms when they are diagnosed.

If the disease is not detected and treated early, iron may accumulate in body tissues and eventually lead to serious problems such as

  • arthritis
  • liver disease, including an enlarged liver, cirrhosis, cancer, and liver failure
  • damage to the pancreas, possibly causing diabetes
  • heart abnormalities, such as irregular heart rhythms or congestive heart failure
  • impotence
  • early menopause
  • abnormal pigmentation of the skin, making it look gray or bronze
  • thyroid deficiency
  • damage to the adrenal glands

Hemochromatosis Treatment

Treatment is simple, inexpensive, and safe. The first step is to rid the body of excess iron. This process is called phlebotomy, which means removing blood the same way it is drawn from donors at blood banks. Based on the severity of the iron overload, a pint of blood will be taken once or twice a week for several months to a year, and occasionally longer. Blood ferritin levels will be tested periodically to monitor iron levels. The goal is to bring blood ferritin levels to the low end of normal and keep them there. Depending on the lab, that means 25 to 50 micrograms of ferritin per liter of serum.

Once iron levels return to normal, maintenance therapy begins, which involves giving a pint of blood every 2 to 4 months for life. Some people may need phlebotomies more often. An annual blood ferritin test will help determine how often blood should be removed. Regular follow-up with a specialist is also necessary.

If treatment begins before organs are damaged, associated conditions—such as liver disease, heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes—can be prevented. The outlook for people who already have these conditions at diagnosis depends on the degree of organ damage. For example, treating hemochromatosis can stop the progression of liver disease in its early stages, which leads to a normal life expectancy. However, if cirrhosis, or scarring of the liver, has developed, the person's risk of developing liver cancer increases, even if iron stores are reduced to normal levels.

People with hemochromatosis should not take iron or vitamin C supplements. And those who have liver damage should not consume alcoholic beverages or raw seafood because they may further damage the liver.

Treatment cannot cure the conditions associated with established hemochromatosis, but it will help most of them improve. The main exception is arthritis, which does not improve even after excess iron is removed.

Partner Websites

Please bookmark our partner websites to use when any of our nutrition calculators is not available or overloaded.


Go to Home Page