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Iron Overload And The Potentially Huge Problem With Prenatal Vitamins…

In excessive amounts iron was known to be toxic.  Excess iron in the body seemed to be stored primarily in the liver and heart.

Indeed, the body appeared to have very few mechanisms for getting rid of “extra iron”.   Iron left the body via bleeding (i.e., menstrual flow), the sloughing (casting off or shedding) of cells, hair growth, and transfer to a developing fetus. 

Thus, if a mother had “excess iron levels”, that iron appeared to be very much able to find its way to her unborn child!  It was a well-known fact that expecting mothers were placed on prenatal vitamins – vitamins that included iron

Fortified with iron - infant formulas, baby foods, prenatal vitamins  - immature livers – it truly appeared children – both in the womb and after birth – especially if not breastfed - in my opinion, were very much “at risk” for iron overload!    There appeared to be another mother who had done research in this area – Kathy Blanco – the mother of two children with autism.  

This report stated a few key things that “stood out” for me as I read it.   The following were statements or points made in this report:

Iron is a powerful immune system modulator…excess iron causes a hyperactive immune system…a hyperactive immune system causes an allergic response to food proteins – particularly gluten, gliadin and casein…Clostridium and Candida can benefit from excess iron…microglial cells (specialized immune cells in the brain) are particularly vulnerable to iron deposition problems in the brain…children with autism show evidence of myelin damage and antibody response to myelin… oligodentrocytes are rich in iron receptors…glutathione, if not present, can enhance iron toxicity…high ammonia levels are signs of iron overload…researchers report hypogammaglobulnemias in children with autism…men suffer from symptoms of iron overload at an earlier age… excess iron in the system can cause damage to many body organs… it can destroy the pancreas especially… in some disease states, iron remains free in the plasma… iron-binding proteins called lactoferrins are concentrated in human milk and are found inside human white blood cells…etc.”[end of quote, emphasis added: Kathy Blanco, President, Childscreen Team, Iron Overload And Autism, August 2002,]. 

All these things “stood out for me” for various reasons… glial cells, specifically, had been implicated in schizophrenia research, as stated earlier in this text, …myelin damage was the “hallmark” of a disorder known as ALD (discussed later).   Iron… iron… iron… so much appeared tied to iron overload.

Glial cells…known to play a role in integrating neuronal input, modulating synaptic activity, processing signals related to learning and memory, providing nutrients for neurons and in disposing of the brain’s waste.      

If glial cells indeed were sensitive to iron and glial cells played a role in providing food for cells, would that “food” not have excess iron in it?   And then, there was that “other role” – disposing of the brain’s waste – were amyloid plaques found in Alzheimer’s and type 2 diabetes not considered “waste”?

Society, in general, seemed to equate iron with “strength, health, and energy”.  But, had we forgotten that iron, in excessive amounts, could be toxic?  Hair loss was an indication of iron overload.   It certainly seemed to me that we had more bald men than ever in society!  The fact that iron overload impacted hair truly made me think about the whole issue of “hair” a little more.   If you considered hair on the human body, it was found, for the most part – on the head.   Men also had a lot more of it than women.   Women had a natural way of helping their bodies get rid of excess iron – the menstrual flow.   Was hair growth one of the man’s way of riding himself of extra iron?   I had often heard women say they believed that their hair and nails naturally seemed to get longer during pregnancy.  Could this be due to detoxification processes whereby toxins were leaving the body via the hair and nails?  I really wondered.    

This certainly would have interesting implications in terms of studying “where” we found hair on the human body – in males – and in females.   Yet, the fact did remain that iron overload did appear to be more and more of a problem in society. 

Cancers  - perhaps the biggest immune system problem of all –also seemed to be tied to issues relating to iron overload:  Note that cancer resulted from cell mutations.   Aluminum was an unregulated, known, gene mutant found in many foods and vaccines.   Aluminum was associated with heme deficiency… heme was one of the components of blood.  

I was not surprised by the finding that cancer appeared tied to iron overload.  One in three persons were now believed to develop cancer over their lifetime.   More amazing – and indeed, in my opinion – more telling – however, was the fact that cancer in children appeared to be skyrocketing!  According to the Children’s Environmental Health Network, Childhood Cancer “fact sheet”, available at, brain cancer in children was up thirty percent and certain leukemias, up ten percent.  The statistics – as they related to cancer among children – were grim indeed!  Cancer of the brain - the brain was but one of many places where metals were known to accumulate – and cancer of the blood – the very substance associated with “heme deficiency” and “heme deficiency” associated with aluminum – a known gene mutant – apparently, completely unregulated by the FDA!  Also more and more persons, including doctors and researchers, now appeared to believe that vitamin B17 could be very helpful in preventing cancer.  I had never heard of this vitamin – apparently found in the seeds of many fruits and other food sources.  This vitamin was mentioned nowhere it seemed – not even in books that were “all about vitamins”.  Why not?   More on B17 could be found at:

In my heart, again, I knew that both iron and aluminum had to play a role in the skyrocketing cancer rates among children.  LD Wedewer also suspected this and as such, she decided to investigate matters of both iron and aluminum a little further!

The following section was a reproduction of research that had been done by LD Wedewer, US Autism Ambassador, into the very issue of potential iron overload in young children and the many implications of excess iron in the body.  

LD Wedewer worked closely with legislators in on matters relating to autism and had submitted this information to Congressman Dan Burton for the December 10, 2002 hearings on autism/government reform as part of official testimony submitted on behalf of the public and as such, this was now “public information”.


Start of segment provided by LD Wedewer

Autistic individuals may have an inborn error in iron metabolism. The human body did not have any mechanism to excrete iron. Iron was lost mostly through growth of hair, skin, sweat and bleeding.

At birth, most term infants have 75 mg of elemental iron per kilogram of body weight, found primarily as hemoglobin (75%), but also as storage (15%) and tissue protein iron (10%).4 Infants of mothers with poorly controlled diabetes and small-for-gestational-age infants have approximately 10% and 40% of normal storage iron, respectively, meaning that they may have less of a buffer for protection from postnatal iron deficiency.5,6   Many pregnant mothers who had children who later where found to have autism may have had gestational diabetes. Since the children with autism appear to mal-absorb iron, it would stand to reason that they would mal-absorb iron as a fetus thus showing up in tests as an iron deficiency or over abundance.

During the first 4 postnatal months, excess fetal red blood cells break down and the infant retains the iron. This iron is used, along with dietary iron, to support the expansion of the red blood cell mass as the infant grows. The estimated iron requirement of the term infant to meet this demand and maintain adequate stores is 1 mg/kg per day.1

The estimated amount of iron requirement for infants and toddlers is 1mg/day. Average diet of an infant can provide 20 -70mg/day of iron. The lethal dose of iron for a 2 year-old child is 3 g, and 1 g leads to severe poisoning. This excess iron is the root cause of inflammatory and autoimmune disorders. This excess iron gets deposited in brain and other organs such as liver, kidneys etc. causing variety of diseases ranging from recurring infections to cancer. 


The current recommended dietary allowances (RDA's) of the U.S. National Research Council or iron are:

  • Infants to 6 months: 6 milligrams (mg)/day
  • Infants 6 months to 1 year: 10 mg/day
  • Children 1to10 years old: 10 mg/day
  • Males 11 to 18: 12 mg/day
  • Males 19 to 50 plus: 10 mg/day
  • Females 11 to 50: 15 mg/day
  • Females 51 plus: 10 mg/day
  • Pregnant women: 30 mg/day
  • Lactating women: 15 mg/day

Iron National Primary Drinking Water Regulations



Secondary Standard


0.3 mg/L

Multiple post-ingestion variables alter the amount of metabolizable iron ultimately absorbed and retained by the infant. The greatest of these factors is the percentage of iron absorbed from the diet. Estimates of iron absorption from infant formulas range from less than 5% in term infants fed casein-predominant formula to 40% in very low birth weight infants fed whey-predominant formula.9-11 Values of 7% to 12% appear to be most representative for term infants fed cow milk formula, with the lower values seen when formulas supplemented with higher concentrations of iron are used.11 The percentage of iron absorbed from soy formula is lower than from cow milk formula and ranges from less than 1% to 7%.12 Nevertheless, infants fed soy formula containing 12 mg/L of iron remain comparably iron sufficient to infants fed iron-fortified cow milk formula.12

Factors such as the milk source of iron (eg, human vs cow), type of iron compound consumed, the food with which it is eaten, and the iron status of the infant greatly affect iron absorption. For example, greater than 50% of iron from human milk is absorbed compared with typically less than 12% of iron from cow milk-derived formula. In the older infant, iron from meat sources and iron from ferrous sulfate is better absorbed than iron from nonmeat sources or in its pyrophosphate form. Infants with poorer iron status or in negative iron balance absorb a higher percentage of dietary iron. Potential iron losses (such as occult gastrointestinal bleeding associated with exposure to cow milk protein or infectious agents) must also be considered. Larger dietary doses will be necessary under those conditions to maintain iron balance.

Gerber State that The Iron code of federal regulations say 15 mg per day per child. They calculate their food on a percentage of the daily requirement. 1-800-4-GERBER. Infants are encouraged to give their infant one serving of cereal in the morning and a bottle of formula, lunch they are encouraged to give one serving of meat, vegetables, and fruit with a bottle of formula, dinner is the same. The rest of the day and in between meals they are encouraged to give an additional 3-4 bottles of formula (Via ST Lukes Hospital, CR, IA). Lets break that down in the following example to see the amount of iron given in one day. All baby foods below listed are Gerber.

Meal:                                   (Percent Of Daily Requirement)                     Amount of Iron


Bottle of Similac Formula                                                                                     1.8         mg

One serving Carnation Rice Cereal          (75%)                                                   0.1125   mg    

Banana Pineapple Fruit                              (4%)                                                    0.006     mg

               1.9185   mg  


Bottle of Similac Formula                                                                                      1.8        mg

Vegetable Turkey Dinner                           (15%)                                                  0.0225  mg

Peas                                                             (15%)                                                 0.0225   mg

Pears                                                            ( 2%)                                                  0.003     mg

                                                                                                                                1.848     mg



Bottle of Similac Formula                                                                                      1.8        mg

Beef and Egg Noodle                                  (15%)                                                 0.0225   mg

Broccoli, Carrots, and Cheese                     ( 8%)                                                  0.012     mg

Vannila Custard                                           (10%)                                                 0.015     mg

                                                                                                                                1.8495   mg

Extra 3-4 Bottles of Simlac Formula:

Bottle of Similac Formula                                                                                      1.8         mg

Bottle of Similac Formula                                                                                      1.8         mg

Bottle of Similac Formula                                                                                      1.8         mg

Bottle of Similac Formula                                                                                      1.8         mg

                                                                                                                                7.2         mg


One Day Total Iron Content All Meals and Bottles:                                      12.816     mg


One Day Iron Additional Vitamin Content:                                        

Liquid multivitamins for infants iron content:  Name: Polydisol:                          10.00       mg                                                                                                                

*One Day Total Iron Content All Meals, Bottles, & Vitamins                     21.816     mg daily

(Note: Not tabulated is the iron content in the water in each bottle.)

The estimated amount of iron requirement for infants and toddlers is 1mg/day. Average diet of an Infant can provide 20 -70mg/day of Iron. The above menu is just one variant to the many combinations that have different iron mg amounts. 

Pregnant Mothers are required to take Prenatal Vitamins: From the moment the new-to-be mother thinks she is pregnant she goes to the doctor to confirm this. Once the doctor comes in and announces the on their way arrival they begin prenatal vitamins from that first day at the doctor until they deliver. Some mothers who are intending to breastfeed stay on this vitamin until a few months after they discontinue breastfeeding. Since a pregnancy duration is 9 months and most mothers usually know they are pregnant within the first two months we can assume that they are on prenatal vitamins for about 7 months. 

Current Prenatal Vitamins daily allotment: Range From 27mg – 90 mg: 

Name                        Iron Doseage          Avg. 210 days (7 Mo.)  Intake of Iron

Prenatal plus Iron:     27mg daily                               5,670.00  g      

Prenat                       90mg daily                              18,900.00  g

Note: 1000 mg = 1 gram

What is the amount of iron ingested by the pregnant mother… left over and then passed to the fetus/baby? There currently is no answer to this as there would be many variables such as:

mother mal-absorbtion, fetus mal-absorption, etc. Each person absorbs vitamins and minerals differently, as each of us is unique so is our genetic make up and body systems to some degree. With all those variables this list can be endless so testing is the only answer and increased research into the cause and effect, safety of these amounts of Iron in the body, and etc. - an area where  too little research has been done.


Infant Multi Vitamins with Iron:

Tri Vitamins drops with Iron: 10mg

Polydisol: 10mg


Infant Iron Drops:

Infant Iron Drops 2-4 mg average max dose of 15mg per 24 hours

In July 1997 the “New FDA regulations” took effect which requires all iron-containing drugs and dietary supplements to carry a warning about the risk of iron poisoning in young children. Note that some children who consumed as few as 5 iron-containing tablets have been poisoned. Additional points FDA wants consumers to know about accidental iron poisoning in children are:

"Poisoned children can face both immediate and long-term problems.”

"Within minutes or hours of swallowing iron tablets, children may experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and gastrointestinal bleeding, which can progress to shock, coma, and death.”

"A child who appears to recover from the initial problems may experience severe gastrointestinal bleeding, lethargy, liver damage, heart failure, and coma 12 hours to 2 days later.”

"Three to six weeks after the poisoning, a child may develop gastrointestinal obstruction and more extensive liver damage.”

Parents are advised to contact a doctor or local poison control center immediately if their child has accidentally swallowed a product that contains iron.


Autism Cause and Effects:


Autism is caused by I believe a mixture of events. One is the accumulative effect of thimersol (mercury), aluminum, excessive iron accumulation in brain tissue, and genetic predisposition plays a major role in accumulation of iron is specific tissues. There are many other areas I wish to explore to try to find more answers in this area.


The intensity of immune reaction is directly proportional to the amount of thimersol, aluminum, and iron deposits. Microglial cell plays a significant role in the brains immune defense system. Iron accumulates in the form of hemosiderin and ferritin in microglia. Excess iron triggers these immune cells into a fight response mode.


Autistic individuals have a relatively porous gut walls, this is known as leaky gut syndrome. This means that some food proteins can leak into the blood. These proteins eventually cross the blood-brain barrier. Human body treats them in the same way it treats any invading virus or bacteria. These proteins trigger the immune system and produce intense immune response. This intense immune response is the root cause of variety of symptoms including damage to the brain tissue.

Autistic individuals have low blood hemoglobin and ferritin levels and may have anemia. This is a part of the body's natural defense against autoimmune disorders. Body is trying to minimize the iron levels so that the amount of iron deposited in tissue can be reduced, in order to minimize the damage. In fact, iron supplementation is extremely dangerous in these cases because it worsens the primary disease.  This excess iron is the root cause of inflammatory and autoimmune disorders. This excess iron gets deposited in brain and other organs such as liver, kidneys etc. causing variety of diseases ranging from recurring infections to cancer.


As a result of leaky gut syndrome some food proteins can leak into the blood. These proteins eventually cross the blood-brain barrier. These peptides cause the brain damage in two ways.


1) Iron is a powerful immune system modulator. Excess of iron causes a hyperactive immune system. The hyperactive immune system causes an allergic response to these food proteins. The hyperactive immune system treats these food peptides in the same way it treats any invading virus or bacteria. The immune system then attacks these peptides and in the process releases toxic chemicals in order to destroy, these toxic chemicals also damage surrounding tissue. This intense immune response is the root cause of variety of symptoms including damage to the brain tissue.


2) The food proteins react with free iron radicals in brain causing oxidative damage. 

Autism is associated with chronic inflammatory disease of brain, which causes several changes in the blood production (hematopoietic) system. These include a slightly shortened red blood cell life span and sequestration of iron in inflammatory brain cells called microglia, resulting in a decrease in the amount of iron that is available to make red blood cells. In the presence of these effects a low to moderate grade anemia develops. This anemia goes away once you chelate the excess iron. 

Conditions associated with the anemia of infection and chronic inflammatory diseases include such diverse diseases as arthritis, rheumatic fever, Crohn's disease etc.  Iron is such a powerful regulator in the immune system that up to 200 disorders may be associated with problems in proper iron metabolism.

 End Of Materials Provided By LD Wedewer 

The first thing that “jumped out at me” in this material was the RDA or recommended allowances for iron.   How was it that 6 mg/day of iron was “recommended” for infants up to six months of age and then, 10 mg per day for infants up to one year of age.  An infant required only 1 mg/day of iron – at most.   Breastmilk, by some estimates, contained only approximately .5 mg or one half mg of iron per liter of milk.  Formulas added “more iron” because infants who were formula fed only absorbed approximately 4% of the iron in formula.   Thus, the belief was that “more iron in formula” was better – right?  Wrong! 

This quote explained the problem with this line of thinking: 

“To make up for the low bioavailability of factory-added vitamins and minerals, formula manufactures raise the concentrations. Sounds reasonable, right? If only half gets absorbed by the body, put twice as much into the can. Yet, this nutrient manipulation may have a metabolic price.   Baby's immature intestines are required to dispose of the excess. Meanwhile, the excess unabsorbed minerals (especially iron) can upset the "ecology of the gut," interfering with the growth of healthful bacteria and allowing harmful bacteria to flourish. This is another reason formula-fed infants have harder, more unpleasant smelling stools.” [end of quote, emphasis added,  Nutrient By Nutrient Why Breast If Best,].

 Note that harmful bacteria and viruses were known to thrive on iron and as such, extra iron in the intestine certainly could explain why MMR vaccine viruses were found in the gut of children with autism!   Once again it appeared that those who determined things like recommended daily allowances had overlooked - the basics - when it came to safety levels of a known toxin in the human body – especially a very small and immature body!  When one considered that both pregnant women and their unborn children appeared to possibly be suffering from iron overload as a result of so much iron being pumped into their bodies, was it any wonder that so many were developing gestational diabetes?   Iron and insulin were now believed to regulate one another and as such, excess iron impacted insulin levels – and so much more!

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