The vast majority of elderly Americans consume more than the daily recommended amount of iron, according to a new report. The finding is cause for concern, say researchers, because previous studies have linked excessive iron intake to an increased risk for illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Researchers found that about 91% of the population that they looked at had dietary iron intakes that were greater than the recommended dietary levels. In contrast, the study, conducted as part of the ongoing Framingham Heart Study, found that just 1% of elderly Americans suffered from iron-deficient anemia. Those individuals who consumed meat-heavy diets more than doubled their risk for excessive iron intake, while supplement users more than quadrupled their risk. They found that 16% of the elderly population were taking iron supplements, or were taking a supplement containing iron.