While excess body iron accumulation is a known risk factor for type 2 diabetes (T2D) in hereditary haemochromatosis, new research suggests even mildly elevated iron contributes to the prevalence and incidence of T2D.
Dr Alex O. Aregbesola, in his doctoral thesis, found there was a slight variation in the risk of T2D over a wide range of serum ferritin (sF), with a marked increase in the risk of T2D observed from 185 μg/L, median value of fourth sF quintile.
He also observed a gender difference in the risk and prevalence of T2D which, he said, to some extent, is due to different body iron accumulation between men and women. Men had a 46 per cent increased risk of developing T2D when compared with women. At comparable age groups, men were found to accumulate more iron than women, and iron explained about two-fifths and one-fifth of the gender difference in type 2 diabetes prevalence and incidence respectively.
The association between body iron and impaired glucose metabolism was strongest among people in prediabetes states.