What foods should hemochromatosis patients avoid?


Quick Answer

Hemochromatosis patients should avoid large doses of vitamin C, uncooked seafood and alcoholic beverages in excessive quantities, advises eMedicineHealth. They should also avoid taking iron supplements, warns the Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology in an article that appears on the National Center for Biotechnology Information website.

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Full Answer

Hemochromatosis is a hereditary condition that causes the body to retain iron in the body, which can have a negative impact on many of the organs, including the liver, skin, testicles, pancreas, heart and thyroid, explains eMedicineHealth. Excessive intake of alcohol promotes alcohol absorption in the body, so people with hemochromatosis should use alcohol in moderation. People with hemochromatosis who drink large quantities of alcohol are nine times more likely than others to develop cirrhosis of the liver.

Large doses of vitamin C can increase the body's uptake of iron, so those with hemochromatosis must limit foods and supplements that contain this vitamin, states eMedicineHealth. These individuals can consume fruits and vegetables containing vitamin C in normal quantities. People with hemochromatosis should avoid consuming raw seafood because it may harbor infection-causing bacteria that thrive in an iron-rich environment.

Recommended medical treatment for hemochromatosis involves periodic blood withdrawal from the body to reduce iron levels, indicates MedicineNet. With early diagnosis and treatment, individuals can avoid organ damage. Once cirrhosis, or scarring, of the liver occurs, it is irreversible. Treatment can improve some organ functions, but there is an increased risk of liver cancer.

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