The Connection Between PCOS & Iron Overload

Did you know there are many similarities between hemochromatosis (iron overload) and PCOS?

There are many similarities between the two conditions, including insulin resistance (iron overload causes insulin resistance), increase body fat percentage, fatty liver disease, infertility, and high androgens (testosterone). When you do a quick take you might be shocked by how similar the syndromes are. When you discover that it’s related to a protein called hepcidin, it all starts to make sense.

Swipe below to learn more about hepcidin and get a good visual since it can be a confusing one!

In both hemochromatosis and PCOS, hepcidin is reduced. If hepcidin is reduced, this means it cannot block iron absorption and more iron is absorbed in the gut even though iron levels are already high in the body.

Over time, this leads to iron overload and toxic levels of iron in the body. I think it can be tricky to identify iron overload in women with PCOS unless you’re specifically doing a full iron panel since many of the symptoms are the same.

Many women with PCOS are being tested for insulin resistance and may have elevated inflammatory markers like Crp, but these can also occur with iron overload. Unless someone is specifically having a full iron panel (not just iron or ferritin), it can be hard to identify.

Here are two podcasts to check out to dig deeper into PCOS, PCOS Part 1 and Part 2.

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Amanda Montalvo

Amanda Montalvo is a women's health dietitian who helps women find the root cause of hormone imbalances and regain healthy menstrual cycles.

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