Iron's Dangers - Ray Peat

Iron's Dangers - and age pigment

One of the major lines of aging research, going back to the early part of this century, was based on the accumulation of a brown material in the tissues known as "age-pigment." The technical name for this material, "lipofuscin," means "fatty brown stuff." In the 1960s, the "free radical theory" of aging was introduced by Denham Harman, and this theory has converged with the age-pigment theory, since we now know that the age-pigment is an oxidized mass of unsaturated fat and iron, formed by uncontrolled free radicals. Until a few years ago, these ideas were accepted by only a few researchers, but now practically every doctor in the country accepts that free radicals are important in the aging process. A nutrition researcher in San Diego suspected that the life-extending effects of calorie restriction might be the result of a decreased intake of toxins. He removed the toxic heavy metals from foods, and found that the animals which ate a normal amount of food lived as long as the semi-starved animals. Recently, the iron content of food has been identified as the major life-shortening factor, rather than the calories. [Choi and Yu, Age vol. 17, page 93, 1994.]