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Epidemiology. 2005 Nov;16(6):802-5.

HFE genotype modifies the influence of heme iron intake on iron status.

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Biostatistics Unit, University of Leeds, and Genetic Epidemiology Division, Cancer Genetics Building, St. James's University Hospital, Leeds, UK.



Public health policy to prevent iron deficiency through food fortification or other measures may be disadvantageous to people with hereditary hemochromatosis.


From a cohort of U.K. women, 2531 women were typed for C282Y and H63D mutations in the hemochromatosis gene. These women completed food frequency questionnaires and provided blood for iron status.


C282Y homozygotes (n=31) had serum ferritin concentrations 2.4 times higher (95% confidence interval=1.9-3.1) than wild types (n=1774), but heterozygotes (n=726) were not different from wild types. H63D genotype had no effect on its own. The effect of heme iron intake (from meat, fish, and poultry) was 2.0 times greater (1.2-3.2) on C282Y homozygotes than other groups. Nonheme iron had little effect.


There may be scope for dietary intervention in women homozygous for the C282Y mutation. C282Y heterozygotes and H63D homozygotes and heterozygotes have similar serum ferritin concentrations to wild type and need not reduce their meat intake other than as part of a normal healthy diet.

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