LONDON, July 17 (Xinhua) -- Although higher iron levels could be good for one's heart health, it may also lead to higher risk of stroke, according to a study released on Wednesday by the Imperial College London.
A team of international researchers, led by Imperial College London, explored the role that iron plays in over 900 diseases. They examined the genetic data from over 500,000 people.
They found that naturally higher iron levels are associated with a lower risk of high cholesterol levels, and reduce the risk of arteries becoming furred with a build-up of fatty substances.
But higher iron levels is not necessarily a good thing. The study also revealed that this may cause some negative effect, such as a higher risk of blood clots related to slow blood flow blood (a common cause of stroke) and a higher risk of bacterial skin infection.
"Iron is a crucial mineral in the body, and is essential for carrying oxygen around the body. However, getting the right amount of iron in the body is a fine balance -- too little can lead to anaemia, but too much can lead to a range of problems including liver damage,"said Dr Dipender Gill, lead author of the study from the college.
Meanwhile, Dr Gill also said these findings still need to be investigated in patient trials. "We are still unclear on how iron affects cholesterol levels, narrows arteries and form blood clots, but we have ideas."
The study has been published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.