Book Review - The Iron Curse by Dr Christy Sutton

mineral Sep 04, 2023

Science is constantly evolving. New research and findings change the way healthcare is practiced. And this book is an example of change in the making.

Iron at either end of the spectrum is dangerous and this book covers all iron-related issues but has a stronger focus on hereditary hemochromatosis. Hemochromatosis simply put is iron overload, Hereditary hemochromatosis is when you are born with genes that increase iron absorption and storage.

Hemochromatosis is a serious condition that can destroy your organs. Iron has an affinity for your liver, brain, pancreas, heart, joints, bones, reproductive organs, skin, and more. Your entire body is at risk if you have the iron curse. 

This condition is the most prevalent genetic condition found in Caucasian families, but it can be found in all races.


My biggest takeaway from the book was the Carrier Myth.


In my training, I was taught that having one gene makes you a carrier. Being a carrier holds NO risk of developing the health complaint (in this case hereditary hemochromatosis) for you but if you create a baby with another carrier the condition could be passed on to your offspring.

If you have been tested for these genes. A homozygous result means you have 2 copies of the gene from your parents, if you have a heterozygous result you only have 1 copy and previously you might have been told there is no risk for you as you are only a carrier.

Dr Sutton explains this isn't the case, having just one gene can increase your ability to absorb and store iron putting you at greater risk of developing hemochromatosis.

She also explains there are 3 hemochromatosis genes and most doctors are only investigating 2 of these. All 3 of these genes increase the rate of absorption of iron from the digestive system. 

  • HFE C282Y - greatest risk 
  • HFE H63D - moderate risk 
  • HFE S65C  - lower but still significant risk.

There is also the compounded risk, if you have one copy of 2 of the different genes.

Genes don't equal your destiny. Environmental factors can offset the development of this condition. Some examples of environmental factors include the amount of iron in your diet, whether you drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes, and how active you are. But the reverse is also true that it's possible to acquire hemochromatosis from environmental factors without having the genetic predisposition. 


This well-rounded book is completed with a multi-step action plan. Including removing blood, correcting your diet, considering supplements, and optimizing your lifestyle habits.


This is such an important book as most women will struggle with optimizing their iron levels during their menopausal transition. Many peri-menopausal women will develop anemia due to blood loss with heavy periods and after the transition, post-menopausal women are at greater risk of iron overload as they are no longer menstruating. No matter where you are in your menopausal transition, if iron is an issue for you, this book is worth reading.


As a practitioner, I love this book for 2 reasons. The first is that it has updated my knowledge and changed the way I see hereditary hemochromatosis. The information and protocols in this book are well referenced (+600 references) whilst being in an easy-to-read format with charts and diagrams. The second reason is that it makes my job easier by providing the perfect reference material for my patients looking to learn more outside of our consultation window. 


For more information about the author


The book is available for pre-purchase on Amazon, it will be released on 28th September 2023

The Iron Curse


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