Iron toxicity and antioxidant nutrients

Toxicology. 2002 Oct 30;180(1):23-32. doi: 10.1016/s0300-483x(02)00379-7.


Iron is an essential nutrient for the growth, development, and long-term survival of most organisms. High tissue iron concentrations have been associated with the development and progression of several pathological conditions, including certain cancers, liver and heart disease, diabetes, hormonal abnormalities, and immune system dysfunctions. In this review we discuss the relevance of iron toxicity on free radical-mediated tissue damage, and how iron interactions with nutrient antioxidants and other metals can affect the extent of oxidative damage to different biomolecules. It can be concluded that the ingestion of antioxidant rich foods may prevent or delay primary and secondary effects associated with iron overload-related diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Ascorbic Acid / metabolism
  • Flavonoids / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Iron / metabolism
  • Iron / toxicity*
  • Iron Chelating Agents / pharmacology
  • Iron Overload / metabolism
  • Iron Overload / prevention & control
  • Lead Poisoning / metabolism
  • Lead Poisoning / prevention & control*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Vitamin E / metabolism
  • Zinc / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • Flavonoids
  • Iron Chelating Agents
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Vitamin E
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Ascorbic Acid