Are you pumping too much iron? Hemochromatosis Awareness Week now on

Hemochromatosis Awareness Week winds up on August 14 and Moree dietician Pollyemma Antees poses the question: “Are you pumping too much iron?”

Ms Antees is an accredited practising dietitian and a member of the Dietitians Association of Australia, the NSW Coeliac Society, Diabetes NSW and several other professional organisations.

She has more than 15 years’ experience in north-western NSW and has worked in Moree, Warialda, Bingara, Boggabilla, Toomelah, Mungindi, Walgett, Lightning Ridge, Collarenebri, Goodooga, Bourke, Cobar and Brewarrina – and most places in between.

“One in 200 Australians of Celtic origin suffers hemochromatosis, which causes a build-up of iron in the blood,” Ms Antees said.


Moree dietician Pollyemma Antees.

“This mutation was seen as a benefit for our Celtic and Viking ancestors when iron rich foods were not regularly available.”

Signs of hemochromatosis may include pain in the joints, bronzing of the skin, diabetes and increased in anger with symptoms generally occurring after the age of 30.

“The iron builds up in the organs and can cause diabetes, liver cirrhosis, heart disease, arthritis, and dysfunctional sex organs,” Ms Antees said.

Testing for hemochromatosis is done via a blood test by your GP and treatment requires having blood removed from your body, a practice referred to as phlebotomy.Iron

“The reason this helps is that stored iron in your organs is then used up to make more red blood cells,” Ms Antees said.

Avoiding iron rich foods does not help however an APD dietitian can assist in providing clients with a diet low in iron and help ensure that supplements, fortified foods or foods which increase iron absorption are removed from diets.

A dietitian can also ensure sufficient folate and B vitamin rich food sources are being ingested which can lessen the requirement to undergo regular phlebotomies.

An APD dietitian can also support nutritional health to ensure diets are the best for the liver, heart, kidneys and pancreas.

“Iron rich foods are red meat, offal, enriched whole grains, molasses, oysters, spinach, broccoli and cabbage,” Ms Antees said.

For more information contact Ms Antees at North West Nutrition on 6752 4453, email her at or visit the website You will also find her at shop 8 in the Linden Arcade, 95 Balo Street.