Although some people use nutritional health supplements to correct deficiencies in minerals like iron, recent research suggests that some diseases like Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease cause a similar deficiency, but in the brain.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is the human form of mad cow disease, and both work by infecting proteins in the brain, leading to severe brain damage and death.
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University and Creighton University examined brains from humans, mice and hamsters and found that the disorder affected the brains ability to gauge its iron levels.
That caused large deposits, which can be toxic, to develop as the brain thought it was in a permanent iron deficit and continued to store more of the mineral.
The scientists hope that the findings of the effects on iron intake will allow for possible therapeutic options.
Iron is an important mineral, used in nutritional health supplements to treat anemia and a decrease in hemoglobin, but some studies link over-consumption of iron with liver problems.