About 15 years ago, a doctor named Sullivan had the iron hypothesis regarding heart disease. He hypothesized that excess iron in western diets increased the production of radicals that in turn caused greater plaque build up and exacerbated ischemic damage. In support, Sullivan cited studies that showed ischemic cardiac damage in rabbits was reduced by iron chelation, and that coronary disease rates among nations correlate well with with serum ferritin levels and diets high in red meat. This seemed to explain, for example, why the Japanese smoked more than Americans but had less hear disease, and Eskimoes could subsist on blubber with low rates of coronary disease. In a Finnish study, except for smoking, serum ferritin levels were the best predictor of heart disease, even better than cholesterol levels. Circumstantial evidence was an Italian study in which blood donors had significantly greater longevity than nondonors (something like three years on average, I think).Last I read, about ten years ago, Sullivan was going to a VA hospital to continue researching his hypothesis. I’ve not heard anything else about his theory, so I guess his theory wasn’t panning out. But there is still the Italian study.
For what that’s worth.