Anemia—a condition in which your body does not have enough healthy red blood cells—is surprisingly common.
The most frequent cause of anemia is iron deficiency, which can produce exhaustion, lightheadedness, pale complexion, and shortness of breath. Fortunately, there are ways to naturally raise iron levels and prevent anemia from developing.
In this blog post, we'll discuss the causes and treatments of anemia and tips for raising iron levels naturally. Read on to learn more about keeping your iron levels in check!
What is Anemia?
Anemia is a condition in which your body lacks healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells transport the oxygen in your lungs to the rest of your body.
There are many different types of anemia, each with its cause. Anemia can be temporary or long-term, ranging from mild to severe.
Most people with anemia feel tired and weak. You may also have shortness of breath, dizziness, or headaches. If you have a severe case of anemia, you may need a blood transfusion.
Anemia is treated by addressing the underlying cause. You may need to take iron supplements if you have an iron deficiency. You may need a different treatment if you have another type of anemia.
Causes of Anemia
There are many potential causes of anemia, including:
- Blood loss: can occur due to heavy menstrual bleeding, gastrointestinal bleeding, or blood loss from injury or surgery.
- Chronic illness: Anemia is a common complication of chronic conditions such as kidney disease, cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Poor nutrition: A diet lacking in iron, folate, or vitamin B12 can lead to anemia.
- Inherited conditions: Some people are born with anemia due to genetic disorders such as thalassemia or sickle cell disease.
- Pregnancy: Anemia is common during pregnancy due to the increased demand for iron by the developing fetus.
Symptoms of Anemia
There are many symptoms of anemia, which can vary depending on the severity of the condition. People with anemia may experience fatigue, shortness of breath, pale skin, fast heartbeat, and dizziness. If you suspect that you or someone you know has anemia, it is vital to see a doctor for a diagnosis.
Some different things, including blood loss, poor nutrition, and certain medical conditions, can cause anemia. If you have anemia, your doctor will work with you to determine the cause and develop a treatment plan.
In some cases, simple lifestyle changes can be enough to treat anemia. For example, eating more iron-rich foods can help raise iron levels naturally.
Traditional Treatment for Anemia
Some traditional treatments for anemia are effective in raising iron levels. These include:
- Iron supplements: Iron supplements are the most common treatment for anemia and can be very effective in raising iron levels. They are available in pill and liquid form and can be taken with or without food.
- Blood transfusions: In severe cases of anemia, blood transfusions may be necessary to raise iron levels. This is a more invasive treatment option but can be lifesaving in extreme cases.
- Change in diet: A diet rich in iron-containing foods can also help to raise iron levels. Foods such as red meat, dark leafy greens, beans, and nuts are all excellent sources of iron. Adding these foods to the diet, or taking an iron supplement, can help to raise iron levels.
These are just a few traditional anemia treatments that can effectively raise iron levels. Speak with your doctor about which option may be best for you.
Natural Treatment for Anemia
If you are looking for a natural treatment for anemia, you can do a few things to raise your iron levels:
- Consume foods high in iron, like spinach, red meat, beans, and almonds. If your doctor advises taking an iron supplement, you can also do so.
- Ensure you get enough vitamin C by eating citrus fruits or supplements. Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron more efficiently.
- Cut back on foods that inhibit iron absorption, such as coffee, tea, and eggs.
These tips can raise your iron levels naturally and effectively treat your anemia.
Foods That Raise Iron Levels
Iron is a mineral that's vital to our health. It's found in hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in our blood, and myoglobin, which helps our muscles store oxygen. Iron also plays a role in many essential body processes, including cell growth, immune function, and energy metabolism.
While iron is found in many foods, non-heme iron (the type of iron found in plants) is not as easily absorbed by the body as heme iron (the kind of iron found in animal products). This means that people who don't eat meat or animal products may be at risk for iron deficiency anemia.
There are a few easy strategies to boost your intake of iron and naturally enhance your iron levels:
- Eat more high-iron foods: Foods high in iron include red meat, poultry, fish, beans, lentils, spinach, tofu, fortified cereals, and dried fruit.
- Improve your absorption of non-heme iron: You can improve your absorption of non-heme iron by eating foods containing vitamin C and high-iron foods. Vitamin C helps the body absorb more non-heme iron. Good sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits (such as oranges and grapefruit), tomatoes, bell peppers, broccoli, and leafy greens (such as kale and Swiss chard).
- Avoid or limit foods that inhibit iron absorption: Some substances can hinder the body's ability to absorb iron, such as tannins found in tea and coffee, calcium found in dairy products, and phytates and oxalates found in some plant-based foods. To enhance iron absorption, avoid consuming these items with iron-rich meals and instead consume them between meals. Also, vitamin C may help your body absorb iron more quickly, so eating vitamin C-rich foods like citrus fruits will help you drink more iron.
Supplements to Take for Anemia
Many supplements can help treat anemia, but the most effective supplement is iron. The creation of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen in the blood, depends on ron. Without enough iron, the body cannot produce enough hemoglobin, and anemia results.
The optimal iron supplement for you will depend on your circumstances and come in various formats. If you have problems absorbing iron from your diet, your doctor might suggest an oral iron supplement. This type of supplement is called oral iron therapy.
Oral iron therapy comes in many different forms, including pills, capsules, liquids, and even gummies. The most common form of oral iron therapy is ferrous sulfate, which contains 65% elemental iron.
Ferrous sulfate is usually taken two or three times a day with food. Some people may experience side effects from oral iron therapy, such as constipation or stomach upset. If you do experience side effects, be sure to talk to your doctor so they can adjust your dose or switch you to a different form of iron supplement.
Injectable iron therapy is another option for treating anemia. This type of therapy delivers a high dose of iron directly into the bloodstream and can be very effective in raising low hemoglobin levels.
However, injectable iron therapy can also cause side effects like nausea and vomiting. As with oral iron therapy, be sure if you experience side effects from injectable iron therapy.
When to See a Doctor for Anemia
If you have anemia, see your doctor. They will likely give you a blood test to check your hemoglobin levels. Anemia can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on your blood test results.
If your anemia is mild, you won't need treatment. But if it's more severe, you might need iron supplements or other medication. In some cases, you may need a blood transfusion.
If you have anemia, it's essential to see your doctor regularly so they can monitor your condition and make sure it doesn't get worse.