Anaemia can be a major cause of tiredness in our lives and while improvements in diet and over the counter supplements can help us overcome this it can also be an indication of more serious health issues and if left untreated can result in hospitalization and possibly blood transfusions.  There are more than 400 types of Anemia divided into 3 categories –

  • Blood Loss
  • Decreased or faulty cell production
  • Destruction of red blood cells
Causes –
  • Blood Loss – Heavy Periods, internal blood loss such as Ulcers
  • Decreased or Faulty Cells – Low iron resulting in decreased  production and deficiency of Folic Acid or vitamin B12 resulting in faulty cells
  • Destruction of red blood cells –  Conditions that affect the immune system, infections, chemotherapy and genetic disorders
Symptoms –
  • Tiredness
  • Paleness (a quick check is to pull your lower eyelid down, it should be nice and pink, if not then it’s a good bet you are anaemic)
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Breathlessness
  • Dizziness
Iron-deficiency Anemia –

This is the most common type of Anemia, often caused heavy periods, pregnancy or diet. Iron is needed to make Hemoglobin, a key component in delivering oxygen and nutrients to organs, tissues, muscles and the brain by your red blood cells. Another factor is vitamin deficiency, specifically B12 and Folic Acid (folate), this leads to the haemoglobin that is made being misshapen so it does not work properly

Diet, therefore, can play a big part in helping this type of Anemia, good sources of Iron, Folate and vitamin B12 are –

  • Red Meat (Iron & B12) – Vegetarian and Vegan diets can struggle here as meat is the best source of B12, add nutritional yeast instead
  • Poultry & Shellfish (folate)
  • Eggs, milk and dairy (B12)
  • Spinach and green leafy veggies (Iron and Folate)
  • Beans and Lentils (Folate)
  • Dried fruits such as raisins and apricots (iron)
  • Whole grains such as brown rice (folate)
  • Fortified Cereals (folate)
Advised daily dietary intakes for men and women are –
  • Men 18+ 8.7mg
  • Women 19-50 14.8mg
  • Women 50+ 8.7mg

Depending on your type and level of iron deficiency there are 2 types of supplements, over the counter or prescribed. Low-level deficiency can be helped by diet as well as over the counter supplements, it’s recommended that you take no more than 17mg daily of supplements and personally I would only use as an initial way of getting levels back up,  this is because they can cause side effects such as constipation. Drink orange juice after taking supplements as vitamin C helps iron absorption

Higher-level deficiency, caused by something like heavy periods, will require prescription level supplements, again these come with side effects such as –

  • Constipation
  • Tummy pain
  • Heartburn
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhoea
  • Feeling sick

If you think you are suffering from Anemia a trip to your GP is your first port of call as diagnosing the type of Anemia is really important for finding the cause and advising treatment, this will normally require a blood test to check your full blood count (FBC) which checks if the amount of red blood cells you have is normal, then they will advise the best course of treatment.

Like this post? why not try 3 Reasons Vitamin C Benefits Your Health

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