Anemia

blood-75302_1280
Normal Red Blood Cells

What is it?

Anemia is a condition of the blood in which there are less red blood cells (hemoglobin) than what would be considered normal. This would indicate a low amount of iron in the blood. The main function of the red blood cells is to carry oxygen to the lungs and body tissues and remove carbon dioxide. The symptoms of this condition reflect the lack of oxygen and build-up of carbon dioxide.

There are three classifications: excessive blood loss, excessive red blood cell destruction, and low red blood cell production. To identify which of the classifications, a series of labs are necessary. Just in the “excessive blood loss” classification are many causes, such as a slow-bleeding ulcer or excessive menstruation. Deficient production is the most common cause, but even it can have different causes. It could be due to iron deficiency, low B12, or lack of folic acid.

Symptoms

If the deficiency reaches appoint of concern, it has already become serious. The symptoms often do not get recognized.

  • Loss of appetite
  • Constipation
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Coldness of extremities
  • Pallor
  • Pale and brittle nails
  • Soreness in the mouth
  • Cessation of menstruation

Anemia often is the indication of an underlying health issue.  It should always be investigated, lab tests will assist in determination of the classification of deficiency and the treatment used. It is not recommended that you self-diagnose due to the problems that arise from iron supplementation when not necessary. Too much iron will damage the liver, heart, pancreas, and the activity of immune cells, it has been linked to cancer.

Recommendations 

Certain foods bolster the levels of iron in the blood.  These are: calves liver, Blackstrap molasses (at least one tablespoon twice a day), broccoli, egg yolks, asparagus, red raspberries, plums, prunes, purple grapes, bananas, kelp, whole grains, yams, and squash.

Oxalic Acid in certain foods will block or interfere with absorption of iron. The foods high in Oxalic Acid are almonds, cashews, chocolate, cocoa, rhubarb, soda, spinach, swiss chard, and most nuts and beans. Eliminate these foods or at the very least, limit their consumption.

Note: eating fish with vegetables high in iron will increase the absorption of iron. As does the elimination of sugar from the diet. When taking iron supplements, avoid taking calcium, vitamin E, zinc or antiacids…these will interfere with absorption.

The Following Herbs Are Also Helpful[1]

  • Alfalfa (as a tea)
  • Bilberry
  • Cherry
  • Dandelion
  • Mullein
  • Nettle (tea)
  • Red Raspberries

REFERENCES

James F.  Balch, M.D. and Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C.  Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 2nd Ed. (1997) Avery.

Michael Murray, N.D. and Joseph Pizzorno, N.D. Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Revised 2nd Ed. (1998) Three Rivers.

[1] Other herbs that are not listed may helpful, but not recommended in pregnancy.

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