Condition and Causes
Anaemia is a deficiency of red blood cells and/or hemoglobin that results in a reduced ability to carry and transfer oxygen to the body’s tissues. Suffers usually suffer unusual levels of tiredness, mild anemia may not produce any symptoms. Anaemia can be divided into two types one that trigged by the decreased production of red blood cells and one caused by an increased loss to red blood cells. Red blood cells are manufactured in the bone marrow and have a life expectancy of approximately four months. To produce red blood cells the body needs, iron, vitamin B12 and folic acid. If one of these nutrients are lacking anemia will develop.
Iron deficiency is anaemia is the most common type of anaemia, especially among women. The lack of iron is often triggered by heavy blood loss through childbirth or menstruation, and the body’s inability to absorb iron from the diet or a diet that lacks iron-rich foods.
Vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia is frequently caused by either the inability of small bowel to absorb vitamin B12, or by lack of food in the diet containing vitamin B12 It frequently occurs in elderly people although it may also be present in the young, particularly women.
Folic acid deficiency anaemia is caused by a lack of folic acid. Folic acid is not stored in large amounts in the body and a continuous supply of the nutrient is needed.
Signs and symptoms
- Unusual tiredness
- Difficulty in breathing and shortness of breath
- Dizziness / lightheadedness
- Poor concentration
- Recurrent infections
- Loss appetite
- Heart rate up
Anaemia’s symptoms can easily go unrecognized. The first signs of developing anaemia may be a loss of appetite, constipation, headaches, irritability, and or difficulty concentrating.
When anaemia is established it can produce such symptoms as weakness, fatigue, coldness of the extremities; depression; dizziness; overall pallor, most noticeable in pale and brittle nails; pale lips and eye lids; soreness in the mouth; and in women cessation of menstruation. Anaemia has also been linked to a loss of libido.
Medical Approach and Treatment
The treatment is dependent on the type of Anaemia it is the same as the nutritional approach.
To treat anaemia caused by a B12 or folate deficiency: B12 and folic acid levels can be obtained by a blood test. A Schilling urine test is also used to determine if the body is able to absorb vitamin B12 adequately. Treatment involves B12 injections every three months, or a high dose of folic acid supplements.
To treat iron deficiency anaemia: Diagnostic tests are carried out to first determine that there is no hidden blood loss, for example, due to a heavy period, an ulcer or other occult gastrointestinal bleeding. If blood loss is detected, medication is prescribed to treat the cause and prevent further loss. Iron pills are also prescribed, usually in the form of ferrous sulphate, in the amount of 60 mg of elemental iron three times a day. Eat vitamin C source with iron rich foods to enhance the absorption of iron. Iron pills can upset the stomach, taking the iron with meals and starting at a lower dose than recommended and gradually increasing it can alleviate discomfort.
Nutrition Approach and Treatment
Plan you meals around food that contain iron, such as liver, leeks, cashews, cherries, figs, organic grass-fed beef and leafy vegetable except for spinach. Spinach contains oxalic acid, which inhibits iron absorption. For this reason also avoid rhubarb, tomatoes, chocolate, coffee, carbonated drinks and black tea. Brewer’s yeast is a good source of iron as well as other essential nutrients.
Other foods include apples, apricots, asparagus, bananas, broccoli, egg yolks, kelp, leafy green vegetables, okra, parsley, peas, plums, prunes, purple grapes, raisins, rice bran, squash, turnip greens, wholegrains, and yams. Eat foods with high vitamin C to enhance iron absorption. Raw beet greens, mustard greens, lentils, dried peaches, and prune juice should be included.
Eat fish at the same time as vegetables containing iron increases iron absorption. Omitting all sugars from the diet increases iron absorption as well.
Consume at least 1 teaspoon of blackstrap molasses twice daily. Blackstrap molasses is a good source of iron and essential B vitamins
Eat foods containing oxalic acid in moderation or avoid them altogether. Oxalic acid interferes with iron absorption. Foods high in oxalic acid include almonds, cashews, chocolate, cocoa, kale, rhubarb, soda, spinach, and mostly nuts and beans.
Avoid beer, chocolate dairy productions, ice cream and soft drinks. Addictives in these foods interfere with iron absorption. For the same reason, avoid coffee and tea.
Do not smoke. Avoid secondhand smoke.
Minimize your exposure to lead and other toxic metals.
Do not take calcium, vitamin E, zinc, or antacids at the same time as iron supplements. These can interfere with iron absorption.
Raw liver extract contains all the elements needed for red blood cell production. Use liver from organically raised beef.
Blackstrap molasses contains ion and essential B vitamins
Folic acid plus biotin needed for red blood cell production
Iron to restore the nutrient, use ferrous gluconate form.
Vitamin B12 injections or just normal vitamin B12 is essential in red blood cell production and to break down and prepare protein for cellular use. Injections are best. If injections are not available, use lozenge or sublingual form for best absorption.
Vitamin B Complex important for red blood cell production. Involved in cellular reproduction. Vitamin B6 also aids in absorption of vitamin B12.
Vitamin C is important for iron absorption.
Copper and zinc are needed in red blood cell production. Only 2mg of copper and 30 mg of zinc are needed daily.
Vitamin A is important for antioxidants
Vitamin E is important for red blood cell survival, prolongs their lifespan of these cells.
Alfalfa, bilberry, cherry, dandelion, goldenseal, grape skins, hawthorn berry, mullein, nettle, Oregon grape root, pau d’arco, red raspberry, shepherd purse and yellow dock are good for anaemia.
Nettle is a nutritious plant rich in iron, vitamin C, chlorophyll, and other minerals, an effective supplement in the treatment of deficiency anaemia.
CV 4 and SP10 and Sp 6 (meeting point of three Yin channels of the foot (Spleen, Kidney, and Liver) are points suggested for anaemia.
Deep channel clear, organ balance, or can opener on the Spleen as this governs to quality and quantity of blood, as well as Liver which govern the flow of blood. Check for balance in the fire element as this regards the blood.
Ferrum phos is suitable for iron deficiency anaemia with symptoms of pale complexion and a tendencity to blush easily and rapidly. There may be palpitations and a heady feeling during a period.
Calc phos is suitable for when symptoms of iron deficiency develop after an illness. Symptoms are poor muscle tone, weak digestion, and a history of cold hands and feet, indicating poor circulation.