There are various types of anemia which have been recognized. However, some forms of anemia are either very uncommon or do not respond to traditional nutritional management or support. Anemia is a condition which affects the red blood cells and their capacity to carry oxygen to all tissues of your body. The most common form of anemia is caused from iron deficiency attributed to excessive and/or cyclic blood loss.
In this form of anemia, the iron necessary for the production of hemoglobin within red blood cells is not adequate to formulate new red blood cells. This can result in reduced amounts of hemoglobin and red blood cells and a decreased ability to carry and deliver oxygen to your body cells. Women who are between the ages of 20 and 50 and experience heavy monthly bleeding have an increased risk of developing iron deficiency anemia and may present symptoms of iron deficiency. Here are the two nutritional supplements I recommend to treat anemia:
There are various types of iron supplements available, either over-the-counter or via prescription. The ones most commonly used to treat anemia are ferrous fumarate, which contains 33 mg of available iron per tablet; ferrous gluconate, containing 12 mg of available iron; as well as polysaccharide-iron complex; and heme iron polypeptide complex, which have higher amounts of available iron.
In my opinion, the heme iron polypeptide complex (“Proferrin”) is the best iron supplement available to treat anemia. My reasoning for this is actually threefold.
First of all, this product is made from heme iron sources, and heme iron is much more absorbable in humans. Heme iron is also found in much higher concentrations in animal tissue containing hemoglobin.Most supplements used to treat anemia are made from non-heme iron, and although they contain higher amounts of iron by concentration, they are poorly absorbed in the human digestive tract.
Secondly, this product contains 11 mg of elemental iron, the amount of iron available for absorption. Although ferrous fumarate contains 33 mg of elemental iron per tablet, and therefore sounds like a better option, because its absorbability is approximately three percent, the amount of elemental iron it contains is of no consequence. Although Proferrin only contains 11 mg per tablet, its level of absorption allows for better and improved blood levels of iron.
Lastly, large amounts of poorly absorbed iron supplements are quite commonly associated with gastrointestinal upset, constipation, nausea, and vomiting—the symptoms of iron deficiency. The smaller amounts of highly absorbable iron found in Proferrin can be used two to three times per day on an empty stomach safely, with very few side effects, to improve blood levels of iron and enhanced iron storage. It is also extremely safe for use in pregnancy. Please check with your health care provider before you consider using any iron supplements. Do not take iron supplements unless you have an iron deficiency.
Vitamin C supplements are helpful because they actually improve the absorption of iron by 10%. Although this does not seem like much, it can make a significant difference in the absorption of non-heme sources of iron from your diet, and is very important for those who want to treat anemia; this is especially relevant if you are a vegan or take a supplement which is derived from non-heme iron. I would recommend 500 mg once or twice a day, taken with food to treat anemia and the symptoms of iron deficiency.
Anemia can be a serious condition, and the symptoms of iron deficiency can be frustrating. Some of the best ways to treat anemia are changing your diet and making sure you’re getting enough of these essential nutrients.
“Dietary Supplement Fact Sheets,” Office of Dietary Supplements web site; http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/list-all/, last accessed July 29, 2013
“Comparison of Oral Iron Supplements,” Pharmacist’s Letter, August 2008; http://www.thezlifemag.com/phpages/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/medication-18.pdf, last accessed July 29, 2013.
“Proferrin ®,” Medical Futures Inc. web site; http://medfutures.com/portfolio/proferrin/, last accessed July 29, 2013.