Ohh c’mon!!! I have just entered adulthood…I can’t have iron deficiency…Isn’t this that most of us think in a normal scenario? But the fact is iron deficiency can be observed in all age groups and sex. But adolescent girls are more vulnerable to it. Iron deficiency can result either due to Inadequate dietary iron intake, increased demand, or blood loss due to any reason. Let’s get to know everything about Anemia ( Types, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment of Anemia).
Iron is an important micronutrient that is essential for various functions in the human body. It is essential for cellular growth, oxygen binding, transport and storage, enzymatic reactions, immune function, mental and physical growth, etc. So, deficiency of iron can affect mental and physical growth resulting in decreased learning capacity and work productivity.
According to WHO nutritional anemia is a major public health problem in India (R1). It is mainly due to iron deficiency. Iron Deficiency Anaemia (IDA) is a global health problem (R2).
The reasons may be increased iron demand, menstrual blood loss, infection, worm infestation, etc.
What is Anaemia?
Anemia is a metabolic disorder where hemoglobin levels are less than 12 in females and 13 in males (R3). Anemia results from a reduced amount of red blood cells in the body. It leads to reduced oxygen flow to the body’s organs.
Causes of Anaemia:
Some Most common causes of anemia are as follows.
- Blood loss, such as from heavy menstrual bleeding or surgeries and accidents
- An ulcer
- Regular use of some over-the-counter pain relievers
Different types of anemia have different causes. They include:
It is caused by low levels of iron in the body. Which results in reduced hemoglobin levels(R4).
Pernicious anemia / Vitamin deficiency anemia:
Caused due to deficiency of folate and vitamin B-12 leading to decreased red blood cell production (R5).
Anemia due to inflammation:
Caused due to inflammatory diseases like Cancer, Rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, as well as HIV and renal diseases (R6).
Aplastic anemia and Bone marrow disease-related anemia:
Certain medicines, Toxic chemical, or autoimmune diseases sometimes lead to decreased production of RBC causing Aplastic anemia. This is rare but life-threatening anemia. Leukemia and myelofibrosis can also be a causative factor of this rare kind of anemia(R7)
Hemolytic anemia can be genetic in some cases. It occurs when red blood cells are destroyed at a fast pace and the bone marrow fails to replace these cells at the same speed (R8).
Sickle cell anemia is genetic and It’s caused by a defective formation of hemoglobin cell in an abnormal crescent (sickle) shape. These irregular blood cells die prematurely, resulting in a chronic shortage of red blood cells (R9).
Symptoms of Anaemia:
- Shortness of breath
- Frequent headaches
- Feeling of dizziness
- Regular cramps in legs
- Difficulty in concentrating (R10)
Who is Susceptible to Anemia?
- Women, only because they tend to lose blood during menstruation
- Pregnant women skip multivitamin with folic acid and iron
- People above 65 years
- Diet low in iron, vitamin B-12
- Cancer, kidney failure or another chronic condition lead to a shortage of red blood cells
- People who repeatedly donate blood without an adequate time gap. (R11)
Treatment of Anemia:
A proper balanced and nutritious diet is the key to prevent anemia. The best diet plan for anemia includes foods rich in iron and other vitamins essential to hemoglobin and RBC production. The nutrients should help your body absorb iron better. Read – Indian Diet plan to increase Hemoglobin level.
There are two types of iron in foods: haeme iron and non-haeme iron.
- Haeme iron is found in meat, poultry, and seafood.
- Non-haeme iron is found in plant foods and foods fortified with iron.
Your body can absorb both types, but haeme iron is more easily absorbed by the human gut. The daily requirement is 150 to 200 milligrams of iron. (R12)
If the diet is not sufficient in providing the required iron one must always consider taking a supplement. But it is necessary that the prescription comes from the certified professional, Livogen Tonic is one such supplement that fulfills the daily iron requirement. Livogen tonic consists of the appropriate proportions of iron, folic acid, B complex, and zinc that help to avoid any deficiencies.
Foods to Eat in Iron Deficiency Anemia:
Green leafy vegetables:
Dark green leafy vegetables are among the best sources of non-haeme iron. They include:
Some greens high in iron, such as spinach and kale, are also high in oxalates. Oxalates are compounds that prevent the absorption of non-haeme iron. So, don’t depend on them solely to treat the condition. Compliment your greens with vitamin C rich foods. Vitamin C helps your stomach to absorb iron. ( R13 )
Meat and poultry:
All meat and poultry contain haeme iron. Red meat and lamb are the best sources. Poultry and chicken have lower amounts. Eating meat or poultry with non-haeme iron foods, such as leafy greens, can increase iron absorption.
As per the normal scenario, people avoid organ meats, but they’re an excellent source of iron. The liver is arguably the most popular organ meat. It’s rich in iron and folate. Some other iron-rich organ meats are heart and kidney.
Seafood provides haeme iron. Shellfish such as oysters, clams, and shrimp are good sources. Most fishes contain iron.
Many foods are fortified externally with iron. Include such foods to your diet if it is deficient in iron:
- Fortified orange juice
- Fortified ready-to-eat cereals
- Foods made from fortified refined flour
- Fortified pasta
- Foods made from fortified cornmeal
- Fortified white rice
Vegetarians can obtain their share of dietary iron from beans. They’re also inexpensive and can blend with any diet. Some iron-rich options are:
- Kidney beans
- Black-eyed peas
- Black beans
Nuts and seeds:
Many types of nuts and seeds are good sources of iron. You can mix these with salads, soups or sprinkle it over your favorite recipe. It blends well with most of the salad, juice, and soup recipes. Few of the examples are:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Pine nuts
- Sunflower seeds
Foods to Avoid in Iron Deficiency Anemia:
- Tea and coffee: These are rich in tannins, oxalates, and caffeine. Try not to combine such foods along with iron-rich recipes.
- Milk and some dairy products: High calcium content tends to compete with the absorption of iron from the intestine. Thus, consume such foods separately.
- Foods that contain tannins, such as grapes, corn, and sorghum as it hinders the iron absorption in the blood.
- Foods that contain phytates or phytic acids, such as brown rice and whole-grain wheat products. Such foods to reduce iron absorption.
- Food that contains oxalic acid, such as peanuts, parsley, and chocolate
- Almonds are also a good source of iron. But they are also high in calcium and might reduce iron absorption.
Points to remember:
- Don’t eat iron-rich foods along with foods or beverages that block iron absorption. These include coffee or tea, eggs, foods high in oxalates, and foods high in calcium.
- Eat iron-rich foods with vitamin C-rich foods, such as oranges, tomatoes, or strawberries, to improve absorption.
- Eat iron-rich foods with foods that contain beta carotene, such as apricots, red peppers, and beets, to improve absorption.
- Consume a variety of haeme and non-haeme iron foods throughout the day to up your iron intake.
- Eat haeme and non-haeme iron foods together whenever possible to increase iron absorption.
A single food alone cannot cure anemia. Instead, you can prevent iron deficiency in the body with the right foods. Eating an overall balanced healthy diet rich in dark, leafy greens, nuts and seeds, seafood, meat, and beans manage anemia. Taking Livogen Tonic in severe cases will also be helpful. Acidic foods absorb the most iron. Avoid combining calcium-rich foods and iron-rich foods as it may reduce the absorption of both iron and calcium.