There are several types of anemia whereby the number of red blood cells, or the amount of hemoglobin they carry, is low. A reduction of either limits the amount of oxygen available to the lungs and other areas of the body. A simple blood test can determine anemia.
Vitamin B12 and folic acid are used by the bone marrow to make red blood cells. A deficiency of one or both causes pernicious anemia. Iron-deficiency anemia is the most common type of anemia. One in four North American women has low iron or iron-deficiency anemia. Women are more susceptible than men due to blood loss during their monthly cycles. Yet over 57 percent of women do not get adequate levels of iron from their diet. Women require up to 20 mg of iron daily during the childbearing years, but most get less than 10 mg per day from food and often it is poorly absorbed. Other groups who are more likely to suffer low iron include women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, newborns, tots, teens, vegetarian, vegans, seniors, athletes and regular exercisers.
You do not have to be anemic to experience symptoms. Even low iron can cause fatigue, shortness of breath, poor concentration, depression, peeling fingernails, paleness, rapid heartbeat, chest pains, inability to exercise even moderately, hair loss, infertility and heavy periods. Cracks at the sides of the mouth and spoon-like fingernails are also signs of anemia. In those with pernicious anemia, if vitamin B12 deficiency is left unaddressed, neurological problems can arise.
If your dietary iron is insufficient, or if you are a vegetarian, a chronic dieter or on a reduced-calorie diet, you are a candidate for low iron or iron-deficiency anemia. Blood loss is another factor; heavy menstrual periods, regularly giving blood, certain medications (especially aspirin) and chronic bleeding disorders are low-iron culprits. At certain times the body’s need for iron increases, including during growth spurts, pregnancy and breastfeeding. A deficiency can occur quickly during these times of heightened need. Regular exercise also increases the need for iron, which is why athletes are one group prone to iron deficiency. Lastly, some people, including the elderly and people with digestive issues and or/disease, have a reduced ability to absorb or use iron from food.
Liposomal Iron Raises Iron Fast
Not all iron supplements are equal. If you need supplemental iron, first make sure the iron you are taking states “elemental” on the package. Elemental iron (the iron you actually get from total iron) in a daily dosage of 10 to 30 mg is preferred. Liquids and capsules are easier to digest and absorb than tablets that are coated and contain fillers and binders that make them hard.
Liposomal iron is the best choice. Iron delivered in a liposome (picture iron in a protective bubble) improves iron absorption because the iron is able to travel through the acidic stomach and is delivered to the receptors in the small intestine. As a result, hemoglobin (a measure for circulating iron) and ferritin (the amount of iron your body stores) increase quickly and the iron does not cause the stomach upset and constipation associated with the high-dose iron tablets that doctors recommend. You can take liposomal iron with or without food or supplements, which is unique because most iron supplements must be taken alone to promote absorption.
There are many forms of iron, some better absorbed than others. Research indicates that the absorption of liposomal iron in the form of ferric pyrophosphate – tested two hours after oral administration – is five times greater than ferrous fumarate, the most common form recommended by doctors. And after 12 hours, the total iron count in blood for liposomal iron was far higher than all other regular forms of iron tested. IRONsmart contains liposomal ferric pyrophosphate and raises iron levels quickly and effectively.
Uterine fibroids and adenomyosis are a common cause of abnormal menstrual bleeding in women, which can contribute to anemia. See Uterine Fibroids for treatment information. Treat heavy periods aggressively.
Avoid alcohol, coffee, tobacco, birth control pills and topical steroids – they inhibit vitamin B12 absorption.
Take digestive enzymes before a meal, but do not drink fluids while eating – that will dilute digestive enzymes.
Eat calf liver.
Eat plenty of dark green leafy vegetables.
Lack of iron inhibits thyroid hormone. Have your thyroid checked.
Low iron is associated with high mercury.
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