If you or your loved one are experiencing iron deficiency anemia or vitamin deficiency anemia (primarily a deficiency of B-12 or B-9), this blog may be for you! We here at Agape Nutrition have created a how-to guide to tackling both types of anemia with the use of dietary changes/supplements. We’ll cover what foods and supplements you can take to curb your anemia deficiencies and abate unpleasant symptoms.
Note: Please consult your doctor or primary care provider before drastically altering your diet or adding any supplements to said diet. Supplements may react adversely to your current medications. Your healthcare plan should be tailored to your specific needs. While these supplements and foods may be right for some, it’s okay if they aren’t right for you!
A Bit About Anemia
Anemia, whether based on iron or vitamin B deficiencies, is caused by reduced production of healthy red blood vessels in your body. According to Cleveland Clinic, “Your healthcare provider may order a blood test to check your complete blood count. The blood test will measure your hemoglobin and how many red cells are in your body. If these levels are low, your provider can make a diagnosis of anemia.”
Amenia based in iron deficiency means you aren’t getting enough iron from the food you are consuming. Some foods that you can consume to increase your iron levels are red meats, shellfish, spinach, pumpkin seeds, and quinoa! We’ve attached a list of iron-rich foods from Healthline for your use here!
Your nutritional needs can be met through dietary changes, but with anemia, that proves significantly difficult. This is where supplements come in! Iron is necessary to produce your red blood cells, and taking oral or intravenous supplements is an easy way to replenish your body’s supply.
Specifically, a ferrous sulfate supplement can be prescribed if you can’t get enough iron from your diet.
B-12 and B-9
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Vitamin deficiency anemia can occur if you don't eat enough foods containing vitamin B-12 and folate, or if your body has trouble absorbing or processing these vitamins.”
Foods with B-12 include meat, eggs, and milk, which may not be a part of your diet if you are vegetarian or vegan. While nutritional yeast and fortified cereals may be able to provide you with some B-12, supplements are a helpful way to replenish your B-12 consistently(provided you do not have an intestinal issue, then it’s important to see your doctor for prescribed treatment).
B-9 or Folates are found mostly in dark leafy greens and liver. Broccoli, spinach, oranges, and enriched grains are all foods that can help you replenish your B-9 supply. Because B-9 is easier to replenish by food, we’ve linked a list here! However, if supplements are more equitable for you, those are available as well!