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What options are there for anemia?

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asked Jul 5, 2012 in Conditions and Treatments by anonymous
edited Jul 5, 2012 by LarryEitel
Anemia is caused by many things.   Poor diet, lack of self-produced erythropoietin, an acute bleeding problem, chronic bleeding problem, iron insufficiency, surgical blood loss, bone marrow problems.  

 
Any one of these issues would direct how anemia is treated.  However, we might assume the person comes to the Emergency Department with symptoms of anemia, breathlessness, rapid heart beat, confusion.  The immediate treatment might be similar while the attending physician looks for the underlying cause.

2 Answers

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My anemia was caused by a combination of vegetarianism plus monthly feminine blood loss. A friend suggested that I take 1 teaspoon of blackstrap molasses daily in my morning oatmeal. My doctor tested me 3 months after beginning the regimen, finding that my iron level was in a high normal range! 

answered Jul 5, 2012 by nomoreviolins (220 points)
Are you the same anonymous who posed the original question?
No, I am not. I've often been anemic, though, usually due to poor diet. I have learned that the old Popeye the sailor man suggestion of eating spinach is beneficial, as well as all other intensely green leaves. But learning to love eating greens is a huge challenge for me. I didn't grow up eating greens and I'm just beginning to find ways to prepare them that are tasty. So when I heard about blackstrap molasses, I jumped on that! I love, love, love molasses!
You are definetly in the right ballpark with the Greens, Spinach, and Blackstrap Molasses, because they all contain iorn.

I too am anemic and find that when I eat these, my anemia improves.

Also liquid Chlorophyll is a good choice.

You get the benefits of the greens, and you can mix it with ice water for a tasty drink .

It has a natural mint taste to it, and will help raise the hemoglobin.
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If you are vegetarian you are not eating heme containing iron as that is found only in animal based foods.  You are eating foods with non-heme iron that is not as easily absorbed.  The daily requirement of iron for is 33 milligrams for pre-menopausal woman and 14 for post-menopausal women.  Anemia is no higher in vegetarians and vegans that in others as long as a balanced thoughtful diet is maintained.    

 

Here are some plant basted foods and their iron content:   

 

 

Table 1: Iron Content of Selected Vegan Foods

Food

Amount

Iron (mg)

Soybeans, cooked 1 cup 8.8
Blackstrap molasses 2 Tbsp 7.2
Lentils, cooked 1 cup 6.6
Spinach, cooked 1 cup 6.4
Quinoa, cooked 1 cup 6.3
Tofu 4 ounces 6.0
Bagel, enriched 3 ounces 5.2
Tempeh 1 cup 4.8
Lima beans, cooked 1 cup 4.4
Swiss chard, cooked 1 cup 4.0
Black beans, cooked 1 cup 3.6
Pinto beans, cooked 1 cup 3.5
Turnip greens, cooked 1 cup 3.2
Chickpeas, cooked 1 cup 3.2
Potato 1 large 3.2
Kidney beans, cooked 1 cup 3.0
Prune juice 8 ounces 3.0
Beet greens, cooked 1 cup 2.7
Tahini 2 Tbsp 2.7
Veggie hot dog 1 hot dog 2.7
Peas, cooked 1 cup 2.5
Black-eyed peas, cooked 1 cup 2.3
Cashews 1/4 cup 2.1
Brussels sprouts, cooked 1 cup 1.9
Bok choy, cooked 1 cup 1.8
Bulgur, cooked 1 cup 1.7
Raisins 1/2 cup 1.6
Almonds 1/4 cup 1.5
Apricots, dried 15 halves 1.4
Veggie burger, commercial 1 patty 1.4
Watermelon 1/8 medium 1.4
Soy yogurt 6 ounces 1.1
Tomato juice 8 ounces 1.0
Green beans, cooked 1 cup 1.2
Kale, cooked 1 cup 1.2
Sunflower seeds 1/4 cup 1.2
Broccoli, cooked 1 cup 1.1
Millet, cooked 1 cup 1.1
Sesame seeds 2 Tbsp 1.0

Sources: USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 18, 2005 and Manufacturer's information.

The RDA for iron for vegetarians is 14 mg/day for adult men and for post-menopausal women and 33 mg/day for pre-menopausal women.

 

 


Table 2: Comparison of Iron Sources

Food

Iron
(mg/100 calories)

Spinach, cooked 15.7
Collard greens, cooked 3.1
Lentils, cooked 2.9
Broccoli, cooked 1.9
Hamburger, lean, broiled 1.2
Chickpeas, cooked 1.1
Sirloin steak, choice, broiled 0.9
Chicken, breast roasted, no skin 0.6
Pork chop, pan fried 0.4
Flounder, baked 0.3
Milk, skim 0.1
Note that the top iron sources are vegan.

 

answered Jul 5, 2012 by Jan B. Wade (4,930 points)

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