Anemia is a condition in which the level of healthy red blood cells in the blood is below the normal level. Oxygen and nutrients are carried by hemoglobin (a protein in red blood cells) through the bloodstream to the body’s cells. If there is too few or abnormal red blood cells, the cells will not get enough oxygen for the organs to function properly.
What Causes Anemia?
Anemia occurs when the body is losing blood, making too few healthy red blood cells, or destroying red blood cells.
Anemia Caused by Blood Loss
It is the most common cause of anemia. Red blood cells can be lost through chronic bleeding, commonly resulting from heavy menstrual periods and childbirth or bleeding in the digestive or urinary tract. Conditions such as ulcers, hemorrhoids, gastritis and cancer, or the use of anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen, can also cause blood loss.
Anemia Caused by Decreased or Faulty Red Blood Cell Production
In that case, the body produces too few blood cells or blood cells don’t function correctly.
It can happen if there is a lack of mineral iron (which is needed to make hemoglobin). As a result, the body cannot produce enough hemoglobin for red blood cells. This can be caused by an iron-poor diet (especially in infants, children, vegans, and vegetarians), metabolic demands during pregnancy and breastfeeding (depleting iron and folic acid levels), menstruation, frequent blood donation, certain drugs, foods, and caffeinated drinks.
Vitamin B12 and folate are needed to make red blood cells efficient. Their deficiency can be caused by conditions such as Crohn's disease or infection with HIV, a diet with little or no meat, pregnancy, certain medications, alcohol abuse or intestinal diseases.
If the bone marrow is damaged, it can't make red blood cells fast enough to replace the ones that die or are destroyed. Some cancer treatments may damage the bone marrow or damage the red blood cells' ability to carry oxygen. Lead exposure can also prevent the red cells to mature and grow properly.
Other health conditions such as advanced kidney disease, Hypothyroidism or other chronic diseases (in which there are too few hormones necessary for red blood cell production) can cause this type of anemia.
Anemia Caused by Destruction of Red Blood Cells
When red blood cells are fragile, they may rupture prematurely. It can be caused by inherited conditions (such as sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, lack of certain enzymes and an enlarged or diseased spleen), stressors (such as infections, drugs, snake or spider venom, or certain foods), and toxins from advanced liveror kidney disease, or inappropriate attack by the immune system.
Symptoms & Health complications
Anemia symptoms vary depending on its cause but may include: Fatigue, weakness, pale skin, and a fast or irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, cognitive problems, cold hands and feet, headache.
If not treated, anemia can cause numerous complications, such as: severe fatigue, heart problems (the heart must pump more blood to compensate for the lack of oxygen in the blood), or even death (losing a lot of blood quickly results in an acute, severe anemia and can be fatal).
Anemia can be detected by a simple blood test called a complete blood cell count (CBC). For men, anemia is typically defined as hemoglobin level of less than 13.5 gram/100 ml and in women as hemoglobin of less than 12.0 gram/100 ml.
Prevention & Treatment
Many types of anemia can't be prevented. However, you can help avoid iron deficiency anemia and vitamin deficiency anemia by choosing a diet that includes a variety of vitamins and nutrients.
Dietary Changes and Supplements
To raise your vitamin or iron level, your may need to change your diet or take vitamin or iron supplements. Common vitamin supplements are vitamin B12 and folic acid (folate). Vitamin C sometimes is given to help the body absorb iron.
• Iron : Iron-rich foods include beef and other meats, lentils, iron-fortified cereals and breads, tofu, peas, lentils, white, red, and baked beans, soybeans, chickpeas, spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables, dried fruits (prunes, raisins, and apricots). Iron also is available as a supplement. It's usually combined with multivitamins and other minerals that help your body absorb iron.
• Folate (acid folic): good sources of folic acid include: Bread, pasta, and rice with added folic acid, spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables, black-eyed peas and dried beans, beef liver, eggs, bananas, oranges, orange juice, and some other fruits and juices.
• Vitamin B-12. : Good food sources of vitamin B12 include breakfast cereals with added vitamin B12, meats (such as beef, liver, poultry), fish, eggs and dairy products (such as milk, yogurt, and cheese), foods fortified with vitamin B12 (such as soy-based beverages).
• Vitamin C: Good sources of vitamin C are vegetables and fruits (especially citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, and similar fruits). Other fruits rich in vitamin C include kiwi fruits, strawberries, and cantaloupes. Vegetables rich in vitamin C include broccoli, peppers, brussels sprouts, tomatoes, cabbage, potatoes, and leafy green vegetables (like turnip greens and spinach).
Anemia with herbs
Spirulina is a nutrient-dense form of algae. 10 g of spirulina powder is enough to cover the daily need for vitamin B12 five times over, four times that for vitamin A, 83 percent of the daily requirement for iron, 30 percent of vitamin B2, and 25 percent of vitamin Bj.
It has been successfully tested as a treatment for anemia because of its combination of B vitamin and iron content, along with its antioxidant properties. It works by increasing levels of hemoglobin.
A phytonutrient in spirulina known as phycocyanin has been shown in animal studies to stimulate the bone marrow to produce blood cells more effectively.
Moringa has more nutrition in the leaf than any other plant yet known. It contains Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Calcium, Sellenium, antioxidants, Iron and other nutrients.
Moringa is rich in iron, more than beef liver (200 grams of beef liver contains 20 mg of iron whereas 200 grams of moringa leaves contains 56 mg of iron).
Studies have shown that iron is more easily absorbed when combinations of Vitamin C and Vitamin A are present. Moringa contains both of these important vitamins in high quantities.
Hence, Moringa is a natural and non-invasive solution to persons suffering from iron deficiency.