When you’re suffering from symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, dizziness, and irregular heartbeats, it’s no fun. Anemia may result from a lack of red blood cells or dysfunctional red blood cells in your body. This may be a result of nutritional deficiencies such as Vitamin B12 or Folate, internal bleeding, or lack of iron (Iron deficiency Anemia).
The result is that anemia can lead to reduced oxygen flow to certain organs in the body. Finding out that you’re anemic can be a blessing and a curse: you’ve got a diagnosis and reason for your strange symptoms, but now what? The next steps can be perplexing, but don’t stress: anemia is something that in general can be easily managed. By working alongside a doctor that will dig deep to get to the underlying cause, you can reverse your anemia and live a happy, healthy life.
The first step in figuring out the best way to manage anemia is to uncover the root cause. With conventional medicine, the most common causes of anemia are vitamin and iron deficiency. While there are other causes like cancer, AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis, or Crohn’s Disease, typically these are rare. In functional medicine, we consider vitamin or iron deficiencies as the cause, but also dig deeper and consider options like improper diet and parasites. By running certain tests and asking questions about your health history, we can come up with a better idea of what is specifically causing your anemia. The Gut Authority has worked with many patients over the years to improve their health symptoms that may be related to their anemia diagnosis.
By following a proper diet, you can work with your body synergistically to improve your body’s red blood cell count. Typically, if you have been diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia, we recommend an anti-inflammatory diet to help reduce inflammation throughout the body, which can also help the body naturally make more red blood cells. An anti-inflammatory diet generally cuts out gluten, dairy, soy, corn, and sometimes other foods that are known to cause inflammation. Peoples’ bodies respond differently to foods, so it’s important to not only follow your intuition when it comes to choosing foods that are good for your body, but to also identify specific foods that you may be unaware are feeding inflammation in your body. At the Gut Authority, we use specific lab tests to help us guide you in your dietary choices. By eating food rich in iron, the body can naturally restore its reserve by absorbing and utilizing the iron in food. We also use lab tests to identify specific nutrients you may be missing but need in order to absorb iron. Cooking in cast iron may also be a wonderful way to naturally help increase iron stores in the body, reducing anemia.
Most people get enough iron from the foods they eat, but those who struggle with anemia may not be as fortunate. People with iron-deficiency anemia need to focus on consuming more foods that are high in iron. Some foods that are naturally high in iron are as follows:
By increasing these foods, you may help reduce your symptoms of anemia as you consume a healthier diet. All of these foods are generally allowed on a Paleo type diet, which is known to help lower inflammation. Liberally enjoying foods from this list can help improve your body’s health, assisting the body to heal on its own.
In addition to following a proper diet, there are other tips and tricks you can use to assist your body in healing. Your spleen is an organ responsible for red blood cell production, so nourishing your spleen can be a great way to boost production. Using probiotics to help heal the gut can also be a great idea, as gut health affects so much in the body. When your gut isn’t absorbing nutrients properly, you’re more likely to get anemia. Reducing stress is a good idea to move out of the “flight or fight”, sympathetic state. This will allow the healing or parasympathetic state which puts the body into a state of rest and digestion, allowing your body to utilize nutrients more effectively. Supplementation of certain vitamins and minerals can also be helpful in managing anemia.
Working with a qualified holistic practitioner can make all the difference in your health. If you live in the Pensacola/Pascagoula, FL, or Gulf Shores/Mobile, AL, areas, we would love to assist you in your health journey. Give us a call to schedule your first appointment- we are looking forward to helping you!