Iron deficiency anemia (also known as iron deficiency, iron deficiency or sideropenia) occurs when hemoglobin levels in the blood are less than:

-14 g / dl in men,
-12 g / dl in women, but the reference value is 11 for pregnant women.


Causes of iron deficiency anemia in the blood

Iron is one of the most important minerals for the body.

There may be many causes of iron deficiency and the most common are:

  • Loss of blood This occurs mainly in women during the menstrual cycle . In addition, diseases such as gastric ulcer (often caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori), polyps in the colon and hiatal hernia cause chronic but slow blood loss in the body and, consequently, iron deficiency.
  • Diet without iron. Some people can not absorb enough iron, despite having a diet rich in that nutrient. This may be due to diseases such as celiac disease that prevents the gut from absorbing nutrients from food.
  • Bypass or removal of the small intestine.
  • Cancers like leukemia , HIV / AIDS and other chronic inflammatory diseases that are responsible for the decrease in red blood cells.
  • In some cases, the bone marrow becomes unable to produce red blood cells.
    This dangerous disease is known as aplastic anemia .
  • The intestinal worms and pinworms can cause anemia because they absorb nutrients.
  • Hemoglobin defect:  Sickle cell anemia , thalassemia,  and hemolytic anemia(occurs when red blood cells are destroyed at a faster rate than needed to replace them).
  • Pregnancy and certain medicines , for example, chemotherapy drugs.
  • Older people suffer from anemia more than young people because of malnutrition or illness.


There are three main types of anemia:

1. Macrocytic anemia –  hyperchromic  (pernicious and folate deficiency)

It is also known as megaloblastic anemia and occurs when red blood cells assume an abnormal shape, but the hemoglobin concentration remains normal.

In macrocytic anemia the mean corpuscular volume (MCV) is greater than 94 fl.
Deficiency of vitamin B12 or folates alters DNA synthesis and causes premature death of red blood cells.
The consequence is a reduced number of mature erythrocytes.
There is an imbalance in the synthesis of RNA and DNA.
Nuclear functions and cell division are hampered.

This type of anemia weakens the immune system and body defenses because it reduces the number of lymphocytes (white blood cells) that produce the antibodies.
Anyone who has undergone a removal of a part of the stomach or small intestine may have problems absorbing vitamin B12.


2. Microcytic anemia – hypochromic  (sideroblastic or thalassemia)

In this type of anemia too little erythrocytes are produced and the hemoglobin concentration decreases.
Hypochromia can occur even if the cells are normal in size.
The main causes may be stomach ulcers and digestive hemorrhage due to angiodysplasia.
In microcytic hypochromic anemia the mean corpuscular volume (MCV) is less than 80 fl.

The pregnant women or who have periods  are prone to suffer from this type of anemia.
During pregnancy and lactation, metabolic requirements reduce iron in the body.
Diseases of iron metabolism, porphyrin and heme synthesis or the synthesis of globin can cause hypochromic anemia.
To prevent or treat this disorder, it is necessary to eat foods with a high content of :

  • C vitamin,
  • Ferro,
  • Copper.

Proper levels of copper in the blood are vital for the transport of iron throughout the body and vitamin C helps iron absorption greatly
It is necessary to avoid foods and substances that inhibit the absorption of iron in the body:

  • Tea,
  • Coffee and beverages containing caffeine,
  • Whole grains,
  • Too much milk and dairy products,
  • Antacids


3. Anemia normocytic – normochromic  (aplastic disease, post-hemorrhagic, hemolytic, chronic sickle cell).

In this type of anemia the destruction / depletion of normal or mature red blood cells occurs.
The size of these cells and the hemoglobin content is normal, but the amount of hemoglobin is insufficient.
If not diagnosed in time, it can cause a cardiovascular collapse ( heart attack due to blood pressure).
It can aggravate diseases:

  • Cardiac,
  • Pulmonary,
  • Cerebrovascular.


Symptoms of anemia

Symptoms of iron deficiency in children

The newborn has about 500 mg of iron in the body. When it grows and approaches adulthood it needs about 5000 mg of iron for the proper functioning of the organs.
Children need to introduce about 10 mg of iron per day through feeding. In children, some symptoms of iron deficiency may be:

  • General weakness ;
  • Excessive eating desires, especially non-food materials (ice, paper, plaster, etc.);
  • Lack of concentration ;
  • Shortness of breath ;
  • Slow growth;
  • Stool with traces of blood  – If anemia is caused by intestinal bleeding.
  • Brittle nails;
  • Itchy skin ;
  • Yellowish eyes;
  • Paleness of the skin;
  • Slow development of motor skills;
  • Chronic irritability .

These symptoms indicate the lack of iron that parents should control in children.
After talking to the doctor, the correct treatment should be started immediately to avoid permanent damage.


Symptoms of iron deficiency in women

In pregnant women, symptoms should be monitored carefully because they need three times as much iron as other people (the recommended intake is 27 mg / day).
These are some of the symptoms that indicate low levels of iron in women:


Symptoms of iron deficiency in men

In men, symptoms of iron deficiency may be:

If any of these symptoms appear, seek medical advice.
In athletes, symptoms of low iron level may be caused by:

  • A strict diet,
  • Excessive sweating ,
  • Expulsion of iron through the urine,
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding.


Diagnosis of iron deficiency anemia

For the diagnosis it is necessary to do blood tests that include:

  • Complete blood count  – In the case of anemia, the following values ​​are low: hemoglobin (Hb) and mean corpuscular volume (MCV).
  • Dosage of ferritin (a protein that contains a substantial amount of iron and indicates the amount of iron in the body).
  • Dosage of transferrin,
  • Examination of serum iron,
  • Erythrocyte indices: mean corpuscular hemoglobin (HCM) and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (CHCM).


Anemia in pregnancy

Anemia is a common health problem during pregnancy. Since it is a serious illness, it can cause complications.

Causes of iron deficiency anemia in pregnancy
Iron deficiency anemia is especially observed during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.
During this time, the child needs the maternal red blood cells to develop.
Women who do not consume adequate amounts of iron-containing foods to balance the destruction of red blood cells become anemic.

Deficiency of folic acid
The folic acid (folate) is a vitamin is necessary for the health of the baby.
The researchers noted that eating foods containing folic acid during pregnancy may reduce the risk of damage to the baby’s brain and spinal cord.

Lack of Vitamin B12 in the Body
This vitamin is essential for:

  • The formation of red blood cells,
  • Protein synthesis.

The loss of blood can cause the development of anemia during pregnancy.
Some pregnant women may experience digestive hemorrhage or hemorrhoids , resulting in an excessive loss of blood.
Anemia can also be caused by blood loss during and after giving birth.


What to do?Treatment for iron deficiency anemia

Medical treatment for iron  deficiency anemia includes iron supplements or medicines for diseases that cause anemia.

Treating the causes of iron deficiency
Your doctor may prescribe certain medications or interventions to remove the cause of sideropenic anemia, for example:

1. The contraceptive pill to reduce menstrual blood loss;
2. Antibiotics and other medications to treat peptic ulcer;
3. Surgery to remove a bleeding polyp, fibroid  or cancer.


Natural Remedies for Iron Deficiency Anemia

Iron Supplements
Your doctor may recommend some iron supplements in pill form.
Iron is also available in liquid form for infants and children.

Do not take iron with antacid medicines: these medicines relieve heartburn , but may interfere with the absorption of iron.
Take the iron tablets along with vitamin C because this substance improves the absorption of iron.
Supplements may cause:


Food and diet for iron deficiency anemia

Foods that inhibit the absorption of iron

There are several foods that can negatively affect the absorption of iron due to the presence of some compounds.

Calcium-rich foods
Calcium can prevent the absorption of heme and non-heme iron.
Some calcium-rich foods that may affect iron absorption include:

  • Milk,
  • Yogurt,
  • Cheese,
  • Salmon,
  • Sardine,
  • Tofu,
  • Figo,
  • Rhubarb,
  • Neighbor.

It has been observed that 50 mg of calcium has a negligible effect on the absorption of iron.
Intake of 300-600 mg of calcium may significantly inhibit iron absorption.
However, some calcium-rich foods such as fish and figs are important sources of iron.

Phosphorus-rich foods
Phosphorus is important for bone health.
However, it can adversely affect the absorption of non-heme iron.
Phosphorus is mainly found in:

  • Meats,
  • Birds,
  • Fish,
  • Dairy products,
  • Whole grains,
  • Nuts,
  • Legumes.

Meat, fish and poultry are excellent sources of heme iron; however, cooking reduces the concentration of iron in food and meat should be avoided because it is not useful for the body.

Coffee and tea
Coffee and tea can affect the ability to absorb iron, mainly due to the presence of a compound called tannin .
Tannins are polyphenols that may have a strong inhibitory effect on the absorption of non-heme iron.

Beverages containing tannins are:

  • Café,
  • Tea,
  • Red wine,
  • Beer,
  • Apple juice,
  • Wild fruit juice.

Foods That Contain Oxalates
Oxalate is a salt or an ester of oxalic acid that reduces the absorption of iron in the body.
Spinach is a rich source of non-heme dietary iron, but contains oxalates.
For this reason, sometimes the iron present in spinach is not easily absorbed by the body. The effects of oxalates can be negated by eating spinach with foods rich in vitamin C, such as:

  • Oranges,
  • Broccoli.

In addition to spinach, oxalates are found:

  • In beet,
  • In cabbage,
  • In tea,
  • We chocolates,
  • No rhubarb,
  • In the basil,
  • That salsa,
  • No oregano.


What to eat?

Vegetables rich in iron
Green vegetables are a rich source of iron, although there are different vegetables from the former that contain good amounts of iron.
Some substances improve the absorption of iron, such as:

  • C vitamin,
  • Citric acid.
Vegetables with iron (mg / 1 cup)
Ripe soybeans, boiled, boiled, without salt 8,84
Green soybeans, boiled, drained, cooked, without salt 4,50
Canned spinach, drained 4,92
Raw spinach 0,81
Dry tomato 5,00
Pumpkin boiled, drained, cooked, without salt 1,4
Beets, boiled, drained, cooked, without salt 1,15
Chard, boiled, drained, cooked, without salt 2,2
Cabbage boiled, drained, cooked, without salt 1,17
Broccoli, boiled, drained, boiled, without salt 1,05
Raw broccoli 0,64
Asparagus, frozen, boiled, drained, boiled, without salt 1,01


There are two types of natural food that have produced excellent results:

  • The vegan diet with at least 50% raw food recommended by hygienists,
  • The blood type diet .

Diet and recommended food for hygiene 

According to hygienism, the origin of iron deficiency anemia is the accumulation of toxins in the blood.
The doctor recommends:

  • Eating liver,
  • Take supplements of iron, folic acid and vitamins,
  • Make transfusions.

This therapy does not work because it does not act on the causes of the problem.
It is no use receiving blood from an outside source; it is necessary to restore the body’s ability to assimilate and use iron .
Medicine attempts to cure dysfunction (malfunction) of a single organ, rather than considering the whole body.

Often anemic people are obese or have eaten too much for years.
The problem is not the lack of food, but the  elimination of toxins produced by the digestion of food of animal origin.
This state of toxemia reduces the ability to produce red blood cells.
People with pernicious anemia and other types of anemia have too much iron stored in the organs that can not be used.

For this reason, it is no use in ingesting iron :

  • In the form of supplements,
  • In the food.

For anemia, the hygienist Shelton has treated many people with:

  • A few days of fasting ,
  • With a diet based on raw fruits and vegetables.

According to hygienism, we must avoid:

  • Food of animal origin (meat, fish, eggs, dairy products),
  • Processed and sweet foods,
  • Food fried or cooked at high temperatures,
  • Drinks and stimulant foods such as tea, coffee and chocolate.


Blood type diet

According to this type of diet, the cause of iron-deficiency anemia is intestinal malabsorption caused by:

  • Milk and dairy products,
  • Cereals containing gluten ,
  • Tea.

These foods cause inflammation of the digestive system and therefore, malabsorption.

During pregnancy , it is necessary to check if the woman suffers from anemia.
The doctor may prescribe iron supplements, but this can cause:

  • Digestive problems,
  • Problems with the fetus.

If pregnant women do not eat foods that contain gluten and milk, it is difficult for them to have anemia.

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