Iron-deficiency anemia or hypochromic anemia has three main causes:
- Lack of iron in the diet, frequently occurring in children under 2 or in people on highly restricted diets.
- Bleeding, which depletes the number of red blood cells in the body. Women, who have heavy menses, are more prone to anemia than men. Men can become anemic and it is usually due to chronic blood loss, such as a a bleeding ulcer.
- Inability to absorb iron, often occurring because part of the stomach or small intestine has been removed or an individual just simply sufferers from malabsorption syndrome.
Other causes of anemia include certain cancers, pregnancy and pica (eating clay, etc.). Depending on the cause anemia, it is generally classified in three ways: excessive bleeding, increased red blood cell destruction or reduced red blood cell production.
With regards to the treatment for anemia, oral iron supplements are available to treat iron-deficiency anemia. Many doctors prescribe ferrous sulfate, however, ferrous sulfate has two distinct disadvantages:
1) It is notorious for GI infection such as anorexia, nausea, vomiting, constipation and diarrhea.
2) It also interferes with vitamin E absorption. Neither of these disadvantages are associated with organic forms of iron, often referred to as heme iron.
There are two primary reasons that doctors often prescribe ferrous sulfate:
1) it is comparatively an inexpensive source of iron;
2) The ferrous sulfate molecule provides a high element potency of iron, resulting in less of the raw material required for production in order to meet the label claim. This results in an additional savings for the manufacturer.
Heme iron exhibits the following advantages over ferrous sulfate:
1) Ferrous gluconate and fumarate are organic, therefore, they do not cause constipation or interfere with vitamin E absorption.
2) heme iron is time released, improving bioavailability and further decreasing GI disturbances.
If you are looking for a treatment for anemia without having to take a supplement, I highly recommend you try the following tea, syrup or tincture:
1 part yellow dock root
1 part raspberry leaf
1 part nettle leaf
3 parts nettle 2 parts alfalfa leaf
3 parts dandelion leaf 1 part hawthorn berries
3 parts dandelion root 1 part yellow dock root
3 parts raspberry leaf 1 part dulce
2 parts watercress part part horsetail
3 parts nettle 2 parts spirulina
2 parts yellow dock root 1 part kelp
1 part watercress 1 part lamb's quarter
Iron-deficiency anemia is an indication of an underlying problem, not a disease in and of itself, so it is necessary to determine and treat the cause. Generally, the cause is fairly simple, and iron reserves can be built up with diet and / or heme iron supplements. Anemia can be a sign of a dangerous under condition, such as internal bleeding, and should never be ignored.