Anemia, a blood disorder common in women, is caused by an iron deficiency that results in a low hemoglobin count. People who suffer from anemia feel lethargic and usually lack the energy to be productive in their daily lives. By eating food and taking vitamin supplements that are rich in iron, you may be able to successfully treat anemia.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Foods rich in iron
- Health care professional, such as a doctor
- Iron supplement
Visit your doctor to determine the degree of your anemia and if using iron supplements and eating iron-rich foods will help raise your hemoglobin count. If your hemoglobin count is too low, you may have to implement other types of treatment for your anemia, such as B-12 vitamin therapy, recombinant erythropoietin or, in rare and severe cases, a blood transfusion.
Choose the right iron supplement that will help you treat your anemia. A proper vitamin supplement will contain either ferrous sulfate or ferrous gluconate as its iron supplement. Use an iron supplement that also contains vitamins and minerals that can aid absorption, such as vitamin C, B-12 and folic acid.
Determine the right dosage of iron that you will need to treat your anemia. This may depend upon the degree of your anemia, but note that too much iron may cause other medical conditions such as heart disease, so consult with your physician. An average dose of ferrous sulfate or ferrous gluconate in an iron supplement is around 325 mg per day.
Eat foods that are rich in iron to complement your iron supplement. These foods include spinach, beans, beef, kidney beans, sardines, organ meats such as liver, pumpkins and squash seeds, fortified dry cereals, canned clams, chickpeas, soybeans and prune juice.
Avoid foods that can interfere with the proper absorption of iron in your gastrointestinal tract, such as dairy products, coffee, tea, wheat bran, rhubarb, chocolate, chewing gum and red wine.
Schedule a follow-up visit with your doctor to determine if the iron supplement, in combination with the iron-rich diet, has successfully treated your anemia. If the anemia has been eliminated, you should notice an increase in energy, less brittle fingernails and a more flushed, healthy glow to your skin.
Tips and warnings
- Men and children under the age of 6 should not take iron supplements, since it can cause iron poisoning in the blood. Unlike women, men are able to synthesize iron naturally in their bodies and do not require supplements, except for in rare cases.