At 20 weeks pregnant with my 9th baby, I knew that something was wrong when I had a hard time sweeping my kitchen floor left me breathless and tired.
My symptoms of anemia I noticed frequent heart palpitations, chronic fatigue, insane cravings for ice and a nagging case of the “blahs” which I learned are common symptoms of severe anemia.
The second trimester is normally when I start to feel much better and have more energy, so I brought my concerns about my chronic conditions and effects of anemia to my midwife right away.
She told me that most women start out with a sufficient store of iron going into pregnancy, but that number can drop when blood volume begins to increase.
I learned that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the United States and is the most common type of anemia.
The fact is, iron-deficiency anemia affects both men and women at any time in life.
The iron pills that are routinely prescribed may not always be the best treatment options for iron deficiency.
Iron pills can upset your stomach, cause constipation, and be harder to absorb.
Are there easier and more natural ways to bring your iron levels up and start feeling better?
I did some research and learned that long-term anemia treated with Iron supplements have side effects that can lead to increased risk of heart disease.
What is Anemia?
Anemia is caused when blood has lower than normal number of red blood cells or when the red blood cells don’t have normal amounts or enough hemoglobin.
Hemoglobin as part of the red blood cells is a protein high in iron that makes blood red in color.
Anemia Types and Causes
According to WebMD there are more than 400 types of anemia, and they’re divided into three groups or causes of anemia:
- Anemia caused by blood loss
- Anemia caused by decreased or faulty red blood cell production
- Anemia caused by destruction of red blood cells
These forms of Anemia is not always caused by lifestyle decisions but can be genetically inherited and chronic disease..
Additionally there are conditions like aplastic anemia (body doesn’t produce enough red blood cells) or hemolytic anemia which causes red blood cells to be killed faster than bone marrow can replace them.
And pernicious anemia which is a disease where immature blood cells (not yet healthy red blood cells) circulate and does not carry the much needed oxygen to support body functions.
Treating Anemia Naturally Without Iron Pills
Unsulfured “Blackstrap” Molasses
This is an inexpensive, time-tested and easy to take remedy for boosting iron naturally.
Make sure you get this particular variety, though.
There are actually three different grades to choose from.
Blackstrap is not very sweet, but it is packed with vitamins and boasts the highest amount of iron per dose to reverse low iron levels.
Blackstrap recommended doses contains good sources of iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6 and selenium.
Fruits and vegetables high in Folic acid are typically dark green leafy vegetables like beans, peas, lentils, asparagus, broccoli or spinach. Fruits that are high in Folic acid include Oranges and Orange juice.
Root vegetables likes carrots and sweet potato and an excellent source vitamin A plus iron, vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin B-6 or B vitamin, magnesium to correct your deficiency of red blood cells.
If you don’t have access to fruits and vegetables high in Folic acid you should take additional supplements that include Vitamin B12, Folic Acid and Vitamin C to help gain back healthy red blood cells.
The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has insufficient evidence to access the benefits and risks of screening pregnant women (which I personally find hard to believe).
I take 1 tablespoon each morning and chase with water. Some people like to mix it with decaffeinated coffee or tea.
The flavor is very rich, with caramel tones, and some can even taste the iron in it.
My personal favorite is pure, organic Plantation Blackstrap Molasses.
As a bonus, molasses is also one of the cheaper options out there to get enough iron.
But if you can’t get past the taste for some reason, I have another suggestion.
I was also anemic in the 3rd trimester of my last pregnancy several years ago.
My provider suggested Floradix, a natural source of organic iron in liquid form.
You take 10 ml twice a day, which equates to two tiny little medicine cups and delivers 15 mg of iron.
Made in Bavaria, Floradix stands apart from other iron supplements.
It includes herbs, fruit juices and Vitamins C and B to help combat fatigue as you build up iron.
Of all the supplements I’ve taken, this one worked the fastest.
My blood levels were up from 7 to 10 in just one week.
It has a strong iron taste, but mixing with grape juice helps a lot.
If the idea of eating molasses or drinking Floradix doesn’t appeal to you, I have one more remedy!
This one is in capsule form (but you can buy it as a liquid, if you like, and mix with a drink).
Chlorophyll (sodium copper chlorophyllin) is extracted from alfalfa through natural processes and can help to fortify the blood.
If you’re tired of struggling with anemia symptoms, and want some alternatives to synthetic pills, remember to eat iron-rich foods and lots of healthy leafy greens to get as much iron as possible.
Try a natural remedy – Treating Anemia Naturally.
However, I am not a health professional and would definitely suggest you talk any treatment over with your Doctor.