Understanding Anemia©

Understanding Anemia©

While this is in no way meant to be an exhaustive article on the subject of anemia, here are a few practical points to consider when making an attempt to address the problem naturally.

Anemia is often referenced when one means to say that there is some insufficiency associated with the blood which is causing a general lack of energy or vitality in the body. The term is not always medically accurate to describe the situation. Understanding the blood supply is helpful, as are medical tests to determine the nature and severity of the anemia. This is one condition where numbers are nice to have so that you can monitor progress toward healing.

The blood supply exists to supply the body with nutrition (vitamins, oxygen, water, fuel) and to transport waste out of the system. It is also the primary means of transporting various metabolic products, such as hormones, from one part of the body to another. As such, the blood stream is one of those critical “must be right” areas in body ecology. No wonder the Bible states that “the life of all flesh is in the blood.”

Blood is not strictly a liquid. It is an extremely complex combination of substances that are liquid, but also of various types of cells – especially red and white blood cells. Red cells are known for carrying oxygen to all areas of the body while white blood cells are key players in immune function, attacking and dissolving invading bacteria and damaged body cells such as cancer cells.

If you lack oxygen throughout the body, many processes are hindered including the production of energy. You will feel tired and toxic. In order for your red blood cells to carry a full load of oxygen, they need a full load of iron. When you are short on iron, you are also short on oxygen and therefore short on energy as well. There are lots of reasons a person might be short of iron.

Iron is found in red meat, though that isn’t the best source and a fair number of people try to avoid it. It is also found in dark leafy vegetables, which are an excellent source; though a great many people try to avoid them. It is entirely possible in our culture to eat lots of food for many days without ever ingesting much usable iron, or other nutrients for that matter.

The old saying “you are what you eat” is often misleading, especially these days when so many people are so unhealthy. The truth is more along the lines of “you are what you eat, digest properly, and absorb.” Digestion and absorption are major problems in this country. Record numbers of people are taking prescription acid-blocking medications in the vain hope of “curing” their indigestion. They do not realize that these not only make indigestion worse in the long run, but they also create many other problems. Please also read my article called Got Acid Indigestion?

If you take drugs to stop you from producing stomach acid, it stands to reason that you won’t have very much of it when it’s time to digest something. An insufficiency of hydrochloric acid will prevent you from breaking down your food properly.

Hydrochloric acid is the right kind of acid to have in your stomach. Hydrochloric acid in a healthy stomach will not cause symptoms of indigestion, but it will help your body absorb minerals, including iron, and it also breaks down proteins so that you can use them. Slightly off-subject, I cringe when I think of all the babies and children who are now being given acid-blocking medications. They will never get the protein and minerals they need to grow properly and live normal healthy lives.

Once you have ingested enough iron, you must also be able to absorb it through the wall of your small intestine. Is your small intestine healthy? Many people have leaky gut issues or congested intestines or are carrying unhealthy amounts of unexcreted wastes around in the gut. Their ability to absorb nutrients such as iron is extremely limited. These people need to rebuild their gut lining from the inside out. There are diets and supplements to help you build the healthy gut you need to process food correctly and allow your body to heal.

Once the iron has been digested and absorbed, it must be picked up by red blood cells. Do you have enough of them? Sometimes the problem is not only a lack of iron but a lack of blood cells to carry it. If this is the problem, you need a diet and supplement program tailored to help and encourage production of healthy new blood cells. This can also be very important for those who have endured a traumatic injury or for those recovering from cancer, especially leukemia.

Another factor effecting the absorption and use of iron in the body is your general nutritional status. Certain vitamins are necessary for iron to be used properly in the body. If you are very low on B12 or folic acid, for example, you may be functionally anemic despite an adequate iron intake. Iron also needs to maintain a balance relative to other minerals in the body. It is not a good idea to try to correct any deficiency by supplementing a single isolated nutrient. It just doesn’t work that way.

If you suspect you are anemic because you feel lightheaded or are low on energy, it would be wise to get a thorough diagnosis of the situation. There are other issues which have similar symptoms, so don’t guess. Having too much iron is just as dangerous as not having enough. Check your iron level and your red blood cell count. Make sure you are addressing the right problem, and then take the appropriate action to correct it. Remember that while they can sometimes buy you the precious time you need to take action, doctors and drugs don’t heal anything – the body heals itself when we give it what it needs to do so. Your health is in your hands.

Nutritional Health Education Center • 141 N. 3rd Street, Suite 5 • Danville, KY 40422

www.awesomehealthmakeover.com 859-236-3234
Dr. J.L. Fortner ND, Director

Understanding Anemia©