You can not stop knowing What is iron-deficiency anemia, what are the symptoms, what causes iron deficiency anemia, and the natural treatment to correct it and prevent it from affecting your performance and immunity.

Find out in the article Those who suffer from anemia, How to know if you have iron-deficiency anemia and what happens if iron deficiency anemia is not treated

Learn about the Medicines, supplements, commercially available for anemia, and its side effects.

Learn how much iron you need to prevent iron deficiency anemia and how to get it from a healthy diet

1. What is Iron Deficiency Anemia?

It is a type of anemia that is characterized by the decrease in hemoglobin in the blood, caused by an iron deficiency and less production of red blood cells which are smaller. 

According to the WHO, iron deficiency anemia is the most widespread in the world. 

1.1. Important concepts

  • Hemoglobin: It is a protein found in the blood and whose main function is to transport oxygen to all the tissues of the body and participate in the regulation of pH. 
  • Iron: It is an important mineral that is obtained through food, which allows the production of hemoglobin and whose absence can cause anemia. (one)

2. Causes Iron deficiency anemia

2.1. Low body reserves

  • The body does not adequately absorb the iron provided by the diet.
  • Diet is low in iron and does not adequately cover the requirements that the body needs.
  • Deficient iron reserves in case of pregnant women or who are breastfeeding.
  • A loss of both iron and red blood cells that the body cannot make up for. 

2.2. Illness bleeding

  • Diseases that can cause ulcerations such as cancer of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and colon.
  • Esophageal varices (related to cirrhosis).
  • Regular use of medications such as ibuprofen, aspirin, or others used for arthritis. *
  • Peptic ulcer
  • Heavy bleeding in long menstrual periods.

2.3. Problems with iron absorption

  • Regular use of heartburn medications * that contain calcium.
  • Gastric bypass surgery.
  • Celiac Disease.
  • Crohn’s disease





A study by Dr. David Graham showed that people with frequent consumption of NSAIDs have wounds and bleeding in the small intestine, with serious consequences for their health.

Among these serious side effects, albumin is decreased, which is related to the cause of liver and heart disease.

On the other hand, there is also a bad absorption of iron, contributing to the development of iron deficiency anemia. 

The NSAIDs administered in the study were those used for people with osteoarthritis such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and ketoprofen.

Which was demonstrated according to endoscopy cause gastroduodenal hemorrhages producing anemia.

(*) Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

(*) If you suffer from anemia and are taking these drugs, we recommend you consult your doctor to change medications and / or seek natural treatments that can help you reduce and eliminate your medication.

3. Symptoms of Iron Deficiency Anemia

  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Abdominal pain
  • Sickness
  • Lack of appetite, causing low weight
  • Pale and brittle hair and nails
  • Fatigue / Fatigue
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Headache
  • Lack of concentration
  • Learning problems
  • Depression
  • Irritation
  • Ringing in the ears. 

4. Who suffers from Anemia?

4.1. Children and adolescents

  • Age, especially children under 2 years of age since their growth is faster and their iron reserves are depleted more easily.
  • Deficiency in Breastfeeding and excessive use of formula milk.
  • Intake of cow’s milk and milk derivatives. Containing excess calcium decreases the absorption of iron.
  • The low socioeconomic level implies a deficiency in the quality and quantity of food.

4.2. Pregnant and lactating women

  • During pregnancy there is a deficit of 600 mg of iron which needs to be replaced properly.
  • Nursing mothers also experience increased wear of this mineral.

4.3. Women of childbearing age

  • The presence of a long-lasting, heavy flow menstrual cycle with clot formation affects hemoglobin levels in the body.

4.4. Postmenopausal men and women

  • Those people who suffer from reflux, hemorrhoids, cancer, ulcus, which cause bleeding in the digestive tract.
  • Frequent use of anti-inflammatory drugs and aspirin.
  • People with gastrectomy surgeries
  • People with celiac disease
  • Conditions related to bleeding from the oral area (mouth, tongue, gums, etc.)



4.5. Elderly

  • Those who suffer from neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
  • Hospitalized people.
  • Loss of teeth and difficulty feeding.
  • Lack of appetite and poor diet.
  • People who suffer from infectious diseases, bleeding, and cancer.

4.6. Professional athlete

  • Athletes who perform great physical activity present an increase in plasma volume and cause a decrease in iron reserves.
  • A poor diet, the practice of contact sports, and excessive sweating cause the destruction of red blood cells. 

Iron is important at all ages and in different situations. Only a balanced diet allows you to meet your iron needs at all times.

5. Diagnosis of Iron Deficiency Anemia

In order to make the diagnosis of iron deficiency anemia, it is necessary to visit your doctor, who will perform the following steps:

  • Evaluation of your medical history and family history.
  • Assessment of your physical condition.
  • Laboratory tests such as Complete Blood Count (CBC) and Follow-up tests to confirm an iron deficiency.

Among the signs and symptoms that your doctor will evaluate to have a clearer diagnosis, the most important will be the results of your blood tests, specifically hemoglobin levels.

Hemoglobin is the most important indicator for the detection of iron deficiency anemia, its deficiency affects the transport of iron and other essential nutrients, causing an imbalance in the body. 

The table below shows the normal and deficient hemoglobin values ​​classified according to the age and sex of the people.

In turn, deficient hemoglobin values ​​are classified according to the severity of iron deficiency anemia, in:

  • Severe anemia
  • Moderate anemia
  • Mild anemia

It is important to keep in mind that when you have your hemoglobin results, know that it is considered a Severe Anemia in both women and men when their hemoglobin levels are less than 7gr / dl.

6. Complications of Iron Deficiency Anemia

If iron deficiency anemia is not treated, it can cause the following complications:  

  • Malformations can occur in babies.
  • Cognitive and psychomotor retardation in children under 5 years of age.
  • It causes a delay in growth.
  • Risk of premature births and complications during pregnancy.
  • Reduced physical performance due to low oxygen transport in the body.
  • The suppressed immune system, therefore there is an increased risk of infection.
  • Intellectual performance is affected.
  • Iron deficiency causes a rapid and irregular heartbeat.

In turn, low hemoglobin levels decrease oxygen transport causing exhaustion of the heart, causing an increase in its size or heart failure.

7. Medications and side effects

Within the medicines to treat iron deficiency anemia there are a number of harmful side effects for health. Among these drugs we find:

7.1. Erythropoietin

It is a glycoprotein that stimulates the production of red blood cells.

Erythropoietin side effects:

  • Rapidly increasing red blood cells raise hematocrit and hemoglobin levels which can cause hypertension and thrombotic complications.
  • Its use in patients with kidney failure causes an increased risk of death and cardiovascular complications.
  • In cancer patients, their lifetime decreases, increasing tumor growth, especially in people with breast, cervical, head, and neck, lymphoid, and non-small cell lung cancer.
  • Increases the risk of deep vein thrombosis in patients who do not receive prophylactic anticoagulation.
  • It is one of the drugs prohibited by the International Olympic Committee




7.2. Epoetin alfa

It stimulates the production and release of red blood cells. It is used in anemias associated with chronic renal failure, in patients with HIV, in patients with chemotherapy and in surgical patients.

Side effects of epoetin alfa:

  • Articulations pain
  • Chest pain
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Swelling
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • High blood pressure
  • Irritation at the injection site
  • Sickness
  • Vomiting
  • Tachycardia. 

8. Iron supplements and side effects

It is important to know that excessive consumption of iron supplements can cause long-term liver problems or even colon cancer. 

Long-term consumption of these artificial supplements can have harmful effects on our health, such as those we will see below

8.1. Ferrous sulfate

Used in cases of microcytic and iron deficiency anemia, administered orally.

Ferrous sulfate side effects:

  • In therapeutic doses, it can cause: nausea, abdominal pain in the upper area, constipation or diarrhea
  • In cases of overdose, that is, when the dose is 1 to 2 gr. iron, can cause a collapse in circulation causing death. 
  • Interferes with the absorption of other medications

8.2. Dextran Iron

Used in patients with significant iron deficiencies, its administration being intravenous.

Iron dextran side effects:

  • It has more side effects compared to oral iron supplements.
  • Presence of brown spots, headache, dizziness, fever, nausea, flushing, hives, and bronchospasm.
  • Very rarely, anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction) and death have occurred.
  • Constipation
  • Stomach heaviness
  • Lack of appetite
  • Dark discoloration in the stools.

Conventional medicine recommends the consumption of foods of animal origin as well as synthetic iron supplements.

However, prolonged consumption of meat as a source of iron can have lethal consequences such as the development of cancer and other diseases, as demonstrated by large studies conducted in both Germany and England.

The study carried out in Germany, worked with 1 904 vegetarian people who had a follow-up of their state of health in relation to their diet for 11 years, indicating a lower incidence of deaths. 

We recommend opting for 100% natural sources of vegetable iron in the amount that your body needs and in the proper way.  

9. Natural Treatment for Iron Deficiency Anemia

Treatment for iron deficiency anemia should focus on obtaining the optimal iron requirement through a good diet.

The food sources that provide these nutrients are natural, safe, easy to consume, and have a fairly low cost compared to pharmacological treatment.

These foods have a series of nutritional benefits that will help you overcome iron deficiency anemia , because they contain vitamins such as C and minerals such as iron, which many times can be found in the same food.

The iron provided by a specialized diet for anemia combined in the appropriate proportions is very valuable for our body, especially if we have stopped consuming food of animal origin.

In turn, we find nutrients such as lysine and methionine in these foods, which will help improve hemoglobin levels in the blood.

A study by the University of Rochester in New York indicated that amino acids such as methionine and lysine improve hemoglobin production significantly. 

Among the recommended foods we find green leaves, seaweeds such as spirulina, vegetables, vegetables, and mainly dried fruits.

A study by the American Chemical Society, revealed that the iron available per microgram contributes by spirulina, after being assimilated, it was 6.5 times higher than in other foods including meat. 

In turn, another study published by the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, in charge of the Department of Nutritional Sciences of the Pennsylvania State University confirmed the following:

Consuming half a cup of beans or peas allows a greater contribution of fiber, protein, iron, folate, zinc, and magnesium. 


10. Daily iron requirement

The WHO has created a series of tables of daily nutritional requirements that must provide a healthy and balanced diet in order to have an optimal functioning of our body.

You should know that the “daily requirements” are the necessary amounts of a nutrient, in this case Iron, which must be provided by your diet.

To better understand the table below, you should know that Iron in nutrition is considered a micronutrient, so its daily requirements are expressed in milligrams.

In turn, it is important to mention that the iron requirement will vary according to the sex and age you have, so the amounts of this mineral are represented as follows:  

Daily iron requirement according to age
Group Age Iron (mg) 
Babies 0 – 6 months 10
Babies 6 – 12 months eleven
Boys and girls 13 years eleven
Boys and girls 35 years 12
Girls  5 – 12 years 12
Girls  12 – 18 years 18
Children 5 – 12 years 12
Children 12 – 18 years 16
Women 18 – 60 years twenty
Women    ≥ 60 12
Pregnancy 30
Lactation 18
mens 18 – 60 years 14
mens     ≥ 60 14

Obtain a diagnosis and treat your anemia quickly, including foods with a high capacity to cure anemia will allow you to prevent iron deficiency and the development of iron deficiency anemia and its complications, taking care of yourself and your family.

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Categories: Anemia

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