Hemoglobin determines how much oxygen circulates throughout your body. Low hemoglobin = low oxygen carrying capacity. You will experience fatigue, shortness of breath, low energy, hair loss/thinning, thyroid dysfunction (iron is the backbone of thyroid hormone), among other things.
The most common sufferers of iron deficiency are women. Women who have a heavy menstrual cycle will experience iron deficiency frequently throughout their lives.
People who have had any form of gastric bypass surgery will experience deficiencies of many vitamins and minerals for the rest of their lives. Especially B12, folate, zinc & iron.
People with leaky gut or digestive issues can have issues absorbing their nutrients, thus leading to deficiencies as well.
People who have hemorrhoids (which can often occur after giving birth), you can lose a little bit of blood every time you go to the bathroom.
In functional medicine, the optimal ranges for hemoglobin are: (F) 13.5 – 14.5 & (M) 14 – 15. You also want to make sure your Ferritin level (storage of iron) is between 60 – 100. Greater than 100 is a sign that there is inflammation in the body, and less than 60 is a sign that you are deficient.
Here is a list of some foods and herbs that have been observed to raise hemoglobin levels:
- Cold processed, undenatured whey protein (rich in lactoferrin).
If you do not have a sensitivity to dairy this is a great option.
- Micro-greens ( Chlorella)
Supplementation with Chlorella can raise iron levels, detox heavy metals, and significantly improves antioxidant status. It also attenuates lipid peroxidation in chronic cigarette smokers. Chlorella might prevent the disease burden and mortality rate associated with smoking (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23865357).
Grate those babies UP! Throw a little olive oil and cilantro, lemon juice. Bam.
- Goji Berries (dried or raw)
- Sea buckthorn (oil or berries)
I LOVE this plant based omega supplement. Contains Sea Buckthorn berry oil. These berries, together with the juices, jams, and oils made from them, have a range of beneficial antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer effects (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5861756/).
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- Jujube Fruit
The fruits of Ziziphus jujuba, known as jujube or Chinese date, are being consumed all around the world because of their health benefits, as both food and herbal medicine for over 3,000 years. Traditionally, one of the main functions of jujube, as described in herbal medicine, is to benefit our brain, memory, learning. Jujube also calms down the mind and improves quality of sleep. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5478819/
- Astragulus Root
Astragalus membranaceus, dried root extract, is used in traditional Chinese medicine as a tonic remedy. It has been reported that Astragalus can attenuate intestinal inflammation and Oxidative Stress in intestinal/bowel disease (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5877661/).
I hope you enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed writing it : )