6 Vitamins for Anemia
Millions of people have a condition known as anemia, a red blood cell disorder that causes weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath, and many other symptoms. Depending on the specific type of anemia, it can potentially be deadly.
In most cases, anemia treatment by supplementing a missing nutrient like iron helps the body create enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen. However, several other vitamins can help treat different types of anemia.
Vitamin A can be tremendously valuable for those with iron deficiency anemia, as increasing the intake of vitamin A may help improve the performance of iron supplements in the body, speeding up the process of treating iron deficiency anemia.
Vitamin A is found naturally in certain foods like apples and is typically part of a standard healthy diet. Still, some patients may find that they are not getting enough vitamin A naturally or may choose to supplement their vitamin A levels to help combat symptoms if diagnosed with anemia.
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Vitamin B12 is one of the many complex B vitamins that support overall health, immune function, and cell recovery.
Research shows1 that B12 can help prevent megaloblastic anemia, a type of anemia characterized by large red blood cells that are fewer in number than normal red blood cells, resulting in fewer cells to transport oxygen throughout the body and more difficulty for those cells to move correctly through the body. Over time, the blood cell count can drop to dangerous levels if not treated.
B12 is also essential for helping correct pernicious anemia, a condition where your body is unable to effectively absorb this vitamin.
Vitamin B12 is prevalent in animal proteins and certain seafood. For those with dietary restrictions, a supplement containing B12 is an excellent idea to restore low levels.
Another of the complex B vitamins, B6, is responsible for supporting brain and immune health, helping to improve mental clarity and help stave off colds and other illnesses. B6 is often found in poultry, fish, certain starches, and foods artificially fortified with vitamins.
While B6 does not treat symptoms of iron deficiency anemia, it can help treat anemia caused by a B6 deficiency.
Vitamin C is critical in strengthening the immune system to prevent illnesses such as the common cold and fight off infections once they have started. Vitamin C is readily available in many foods, notably citrus fruits like oranges.
However, many people still rely on supplemental doses of vitamin C to help stave off illness, particularly during flu season. Vitamin C may improve iron deficiency anemia by helping the body to use iron efficiently, improving red blood cell health.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that protects cells from damage due to free radicals and atoms residual from the food conversion process. Vitamin E can help restore skin elasticity and health and may help reduce anemia risks in premature infants and others with sudden onset anemia.
Natural oils and nuts are the primary dietary sources of vitamin E. People taking vitamin E for health reasons typically ingest an oral supplement to increase the effects and the amount of vitamin E in their bodies. However, it is possible to overdose on this vitamin, so it’s important to only take it under medical supervision.
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
Insufficient riboflavin can affect how the body absorbs iron, resulting in iron deficiency anemia.2
Riboflavin is found in trace amounts in some foods and is a common additive to fortified foods or supplements. If you think you have anemia symptoms, ask the doctor to check your riboflavin levels as well.
Treating Low Vitamin Levels
Many people take oral supplements, including multivitamins, every day. Those concerned about a possible vitamin deficiency may find that oral supplements are generally insufficient to treat the deficiency quickly because the body can only absorb so many nutrients from oral supplements. IV infusions can help correct deficiencies quickly because ingredients are delivered directly into the bloodstream and bypass the digestive process.
Talk with your doctor about whether an IV infusion is right for you.
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