Role of Supplements in Treating Anemia

Updated on December 10th, 2019
supplements for anemia

Anemia is the Latinized version of a Greek word ‘anemia’ which means ‘Lack of blood. Iron plays an essential role in producing red blood cells in your body. If you are suffering from Anemia, your body lacks the Iron, and it is time you need to depend on the supplements of Anemia. Usually, doctors suggest iron supplements for Anemia. People suffer from different types of Anemia. When some are a genetic disorder, many people also suffer from iron deficiency and vitamin deficiency due to Anemia.

Moreover, pregnant women often suffer from mild Anemia, which gets cured after delivery. But, if that doesn’t happen, it is time to consult a specialist and know whether you are suffering from Vitamin B12 anemia or Aplastic Anemia, which is hereditary.

Did You Know?

  • Fatigue is one of the major symptoms of Anemia. If you suffer from this disease, the oxygen supply gets hampered throughout your body, and you may suffer from hypoxia. This condition can create weakness, shortness of breath, headaches, etc.
  • If you notice someone constantly chew ice cubes and is craving for it, know that he is suffering from Anemia. When you suffer from Anemia, you may grow a syndrome, called Pica when you prefer to chew ice, paper, dirt, etc.

Iron Supplements for Treating Anemia

Benefits of Iron

If you are suffering from Anemia(1), you should consult a specialist immediately. Though there are 8 types of Anemia and B12 Anemia is one of those, the iron deficiency anemia is the most common one of these types. So, if you are diagnosed with this, you need to include certain foods which are rich in Iron. According to expert nutritionists, you should include beans, tofu, leafy greens, seafood, lean meats, brown rice, organic meat, etc.

But, what if foods aren’t supplying enough amount of Iron in your body? In a case as such, along with proper diet, you need iron supplements. And oral iron supplements are the best to consume. Iron supplements can be in the form of oral pills, drops, capsules, or tablets. The basic benefits of having oral iron supplements are treating the symptoms of Anemia and increasing the iron levels in your body that produce hemoglobin.

Such supplements are the best source of ‘elemental iron.’ ‘Elemental iron’ is the property of your body, so taking the supplements won’t harm. While buying oral supplements, make sure you check the levels to know the amount of elemental Iron in it. The more Iron that is present in the supplements, the higher the levels of absorption.

[Also Read: Natural Treatments to Get Rid of Anemia]

Types of Supplements for Anemia

1. Vitamin C Supplements

benefits of vitamin c

Why does it work

Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant that helps you fight a wide range of diseases, reducing the risk of chronic diseases. It reduces the risk of heart diseases, regulates your blood uric acid levels, enhances the functionality of WBCs, rejuvenates your cognition, and increases the iron absorption in your body. All these factors add to the healthy functioning of your body, but an augmented iron absorption, in particular, prevents you from developing severe Anemia.

How to Use

Vitamin C supplements can be both natural and synthetic, with both having similar chemical compounds. Their biological activity, however, differs. Generally, supplementary pills of Vitamin C are consumed orally. For rather chronic deficiency, and on doctors advise, you may need shots or IV administration of Vitamin C supplements.

How Much to Use

Vitamin C, in general, is one of the most major nutrients required by the body for growth and development. There is a recommended threshold for its intake. Vitamin C, in general, doesn’t cause any difficulty on existing diseases; neither does it interact with other chemical compounds. It is also likely safe in conditions such as pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Generally, the recommended intake of Vitamin C is 90 mg for men and 75 mg for women. For improving iron absorption, on the other hand, the recommended intake is 200 gm of Vitamin C for every 30 mg of Iron.

[Also Read: Vitamins in the Prevention of Anemia]

2. Vitamin B-12 for Anemia

Vitamin B12

Why Does It Work

Vitamin B-12(2) is among the major supplements of Anemia. And it is a primary agent of RBC formation. And as we know, Anemia is caused due to lack of sufficient RBCs. Hence, healthy B-12 levels also determine the healthy birth of infants. B-12 is also critical in regulating levels of homocysteine ( for better heart health,) energy boost, brain neuron preservation, and keeping a handle on your serotonin levels (excess of which can cause depression.)

How to Use

The synthetic forms of Vitamin B-12 supplements are more common and consumed orally. Also Known as cyanocobalamin, this synthetic Vitamin B-12, is easily absorbed by your body, is stable and cost-efficient. Vitamin B-12 can also be naturally consumed from foods like fish, eggs, meat, and milk. For a very serious condition of B-12 shortage, a synthetic form needs to be injected into the bloodstream.

How Much to Use

The National Institute of Health (NIH), US, has recommended that individuals over the age of 14, require 2.4 mcg of Vitamin B-12 per day. Pregnant women are recommended 2.6 mcg per day, and lactating women 2.8 mcg per day. Remember, Vitamin B-12, although mostly considered safe, can cause difficulty in conditions such as post-surgery. In cases of B-12 deficiency, the most effective dosage of oral intake is somewhere between 647 – 1032 mcg per day.

[Also Read: 25+ Excellent Iron Rich Foods]

3. Folate supplements

Why Does It Work

Folate supplement as supplements of Anemia, also help your body enhance its iron absorption capacity. Folate, also known as Vitamin B-9, is responsible for avoiding congenital deformity, reducing depression, and heart health.

How to Use

Like every other supplement used in treating Anemia, oral consumption of supplementary pills is the most common way. And for chronic deficiencies, supplements need to be administered directly into the bloodstream through an IV therapy. Folate can also be found naturally in foods such as leafy greens, beans, lentils and peas, lemons, and cereals.

How Much to Use

The folate supplement has very specific and potent effects on your anatomy. Hence the recommended amount for it varies. For infants within 0-6 months require 65 mcg of B-9 daily, 7-12 months need 80 mcg daily, 1-3 years need 150 mcg daily, 4-8 years need 200 mcg daily, 9-13 years need 300 mcg daily and 14 years and up need 400 mcg daily. Additionally, pregnant women need 600 mcg daily, and lactating women need 500 mcg daily. In times of Folate deficiency, you will need 400 mcg daily, orally, IV therapy, intramuscularly, or subcutaneously.

4. Iron supplements of Anemia

Why Does It Work

Iron is directly related to Anemia. Hence a deficiency will directly lead to Anemia as well. Now Iron is the nutrient that forms the RBCs in your bone marrow, which is later replaced in your blood in place of damaged RBCs. Once your body falls short on iron supply, it fails to produce the required amount of RBCs to replace the damaged ones in your blood. Hence, iron supplements act as the primary treatment of Anemia.

How to Use

Iron supplements like Feosol Ferrous Sulfate Iron and Pure Micronutrients Iron are very popular and common supplements that are taken orally. But at times, depending on the criticality of the deficiency, you may need a concentrated form of these supplements, administered in your body, IV therapy, intramuscularly or subcutaneously.

How Much to Use

Iron although is a major mineral required by your body, and mostly safe, can still irritate if taken in excess. If you exceed the ideal values of intake, you may face constipation and other abdominal difficulties. Ignoring the overdose, you may also end up developing iron poisoning, that can result in liver failure.

Hence, when you intake iron supplements, you must regulate your dosage. In case of iron deficient anemia, the recommended dosage of oral intake of iron supplements is 50-100 mg thrice a day for 3-6 months. For Anemia caused by a rather chronic disease, an IV administration of total 2232 mg over six months is required (or 1020 mg over 1 week)

[Also Read: Best Diet For Anemia]

Anemia in Pregnancy- Things You Need to Know

healthy pregnancy
Image: ShutterStock

The primary cause behind Anemia during pregnancy is the increased need for blood. Generally, during pregnancy, your body needs 20-30 percent more blood than normal times. As the blood volume in your body increases, your hemoglobin count needs to hike up equally. Now hemoglobin is the fundamental protein in RBCs that function as oxygen carriers in blood.

Further, to be able to manage this extra produce of hemoglobin, your body will need a sufficient supply of nutrients like -iron and vitamins. Naturally, if you do not increase your iron and minerals intake over the normal amount during pregnancy, your body will face a deficit -eventually leading to Anemia.

Generally, during the initial stages of pregnancy, most women manage to ward off Anemia successfully, but, during second to third trimesters, things get a bit difficult. This is the phase where women start falling prey to Anemia.

What Increases the Chance of Anemia During Pregnancy?

When it comes to Anemia and pregnancy, no two pregnancies have the same effects. If a woman is having a second pregnancy close to the first one, she will have a higher chance of developing Anemia during pregnancy. Women pregnant with twins also have a greater chance of developing Anemia.

Finally, women with a low vitamin-mineral diet, frequent vomiting, and heavy pre-pregnancy menstruation can all potentially lead to the development of Anemia.

Risks of Anemia During Pregnancy

A severe form of Anemia can pose large threats to both the baby and the mother. A severely anemic mother during pregnancy can lead to an anemic infant or a low birth weight baby, or both. Additionally, being anemic during the initial stages of pregnancy can also lead to having a pre-term birth.

Finally, the delivery process is generally characterized by blood loss and renders susceptibility to infections. Under such situations, Anemia will make a mother weak.

How to Cure Anemia During Pregnancy

Healthy blood has three essential nutrient requirements -iron, vitamin C, and folate. Hence, keeping the diet rich in these three nutrients will prove to be the most beneficial solution of all. However, during pregnancy nutrient absorption from regular food could get a bit difficult. Hence Iron, folic acid, and vitamin C rich supplements of Anemia are quite decent and common alternatives.

Iron is, without doubt, one of the most important nutrients your body needs for healthy functioning. However, there must be a balanced consumption as well. Too much Iron in your system can wreak all sorts of havoc to your abdominal region.

If you overdose on liquid iron supplements of Anemia, you expose yourself to chances of side effects such as constipation, dark stools, stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting. Hence, when taking iron supplements, you must take its necessary precautions.

Remember never to exceed the recommended levels, as suggested above. However, if you are already suffering from Anemia, then the average recommended intake is 300 mg every 12 hours. Finally, if you are suffering from any chronic disease of the abdominal region or heart, and are taking related medicines, then you may develop reactions with supplements of Anemia. In such scenarios, it is well advised to consult your physician before starting your supplement.


1. What Foods to Avoid If You Are Anemic?

If you are anemic, then stay away from foods that will deficit your of potassium, vitamin C, folate and Iron. Cheese, nuts, bananas, and yogurt, with their rich calcium content, interfere with the absorption of Iron.

Tannin-rich foods like grapes and corn, also interfere with iron absorption. Gluten rich food like barley, rye, and oats will hinder the absorption of both Iron and folic acid. Also, phytate-rich and oxalic acid-rich foods have similar effects as well.

2. What Are the Quick Ways to Recover from Anemia?

Dietary intakes of iron-rich food is a good solution. For faster recovery, supplements of Anemia are the most effective options. Let’s take an example of parsley, one of the greatest herbs for Anemia. 100 g of parsley contains only 6.2 mg of Iron, with 100 g of parsley being threshold limit for parsley consumption whereas an anemic needs 300 mg of Iron shot every 12 hours. This is why supplements prove more effective in the treatment of Anemia.

3. Which Is the Best Supplement for Anemia?

Different supplements can have different results on different individuals. You have certain allergies if you are pregnant if you are a vegan if you are an athlete and so, all contribute to complimenting the effects of a supplement. However, the most popularly revered iron supplements of Anemia are considered to be Feosol Ferrous Sulfate Iron and Pure Micronutrients Iron.

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