Hemoglobin is an important part of your blood that helps deliver iron and oxygen to healthy tissues. It's made up of four protein molecules called globulin chains. Two are alpha globulin, and two are beta globulin chains. The normal hemoglobin values for adult men range from 14gm/dl to 18 gm/dl. The normal hemoglobin values for adult women range from 12gm/dl to 16 gm/dl. Values can slightly decrease with age. Hemoglobin levels can be raised through diet, exercise and medications.
Eat iron-rich foods to increase your hemoglobin values. Good choices include 1 cup ready-to-eat cereals, 3 oz. beef, 3 oz. canned tuna, 3 oz. fish and 3 oz. liver. If you'd prefer to get your iron from non-animal sources, eat 1 cup pinto beans, 1/2 cup spinach greens, 1/2 cup raisins, 12 dried apricots or 1/2 cup green beans.
Eliminate iron-busting foods such as caffeinated beverages, chocolate and foods that are high in fiber and calcium.
Get plenty of exercise. Studies have shown that moderate to high intensities of aerobic exercise increases the hematocrit, or blood cell volume in athletes. Blood cells contain hemoglobin, whose primary function is to deliver oxygen from the lungs to active tissues.
Take prescribed medications that increase red cell production. In patients with anemia, medications such as erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) stimulate the body's natural ability to make more red blood cells. If you've been diagnosed with anemia, your doctor may prescribe Procrit, Epogen, Aranesp or one of many other erythropoiesis-stimulating agents available in the United States to treat anemia.
Get a blood transfusion if none of the other suggested treatments increase your hemoglobin levels. Before the 1980s, blood transfusions were the only way to boost hemoglobin. This is usually considered one of the last resorts if none of the other means are effective.