Anemia occurs when your body lacks a sufficient volume of healthy red blood cells. If you have anemia, you do not have a sufficient amount of hemoglobin -- the oxygen-carrying protein within red blood cells. Anemia has many possible causes. Numerous supplements mayhelp treat your anemia, but you should consult your physician before using any dietary supplements.
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Among the several types of anemia are iron deficiency anemia, vitamin deficiency anemia, anemia of chronic disease, aplastic anemia, hemolytic anemia and sickle cell anemia. Possible causes of anemia include chronic diseases, poor diet, kidney failure, blood loss and certain medications. If you have anemia, you are likely to feel cold, tired and weak. You may also experience shortness of breath, headaches, light-headedness and a rapid heartbeat.
Useful supplements for anemia include both herbal and nonherbal dietary supplements. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, several supplements have shown some degree of efficacy in treating anemia, including astragalus, copper, dong quai, iron, spirulina, stinging nettle and vitamins B-2, B-12 and E. Other helpful supplements for this health condition include raw liver extract, folic acid plus biotin, brewer's yeast, shepherd's purse and bilberry. More research into these supplements' efficacy may be required to validate their use in treating anemia.
A Commonly Used Supplement
Shepherd's purse is a commonly used supplement in the treatment of anemia. In her book "Herbal Medicine from the Heart of the Earth," naturopathic physician Sharol Tilgner reports that shepherd's purse stimulates the kidneys, arrests bleeding associated with fibroid tumors and helps stop passive hemorrhages in other organs. The aerial herb in the fruiting stage of the plant is used in dietary supplements. Because this supplement is a uterine stimulant, you should avoid using it if you are pregnant.
Anemia is a serious health problem that can lead to various health complications, including reduced oxygen levels in key organs such as your heart. Anemia may lead to a heart attack if it is not treated appropriately. Because of the many possible causes of anemia, you should visit a professional health care provider if you develop the characteristic symptoms of anemia. Your health care practitioner can counsel you on the most appropriate therapies for you.
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Anemia
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Anemia
- "Herbal Medicine From the Heart of the Earth"; Sharol Tilgner, N.D.; 1999