Vitamin c Iron Deficiency Anemia

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Did you know that Vitamin c Iron Deficiency Anemia is a major cause of iron deficiency in the world? According to research, iron deficiency affects up to 16% of the world’s population Wondering What is iron-deficiency anemia? Without enough iron, your body can’t make enough red blood cells. Red blood cells transport oxygen all over the body.

vitamin c is important for our health. it is a water soluble vitamin and is found in food sources. through the body and strengthens the immune system of body. some of the foods which contains good amounts of vitamin c are pineapple, lemon, orange, papaya and guava etc.

Iron Deficiency Anemia Secondary to Inadequate Dietary Iron Intake

Without enough iron, your body will make fewer RBCs or will produce smaller RBCs than normal. This leads to iron deficiency anemia secondary to inadequate dietary iron intake. In other words, the anemia is caused by not getting enough iron from the foods you eat.

There are many causes of anemia, but iron deficiency is the most common. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), iron deficiency is the top nutritional disorder in the world. Research suggests that as many as 80 percent of people in the world don’t have enough iron in their bodies. It also suggests that as many as 30 percent of people have anemia due to prolonged iron deficiency.

 
Symptoms of Iron Deficiency Anemia

Iron deficiency anemia can be very mild at first and symptoms may go unnoticed. According to the American Society of Hematology, most people don’t realize they have anemia until it’s found in a routine blood test.

As iron deficiency gets worse, symptoms can include:

  • fatigue
  • weakness
  • pale skin
  • shortness of breath
  • dizziness
  • headaches
  • brittle nails
  • fast heartbeat
  • strange cravings for ice or dirt, called pica
  • cold hands and feet
  • tingling or a crawling-feeling in the legs
Causes of Iron Deficiency Anemia

Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the United States. It’s also the most common cause of anemia. Iron deficiency anemia secondary to inadequate dietary iron intake is caused by consuming a diet low in iron-rich foods. The best source of iron in foods is from meat, fish, beans, and foods fortified with additional iron.

There are many reasons why you may not be getting enough iron in your diet. The following groups of people are at a higher risk of having a diet low in iron:

  • vegetarians or vegans who don’t replace meat with other iron-rich food
  • people with an eating disorder
  • people who are poor or homeless and do not have easy access to food
  • people who live in urban “food deserts,” where healthy, affordable food is not available
  • elderly people who do not eat a complete or diverse diet
  • young children who drink a lot of cow’s milk, as cow’s milk is low in iron
  • people on a weight loss diet
  • people who eat a diet low in fruits, vegetables, and meat
  • people who consume excessive amounts of daily caffeine
  • people who regularly take antacids
 
Diagnosis of Iron Deficiency Anemia

Your doctor can diagnose anemia with several different blood tests.

Complete Blood Count (CBC) Test

This is usually the first test your doctor will use. A CBC test measures the amounts of all components in your blood. These components include:

  • red blood cells, RBCs
  • white blood cells, WBCs
  • hemoglobin
  • hematocrit, the percentage of total blood volume that is made up of RBCs
  • platelets, the component of blood that helps blood clot

The CBC test provides information about your blood that’s helpful in diagnosing iron deficiency anemia, including:

  • hematocrit levels
  • hemoglobin levels
  • size of your RBCs

In iron deficiency anemia, hematocrit and hemoglobin levels are low and RBCs are usually smaller than normal in size.

A CBC test is often performed as part of a routine physical examination because it’s a good indicator of your overall health. It may also be performed routinely before surgery.

Other Tests

Your doctor can usually confirm anemia with a CBC test. But they might order other blood tests to identify the severity of your anemia and how to treat it. They may also examine your blood under a microscope to provide more information, including:

  • iron level in your blood
  • RBC size and color: RBCs are pale when they are deficient in iron.
  • ferritin levels: Ferritin helps with iron storage in your body. Low levels of ferritin indicate low iron storage.
  • total iron-binding capacity: People with an iron deficiency have a large amount of a protein transferrin that isn’t properly transporting iron.

If you’re eating a poor diet, it’s likely you are also deficient in other vitamins and minerals. Your doctor may order several other blood tests to determine if you’re deficient in anything else. This may include blood tests for folic acid and vitamin B-12 deficiency.

 
 
Potential Complications of Iron Deficiency Anemia

Most cases of anemia caused by iron deficiency are mild and do not cause complications. However, if iron is not added back into your diet, it can lead to other health problems.

Anemia forces your heart to pump more blood to compensate for the low amount of oxygen. Heart failure or an enlarged heart muscle may occur if the iron deficiency is not reversed.

In pregnant women, severe cases of iron deficiency can cause a child to be born prematurely or with a low birth weight. Most pregnant women take iron supplements as part of their prenatal care to prevent this from happening.

Infants and children severely deficient in iron may experience a delay in their growth and development. They may also be more susceptible to infections.

Treatment of Iron Deficiency Anemia

Supplements

Iron tablets can help restore iron levels in your body. You may need to take iron supplements for several months. Iron supplements may cause constipation or stools that are black in color. Plant-based iron supplements may be tolerated more easily and cause less digestive symptoms.

If your doctor determines that you’re deficient in other vitamins and minerals, they may also prescribe other vitamins or a multivitamin.

Diet

You should eat a diet high in iron-rich foods and vitamin C to prevent low blood-iron levels. Mothers should make sure to feed their babies either breast milk or iron-fortified infant formula. Iron-fortified infant cereals are also available when babies are ready to start eating solid foods.

Diets high in red meat, dark leafy vegetables, dried fruits and nuts, iron-fortified cereals, or bread can help treat or prevent iron deficiency. Foods high in iron include:

  • meat, such as lamb, pork, chicken, and beef
  • beans, including soybeans
  • pumpkin and squash seeds
  • leafy greens, such as spinach
  • raisins and other dried fruit
  • tofu
  • eggs
  • seafood, such as clams, sardines, shrimp, and oysters
  • iron-fortified cereals

Vitamin C helps your body absorb the iron you eat. If you’re taking iron tablets, your doctor might suggest taking the tablets along with a source of vitamin C. Foods high in vitamin C include:

  • citrus fruits, such as oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, kiwis, guava, papaya, pineapple, melons, and mangos
  • broccoli
  • red and green bell peppers
  • Brussels sprouts
  • cauliflower
  • tomatoes
  • leafy greens

Vegetarians and vegans should make sure they’re eating enough beans, tofu, dried fruits, spinach, and other dark vegetables. They should incorporate iron-fortified foods into their diet regularly. According to the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements, vegetarians who don’t eat animal products may need nearly twice as much iron on a daily basis as people who eat animal products. This is because iron from plant foods may not be absorbed as easily or completely as iron found in animal products, such as meat.

Nutritional Counseling

Your doctor may also refer you to a dietitian or nutritionist. These specialists are trained in healthy eating. A dietitian can help make sure you are getting all the necessary vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat.

People with an eating disorder may need to speak with a nutritionist to discuss long-term treatment options.

Blood Transfusions

In severe cases, a blood transfusion can replace iron quickly. This procedure involves receiving blood through an intravenous (IV) line inserted into a blood vessel.

Iron deficiency anemia secondary to inadequate dietary iron intake is a common condition. It’s easy to detect and treat through dietary changes and supplements.

What Is Iron-Deficiency Anemia?

 

Anemia occurs when you have a decreased level of hemoglobin in your red blood cells (RBCs). Hemoglobin is the protein in your RBCs that’s responsible for carrying oxygen to your tissues.

Iron-deficiency anemia is the most common type of anemia. It occurs when your body doesn’t have enough iron, which your body needs to make hemoglobin. When there isn’t enough iron in your blood, the rest of your body can’t get the amount of oxygen it needs.

While the condition may be common, many people don’t know they have iron-deficiency anemia. It’s possible to experience symptoms for years without knowing the cause.

In women of childbearing age, a common cause of iron-deficiency anemiaTrusted Source is a loss of iron in the blood due to heavy menstruation or pregnancy. A poor diet, or certain intestinal diseases that affect how the body absorbs iron, can also cause iron-deficiency anemia.

In this article, we take a closer look at symptoms and causes of iron deficiency, and how to treat the condition.

What are the symptoms of iron-deficiency anemia?

The symptoms of iron-deficiency anemia can be mild at first, and you may not even notice them. According to the American Society of Hematology (ASH), most people don’t realize they have mild anemia until they have a routine blood test.

The symptoms of moderate to severe iron-deficiency anemia can include:

  • general fatigue
  • weakness
  • pale skin
  • shortness of breath
  • dizziness
  • strange cravings to eat items with no nutritional value
  • a tingling or crawling feeling in the legs
  • tongue swelling or soreness
  • cold hands and feet
  • fast or irregular heartbeat
  • brittle nails
  • headaches
 
What are the causes of iron-deficiency anemia?

According to the ASH, iron deficiency is the most common cause of anemia. There are many reasons that a person might become deficient in iron. These include:

Inadequate iron intake

Eating too little iron over an extended amount of time can cause a shortage in your body. Foods such as meat, eggs, and some green leafy vegetables are high in iron. Because iron is essential during times of rapid growth and development, pregnant women and young children may need even more iron-rich foods in their diet.

Pregnancy or blood loss due to menstruation

Heavy menstrual bleeding is a common cause of iron-deficiency anemia in women of childbearing age. So is pregnancy, because your body needs more iron during this time in order to create enough oxygen for the baby.

Internal bleeding

Certain medical conditions can cause internal bleeding, which can lead to iron-deficiency anemia. Examples include a stomach ulcer, polyps in the colon or intestines, or colon cancer. Regular use of certain pain relievers, such as aspirin, can also lead to bleeding in the stomach.

How to Tell If You Have Iron Deficiency Anemia – Cleveland Clinic

Inability to absorb iron

Certain disorders or surgeries that affect the intestines can also interfere with how your body absorbs iron. Even if you get enough iron in your diet, celiac disease or intestinal surgery such as gastric bypass may limit the amount of iron your body can absorb.

Endometriosis

If you have endometriosis, you may have heavy blood loss during menstrual periods. You may not even know you have endometriosis because it occurs hidden in the abdominal or pelvic area outside of the uterus.

Genetics

Some conditions — like celiac disease — that can make it difficult to absorb enough iron are passed down through families. There are also genetic conditions or mutations that can add to the problem. One of these is the TMRPSS6 mutationTrusted Source.

This mutation causes your body to make too much hepcidin. Hepcidin is a hormone that can block your intestines from absorbing iron.

Other genetic conditions may contribute to anemia by causing abnormal bleeding. Examples include Von Willebrand disease and hemophilia.

What are the risk factors of iron-deficiency anemia?

Anemia is a common condition and can occur in both men and women of any age and from any ethnic group. Some people may be at greater risk of iron-deficiency anemia than others, including:

  • women of childbearing age
  • pregnant women
  • people with poor diets
  • people who donate blood frequently
  • infants and children, especially those born prematurely or experiencing a growth spurt
  • vegetarians who don’t replace meat with another iron-rich food
  • teenagers who have a greater need for iron in periods of rapid growth
  • adults over age 65
  • people exposed to lead in their environment or water
  • high performance and endurance athletes like marathon runners

If you’re at risk of iron-deficiency anemia, talk to a doctor to determine if blood testing or dietary changes could benefit you.

Why is iron-deficiency anemia more common in women?

Pregnancy, significant menstrual bleeding, endometriosis, and uterine fibroids are all reasons that women are more likely to experience iron-deficiency anemia.

Heavy menstrual bleeding occurs when a woman bleeds more or longer than typical during menstruation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source, typical menstrual bleeding lasts for 4 to 5 days and the amount of blood lost ranges from 2 to 3 tablespoons.

Women with excess menstrual bleeding typically bleed for more than 7 days and lose twice as much blood as normal.

A pelvic ultrasound can help a doctor look for the source of excess bleeding during a woman’s period, such as fibroids. Like iron-deficiency anemia, uterine fibroids often don’t cause symptoms. They occur when muscular tumors grow in the uterus.

While they’re not usually cancerous, fibroids can cause heavy menstrual bleeding that can lead to iron-deficiency anemia.

How is iron-deficiency anemia diagnosed?

A doctor can diagnose anemia with blood tests. These include:

Complete blood count (CBC) test

A complete blood count (CBC) is usually the first test a doctor will use. A CBC measures the amount of cellular or cell-related components in the blood, including:

  • red blood cells (RBCs)
  • white blood cells (WBCs)
  • hemoglobin
  • hematocrit
  • platelets

A CBC provides information about your blood that’s helpful in diagnosing iron-deficiency anemia. This information includes:

  • the hematocrit level, which is the percent of blood volume made up of RBCs
  • the hemoglobin level
  • the size of your RBCs
  Normal hematocrit range Normal hemoglobin range
Adult women 34.9 to 44.5 percent 12.0 to 15.5 grams per deciliter
Adult men 38.8 to 50 percent 13.5 to 17.5 grams per deciliter

In iron-deficiency anemia, the hematocrit and hemoglobin levels are low. Also, RBCs are usually smaller in size than normal.

A CBC test is often performed as part of a routine physical examination. It’s a good indicator of a person’s overall health. It may also be performed routinely before a surgery. This test is useful to diagnose this type of anemia because most people who have an iron deficiency don’t realize it.

Other tests

Anemia can usually be confirmed with a CBC test. Your doctor might order additional blood tests to determine how severe your anemia is and help determine treatments. They may also examine your blood through a microscope. These blood tests will provide information, including:

  • the iron level in your blood
  • your RBC size and color (RBCs are pale if they’re deficient in iron)
  • your ferritin level
  • your total iron-binding capacity (TIBC)

Ferritin is a protein that helps with iron storage in your body. Low levels of ferritin indicate low iron storage. A TIBC test is used to reflect the amount of transferrin that’s carrying iron. Transferrin is a protein that transports iron.

Tests for internal bleeding

If your doctor is concerned that internal bleeding is causing your anemia, additional tests may be needed. One test you may have is a fecal occult test to look for blood in your feces. Blood in your feces may indicate bleeding in your intestine.

Your doctor may also perform an endoscopy, in which they use a small camera on a flexible tube to view the linings of your gastrointestinal tract. Here are the two types:

  • An EGD test, also called an upper GI endoscopy, allows a doctor to examine the lining of the esophagus, stomach, and upper part of the small intestine.
  • A colonoscopy, also called a lower GI endoscopy, allows a doctor to examine the lining of the colon, which is the lower portion of the large intestine.

These tests can help identify sources of gastrointestinal bleeding.

What are the health complications of iron-deficiency anemia?

Most cases of iron-deficiency anemia are mild and don’t cause complications. The condition can usually be corrected easily. However, if anemia or iron deficiency is left untreated, it can lead to other health problems. These include:

Rapid or irregular heartbeat

When you’re anemic, your heart has to pump more blood to make up for the low amount of oxygen. This can lead to an irregular heartbeat. In severe cases, it can lead to heart failure or an enlarged heart.

Pregnancy complications

In severe cases of iron deficiency, a child may be born prematurely or with a low birth weight. Most pregnant women take iron supplements as part of their prenatal care to prevent this from happening.

Delayed growth in infants and children

Infants and children who are severely deficient in iron may experience delayed growth and development. They may also be more prone to infections.

How is iron-deficiency anemia treated?

How your iron-deficiency anemia is treated will depend on how severe the problem is and what caused it in the first place. Most forms of this condition involve a lack of iron in your diet, or problems with your body absorbing the iron you do consume. Below are some options for treatment.

Iron supplements

Iron tablets can help restore iron levels in your body. If possible, you should take iron tablets on an empty stomach, which helps the body absorb them better. If they upset your stomach, you can take them with meals. You may need to take the supplements for several months. Iron supplements may cause constipation or black stools.

Diet

Diets that include the following foods can help treat or prevent iron deficiency:

  • red meat
  • dark green, leafy vegetables
  • dried fruits
  • nuts
  • iron-fortified cereals

Additionally, vitamin C may help your body absorb iron. If you’re taking iron tablets, a doctor might suggest taking the tablets along with a source of vitamin C, such as a glass of orange juice or citrus fruit.

You may also need to consider things you eat or drink that can lower your iron levels or decrease absorption of iron, like black tea.

Treating the underlying cause of bleeding

Iron supplements won’t help as much if excess bleeding causes the deficiency. A doctor may prescribe birth control pills to women who have heavy periods. This can reduce the amount of menstrual bleeding each month.

If your bleeding is caused by an injury, tear, or other internal problem, surgery could be required to stop the bleeding.

In the most severe cases, a red blood cell transfusion or intravenous iron can replace iron and blood loss quickly.

How to prevent iron-deficiency anemia

When caused by inadequate iron intake, iron-deficiency anemia can be prevented by eating a diet high in iron-rich foods and vitamin C. Mothers should feed their babies breast milk or iron-fortified infant formula.

Foods high in iron Foods high in vitamin C
meat, such as lamb, pork, chicken, and beef

 

beans

pumpkin and squash seeds

leafy greens, such as spinach

raisins and other dried fruit

eggs

seafood, such as clams, sardines, shrimp, and oysters

iron-fortified dry and instant cereals

fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, kiwis, guavas, papayas, pineapples, melons, and mangoes

 

broccoli

red and green bell peppers

Brussels sprouts

cauliflower

tomatoes

leafy greens

 
Iron-deficiency anemia is the most common type of anemia. It occurs when your body doesn’t have enough iron. Potential causes include not eating enough iron-rich foods, blood loss due to menstruation, and inability to absorb iron.

If you suspect you have an iron deficiency, see a doctor. They can diagnose anemia with blood tests.

Don’t try to diagnose and treat iron-deficiency anemia by yourself. You could end up with too much iron in your blood which can cause other health conditions, including constipation and even liver damage.

IMPORTANCE OF VITAMIN C

1. Vitamin C Stimulates Collagen Synthesis

The body depends on vitamin C for the synthesis of collagen, which is found in connective tissue around the body, according to the  NIH. “Adequate vitamin C levels are essential for the production of collagen,” Samuels says. “Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and plays a critical role in connective tissues like those found in our organs and of course our hair, skin, and nails.”

You may know collagen as the skin’s anti-aging savior as some health and beauty experts portray it. A study published in September 2015 in Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology found that topically applying vitamin C to the skin led to increased collagen production and younger-looking skin. The increased collagen synthesis also means vitamin C helps wounds heal, according to Oregon State University.

2. Vitamin C Combined With Iron Leads to Better Absorption

Another plus to vitamin C is how it interacts with other vitamins and minerals in the body, such as iron. Iron supports proper growth and development, aids the body’s ability to deliver oxygen throughout the body, and helps make certain hormones, according to the NIH. Nonheme iron, which is the type of iron found in plants, can be tricky for the body to absorb, but eating vitamin C (and ideally heme iron, which is commonly found in meat and seafood) at the same time as nonheme iron leads to better absorption, according to Harvard Health Publishing.

3. It Plays a Role in Enhanced Brain Function

“Vitamin C also plays a role in neurotransmitter synthesis and cognitive function,” Samuels says. Neurotransmitters are important for sending messages from the brain to the rest of the body, according to the University of Queensland, in Australia. And more vitamin C may be associated with increased brain function. A systematic review published in September 2017 in Nutrients found higher vitamin C concentrations in cognitively intact study participants compared with those with impaired cognition

4. Its Antioxidant Properties Help Guard Against Chronic Disease

Many of the benefits of vitamin C can be traced to its antioxidant properties. “Antioxidants act to neutralize free radicals, which are volatile and harmful substances produced in the body that cause damage to cells and tissues,” Samuels says. According to the Mayo Clinic, antioxidants can protect against the development of serious health conditions, such as cancer or heart disease. More studies — especially ones involving human participants — are needed, however, to show whether vitamin C specifically can prevent cancer or cardiovascular disease, per Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

5. Vitamin C Strengthens the Immune System

Perhaps vitamin C’s best-known benefit is the positive effect it has on the immune system. In a review published in November 2017 in Nutrients, vitamin C was found to support the immune system by protecting against oxidative stress, aiding in microbial killing, and decreasing the potential for tissue damage. A deficiency in this vitamin has been shown to increase the rate of infections. It’s unlikely that loading up on vitamin C once you start sniffling will keep you from getting a cold, but it could help you recover more quickly, according to a prior review.

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