At some point in time, most kidney disease sufferers will have a problem with their hemoglobin (haemoglobin) levels. This is mainly due to the decreased production of Erythropoietin (EPO) within the kidneys (Erythropoietin is a hormone secreted by the kidneys that stimulates production of red blood cells). Hemoglobin is the iron containing and oxygen carrying protein found within the red blood cells. This protein therefore delivers the most important nutrient to human life, oxygen. It also transports the toxic element carbon dioxide to the lungs for exhalation.
Today I thought I would cover something that I encountered today in clinic (in actual fact it was yesterday :-)) – A lady that I have now been seeing for just over a month brought in her latest test results and we went through them with glee. Overall her results were on the improve – sodium now in normal range, creatinine had dropped by 100 points, potassium now in normal range, liver enzymes improving, and most importantly, her eGFR (estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate) had gone from 12 to 17 in just a few short weeks. We high fived each other. Of course we have some way to go, but you have to celebrate the wins. This is crucial for a positive mindset and staying on course.
After going through the report there were two main things that we needed to focus our attention on. Her hyperparathyroidism was still out of control, and her hemoglobin levels were still too low. Hemoglobin should be sitting between 14-18 g/dL for males, and 12-16 g/dL for females. My client’s hemoglobin levels were at 10 g/dL.
Low hemoglobin levels directly affect your energy levels by lowering the amount of oxygen being transported throughout your body. So you end up feeling even lousier than you already are. I am hoping that with these quick tips you can start to feel normal again, and get your readings within normal limits without too much intervention.
Here Are The Top 5 Tips On How To Increase Hemoglobin Naturally
Did you know the humble shrimp could be your ticket to increased hemoglobin levels? Not only that, but clinical studies have proven “throwing another shrimp on the barbie” will lower urea and cholesterol levels, and help lose excess fat!
Chitosan is structurally similar to cellulose (a complex carbohydrate found in plants), which consists of glucose molecules connected to one another. This substance is mainly found within the exoskeleton of shrimp, crab, prawns and other shellfish, but is best taken as a supplement.
2. Nutrient supplementation: Iron, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Folic Acid (aka Vitamin B9), & Vitamin C
Nutrition is important; all biological processes that occur within the body require specific nutrients to carry out each individual process, therefore a lack of a certain nutrients will either slow down that process (e.g. hemoglobin production), or shut it down all together.
For the production of hemoglobin there are 10s of nutrients to aid the production, however, there are a small select few that are required above all others, those being: Iron, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Folic Acid (aka Folate, Vitamin B9), and Vitamin C.
Aim for the following therapeutic dosages…
- Iron: 20mg a day
- Vitamin B6: 50mg a day
- Vitamin B12: 1500mcg (micrograms) a day
- Folic Acid: 500mcg (micrograms) a day
- Vitamin C: 1000mg a day
3. Food as medicine
Supplementation is fantastic, but sometimes you just don’t want to be swallowing pills all the time. Here are the richest food sources of the aforementioned nutrients.
- Iron: Oysters, mussels, enriched cereals, molasses, green leafy vegetables, tomato paste, dhal, dried apricots (Red meats and liver may have high iron, but they are not recommended – they bad for kidney disease)
- Vitamin B6: Muesli, whole grains, fortified cereals, liver, tuna, sunflower seeds, lentils, kidney beans, avocado, peas, nuts, banana
- Vitamin B12: Poultry, crustaceans, fish, fortified cereals, eggs, soymilk, molluscs
- Folic Acid: spinach, beans, asparagus, peas, lentils, turnip greens, organ meats, orange, cantaloupe, pineapple, grapefruit, banana, raspberry, strawberry, corn, tomatoes, beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, bok choy, baker’s yeast, sunflower seeds.
- Vitamin C: Guava, red capsicum, Brussel sprouts, citrus juice concentrate, papayas, kiwi fruit, blackcurrants, mango, cabbage, broccoli, strawberries, lychees, oranges, sprouts
Herbal medicine also offers a number of solutions on how to increase hemoglobin levels. Three herbs in particular I have found to be of most benefit are: Withania, Dong Quai, Nettle leaf
- Withania: has its origins in India where is has been used for thousands of years. Withania is a fantastic herb, it improves the health of red blood cells, and also benefits the body by enhancing energy production, decreasing inflammation, calming the nervous system, and being a tonic for the entire body.
- Dong Quai: is also another herb that is steeped with tradition, but this time from China. For centuries mothers from China have been using the root of Dong Qaui in soups to help themselves, and their daughters, to increase production of red blood cells during their menstrual cycle.
- Nettle Leaf: I see Nettle leaf almost like nature’s multi-vitamin and mineral supplement. It has high amounts of iron, and also vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin Bs, vitamin E, vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, potassium, selenium, zinc, and more.
Nettle leaf is not to be confused with Nettle root as this is to help prostate enlargement.
5. Fenugreek seeds
I personally love the type of little tip that I am about to mention, because they work, and because they’re so simple that they just seem too good to be true.
Fenugreek tip: Cook one teaspoon of fenugreek seeds with your evening meal every night, preferably with a little rice, for 15 days to help increase hemoglobin levels.
I hope this post has been of great benefit on how to increase hemoglobin levels.
Until next time keep well!
P.S. The other fantastic thing about the last tip is that fenugreek is also clinically shown to lower blood glucose levels in diabetics.