Having low hemoglobin (Hb) levels can cause varying degrees of discomfort and pain or even be potentially life-threatening for some. Your body needs hemoglobin to transport oxygen around the body to where it is needed, so not having enough could put you at risk of fatigue and weakness and hold you back from a normal life. If you’re hunting down remedies for the problem that don’t involve needles or medication, help is at hand.
Remember, correcting a low hemoglobin problem at the earliest is very important since symptoms go beyond just fatigue or pallor of skin. The less efficient transportation of oxygen by blood and the added pumping pressure on your heart may cause irregular heartbeats or arrhythmias, enlarged heart, or in some case heart failure. Reason enough to warrant urgent action before it begins to affect you this adversely.1 And the problem may be due to something as simple as not getting enough iron. Iron is a key component of your blood and is needed to create healthy levels of hemoglobin.
If you’re male you need to have a hemoglobin count of 13.8 to 17.2 grams per deciliter (g/dL). If you’re female your target hemoglobin levels should be 12.1 to 15.1 g/dL.2
If your hemoglobin count is below normal, here are some natural ways to fix the problem. Some of these can also support your mainstream treatment. But if you are already on medication, do consult your doctor before beginning any herbal remedies or discontinuing your treatment. If your problem is severe and as yet untreated, you should first consult a medical practitioner for diagnosis.
1. Eat Iron-Rich Foods To Help Hemoglobin Levels
Increasing iron intake through your diet is beneficial because iron forms a major part of the hemoglobin in your body. Since the mineral is not produced by the body, you need to consume at least 1.8 mg per day.3
Here are some foods you should consider raising intake of4:
- Spinach (cooked): 2.0–3.4 mg in half a cup
- Instant oatmeal (cooked):4.5–6.6 mg in 175 mL (¾ cup)
- Tomato puree: 2.4 mg in 125 mL
- Edamame/baby soybeans (cooked): 1.9–2.4 mg in half a cup
- Prune juice: 1.6 mg in half a cup/125 ml
- Duck: 1.8–7.4 mg in 75 g (2 ½ oz)
- Beef (cooked, various cuts): 1.4–3.3 mg in 75 g (2 ½ oz)
- Liver of chicken, turkey, lamb (cooked): 6.2–9.7 mg in 75 g (2 ½ oz)
- Octopus (cooked): 7.2 mg in 75 g (2 ½ oz)
- Oysters(cooked): 3.3–9.0 mg in 75 g (2 ½ oz)
- Soybeans, mature (cooked): 6.5 mg in 175 mL (¾ cup)
- Lentils(cooked): 4.1–4.9 mg in 175 mL (¾ cup)
- Beans (cooked, kidney/white/lima/adzuki/navy/pinto): 2.6–4.9 mg in 175 mL (¾ cup)
- Eggs: 1.2-1.8 mg in 2 large eggs
2. Improve Iron Absorption With Vitamin C-Rich Foods
While you increase iron intake, you should know that your body absorbs a mere 10 to 30 percent of the mineral from what you consume. Vitamin C can improve how much iron you are able to absorb from your diet, so try increasing intake of foods rich in this vitamin.5 Here are some options6:
- Sweet raw red pepper: 95 mg in half cup
- Orange juice: 95 mg in ¾ cup
- Orange: 70 mg in 1 medium fruit
- Grapefruit juice: 70 mg in ¾ cup
- Kiwifruit: 64 mg in 1 medium fruit
- Broccoli (cooked): 51 mg in ½ cup
- Strawberries, fresh, sliced: 49 mg in ½ cup
- Brussels sprouts (cooked): 48 mg in ½ cup
- Tomato juice: 33 mg in ¾ cup
3. Drink Up Wheatgrass Juice For Chlorophyll And Its Anti-Anemic Factors
If you’re up for it, drinking wheatgrass juice may be a simple way to work on improving not just your hemoglobin levels but also improving platelet and red and white blood cell counts. Chlorophyll is found in abundance in wheatgrass and closely resembles the structure of hemoglobin molecules in your blood. The vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron in it are all anti-anemic and can help improve your blood profile. As one study found, wheatgrass intake could help boost hemoglobin level to nearly normal levels.7
id="take-indian-gooseberry-to-treat-anemia-and-raise-hemoglobin-levels">4. Take Indian Gooseberry To Treat Anemia And Raise Hemoglobin Levels
The Indian gooseberry or Emblica officinalis has been seen to improve the hematological or blood profile of test animals, especially hemoglobin levels. This effect was seen in groups that received 250 mg/kg body weight of E. officinalis extract as well as those that had a higher dose of 500 mg/kg body weight.8 This property of the Indian gooseberry or amla may account for its effectiveness against anemia in ayurvedic remedies like triphala powder.9 Dosage will be prescribed by an Ayurvedic doctor depending on your medical history and condition.
id="correct-any-vitamin-b6-deficiency-to-improve-hemoglobin-levels">5. Correct Any Vitamin B6 Deficiency To Improve Hemoglobin Levels
A vitamin B6 deficiency can result in anemia and depressed hemoglobin synthesis. Conversely, ensuring you get enough could help sidestep this problem or correct a deficiency-related decreased hemoglobin level.10 The recommended daily intake of vitamin B6 is about 1.3 mg and the following foods rich in the vitamin can help increase dietary intake11:
- Chickpeas: 1 mg in 1 cup
- Beef liver (pan-fried): 0.9 mg in 3 ounces
- Tuna, yellowfin (fresh, cooked): 0.9 mg in 3 ounces
- Salmon, sockeye (cooked): 0.6 mg in 3 ounces
- Potatoes (boiled): 0.4 mg in 1 cup
- Turkey, meat only (roasted): 0.4 mg in 3 ounces
- Banana: 0.4 mg in 1 medium fruit
- Bulgur (cooked): 0.2 mg in 1 cup
6. Fix A B12 Deficiency To Boost Red Blood Cell And Hemoglobin Count
Like with a B6 deficiency, not getting enough B12 can also cause anemia. In the absence of enough of this vitamin, your body struggles to create new red blood cells.12 And without enough red blood cells, your hemoglobin count also drops.
Get in the recommended levels of 2.4 mcg for adults, 2.6 mcg if you’re pregnant, and 2.8 mcg if you’re nursing.13 Here are some foods you could include in your meals to boost dietary intake of the nutrient14:
- Clams: 84 mcg in 3 ounces
- Liver: 70.7 mcg in 3 ounces
- Fortified cereal: 6 mcg in 1 cup
- Trout: 5.4 mcg in 3 ounces
- Salmon: 4.9 mcg in 3 ounces
- Nonfat plain Greek yogurt: 1.3 mcg in 6 ounces
- Low-fat milk: 1.2 mcg in 1 cup
- Egg: 0.6 mcg in 1 large egg
7. Try Ayurvedic Remedies: Kasisa Bhasma, Dhatri Avaleha, Ashwagandha
Ayurvedic remedies have been used for treating anemia for generations now and have also been tested for their effect on hemoglobin levels in more recent times.
While nothing major, discomfort by way of nausea, constipation, diarrhea, or heartburn has been seen in some people taking the remedies. So start small and only under the guidance of an ayurvedic doctor.15
Shilajit with amla and iron: A formulation containing 25 mg of purified shilajit along with 50 mg of amla or Indian gooseberry and 10 mg of elemental iron has proven beneficial for those with malabsorption syndrome or anyone not responding to the usual metal or chemical remedies. This remedy was able to raise hemoglobin levels by 1gm/dl or even more every week.16
Ashwagandha: Withania Somnifera, an antioxidant herbal remedy, with myriad applications may also help improve red blood cell count. Research on animal test subjects has shown it brings significant increases in hemoglobin levels in the blood. Studies on children revealed that 2 gm of ashwagandha taken per day in 100 cc of milk raised average hemoglobin found per blood cell significantly, besides raising hemoglobin levels overall as well.17 You will be able to get a prescription for the remedy from a qualified ayurvedic doctor.
8. Exercise To Boost Blood Cell Formation
When you work out doing endurance or aerobic exercises, it may help boost new blood cell formation, a process called hematopoiesis. And the more blood you have in your body, the more hemoglobin you will have as well.18 There are some simple exercises that you could do to raise hemoglobin levels, after getting the go-ahead from your doctor. For instance, a simple session of walking, swimming, dancing, cycling, or jogging/running if you have the stamina for it can help.
|↑1||Iron-Deficiency Anemia. National Heart, Lung, And Blood Institute.|
|↑2||Hemoglobin.U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑3||Hemoglobin and Functions of Iron. University of California San Francisco Medical Center.|
|↑4||Food Sources of Iron.
|↑5||Hemoglobin and Functions of Iron.
|↑6||Vitamin C. Office of Dietary Supplements.|
|↑7||Tirgar, P. R., K. V. Shah, B. L. Thumber, and T. R. Desai. “Investigation into therapeutic role of Triticum aestivum (wheat) grass in busulfan induce thrombocytopenia.” Int J Univ Pharm Life Sci 1, no. 1 (2011): 91-97.|
|↑8||Sana, Haque, and M. P. Sinha. “Effect of Embilica officinalis Fruit Extract on Haematological Profile and Serum Lipid Variables of Albino Rats.” Global Journal of Pharmacology 9, no. 4 (2015): 311-315.|
|↑9||Khan, Kishwar Hayat. “Roles of Emblica officinalis in medicine-A review.” Botany Research International 2, no. 4 (2009): 218-228.|
|↑10||Stover, Patrick J., and Martha S. Field. “Vitamin B-6.” Advances in Nutrition: An International Review Journal 6, no. 1 (2015): 132-133.|
|↑11||Vitamin B6.Office of Dietary Supplements.|
|↑12||Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia.
|↑13||Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin). University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑14||The A list of B12 foods. Harvard Health Publishing.|
|↑15||Tubaki, Basavaraj Ramappa, Jyoti Mahadev Benni, Niranjan Rao, and Uchangi Nagaraja Rao Prasad. “Effect of Ayurveda Medications (Kasīsa Bhasma and Dhātrī Avaleha) on Iron Deficiency Anaemia: A Randomized Controlled Study.” Ancient science of life 36, no. 1 (2016): 48.|
|↑16||Mirza, Mohd Aamir, Mohd Naushad Alam, Mohd Faiyazuddin, Danish Mahmood, Ranjan Bairwa, and Gulam Mustafa. “Shilajit: An ancient panacea.” Int J Curr Pharmaceut Rev Res 1 (2010): 2-11.|
|↑17||Mishra, Lakshmi-Chandra, Betsy B. Singh, and Simon Dagenais. “Scientific basis for the therapeutic use of Withania somnifera (ashwagandha): a review.” Alternative medicine review 5, no. 4 (2000): 334-346.|
|↑18||Baker, J. M., Michael De Lisio, and Gianni Parise. “Endurance exercise training promotes medullary hematopoiesis.” The FASEB Journal 25, no. 12 (2011): 4348-4357.|