Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. This is personal experience turned into suggestions. Please consult your doctor, especially if you are pregnant. I am not a doctor, I am just a person who suffers from sporadic anemia, who has found some helpful products and strategies and wishes to share them. Please trust your own body and your own instincts. Please always keep these and other products out of the reach of young children.
Update: I am now using different products than those I recommend below. Those recommended below are great. They helped me a lot. But currently I get all of my supplements from a company called Vitanica. I recommend all of the Vitanica products for women, since the company is founded by a woman specifically to help women with our health needs. The products I currently use on an ongoing basis are: Iron Extra, Slow Flow, and Women’s Symmetry. I worked with a professional Naturopath to determine the best dosages for my needs, and this is what I suggest if your needs surpass the recommended dosages.
A few weeks ago, I got hit with a severe case of anemia. I’ll spare you the details of how I got there. Suffice it to say that this is not the first time in my life that I have struggled with anemia, although I’m pretty sure based on what I’ve learned that it’s going to be the last.
In my research, I discovered that a lot of women are affected by anemia. Anemia mostly hurts teenagers, pregnant women, and middle-aged women, but it can happen any time so all women should have their blood count checked from time to time to find out if they are anemic.
One easy way to keep tabs on your anemia is to give blood regularly because they will check you for anemia first. Don’t give blood if you are anemic, even if you are only a little anemic, because you might faint like I did one time, which was scary and could have caused an injury if the volunteer hadn’t caught me.
One Of The Worst Cases I’ve Ever Had
Indicators of anemia are tiredness, shortness of breath, and headaches. If your anemia is becoming severe, you may have exhaustion, rapid heart beat, headaches, mental confusion, leg cramps, dizziness, insomnia, and pale skin.
I always like to say that my anemia makes me “dumb,” which is why it often gets the best of me despite the number of times it’s happened. Anemia can come on quickly or slowly but if you are tired and confused, it’s hard to pinpoint what’s going on no matter how many times you have been through it. Also, and this is sad, women, especially moms, are used to be tired and worn it in our society. So to all the moms out there, I want to say gently, your exhaustion is not a badge of honor; it’s something that needs to be addressed.
The kind of anemia I am describing here is the most common type of anemia, which is caused by iron deficiency. But there are other kinds, too. For a full discussion of types of anemia as well as causes and symptoms, check out Web Md and read this fact sheet from the US women’s health department.
Okay, so back to me. I was completely worn out. Only days earlier I had been working out three times a week and was planning to increase my workouts. Then whammo! I got hit, and as usual, I became tired and confused and did not respond quickly. When I did respond, I took a new iron supplement that I’d not used before and it was under-effective, even in double and triple doses.
So I turned to Facebook and asked my Facebook friends for suggestions. The most often recommended product was something called Floradix with Herbs, which is a liquid. I took a shot of it in the parking lot. It tasted good to me. I took that to be a good sign.
Floradix With Herbs To The Rescue
At first, I was taking the recommended dose. Then I did a bit of research online and saw that others were taking a double or triple dose for severe anemia. I was severely anemic and getting worse prior to finding the Floradix. I went from working out three times a week to not being able to climb the stairs. When I did make it up the stairs my heart was beating in my ears and sometimes I eve had to lay down to recover. My daughter was in a musical at the time. I was crawling through all the responsibilities associated with it. My anemia really took a lot of the joy out of that experience for me. I won’t let this happen again.
Eating, Drinking & Feeling Better
Once I doubled the dosage of the Floradix with Herbs, I started feeling a lot better, a lot faster. I was also taking a product called ChlorOxygen that I stumbled on at Whole Foods. It’s a Chlorophyll concentrate that you add to water, which says on the label that it “Builds Red Blood Cells.” I asked about it and it sounded like it would help restore some of my energy and it did. It also got me to drink more water, which is important any time, but especially when you have anemia.
The other thing I did, which was helpful, was I started seeking out high-iron foods and eating mostly those in my diet. I would always feel better after eating a high-protein meal with spinach salad. Clams, it turns out, are especially high in iron, and I was like a clam chowder junkie. So do an Internet Search for High-Iron Foods and educate yourself, and then add as many of those foods as you can to your daily diet.
I’ve been sharing the news on Facebook that I am now feeling a lot better after my little wake-up call. My doctor did get me an iron IV in the middle of all this, but unfortunately it took my medical insurance several days to approve the IV, so I got it much later than when I could have really used it. But better late than never.
If any of this describes you or someone you love I hope you will do six things. And here they are:
1. Get Yourself Floradix with Herbs
(Available at Whole Foods or below, from Amazon)
Get it today and try it. Because there is really no other way to tell if this is a good match for you and your body without trying it. Floradix also comes in Gluten/Yeast-free, if that is something you need. I took the regular Floradix and consumed an entire bottle over the course of two weeks.
I took a double dose twice a day, once I tried the product for a couple of days. I would not go beyond this dosage without checking with your doctor. Keep this and all iron supplements out of the reach of children.
Also the product can stain your teeth, so try to swallow without swishing and brush your teeth afterwards. I took my doses when I woke up and before bed, which goes well with teeth brushing.
2. Drink More Water Each Day, Especially If You Drink Caffeinated Beverages
If you are fatigued, you will likely do what I do which is to reach for more caffeine. If you notice that you are doing this, pause and chug a glass of water. If you feel immediately better than you don’t need more caffeine, you need more water. Water is the number one health solution, but we always overlook it. If you are tired right now, go drink a glass of fresh, clean water and tell me if you don’t feel better. Make a deal with yourself that you will chug a glass before caffeine and meals. Simple, yet very helpful.
3. Try ChlorOxygen
(Available at Whole Foods or below, from Amazon)
This stuff is super-dark green and turns your water super dark green, but I liked it. Add 18 – 36 drops to your water twice a day. Just add it to the water you are already drinking. If you do a half hour before breakfast and a half hour before dinner, I found this works well.
4. Eat Mostly High-iron Foods
Beef, clams, spinach, pumpkin seeds, cashews, lentils, poultry, burritos, garbanzo beans…do some research on “Foods That Are High In Iron” and then think about how to get these foods into your meals. If you are low on iron, add a couple of in-between meal snacks that are high in iron like a handful of cashews or some carrots and humus to help you get through the day.
5. Drink Green Juice
(I used Odwalla Superfood, but any organic green juice will do)
Facebook friends suggested it and I was skeptical because I often take green food pills. But drinking a couple of glasses of green juice a day did seem to help me feel better in the short run, so I’m recommending it here. This is all probably starting to sound like a lot to purchase, but I think the combination of all of the above helps turn anemia around more quickly than an iron supplement alone can do. And this is what I think a lot of suffering anemics want — to just feel better as soon as possible. And all of the above added up is not that expensive when compared to a trip to the doctor or hospital.
6. Have A Maintenance Plan
Maybe other iron supplements worked for me in the past, I’m just no longer willing to suffer any longer than I have to. So it’s only iron + absorption assistance for me from here on out. If, like me, you have had chronic struggles with anemia, I suggest you try the same strategies, so you don’t have to wait forever for an iron supplement to start working.
In the long-run, I’d rather not have to take a liquid twice a day (and if this describes you, please check out Vitanica’s Iron Extra that I recommended in the note at the top of this post). Either product works like a charm for anyone dealing with chronic or sporadic anemia.
I’ve listed the products mentioned below on Amazon for your convenience in case you do not live near a Whole Foods. Feel free to comment on your own experience or provide input if you have tried any of these products that I’ve recommended.
And special thanks to all of my Facebook friends, who answered my call for help that day. You guys are the best!
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