Can We Ward Off Anemia with The Paleo Diet?

Anemia | The Paleo Diet

Anemia is a condition that is all too common in the world.1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 Many individuals, who are vegan or vegetarian, end up with some form of anemia. Whether this is due to lack of iron, vitamin B12, or other deficiencies – the end result is roughly the same., 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 Because a Paleo Diet is rich in vitamin B12 and iron, it begs the question – can we ward off anemia with the Paleo Diet?

Can We Ward Off Anemia with The Paleo Diet? | Dr. Cordain

Muñoz, Manuel et al. “Perioperative Anemia Management in Colorectal Cancer Patients: A Pragmatic Approach.” World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG 20.8 (2014): 1972–1985. PMC. Web. 24 Nov. 2014.

Can We Ward Off Anemia with The Paleo Diet? | Dr. Cordain

Muñoz, Manuel et al. “Perioperative Anemia Management in Colorectal Cancer Patients: A Pragmatic Approach.” World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG 20.8 (2014): 1972–1985. PMC. Web. 24 Nov. 2014.

The short answer: Yes. The longer (and more complex) answer: Usually. Between the complexity and poor understanding of the condition, the different, and the sometimes hereditary nature,15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 this is a condition which is quite complex.

Can We Ward Off Anemia with The Paleo Diet? | Dr. Cordain

Board, A.D.A.M. Editorial. Iron Deficiency Anemia. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 24 Feb. 2014. Web. 24 Nov. 2014.

To start, there are variable definitions of anemia, but the most widely accepted is ‘a condition where the number of red blood cells in the blood is below normal’.22 This is the main definition upon which we will focus. Red blood cell production can be low, and oftentimes, this is due to dietary requirements not being met.23, 24, 25, 26 However, intervening with improved nutrition can prove beneficial.

Iron deficiency is the main statistical cause of anemia, and incorporating iron-rich foods into your diet is a great way to improve your anemic condition27, 28 Iron-rich foods include: chicken, turkey, fish, meats (liver is the highest source), spinach, and kale.29 Those well-accustomed to the Paleo Diet will note that these foods form the basis of many Paleo recipes.30, 31  This is not an accident, as the Paleo Diet will provide the most nutrients, and give the best physiologic results, out of any approach to eating. 32

Can We Ward Off Anemia with The Paleo Diet? | Dr. Cordain

Iolascon, Achille, Luigia De Falco, and Carole Beaumont. “Molecular Basis of Inherited Microcytic Anemia Due to Defects in Iron Acquisition or Heme Synthesis.” Haematologica 94.3 (2009): 395–408. PMC. Web. 24 Nov. 2014.

Can We Ward Off Anemia with The Paleo Diet? | Dr. Cordain

Abbaspour “Review on Iron and Its Importance for Human Health.” Journal of Research in Medical Sciences

The amount of iron required for daily renewal of red blood cells (20-30 mg) is provided mostly by senescent erythrocyte iron recycling at macrophages.33, 34 This small required amount is usually why supplementing with iron is a poor idea, especially with the relative ease at which it is possible to intervene by dietary means.

Besides iron deficiency, vitamin B12 deficiency can also lead to anemia.35 Meat, eggs, fish, and shellfish are also great sources for vitamin B12.36 A diet devoid of these foods directly correlates to the growing number of vegetarian and vegan anemics.

Can We Ward Off Anemia with The Paleo Diet? | Dr. Cordain

Herrmann, Wolfgang, and Rima Obeid. “Causes and Early Diagnosis of Vitamin B12 Deficiency.” Deutsches Ärzteblatt International 105.40 (2008): 680–685. PMC. Web. 24 Nov. 2014.

Can We Ward Off Anemia with The Paleo Diet? | Dr. Cordain

Kassebaum, Nicholas J. et al. “A Systematic Analysis of Global Anemia Burden from 1990 to 2010.” Blood 123.5 (2014): 615–624. PMC. Web. 24 Nov. 2014.

From the figure to the right, we see anemia has declined since 1990.37 Public awareness of the condition has gone up, as well as advancements in the supplement industry’s budget. These factors have helped some become more aware of this debilitating condition.

Age relation with respect to anemia is also interesting, as it seems to play a more significant role than one might suspect. We see that as adults move into their thirties and forties, their risk of anemia goes up. Neglecting diet, when one is focused mainly on career advancement and other pressures that cause high stress, are potentially related.

Yet, while cases of anemia have declined since the ‘90s, the global implications for anemia are surprisingly higher than one might suspect.38, 39, 40 Anemia is still responsible for 68.3 million years of life lived with disability.

While it is near impossible to calculate anemia’s exact effects, with more than 20 diseases linked to its development, you can take preventative measures to meet iron and vitamin B12 dietary requirements. The best course of action is following a delicious and nutritious Paleo Diet and start cooking delicious Paleo recipes, which are available in The Paleo Diet Recipe Library!

Can We Ward Off Anemia with The Paleo Diet? | Dr. Cordain

Kassebaum, Nicholas J. et al. “A Systematic Analysis of Global Anemia Burden from 1990 to 2010.” Blood 123.5 (2014): 615–624. PMC. Web. 24 Nov. 2014.

Can We Ward Off Anemia with The Paleo Diet? | Dr. Cordain

Kassebaum, Nicholas J. et al. “A Systematic Analysis of Global Anemia Burden from 1990 to 2010.” Blood 123.5 (2014): 615–624. PMC. Web. 24 Nov. 2014.

REFERENCES

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[2] Melku M, Addis Z, Alem M, Enawgaw B. Prevalence and Predictors of Maternal Anemia during Pregnancy in Gondar, Northwest Ethiopia: An Institutional Based Cross-Sectional Study. Anemia. 2014;2014:108593.

[3] Douglas NM, Lampah DA, Kenangalem E, et al. Major burden of severe anemia from non-falciparum malaria species in Southern Papua: a hospital-based surveillance study. PLoS Med. 2013;10(12):e1001575.

[4] Macciò A, Madeddu C. Management of anemia of inflammation in the elderly. Anemia. 2012;2012:563251.

[5] Singh RK, Patra S. Extent of Anaemia among Preschool Children in EAG States, India: A Challenge to Policy Makers. Anemia. 2014;2014:868752.

[6] Kassebaum NJ, Jasrasaria R, Naghavi M, et al. A systematic analysis of global anemia burden from 1990 to 2010. Blood. 2014;123(5):615-24.

[7] Merchant AA, Roy CN. Not so benign haematology: anaemia of the elderly. Br J Haematol. 2012;156(2):173-85.

[8] Tettamanti M, Lucca U, Gandini F, et al. Prevalence, incidence and types of mild anemia in the elderly: the “Health and Anemia” population-based study. Haematologica. 2010;95(11):1849-56.

[9] Abbaspour N, Hurrell R, Kelishadi R. Review on iron and its importance for human health. J Res Med Sci. 2014;19(2):164-74.

[10] Den elzen WP, Van der weele GM, Gussekloo J, Westendorp RG, Assendelft WJ. Subnormal vitamin B12 concentrations and anaemia in older people: a systematic review. BMC Geriatr. 2010;10:42.

[11] O’leary F, Samman S. Vitamin B12 in health and disease. Nutrients. 2010;2(3):299-316.

[12] Moreno chulilla JA, Romero colás MS, Gutiérrez martín M. Classification of anemia for gastroenterologists. World J Gastroenterol. 2009;15(37):4627-37.

[13] Vitamin B12 and cognitive function: an evidence-based analysis. Ont Health Technol Assess Ser. 2013;13(23):1-45.

[14] Thomson CA, Stanaway JD, Neuhouser ML, et al. Nutrient intake and anemia risk in the women’s health initiative observational study. J Am Diet Assoc. 2011;111(4):532-41.

[15] Available at: //www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/understanding-anemia-basics. Accessed November 18, 2014.

[16] Cattan D. Pernicious anemia: what are the actual diagnosis criteria?. World J Gastroenterol. 2011;17(4):543-4.

[17] Mohammed mujib AS, Mohammad mahmud AS, Halder M, Monirul hasan CM. Study of Hematological Parameters in Children Suffering from Iron Deficiency Anaemia in Chattagram Maa-o-Shishu General Hospital, Chittagong, Bangladesh. Anemia. 2014;2014:503981.

[18] Wallerstein RO. Laboratory evaluation of anemia. West J Med. 1987;146(4):443-51.

[19] Imashuku S, Kudo N, Kaneda S. Spontaneous resolution of macrocytic anemia: old disease revisited. J Blood Med. 2012;3:45-7.

[20] Brown RG. Normocytic and macrocytic anemias. Postgrad Med. 1991;89(8):125-32, 135-6.

[21] Kim H, Yang K, Dejsuphong D, D’andrea AD. Regulation of Rev1 by the Fanconi anemia core complex. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2012;19(2):164-70.

[22] Available at: //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMHT0021987/. Accessed November 18, 2014.

[23] Kaniewska M, Bartnik W, Gonciarz M, et al. Iron deficiency anaemia in patients with inflammatory bowel disease: National Consultant for Gastroenterology Working Group Recommendations. Prz Gastroenterol. 2014;9(5):259-63.

[24] Pisani A, Riccio E, Sabbatini M, Andreucci M, Del rio A, Visciano B. Effect of oral liposomal iron versus intravenous iron for treatment of iron deficiency anaemia in CKD patients: a randomized trial. Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2014;

[25] Karefylakis C, Näslund I, Edholm D, Sundbom M, Karlsson FA, Rask E. Prevalence of Anemia and Related Deficiencies 10 Years After Gastric Bypass-a Retrospective Study. Obes Surg. 2014;

[26] Beck KL, Mitchell S, Foskett A, Conlon CA, Von hurst PR. Dietary Intake, Anthropometric Characteristics, and Iron and Vitamin D Status of Female Adolescent Ballet Dancers Living in New Zealand. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2014;

[27] Gonçalves C, Oliveira ME, Palha AM, Ferrão A, Morais A, Lopes AI. Autoimmune gastritis presenting as iron deficiency anemia in childhood. World J Gastroenterol. 2014;20(42):15780-6.

[28] Tatala S, Svanberg U, Mduma B. Low dietary iron availability is a major cause of anemia: a nutrition survey in the Lindi District of Tanzania. Am J Clin Nutr. 1998;68(1):171-8.

[29] Demir S, Olgac M, Unal D, Gelincik A, Colakoglu B, Buyukozturk S. A Practical and Successful Desensitization Protocol for Immediate Hypersensitivity Reactions to Iron Salts. Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2014;165(2):100-103.

[30] Turner BL, Thompson AL. Beyond the Paleolithic prescription: incorporating diversity and flexibility in the study of human diet evolution. Nutr Rev. 2013;71(8):501-10.

[31] Armelagos GJ. Brain evolution, the determinates of food choice, and the omnivore’s dilemma. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2014;54(10):1330-41.

[32] Boers I, Muskiet FA, Berkelaar E, et al. Favourable effects of consuming a Palaeolithic-type diet on characteristics of the metabolic syndrome: a randomized controlled pilot-study. Lipids Health Dis. 2014;13:160.

[33] Iolascon A, De falco L, Beaumont C. Molecular basis of inherited microcytic anemia due to defects in iron acquisition or heme synthesis. Haematologica. 2009;94(3):395-408.

[34] Muñoz M, Gómez-ramírez S, Martín-montañez E, Auerbach M. Perioperative anemia management in colorectal cancer patients: a pragmatic approach. World J Gastroenterol. 2014;20(8):1972-85.

[35] Watanabe S, Ide N, Ogawara H, et al. High Percentage of Regulatory T Cells before and after Vitamin B12 Treatment in Patients with Pernicious Anemia. Acta Haematol. 2014;133(1):83-88.

[36] Watanabe F, Yabuta Y, Tanioka Y, Bito T. Biologically active vitamin B12 compounds in foods for preventing deficiency among vegetarians and elderly subjects. J Agric Food Chem. 2013;61(28):6769-75.

[37] Kassebaum NJ, Jasrasaria R, Naghavi M, et al. A systematic analysis of global anemia burden from 1990 to 2010. Blood. 2014;123(5):615-24.

[38] Pasricha SR. Anemia: a comprehensive global estimate. Blood. 2014;123(5):611-2.

[39] Kassebaum NJ, Jasrasaria R, Naghavi M, et al. A systematic analysis of global anemia burden from 1990 to 2010. Blood. 2014;123(5):615-24.

[40] Fayet-moore F, Petocz P, Samman S. Micronutrient Status in Female University Students: Iron, Zinc, Copper, Selenium, Vitamin B12 and Folate. Nutrients. 2014;6(11):5103-5116.

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“2” Comments

  1. Since February my diet has mostly been trail mix for breakfast (raw cashew, raw pecan, raw almond, dried coconut (plain), dried sour cherry, dried mango/apricot (varied), dried blueberries, – lunch and dinner – a large “slaw” salad – kale, broccoli, red cabbage and jicama, topped with an oil free vinaigrette I make, and some pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries/apricots/cherries (varied). Was mostly just eating chicken breasts, but when my blood tests showed me very deficient in Vitamin D, quite low on B12 and low on hematocrit and many other aspects of my blood I switched the chicken to beef. After two weeks of beef my friends still complain I have no color, but it will be 2 more months before the doctors are going to run another test.

    I wonder if my problem could be that I do not vary the diet up a whole lot. I am broke, on food stamps, living in a homeless shelter, and honestly, at least Food Stamps give me a better food budget than my last $10/hr job, but my cooking resources are limited (the grill at the park, and I eat my veggies raw).

    I know I’m lacking in fresh fruit and the dried may not be the best choice but it keeps and frankly I just never seem to have any money for oranges, just bananas sometimes.

    I found this because I was wondering if anyone else BECAME anemic eating paleo. I wish I knew what would help, and I wonder if the beef change was enough to fix me (it tasted like heaven at first), the beef I’m eating now is chuck roasts that I grilled (thank God I can chew), but my friends sure don’t think so.

    Any ideas?

  2. Pingback: Preventing Vitamin B12 Deficiency | The Paleo Diet : 101Diets/a>

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