Health

Natural Ways to Increase Hemoglobin and Why that is Important

The importance of hemoglobin is unparalleled and cannot be debated. Imagine various diseases attacking you due to the low levels of hemoglobin in your body. It’s… Trista - June 11, 2020

The importance of hemoglobin is unparalleled and cannot be debated. Imagine various diseases attacking you due to the low levels of hemoglobin in your body. It’s scary, isn’t it? Hemoglobin carries oxygen to the different parts of the tissues and helps them function properly. While the situation may seem daunting, do not fret, there are many ways that you can increase the levels of hemoglobin in your body. 

Your parents probably advised you to eat several foods to increase your hemoglobin level. These are natural remedies and can be easily accessed. They have the fewest side effects and can be consumed by almost everybody. Visiting a doctor is probably a better idea if your levels of hemoglobin fall off considerably.

Hemoglobin makes up the central part of blood, which is essential for the body. Pixabay.

Details About Hemoglobin Including Formation and Destruction

Hemoglobin is more specifically a group of proteins that are linked with the heme group that contains iron. Hemoglobin gets its name from its structure. The protein is globular and is connected with a heme group; hence the name comes up as hemoglobin (heme + globin). I bet you didn’t realize that, did you?

The production of hemoglobin occurs in the bone marrow by the erythrocytes. Its destruction occurs in the spleen and is eventually expelled from the body, along with bile, but not before retaining the useful components. Hemoglobin is not only found in red blood cells but also other cells. 

Blood carries oxygen and nutrients around the body so that it can stay healthy. Pixabay.

Location And Other Functions

In cells like the endometrial cells, mesangial cells, and others, hemoglobin functions as a regulator that can metabolize iron. Here, it does not display its oxygen-carrying capacity. You must have seen the red color of blood. And everyone knows that this red color is because of the hemoglobin present in the blood. But have you ever wondered how or why is that so? It is because of the binding of the iron present in the heme with the oxygen. 

There are two kinds of blood to be found in the body: one carrying oxygen and the other carrying carbon dioxide. Wikimedia Commons.

Different Variants

Hemoglobin can be found in different variants. Oxyhemoglobin is one such variant. It is formed when oxygen gets bound to hemoglobin. This gives the blood a bright red coloration. Carboxyhemoglobin is a dangerous variant. It is formed when carbon monoxide binds to hemoglobin. You must be aware of the various sources of carbon monoxide poisoning. Want to know some interesting tidbits about plants? Plants, more specifically legumes, have a variant of hemoglobin called leghemoglobin. Surprisingly, it performs the same function as it does in our body. 

Oxygenated blood goes to all the organs to keep them functioning. Pixabay.

Functions Of Hemoglobin Include Oxygen Carrying Capacity

Hemoglobin has several other functions. Its primary purpose is carrying oxygen to the other cells of the body. It also carries carbon dioxide from the various other cells to the lungs. When bound with oxygen, it is called oxyhemoglobin. But, when it reaches the tissues which lack oxygen and provide them with oxygen, the iron in the hemoglobin is reduced. This state of hemoglobin, where oxygen is not bound to hemoglobin, is called deoxyhemoglobin. 

Carbon dioxide has to be removed from the body, which we do by breathing. Wikimedia Commons.

Carbon Dioxide Carrying Capacity

Hemoglobin binds with both oxygen and carbon dioxide, but that does not mean that they both compete for the same spot in hemoglobin. Much like we don’t like to compete with other people for a place in anyone’s life, neither does oxygen and carbon dioxide. When carbon dioxide binds with hemoglobin, it is called carbaminohemoglobin.

Hydrogen sulfide needs to be removed from the blood so that it can have a healthy pH. Wikimedia Commons.

Interaction With Ligands and Other Functions

Hemoglobin also tends to bind with other ligands. These ligands could be carbon monoxide, sulfur monoxide, and hydrogen sulfide. These are just to name a few. A combination of hemoglobin with any of these ligands could have lethal consequences. Another vital function of hemoglobin is its capacity to act as a buffer. Hemoglobin helps in maintaining the pH of the blood. This action helps several enzymes react without any issues. It is also responsible for imparting red color to the red blood cells and, thereby, to blood.

Drawing blood is necessary to see how healthy it is. Public Domain Files.

Hemoglobin Tests and Results

As the name suggests, hemoglobin tests are done to measure the amount of hemoglobin present in the blood. It is essential to know the amount of hemoglobin that we have and take preventive measures if there is any shortfall. The test lets us know the level of hemoglobin in the body. It is done through a simple blood test and is relatively safe. If your doctor suggests a hemoglobin test, do not fret. It could be just for a routine checkup. Make sure to consult with your doctor after taking the tests. Have you encountered dizziness, fatigue, and insomnia-like symptoms? Do not take it lightly. Get a blood test done.

Anemia occurs when the blood cells are no longer healthy enough to transport essential chemicals around the body and start to break down. Wikimedia Commons.

Anemia

Anemia occurs when the number of red blood cells is low in your body. It can be due to different reasons. For example, it can be due to substantial loss of blood during childbirth or menstruation or maybe because of chronic disease. But, the deficiency of iron is one of the main reasons for anemia.

Polycythemia is when there is too much hemoglobin in the blood. Wikimedia Commons.

Polycythemia

You would think having too many red blood cells wouldn’t hurt, would it? You will be stunned to know that the high count of red blood cells could lead to a medical condition termed as polycythemia. The symptoms are quite similar to anemia and include headache, dizziness, and blurred vision. Polycythemia is a severe condition and should be treated as early as possible. If you find a high level of hemoglobin in your blood, visit a doctor immediately. Polycythemia could lead to heart attack and stroke. 

Healthy blood keeps everything in check. Wikimedia Commons.

Effects Of Hemoglobin On The Human Body – Normal Level

The increment or decrement of hemoglobin in our body can have an impact on our health. Hence, you need to keep a check on the same. Here are the exact facts about how much hemoglobin you should have in your body, depending upon gender and age. Adults and children have different ranges when it comes to the average level of hemoglobin. Even in adults, the normal level of hemoglobin varies in men and women.

For men, the normal range of hemoglobin level is 13 or more. And for women, it is 12 or more. This is usually measured in grams per deciliter of blood. Infants are likely to have a high level of hemoglobin in their blood. For children ranging from 2 months to 11 years, the normal range of hemoglobin level is between 9 g/dL to 15 g/dL. It is the same for both girls and boys.

Headaches are a common symptom of having too much hemoglobin in the blood. Wikimedia Commons.

High Levels Of Hemoglobin

High levels of hemoglobin are mainly seen in people residing in the hills. Other than that, it can also be due to tumors, lung diseases, or even dehydration. Various factors can lead to an increase in the level of hemoglobin in your body. Increasing hemoglobin levels can prove to be fatal for you. In general, if a person has more than 16 grams of hemoglobin per deciliter, then it can be considered as a high hemoglobin level. 

As mentioned above, an increase in the levels of hemoglobin in your blood results in a medical condition called polycythemia. Polycythemia is a type of cancer of the blood. The symptoms are headache, weakness, breathing troubles, and blurred vision. It has no cure, but you can still undergo treatments. 

Too little hemoglobin, and you’ll start to feel dizzy. Pxfuel.

Low Levels Of Hemoglobin

Neither high nor low levels of hemoglobin are suitable for your body. You should regularly do blood tests and check your hemoglobin level. After checking, if you have found out that your hemoglobin count is below 12 grams, then you probably are suffering from anemia. Low levels of hemoglobin equate to the low count of red blood cells. It can have an immense detrimental effect on your body. The decrease in the levels of hemoglobin leads to anemia. Anemia is a medical condition that can, fortunately, be treated. The symptoms are weakness, fatigue, dizziness, and overall tiredness. There are several reasons behind the increasing or decreasing levels of hemoglobin. You need to be aware of them and take possible precautions. 

COPD is a result of the lungs no longer being able to absorb oxygen properly. Wikimedia Commons.

Causes Of Increasing Levels Of Hemoglobin Including Congenital Heart Disease and COPD

Various diseases and health conditions can increase the number of red blood cells in your body and cause polycythemia. Congenital heart disease can increase your heart rate, which, in turn, can boost the viscosity of your blood. By doing this, the condition can increase both your red blood count and the risk of heart attack and stroke. Chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, such as emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis, and chronic bronchitis, can also cause hemoglobin issues by disrupting your body’s blood circulation. 

Dehydration can cause a spike of hemoglobin in the blood. Pixabay.

Dehydration, High Altitudes, or Tobacco Use

If you do not drink much water, then your body would start producing more red blood cells to keep you hydrated. So, if you do not keep yourself hydrated, then your risk of getting affected by polycythemia would also increase. When you go to a place with a higher altitude, the air around you becomes thinner. Thus, to increase the amount of oxygen in the blood, your body starts to produce more and more red blood cells. 

Smoking is extremely detrimental to your health. Apart from its role in causing cancer, it can also disrupt your body’s natural blood circulation. It might prompt your body to generate more RBCs, causing an increase in the overall amount of hemoglobin in your body. 

Leukemia is a cancer of the blood that makes it difficult for it to function correctly. Flickr.

Causes Of Decreasing Levels Of Hemoglobin Include Leukemia

Several reasons are behind the low levels of hemoglobin in the blood. Leukemia is a type of cancer that starts in the white blood cells. If left untreated, the malignant white blood cells can overpower the healthy WBC and RBC of your body. This, in turn, can reduce your body’s red blood cell count and cause anemia. Sometimes, the treatment procedures of leukemia can, too, lower the number of blood cells in your body. 

Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a painful disease that is difficult to treat. Wikimedia Commons.

Hodgkin’s And Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a type of cancer that targets the lymphatic system. This cancer causes white blood cells to multiply at an incredibly fast rate. Some of the infected cells might attack the bone marrow and hinder the formation of red blood cells, causing a decrease in the levels of hemoglobin. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is also a type of cancer that affects the lymphatic system. The continuous growth and division of lymphocytes affect the lymph nodes and make them swell. These lymphocytes can gather and crowd the bone marrow, hindering the formation of red blood cells.

Hypothyroidism is caused by the thyroid glands not functioning correctly, leading to several metabolic symptoms. Wikipedia.

Hypothyroidism, Aplastic Anemia, or Lead Poisoning

Hypothyroidism is a medical condition that occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce the required amount of thyroid hormones. A decrease in the amount of the thyroid hormones causes repression of the activities of the bone marrow. It causes the production of a low level of red blood cells and, thereby, hemoglobin.

Aplastic anemia is a serious medical condition in which bone marrow stops producing new red blood cells. Its occurrence is rare but can occur at any age. With the stoppage in the formation of red blood cells, the level of hemoglobin decreases considerably. Lead poisoning can have disastrous effects on your body. Lead interferes with the synthesis of heme in hemoglobin. This results in a decrease in the level of hemoglobin and, eventually, causes anemia.

Getting daily exercise can help your body to produce more hemoglobin. Pixabay.

Increasing Hemoglobin Levels In The Human Body Include Exercise

Various methods can help you to improve your hemoglobin issues. Exercise is the best way to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Some of us don’t like to go to the gym every day, do we? Well, going to the gym is probably a small sacrifice when you look from the perspective of being healthy. Exercising regularly can help to enhance the blood circulation procedure of your body. This, in turn, can stimulate your bone marrow and prompt it to produce more red blood cells.   

So, if you exercise daily, be it in a gym or anywhere else, your health will surely improve. However, specific exercises may not be feasible for you if you have certain medical conditions. People with heart conditions or any other major surgeries should rethink before immediately joining the gym. As exercising in a gym is quite laborious, it might negatively affect their health. 

Staying hydrated can also help, but don’t drink too much as this can water down blood. Pixabay.

Hydration

Water is an essential part of our life. Water has a crucial role in increasing the levels of hemoglobin in our bodies. The lack of water causes some significant issues in our body, including dehydration. It can also create a variety of diseases ranging from rheumatism to bladder infections to illnesses related to the digestive system.

Consuming the right amount of water daily is necessary to maintain good health. An increase in the uptake of water is related to the rise in the level of hemoglobin in our blood. But, you should also keep in mind that drinking an excessive amount of water is also detrimental to your health. Because of this, balance is essential.

An iron tablet a day will keep the anemia away. Flickr.

Iron Tablets

Iron is a type of mineral that can increase the number of red blood cells in the human body. So, if you are suffering from low hemoglobin issues, then your doctor might ask you to consume iron-rich foods. He may also prescribe you some iron tablets and medicines to elevate the amount of hemoglobin in your blood. According to the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements, it is recommended that men can intake 8 mg of iron per day, and women can ingest 18 mg of iron per day. But, you should also keep in mind that too much iron is harmful to your body.

Coffee should be avoided if you’re trying to absorb iron more readily. Pixabay.

Substances That Block The Intake Of Iron

Various substances can block your intake of iron. Coffee is your life, and you cannot function without it, right? Well, you will be surprised to know that coffee is an iron blocker and inhibits the body’s rise in the level of iron. Calcium is a mineral that actively inhibits the uptake of iron. You should keep in mind about your daily intake of calcium. Milk and other dairy products need to be consumed but not excessively. Tea and legumes are also some of the foods that act as iron blockers. 

The science is still out on whether copper cups actually help your body to produce more hemoglobin. Pixabay.

Keep Water In A Copper Vessel

In the Ayurvedic branch of medicine, copper vessels have great importance. These are said to benefit the human body in various ways. Bet your grandma drank water from the multiple utensils she had, didn’t she? Drinking water from copper vessels is said to improve the levels of hemoglobin in your blood. It also offers some other properties like being anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory. It also helps in losing weight.

A healthy diet keeps everything in check so that your body will function normally. Pixabay.

Eat A Balanced Diet

A balanced diet is key to remaining healthy and avoiding diseases. You don’t like most of the foods your mother makes you eat, do you? You may not like them, but they provide balanced nutrition to your body. To increase the levels of hemoglobin in your body, you need to make sure that your diet consists of iron-rich foods as well as foods rich in Vitamin C. The foods enriched in Vitamin C help in the absorption of iron and help your body to utilize the iron that you consume fully.

Bone marrow is responsible for the production of new red blood cells. Wikimedia Commons.

Erythropoietin Injections

Erythropoietin is a type of hormone that can help to stimulate the efficiency of your bone marrow. This, in turn, can increase the production of red blood cells to some extent. Hence, the overall oxygen-carrying capacity of your blood would also increase. Due to this reason, if you are suffering from hemoglobin issues, your doctor might suggest you take erythropoietin injections. 

However, like any other medication, erythropoietin, too, can inflict some side effects. If you are taking the injections for a prolonged period, then you might experience mild to severe joint pains, a sudden hike in blood pressure, or fever. However, most of these side effects are quite mild and, therefore, will not affect your health that much.   

Dong Quai supplements have been shown to stimulate the growth of new red blood cells. Wikimedia Commons.

Dong Quai And Chitosan Supplements

Dong Quai supplements are generally found in the form of tablets and are primarily used to treat menstrual cramps, menstrual symptoms, and Premenstrual Syndrome. These supplements can also be used to increase the levels of iron in your body, thereby increasing the levels of hemoglobin in your body. 

Most doctors generally use chitosan supplements to treat kidney issues. However, a recent study on the aspects of hematology has revealed that chitosan supplement diets can also help in increasing the overall count of your red blood cells. It, in turn, can help to increase the amount of hemoglobin in your blood too.  

There are plenty of other remedies you could add to your daily regimen to increase blood cell production. Wikimedia Commons.

Natural Remedies To Increase Hemoglobin Levels

It is not always necessary to take medicine to increase your body’s hemoglobin level. You can also achieve this extraordinary feat just by making some lifestyle changes and opting for a few natural remedies, just like your elders used to do many years ago. Here are some of the best home remedies that you should follow to live a healthy and disease-free life.   

Beets can be added to any salad or meal, and are very tasty. Pixabay.

Take More Folates

Folates are mostly a type of Vitamin B (more precisely, Vitamin B9). They serve a variety of purposes. One of their functions is to help in the formation of red blood cells. Some fruits and vegetables are rich in folates. You might think spinach and broccoli aren’t tasty, right? You may not like them, but these vegetables like spinach, kale, and beets are an excellent source of folates. Apart from increasing the level of hemoglobin, they also provide Vitamins A and K and are rich in fiber. Legumes like peas and beans have a high content of folates. But, they also have high contents of protein, antioxidants, and some micronutrients that are essential to your body.

Vitamin C helps with the absorption of iron, so enjoy a citrus fruit every day. Flickr.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C helps in increasing the levels of hemoglobin in the blood. It increases the level of hemoglobin by assisting in the absorption of iron. Various fruits and vegetables can supplement your diet with Vitamin C. Fruits like orange, guava, lemon, and kiwi provide a high content of Vitamin C. Apart from raising the level of hemoglobin, they also contain antioxidants and fiber. Vegetables like cauliflower, kale, and broccoli are also rich in Vitamin C. They play a significant role in elevating the levels of hemoglobin in the blood.  

Pomegranates are actually quite rich with iron. Wikimedia Commons.

Eat More Iron-Rich Foods

Anemia mainly occurs due to a deficiency of iron. You can increase the level of iron in your body by consuming some iron-rich fruits, vegetables, and foods. And most of them even taste good, how cool is that? Fruits like pomegranate, watermelon, apple, and beetroot are full of iron and thus increase the level of iron in your body. An increase in the level of the iron causes an increase in the level of hemoglobin.

You may not like vegetables, but they sure help your body stay healthy. Some vegetables like spinach, tofu, beans, cauliflower, and potato increase the level of iron content in our body. This ultimately increases the level of hemoglobin in our bodies. Foods like chicken liver, seafood, oysters, and eggs also provide iron to our bodies. These foods are not only tasty but also play a key role in increasing the level of hemoglobin in our blood. 

Yogurt is probiotic, too, so your stomach will be happier also. Pixabay.

Yogurt With Turmeric

Yogurt has a natural ability to help prevent anemia. It somehow elevates the level of hemoglobin in our bodies. According to the Ayurvedic branch of medicine, yogurt with a teaspoon of turmeric helps a person suffering from Kapha-type anemia. Yogurt also has many other benefits. It not only makes your skin look radiant and beautiful but also makes your bones grow stronger. It also helps in digestion and boosts your immunity. So, yogurt is suitable for both skin and health!

Any kind of fruit juice is right for your body, as long as there’s not too much sugar. Pixabay.

Fruit Juices

The fruit is advantageous for boosting hemoglobin levels, but not everyone likes to eat it. No rule states that to increase the level of hemoglobin in the body, you have to eat solid fruits. You can also drink the juices of fruits that are rich in iron. Beetroot juice does wonders for your body. It makes you feel alive and gives the energy to go through the day. It also helps in elevating the levels of hemoglobin in your blood.

A tea of nettle leaves can be soothing for the stomach and increase iron in the blood. Pixabay.

Nettle Leaves

Nettle is an herbaceous plant that offers many health benefits. It contains iron as well as Vitamins B and C. The presence of iron in nettle leaves play a major role in elevating the hemoglobin levels in your body. You can make a soothing nettle tea. Warm the water and then add two teaspoons of nettle leaves that have been dried. Steep it for about 10 minutes. After that, filter it and add a little honey to it for taste.

A mood stabilizer, this remedy also spikes hemoglobin levels. Wikimedia Commons.

Ashwagandha Leaves

Ashwagandha is a medicinal herb and has several health benefits. It is prevalent in the field of Ayurvedic Medicine. It is said to increase the levels of hemoglobin in your body. Apart from increasing the levels of hemoglobin in the blood, ashwagandha also helps in fighting depression. It also enhances brain function and is excellent anti-anxiety medicine. Ashwagandha is relatively safe and has no extreme side effects.

Red spinach does have iron, but it’s not as much as people initially thought. Flickr.

Red Spinach

Red spinach is a leafy vegetable that offers many health benefits. It is widely used as a part of a daily food routine. Apart from increasing the levels of hemoglobin in your body, it also helps in digestion and improves eyesight. It also provides immunity and helps women retain their hair. You can cook the red spinach with spices and serve it along with meals. You can also make a paste out of a healthy amount of red spinach leaves. To this paste, you should add one tablespoon of honey and one tablespoon of lemon juice with an egg. Filter the liquid mixture and drink it. It will help you to increase your hemoglobin levels in the blood. 

Nothing wrong with a banana a day to keep your blood healthy. Pixabay.

Bananas

The usefulness of bananas knows no bounds. Every part of a banana tree is useful and can be used in a variety of ways. The fruit itself is an excellent source of iron and can increase the levels of hemoglobin in your body. Banana stems and flowers are a great source of iron. They help to increase the levels of hemoglobin in your body. Apart from that, these are also rich in fibers. You can quickly cook them and have them as a part of your meal. The banana flowers are delicious when cooked and also provide antioxidants.

Whole grains are better than processed grains for several reasons, including iron. Pixabay.

Whole Grains

Whole grains are an essential part of our dietary routine. They are full of iron and help in increasing the level of hemoglobin content in our body. Apart from increasing the levels of hemoglobin in your body, they are also rich in fiber and antioxidants. Did you know that pasta and bread while being incredibly yummy are also equally beneficial to your health? But, make sure not to consume too many white bread and cereals. These are processed artificially and are not as nutritionally helpful compared to whole grain bread and cereals.  

Dried fruits are an easy snack you can pack up and take on the go. Pixabay.

Dried Fruits

Dried fruits like dates and raisins can contribute to an increase in the levels of hemoglobin in your body. These are rich in iron, fiber, and a variety of vitamins. Consuming a paste of black sesame seeds with a teaspoon of honey can also have a positive impact on your body. They increase the levels of hemoglobin in your body by increasing the intake of iron.

Hemoglobin levels can be kept in check by following the advice of your doctor. Following some simple instructions and some home remedies might be enough to increase the level of hemoglobin in your blood. Panicking never does any good, does it? So, once you have your test results, visit a doctor before you start to worry. Deficient levels of hemoglobin could also lead to blood transfusion. This is serious, and home remedies might just not be enough for you. It is better to consult a doctor in this case. 

Sources:

https://food.ndtv.com/health/7-best-home-remedies-for-anaemia-1655479

https://www.wikihow.com/Raise-Hemoglobin#warnings

https://food.ndtv.com/food-drinks/how-to-increase-hemoglobin-7-natural-ways-1620466

https://www.eatright.org/health/wellness/preventing-illness/iron-deficiency

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321530#how-to-increase-hemoglobin

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318050#low-hemoglobin-levels

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/313841668_What_is_the_Function_of_Hemoglobin_in_the_Human_Body

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