Hemoglobin is a protein molecule, found in body’s red blood cells and responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the whole body. It is necessary to maintain hemoglobin in the blood at its normal levels for your body to function smoothly. Apart from this, hemoglobin also carries carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the cells and into the lungs. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is then released as a person breathe-out or exhales.
If you have low hemoglobin levels in the blood stream, it can be difficult for your body to perform these functions properly. When the level of hemoglobin drops, it can cause weakness, shortness of breath, headache, fatigue, dizziness and rapid heartbeat. The decreasing levels of hemoglobin may leads to a condition, known as anemia.
In this article, we will cover how to increase hemoglobin levels naturally, its normal ranges, causes and symptoms of low hemoglobin levels. Here we’re going to list some natural ways to restore your hemoglobin to normal levels.
How to Increase Hemoglobin?
A person can boost their hemoglobin levels at home by —
1. Increase Iron Intake
Iron helps your body to boost the production of hemoglobin, which also helps to form more red blood cells in the body. So, the person with reduced levels of hemoglobin may take the advantage by consuming more iron-rich foods.
Iron-rich foods include :
- Green leafy vegetables, like kale and spinach
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Dates (khajoor)
- Fruits like apple, pomegranate and watermelon
- Peanut butter
- Nut and Seeds
- Prunes, chicken liver, seafood and beef
- Whole Eggs
2. Increase Folate Intake
Folate or folic acid is a type of vitamin B, which plays an important role in hemoglobin production. Our body uses folate to produce heme, which is a component of hemoglobin itself that helps to carry oxygen throughout the body.
If you don’t get enough folate, the red blood cells will not be able to get mature. It can lead to the condition folate—deficiency anemia and low hemoglobin levels.
Folate rich foods include :
- Kidney beans
- Black-eyed peas
- Green leafy vegetables
- Dried Beans
- Wheat Germ
- Chicken Liver
3. Maximize Iron Absorption
Consuming iron rich foods or supplements is important to boost hemoglobin levels, but it is more important to absorb that iron properly.
Vitamin C rich foods include :
- Leafy green vegetables
- Bell peppers
Vitamin A and beta—carotene can aid the body in absorbing and using iron. Vitamin A supplements can help your body to process iron, but it’s dangerous if too much is consumed.
Vitamin A rich foods include :
- Kale and Collards
- Sweet Potatoes
Beta-carotene Rich Foods :
Beta-carotene is usually found in orange, yellow and red fruits and vegetables, such as :
- Sweet Potatoes
4. Taking Iron Supplements
Doctors advise to take iron supplements to a person with extremely low levels of hemoglobin.
The dosage of these supplements depend on a person’s hemoglobin levels. Iron supplements increase the levels of iron gradually over a few weeks. But, it’s recommended to consult your doctor over the time.
Remember that too much or excessive dosage of iron can be dangerous for you. It may cause hemochromatosis, which leads to liver disease and side effects such as constipation, vomiting and nausea.
5. Avoid Iron Blockers
You should avoid consuming the foods that can block the ability to absorb iron of your body, especially when you have a low hemoglobin count.
Doctors recommend to do moderate to high intensity workouts regularly.
It’s because when you do workout — your body produces more hemoglobin to meet the increasing demand for oxygen throughout the body.
Normal Ranges of Hemoglobin
Hemoglobin is usually measured from a blood sample by automated machines designed to perform different tests on blood. The hemoglobin level is expressed as the amount of hemoglobin in grams (gm) per deciliter (dL) of whole blood. A deciliter is being 100 milliliters.
Low hemoglobin level is diagnosed when a man has less than 13.5 grams per deciliter (gm/dL) of hemoglobin in the blood, or when a woman has less than 12 g/dL. A person may have a low hemoglobin count for a variety of reasons, like:
It’s also possible to have reduced hemoglobin levels naturally without an underlying cause. some individuals may even have low hemoglobin and experience no indications or symptoms.
With a doctor’s guidance, a person can increase their hemoglobin levels to fall within a normal range. Normal ranges of hemoglobin are:
Hemoglobin levels of children may vary depending on age. Anyone who has concern about hemoglobin levels with his/her child should speak with a doctor.
Symptoms of Low Hemoglobin Levels
Symptoms of extremely low levels of hemoglobin may include :
- A fast or irregular heartbeat
- Reoccurring headaches
- Muscle weakness
- Pale skin and gums
- Frequent or unexplained bruising
Causes of Low Hemoglobin Levels
A person with low hemoglobin may have anemia. Common causes of anemia may include :
- Being deficient in iron, vitamin B-12, or folate
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Substantial blood loss
- Cancers that affect bone marrow
- Hypothyroidism, or a thyroid gland that doesn’t produce enough hormones
- Thalassemia (a hereditary disease that prevents hemoglobin from functioning properly)
- Sickle cell anemia (a genetic disorder that causes a reduction in red blood cells and hemoglobin)
Low hemoglobin levels can also be caused by :
- lung disease
- extreme physical exercise
- excessive smoking
Individuals can boost their low levels of hemoglobin with iron and folic acid rich dietary foods and supplements. A doctor is recommended to determine the correct supplement dosage.
If hemoglobin level still remains low, a person may need the further treatment, like blood transfusion. Depending on the cause of low hemoglobin levels and the treatments attempted, it may take up to a year for levels to reach a healthy range.