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Health Condition

Anemia

  • Vitamin A

    Vitamin A deficiency can contribute to anemia, supplementing with this vitamin may restore levels and improve symptoms.

    Dose:

    10,000 to 25,000 IU daily
    Vitamin A
    ×
     

    Deficiencies of iron, vitamin B12, and folic acid are the most common nutritional causes of anemia.2 Although rare, severe deficiencies of several other vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A,3,4vitamin B2,5vitamin B6,6,7vitamin C,8 and copper,9,10 can also cause anemia by various mechanisms. Rare genetic disorders can cause anemias that may improve with large amounts of supplements such as vitamin B1.11,12

  • Vitamin B2

    Vitamin B2 deficiency can contribute to anemia, supplementing with this vitamin may restore levels and improve symptoms.

    Dose:

    5 to 30 mg daily in divided doses
    Vitamin B2
    ×
     

    Deficiencies of iron, vitamin B12, and folic acid are the most common nutritional causes of anemia.13 Although rare, severe deficiencies of several other vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A,14,15vitamin B2,16vitamin B6,17,18vitamin C,19 and copper,20,21 can also cause anemia by various mechanisms. Rare genetic disorders can cause anemias that may improve with large amounts of supplements such as vitamin B1.22,23

  • Vitamin B6

    Vitamin B6 deficiency can contribute to anemia, supplementing with this vitamin may restore levels and improve symptoms.

    Dose:

    2.5 to 25 mg daily for three weeks, then 1.5 to 2.5 mg per day as maintenance therapy
    Vitamin B6
    ×
     

    Deficiencies of iron, vitamin B12, and folic acid are the most common nutritional causes of anemia.24 Although rare, severe deficiencies of several other vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A,25,26vitamin B2,27vitamin B6,28,29vitamin C,30 and copper,31,32 can also cause anemia by various mechanisms. Rare genetic disorders can cause anemias that may improve with large amounts of supplements such as vitamin B1.33,34

  • Vitamin E

    Supplementing with vitamin E may improve anemia in cases of vitamin E deficiency.

    Dose:

    60 to 75 IU per day
    Vitamin E
    ×
     

    Hemolytic anemia refers to a category of anemia in which red blood cells become fragile and undergo premature death. Vitamin E deficiency, though quite rare, can cause hemolytic anemia because vitamin E protects the red blood cell membrane from oxidative damage. Vitamin E deficiency anemia usually affects only premature infants and children with cystic fibrosis.35,36 Preliminary studies have reported that large amounts (typically 800 IU per day) of vitamin E improve hemolytic anemia caused by a genetic deficiency of the enzyme glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD)37,38,39 and anemia caused by kidney dialysis.40,41

  • Vitamin E Oral

    Studies have reported that large amounts of vitamin E improve hemolytic anemia caused by a genetic deficiency of the enzyme glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD).

    Dose:

    800 IU daily
    Vitamin E Oral
    ×
     

    Hemolytic anemia refers to a category of anemia in which red blood cells become fragile and undergo premature death. Vitamin E deficiency, though quite rare, can cause hemolytic anemia because vitamin E protects the red blood cell membrane from oxidative damage. Vitamin E deficiency anemia usually affects only premature infants and children with cystic fibrosis.42,43 Preliminary studies have reported that large amounts (typically 800 IU per day) of vitamin E improve hemolytic anemia caused by a genetic deficiency of the enzyme glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD)44,45,46 and anemia caused by kidney dialysis.47,48

  • Copper

    Copper deficiency can contribute to anemia, supplementing with this mineral may restore levels and improve symptoms.

    Dose:

    If deficient: 2 to 3 mg daily
    Copper
    ×
     

    Deficiencies of iron, vitamin B12, and folic acid are the most common nutritional causes of anemia.49 Although rare, severe deficiencies of several other vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A,50,51vitamin B2,52vitamin B6,53,54vitamin C,55 and copper,56,57 can also cause anemia by various mechanisms. Rare genetic disorders can cause anemias that may improve with large amounts of supplements such as vitamin B1.58,59

  • Açaí

    Açaí, which contains small amounts of iron, has been traditionally used to help treat anemia.

    Dose:

    Refer to label instructions
    Açaí
    ×
     

    Açaí contains iron (approximately 1.5 to 5 mg per 3.5 ounces of fruit).60 Although it has been traditionally used to help treat anemia, the amount of iron in açaí is not likely to be abundant or absorbable enough to have a significant effect.

What Are Star Ratings
×
Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

References

1. Smith JA. Exercise, training and red blood cell turnover. Sports Med 1995;19:9-31 [review].

2. Little DR. Ambulatory management of common forms of anemia. Am Fam Physician 1999;59:1598-604 [review].

3. Hodges RE, Sauberlich HE, Canham JE, et al. Hematopoietic studies in vitamin A deficiency. Am J Clin Nutr 1978;31:876-85 [review].

4. Bloem MW. Interdependence of vitamin A and iron: an important association for programmes of anaemia control. Proc Nutr Soc 1995;54:501-8 [review].

5. Lane M, Alfrey CP. The anemia of human riboflavin deficiency. Blood 1965;25:432-42.

6. Orehek AJ, Kollas CD. Refractory postpartum anemia due to vitamin B6 deficiency. Ann Intern Med 1997;126(10):834-5 [letter].

7. Iwama H, Iwase O, Hayashi S, et al. Macrocytic anemia with anisocytosis due to alcohol abuse and vitamin B6 deficiency. Rinsho Ketsueki 1998;39:1127-30 [in Japanese].

8. Hirschmann JV, Raugi GJ. Adult scurvy. J Am Acad Dermatol 1999;41:895-906 [review].

9. Summerfield AL, Steinberg FU, Gonzalez JG. Morphologic findings in bone marrow precursor cells in zinc-induced copper deficiency anemia. Am J Clin Pathol 1992;97:665-8.

10. Freycon F, Pouyau G. Rare nutritional deficiency anemia: deficiency of copper and vitamin E. Sem Hop 1983;59:488-93 [review] [in French].

11. Borgna-Pignatti C, Marradi P, Pinelli L, et al. Thiamine-responsive anemia in DIDMOAD syndrome. J Pediatr 1989;114:405-10.

12. Neufeld EJ, Mandel H, Raz T, et al. Localization of the gene for thiamine-responsive megaloblastic anemia syndrome, on the long arm of chromosome 1, by homozygosity mapping. Am J Hum Genet 1997;61:1335-41.

13. Little DR. Ambulatory management of common forms of anemia. Am Fam Physician 1999;59:1598-604 [review].

14. Hodges RE, Sauberlich HE, Canham JE, et al. Hematopoietic studies in vitamin A deficiency. Am J Clin Nutr 1978;31:876-85 [review].

15. Bloem MW. Interdependence of vitamin A and iron: an important association for programmes of anaemia control. Proc Nutr Soc 1995;54:501-8 [review].

16. Lane M, Alfrey CP. The anemia of human riboflavin deficiency. Blood 1965;25:432-42.

17. Orehek AJ, Kollas CD. Refractory postpartum anemia due to vitamin B6 deficiency. Ann Intern Med 1997;126(10):834-5 [letter].

18. Iwama H, Iwase O, Hayashi S, et al. Macrocytic anemia with anisocytosis due to alcohol abuse and vitamin B6 deficiency. Rinsho Ketsueki 1998;39:1127-30 [in Japanese].

19. Hirschmann JV, Raugi GJ. Adult scurvy. J Am Acad Dermatol 1999;41:895-906 [review].

20. Summerfield AL, Steinberg FU, Gonzalez JG. Morphologic findings in bone marrow precursor cells in zinc-induced copper deficiency anemia. Am J Clin Pathol 1992;97:665-8.

21. Freycon F, Pouyau G. Rare nutritional deficiency anemia: deficiency of copper and vitamin E. Sem Hop 1983;59:488-93 [review] [in French].

22. Borgna-Pignatti C, Marradi P, Pinelli L, et al. Thiamine-responsive anemia in DIDMOAD syndrome. J Pediatr 1989;114:405-10.

23. Neufeld EJ, Mandel H, Raz T, et al. Localization of the gene for thiamine-responsive megaloblastic anemia syndrome, on the long arm of chromosome 1, by homozygosity mapping. Am J Hum Genet 1997;61:1335-41.

24. Little DR. Ambulatory management of common forms of anemia. Am Fam Physician 1999;59:1598-604 [review].

25. Hodges RE, Sauberlich HE, Canham JE, et al. Hematopoietic studies in vitamin A deficiency. Am J Clin Nutr 1978;31:876-85 [review].

26. Bloem MW. Interdependence of vitamin A and iron: an important association for programmes of anaemia control. Proc Nutr Soc 1995;54:501-8 [review].

27. Lane M, Alfrey CP. The anemia of human riboflavin deficiency. Blood 1965;25:432-42.

28. Orehek AJ, Kollas CD. Refractory postpartum anemia due to vitamin B6 deficiency. Ann Intern Med 1997;126(10):834-5 [letter].

29. Iwama H, Iwase O, Hayashi S, et al. Macrocytic anemia with anisocytosis due to alcohol abuse and vitamin B6 deficiency. Rinsho Ketsueki 1998;39:1127-30 [in Japanese].

30. Hirschmann JV, Raugi GJ. Adult scurvy. J Am Acad Dermatol 1999;41:895-906 [review].

31. Summerfield AL, Steinberg FU, Gonzalez JG. Morphologic findings in bone marrow precursor cells in zinc-induced copper deficiency anemia. Am J Clin Pathol 1992;97:665-8.

32. Freycon F, Pouyau G. Rare nutritional deficiency anemia: deficiency of copper and vitamin E. Sem Hop 1983;59:488-93 [review] [in French].

33. Borgna-Pignatti C, Marradi P, Pinelli L, et al. Thiamine-responsive anemia in DIDMOAD syndrome. J Pediatr 1989;114:405-10.

34. Neufeld EJ, Mandel H, Raz T, et al. Localization of the gene for thiamine-responsive megaloblastic anemia syndrome, on the long arm of chromosome 1, by homozygosity mapping. Am J Hum Genet 1997;61:1335-41.

35. Mino M. Clinical uses and abuses of vitamin E in children. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 1992;200:266-70 [review].

36. Swann IL, Kendra JR. Anaemia, vitamin E deficiency and failure to thrive in an infant. Clin Lab Haematol 1998;20:61-3.

37. Hafez M, Amar ES, Zedan M, et al. Improved erythrocyte survival with combined vitamin E and selenium therapy in children with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency and mild chronic hemolysis. J Pediatr 1986;108:558-61.

38. Corash L, Spielberg S, Bartsocas C, et al. Reduced chronic hemolysis during high-dose vitamin E administration in Mediterranean-type glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency. N Engl J Med 1980;303:416-20.

39. Eldamhougy S, Elhelw Z, Yamamah G, et al. The vitamin E status among glucose-6 phosphate dehydrogenase deficient patients and effectiveness of oral vitamin E. Int J Vitam Nutr Res 1988;58:184-8.

40. Ono K. Reduction of osmotic haemolysis and anaemia by high dose vitamin E supplementation in regular haemodialysis patients. Proc Eur Dial Transplant Assoc Eur Ren Assoc 1985;21:296-9.

41. Ono K. Effects of large dose vitamin E supplementation on anemia in hemodialysis patients. Nephron 1985;40:440-5.

42. Mino M. Clinical uses and abuses of vitamin E in children. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 1992;200:266-70 [review].

43. Swann IL, Kendra JR. Anaemia, vitamin E deficiency and failure to thrive in an infant. Clin Lab Haematol 1998;20:61-3.

44. Hafez M, Amar ES, Zedan M, et al. Improved erythrocyte survival with combined vitamin E and selenium therapy in children with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency and mild chronic hemolysis. J Pediatr 1986;108:558-61.

45. Corash L, Spielberg S, Bartsocas C, et al. Reduced chronic hemolysis during high-dose vitamin E administration in Mediterranean-type glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency. N Engl J Med 1980;303:416-20.

46. Eldamhougy S, Elhelw Z, Yamamah G, et al. The vitamin E status among glucose-6 phosphate dehydrogenase deficient patients and effectiveness of oral vitamin E. Int J Vitam Nutr Res 1988;58:184-8.

47. Ono K. Reduction of osmotic haemolysis and anaemia by high dose vitamin E supplementation in regular haemodialysis patients. Proc Eur Dial Transplant Assoc Eur Ren Assoc 1985;21:296-9.

48. Ono K. Effects of large dose vitamin E supplementation on anemia in hemodialysis patients. Nephron 1985;40:440-5.

49. Little DR. Ambulatory management of common forms of anemia. Am Fam Physician 1999;59:1598-604 [review].

50. Hodges RE, Sauberlich HE, Canham JE, et al. Hematopoietic studies in vitamin A deficiency. Am J Clin Nutr 1978;31:876-85 [review].

51. Bloem MW. Interdependence of vitamin A and iron: an important association for programmes of anaemia control. Proc Nutr Soc 1995;54:501-8 [review].

52. Lane M, Alfrey CP. The anemia of human riboflavin deficiency. Blood 1965;25:432-42.

53. Orehek AJ, Kollas CD. Refractory postpartum anemia due to vitamin B6 deficiency. Ann Intern Med 1997;126(10):834-5 [letter].

54. Iwama H, Iwase O, Hayashi S, et al. Macrocytic anemia with anisocytosis due to alcohol abuse and vitamin B6 deficiency. Rinsho Ketsueki 1998;39:1127-30 [in Japanese].

55. Hirschmann JV, Raugi GJ. Adult scurvy. J Am Acad Dermatol 1999;41:895-906 [review].

56. Summerfield AL, Steinberg FU, Gonzalez JG. Morphologic findings in bone marrow precursor cells in zinc-induced copper deficiency anemia. Am J Clin Pathol 1992;97:665-8.

57. Freycon F, Pouyau G. Rare nutritional deficiency anemia: deficiency of copper and vitamin E. Sem Hop 1983;59:488-93 [review] [in French].

58. Borgna-Pignatti C, Marradi P, Pinelli L, et al. Thiamine-responsive anemia in DIDMOAD syndrome. J Pediatr 1989;114:405-10.

59. Neufeld EJ, Mandel H, Raz T, et al. Localization of the gene for thiamine-responsive megaloblastic anemia syndrome, on the long arm of chromosome 1, by homozygosity mapping. Am J Hum Genet 1997;61:1335-41.

60. Yuyama LKO, Dias RR, Nagahama D, et al. Acai ( Euterpe oleracea Mart.) and camu-camu (Myrciaria dubia (H.B.K.) Mc Vaugh), do they possess anti-anemic action? Acta Amazonica2002;32:625-33.

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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2019.