Nutrients and Supplements
Auckland Acupuncture Article Series:The nutrients most often needed to cure blood deficiencies are iron, folic acid, and vitamin B12. Copper and vitamin C are needed in order to absorb iron. Good sources of iron are found widely among animal proteins but if you are vegetarian – plant foods including vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds contain high levels.
Moreover, when a variety of these foods are consumed in their unrefined states, abundant protein, copper and B vitamins necessary for iron absorption will be available.
One of the richest plant based sources of iron, in a vegetarian diet, is the algae, including both seaweeds and micro-algae such as spirulina.
Vit B12 is the nutrient that is most difficult for vegetarians to obtain. It is required for red blood cell formation and normal growth, important for fertility and during pregnancy, builds immunity and treats some degenerative diseases.
Anyone, vegetarian or omnivore, with weak digestion – whether from a poor constitution, faulty nutrition, or an imbalanced lifestyle – can become Vit B12 deficient. There are also other factors that deplete the body of Vit B12:
- birth control pills and antibiotics
- intoxicants (alcohol, cigarettes, coffee)
- stress from any source, especially from injury, surgery, or trauma
- liver diseases and chronic illness
The majority of high Vit B12 sources are animal products so what are the vegetarian sources of Vit B12?
- Fermented foods – miso, soy sauce, tempeh, pickles and sourdough
- Micro-algae and Seaweeds – spirulina, chlorella, hijiki, kombu, wakame, kelp and nori
- Nutritional Yeast – brewers yeast
Due to modern sterile food processing environments the levels of Vit B, even in the above foods, is minimal. It is recommended that strict vegetarians get their Vit B levels tested and supplement as needed.
In TCM each organ has an associated emotion and excesses of this emotion are one of the leading causes of imbalance or disease within the body. The emotion of the Spleen, the organ primarily concerned with blood generation, is worry.
Worry and anxiety, examples of excessive thinking, greatly injure the spleen-pancreas and its blood-producing, nutrient-assimilating functions. It is commonly known in China that worry causes grey hair. Worry accelerates aging in general because it weakens the blood, which carries nutrients necessary for cell regeneration. Also, since worry damages the pancreas and its enzyme production, nutritional problems of every sort are more likely.
Worry can be defined as repetitious, compulsive thinking. Often the motivation behind worry is an attempt to “figure things out” from every perspective because of doubt and insecurity. But when one has faith in a unified life process – for example, that life proceeds according to its own perfection – then real acceptance of life becomes possible, and the busy mind can relax.
Doing some kind of mind calming exercise, whether it be meditation, qi gong, tai chi, counselling or simply walking is an important part of treatment for blood deficiency.
Acupuncture Auckland: Acupuncture Studio
If you would like to discuss anemia and the possible treatment options, please contact me at Acupuncture Studio at Pt Chevalier, Auckland city.