Tired? Anemia might be the blame.



Unfortunately, if you have an autoimmune disease, it’s likely that you also have Anemia which can make you feel extremely tired, one of many symptoms.  In case you’re not familiar, Anemia is a blood disorder where oxygen is inefficiently carried to lungs, tissues and other organs.  The process starts with our bone marrow.

“Conditions such as infections, inflammation, and cancer particularly suppress production of red blood cells in the bone marrow.”-Merck Manuals

“Anemia is the most common extra-articular manifestation of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), estimated to occur in 30-60% of patents.  Two primary types of anemia, iron deficiency anemia and anemia of chronic diseases (ACD) are seen in RA patients.  The retrospective study of 225 patients with RA showed that 64% of patients were anemic, and 77% were found to have ACD and 23% to have iron deficiency anemia.

ACD is an inflammatory anemia and inflammatory cytokines such as IL-6 and TNFa are thought to play important roles in anemia in RA.  However, it is still unclear how anemia is induced and which cytokine is most important.”-Springer-Verlag 2008

If your anemia is from inflammatory cytokines, your best bet is to get your disease under control and talk with your doctor about other options including B-12 injections.

“Erythropoiesis is often suppressed in chronic inflammatory diseases due to expression of hepcidin, a regulatory hormone that limits the availability of iron for erythropoiesis even when dietary iron intake is sufficient.” –FibroGen

Taking B-12 and iron supplements can be helpful for some people.

“Low hemoglobin may be a temporary problem remedied by eating more iron-rich foods or taking a multivitamin containing iron.”-MayoClinic

And I know personally, that taking B-complex vitamins along with iron does help with my energy level.

In addition to iron, your body needs folate and vitamin B-12 to produce sufficient numbers of healthy red blood cells. A diet lacking in these and other key nutrients can cause decreased red blood cell production. Additionally, some people are unable to effectively absorb B-12.”-MayoClinic

Another worry is pregnancy.

“If you’re pregnant, you’re at an increased risk of iron deficiency anemia because your iron stores have to serve your increased blood volume as well as be a source of hemoglobin for your growing fetus.”-MayoClinic

Even more worrisome than your anemia during pregnancy is how it will affect the unborn child.  According to Health&Wealth, “Anemia during pregnancy can cause growth retardation of fetus.”

So what are your options?

1.  Get your disease under control (easier said than done of course)

2.  Avoid alcohol

3.  Avoid antibiotics if your anemia is severe, “Certain medications, such as some antibiotics used to treat infections, also can break down red blood cells.”-MayoClinic

4.  Get blood-work done before conceiving so you can take necessary precautions.

5.  If you do have anemia, find out what kind you have.

Sometimes there’s not much you can do.  Even chemotherapy drugs can contribute to anemia.

3 Responses

  1. Hello,

    I was recently diagnosed with Celiac’s Disease, and a host of other food allergies but recently I have been having issues with my voluntary muscles and fear it may be an autoimmune response….I have extensive testing done but whenever I underwent them the flare ups were always in remission so it was never confirmed. I have also been iron deficient for 10.5 years. I was just wondering if it is an auto immune disease and because of my food allergies how long do I have left?

    Betty Lou

  2. Eve,

    My heart breaks for you. Thank you so much for sharing your story. As you probably already realize, I am no doctor. I am a patient who has reached out to alternative therapies for various reasons. So any advice given is solely from patient to patient, not from doctor to patient. It is up to you to decide for yourself or with a doctor, what is best for you. With that said, here are my thoughts……

    My first thought is that you should try Low Dose Naltrexone, also known as LDN. I have written an article about it on this site, including videos. You can find more information through links that I’ve provided or from their home page, http://www.lowdosenaltrexone.org If you cannot get a doctor to prescribe LDN, don’t give up, as there are many options. Please look through this website and use the search bar on gentlehugscafe to help you find some of these options. I’m on LDN myself and feel that it’s very beneficial. I must say however, when you first begin LDN, it will require a lot of work from your body to repair itself. Thus, you will feel even more tired than you do now. But in time, you will probably gain more energy.

    I think it is so admirable that you are looking towards alternative therapies. If I were you, I would be like you, giving everything the best fight I can. I can tell you that there have been many people who have gone on LDN and have had success, even those with cancer.

    But honestly, I would not stop there. Not knowing everything you are experiencing, it’s impossible for me, as a bystander, who again is not a doctor, to even try and give advice. However, I do feel that with what I know about anemia and cancer, inflammation plays a role in this. Because Anemia can be caused from inflammatory cytokines, I would guess that getting your inflammation under control could be helpful. On the other hand, this is only a guess, and I really have no idea. I would recommend trying Serracor-NK because it really does help tremendously with inflammation and there are many ingredients that people with autoimmune diseases generally lack. It takes time to work however, so please give it four months before you decide whether it’s worth the price…that is if you decide to take it.

    There are many supplements out there that would probably benefit you. Polypodium Leucotomos seems to help many, so it’s something to look into. Even though it didn’t help with my inflammation, it was easy to take, tasty and I still believe it has other benefits.

    I also recommend joining a support group. DailyStrength is a great support group which I’m part of. You can find other people who are taking supplements to help them with various illnesses. Don’t give up! Until you’ve exhausted every option, you just don’t know the possibilities. I can tell you as well that N-acytlecystine helps pull out toxic metals from your body. It’s something to consider BUT on the other hand, there are many rules to follow when taking it and I forget all of them. I know one is that you have to take much more vitamin C so that it’s absorbed, as well with supplementation of metals that are necessary, like iron and selenium.

    Perhaps you could consider having a homeopathic doctor to work with you on all of this. I have heard some amazing stories. Finding a good one is the hard part….
    Keep us posted.

  3. I am a woman 79 years young and have Mantle cell Lymphoma and now have anemia and have had for about a year for anemia. I am presently getting blood transfusions about every 3 weeks. However it does not seeem to give me the energy that I would like. I would like to know if there is a natural product out there that would give me some energy. I am taking B-12 plus vit.e 400 and take two of them a day- potassium, d 2000-a 10,ooo -calcium, and folic acid. What is the life span for me at this point in life??????? And what should I ackowledge how my life will end??

    Tjhanking you in advance.


    Eve Koevenig

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: