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How to Increase your Hemoglobin

How to Increase your Hemoglobin

One of the first things that patients with sickle cell want to know is how they can increase  their hemoglobin levels. Hemoglobin is a protein found in red blood cells that binds and easily transfers oxygen all over the body. SC warriors have less red blood cells; which means we have less hemoglobin than other people. In addition, sickle cells carry less hemoglobin molecules than standard red blood cells. This impedes oxygen delivery to the tissues, which then leads to pain.

The one thing that the public thinks is good to increase your blood count is iron. However, due to the risk of iron overload, patients with sickle cell are NOT recommended to ingest daily iron pills to increase blood counts. This could lead to a fatal complication called IRON OVERLOAD.

Okay, enough about the hemoglobin lesson. So what can you do at home to increase your red blood cells and hemoglobin count?

Dark Green Vegetables: These greens are rich in folate, which stimulates production of red blood cells and helps with healthy cell development. Examples of dark green veggies are kale, spinach, turnip greens, collard greens, mustard greens, broccoli, romaine lettuce and swiss chard. There are many recipes that incorporate these greens in the Nutrition section.

Liquid Chlorophyll: For those of you that don’t really like your veggies, you can try liquid chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is extracted from plants, and you are already getting it if you eat your veggies. The benefit is that it has a molecular structure similar to hemoglobin; except for the center atom. So it’s kinda almost like ingesting hemoglobin:) You could take this in addition, add it to your daily shake or take a teaspoon every day.

Almond Milk: Almonds help to raise hemoglobin, form new blood cells, and enables the liver, heart, brain and nerves to perform their respective functions normally. Instead of drinking cow milk (which is so not good for you anyway), switch your milk of choice to almond milk. If you must, add some dairy creamer to give you the kick that your taste buds miss.

Carao Fruit: This is a South American avocadan type fruit that helps to raise hemoglobin production. It works at the very beginning of cell development, on the DNA synthesis line. Another benefit is that carao is very low in iron. The vitamins from carao are more easily absorbed and converted than vegetable vitamins, and studies show that it raises hemoglobin in about 70% of users. Carao fruit is hard to get in the US, and is mostly available in syrup and juice form.

Vitamin B-12: Foods rich in B-12 are excellent for increasing hemoglobin. B-12 works with folate in cell production. It is normally only found in animal products, so if you’re vegetarian, you have to choose foods that have been fortified with B-12 or take a daily supplement.

The top 10 foods rich in B12 are shellfish, liver, caviar, octopus, fish, crab/lobster, beef, lamb, cheese and eggs. It is important to make sure that these choices are prepared in a healthy manner, and limit the fatty part of the meats to prevent plaque buildup in the arteries. In addition; red meat, eggs and liver are high in iron, so go sparingly with these.

There are many other foods and supplements listed as good for those with anemia or good to raise your counts. Please cross-reference to make sure that these do not contain iron as the principle nutrient. Although  some iron will give you an increase, the body does find it hard to excrete iron, and in addition to the blood transfusions we get (that also contain iron), it might be a recipe for a temporary fix and permanent damage.

If you have any other suggestions, please feel free to drop them in the comments box.

Be well.

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About Author

Sickle Cell Warrior

Sickle Cell Warrior

Tosin is dedicated to perpetuating healthy and positive messages about sickle cell. Although sickle cell is a subject often taboo in the communities this condition is most prevalent, Tosin's message is that sickle cell is not something to be ashamed of and you can live a rich and fulfilling life with sickle cell. Sickle cell warriors are the most amazing people in the world, with a great fortitude for compassion, willpower and strength.

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  1. Victoria Lamon
    Victoria Lamon December 17, 23:15

    Hi Dear,
    My Daughter has Sickle Cell and she does not like eating greens much and Drinking water what is the and option I have . she has to be reminded and she acts like she is 4years younger . Please help.

  2. Sickle Cell Warrior
    Sickle Cell Warrior Author February 10, 02:27

    @Victoria, she will one day have to grow up and take charge of her own health. I was the same way when I was younger, but I realized that my rebellion was quickly followed with pain. Try to get her to drink Gatorade or Water mixed with juice for flavor. Greens can be incorporated gradually or she can have shakes that contain proteins and vitamins. Not sure how old she is but if she wants to live she needs to start taking care of herself better.

  3. Mojo
    Mojo September 25, 17:06

    This article was published on my birthday! (Random side note)

    I was sent this article by my mother-in-law. I have high fetal hemoglobin and rarely have a crisis more than once every 12-18 months. We are expecting our first child and unfortunately I have had two crises in the past 3 months. In addition to increasing my folate intake with a supplement (I’m sure you know the difference between folic acid and folate pills) I have recently begun taking chlorophyll. I was unaware that almond milk is good for hemoglobin — I just drink it because cow’s milk is gross! Haha!

    Fantastic article!

  4. Carine
    Carine September 26, 15:51

    Hi, have you tried green smoothies. The sweet of the fruit balances the bitterness of the dark green vegetables like spinach or kale with bananas, apples and grapes. Also steaming them in butter makes them taste better.

  5. Kshaf
    Kshaf December 11, 19:31

    Hello all. I’m 30!as of November 18 and is sickle cell thalassemia. I recently had twins b/g and survived with proper care of myself. In addition to eating veggies and eating healthy I incorporated freshly made smoothies with shots of whet grass in it: it’s a great blood builder…another regiment I added to my daily routine is coconut water. It’s high in natural electrolyte unlike Gatorade which is high in sodium, don’t get me wrong, I do drink it at times. As you all know, the crisis can suck big time but I rub the area with bengay and then apply heat packs with herbs in it. It sound a bit weird but it works wonders.
    For 2015 I haven’t had a crisis to the point where I was hospitalized or needed to take pain killers. I manage my “Mini crisis ” at home with rest and heat remedies. Good luck mojo on a safe and healthy pregnancy and delivery.

  6. Cassou photography
    Cassou photography December 15, 00:08

    Most times, i mix lime water and raw egg a native fowl. Its a powerful blood builder

  7. Suzzym
    Suzzym May 14, 09:27

    My mother used to beat a native fowls raw egg with grape juice or red wine and add peak milk. I drank this daily as a child and rarely had blood transfusions. I have only had three blood transfusions in my life. Once when I had surgery, once when i hd a hemolytic crisis and once when i lost my baby- still birth.

    Mom went to be with The Lord this time last year. I have since been researching ways to keep anemia and sickling at bay.

    Some new things I am adding to my daily regimen are mooring, spiralling, beet root juice and green leaf vegetable juice. I tablespoon of mooring and spirulina added to a cup of beet and green juices in a blender and drink. Yummy. I don’t add protein powder because i dislike the taste but you can add whatever you like to your smoothies. I am now ordering blackstrap molasses and chlorophyll as well to add to my regimen. I had a crisis two weeks ago and was very anemic because i had been negligent. Ive decided to take matters seriously again as being sick isn’t funny. I am turning 40 in August. God is good.

  8. Candy
    Candy October 03, 03:02

    My son is six. He is often sick, he has low appetite despite all the drugs. And is very anemic. I don’t know what to do.

  9. Pastor D
    Pastor D October 10, 15:17

    Praise the Lord. I got online to research the different types of smoothies that can be use to eliminate sickle. And found a friendship of information that can help me teach my students how to stay healthy with this disease by smoothing fruit and veggies high in Hemoglobins. Thank you all very much for all that you do in helping others. God bless you.

  10. Sickel cell mom
    Sickel cell mom December 04, 08:39

    My daughter is 2yrs old an has had her 1st pain crisis I’m trying to find the best method for her diet cause she dislikes healthy foods an drinks I’m desperatly trying to find wayscan alternatives learning that her eating habits play a big part in her health any help will be appreciated

  11. alico
    alico February 05, 00:54

    please is raw egg good for my sickle cell child?so far God is taking care of him. my may worry is the yellow eyes please what do i use to get rid of it.

  12. Sickle Cell Warrior
    Sickle Cell Warrior Author February 14, 01:12

    Alico, I haven’t heard of raw egg being used for Sickle Cell.

  13. Q
    Q March 18, 06:10

    Can I take vitamin b12.

  14. coco
    coco March 23, 10:39

    Hello,my daughter is now 3&1/2 years old.wanted to find out if all the above are taken at once and where to find them

  15. JMK
    JMK April 11, 10:19

    I have a good friend, she’s a sickler, iys kinda hard for her but she rarely takes greens and she really struggles with her health.. She’s been feeling dizzy of late, and school is stressing her too much…

  16. Ben
    Ben August 20, 11:23

    Am 37 and SCD about to go for surgery to remove my fibroid. Don’t want blood transfusion. Now i need to boost my hb to 14-15 in a month but am finding it difficult. Have never had crises or pain before i live a very normal life but am struggling with my hb am always at 11.5-10.8. Am also not a green girl PLEASE I NEED HELP.

  17. Tiso
    Tiso August 21, 04:47

    Hello, thank you for the healthy tips to improve Hemoglobin level. I intend to try it. I was very ill and I was transfused but my concern is that, I have high iron overload due to multiple blood transfusion over the years. Is there any fruit or herbal remedy that can extract iron from the liver? I read that cabbage can reduce it but I am not too sure if it works. The drug that was prescribed by my doctor to extract iron overload is rare, very expensive and has serious side effects hence, I am looking for alternative remedy to reduce the iron in my organ. Thank God I survived the crises this time and I hope never to experience it again.

  18. Sis AKS
    Sis AKS November 27, 10:31

    I have three children with sickle cell. I want to give them spinach, but I don’t know whether to boil it and extract the juice or blend it raw as a juice?

  19. angoo
    angoo January 10, 21:16

    Wow. Great to dabble into this page and have learnt some things. May God bless and keep us all in Jesus name, amen.

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