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Considerations for Anaemia

Anaemia is defined as deficiency of red blood cells/haemoglobin in the blood.  It is commonly caused by dietary deficiencies of iron, vitamin B12 and folate (vitamin B9).  Anaemia is the most common nutrient deficiency, particularly in women.  Signs and symptoms include tiredness, fatigue, low energy, pallor, breathlessness, feeling faint, headache/dizziness, heart palpitations, low immunity, hair loss/weakness, brittle or spoon-shaped nails, and restless leg syndrome.  Check out my Energiser Bunny Tonic and How to be an Energiser Bunny Blog.


Liver is one of the highest sources of iron, vitamin B12 and folate.  Make liver pate or disguise it in mince dishes.  Animal sources of iron include meat (especially red), seafood and eggs.  Plant sources of iron include leafy greens, beetroot, legumes, soy, dried fruit and molasses.  Vitamin B12 is only found in animal foods e.g. meat, seafood, eggs and dairy.  Folate is found in a variety of foods including vegetables, legumes and meat.  Chlorophyll is molecularly similar to haemoglobin, helping to carry oxygen in the blood.  Spirulina, chlorella and green vegetables are rich in chlorophyll.

liverHeme and non-heme

Heme iron from animal sources is more easily absorbed than non-heme iron from plant sources.  Vegetarians and vegans should be aware.

Vitamin C

Enhances iron absorption.  Sources of vitamin C include kiwifruit, capsicum, tomatoes, broccoli, berries and citrus fruits.

kiwifruitPhytates/Phytic acid

Naturally occurring in grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.  These enzyme inhibitors are plant constituents that prevent germination.  Soak and sprout/activate plant foods to increase mineral absorption of iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium.


Coffee, tea and chocolate are particularly high in these naturally occurring plant constituents, which hinder iron absorption.  Drink/eat tannin-rich foods separately from iron-rich foods.

coffeeInsoluble fibre

Excessive intake may bind to iron and inhibit its absorption.  Limit bran, psyllium husk and fibrous flours.


Malabsorption conditions often cause deficiencies of all nutrients.  Individuals with leaky gut and autoimmune conditions (where leaky gut is involved) are more likely to suffer from anaemia.  Common autoimmune conditions are Coeliac disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis).

Blood Loss

Women of menstruating age are at greater risk of anaemia due to monthly blood loss.  Other conditions involving blood loss include accidents or Inflammatory Bowel Disease (stool loss).

Consult with me to determine the cause and individualise your recommendations.