The word anemia typically makes people think of iron. However, there are actually over 400 kinds of anemia. Anemia is a condition characterized by a lack of healthy red blood cells. Because red blood cells transport iron to your body’s tissues, anemia will often lead to fatigue. The most common types of anemia related to dietary deficiencies are:
Iron deficiency – over time, inadequate iron intake will hamper the body’s production of hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. Iron deficiency can result from inadequate dietary intake (especially in vegetarians, children and teenagers), increased demand for iron (pregnancy and breastfeeding), heavy menstrual periods and digestive diseases such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis.
B-12 or folate (folic acid) deficiency – both of these vitamins play an important role in the production of red blood cells. Folate is found in food and folic acid is the syntheic form of this vitamin. Megaloblastic anemia is due to a deficiency in vitamin B12 or folate or both. Pernicious anemia results from inadequate B12 absorption.
Vitamin E deficiency – hemolytic anemia, from a vitamin E deficiency, is rare but can occur in newborns and people who have problems absorbing fat.