Who knew that anemia plays a role in poor circulation? Being low on iron does a lot more than just make me fatigued and pale; with Raynaud’s, it also makes my hands cold.
The most common type of anemia is iron-deficient anemia. So what does iron have to do with my cold hands? Let’s look at some of the symptoms of anemia (from the American Society of Hematology, at http://www.hematology.org/Patients/Anemia/):
“When you have anemia, your body lacks oxygen, so you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Fast or irregular heartbeat
- Pounding or “whooshing” in your ears
- Cold hands or feet
- Pale or yellow skin
- Chest pain”
Did you see it? Cold hands or feet are symptoms of anemia. But why? Blood is made up of three primary components: plasma, white blood cells, and red blood cells. Anemia can make the oxygen-carrying red blood cells malfunction. Someone with anemia may not have enough healthy red blood cells to oxygenate tissue. No oxygen and red blood cells in tissue means cold blue hands.
So how does one combat this accursed anemia? You may have heard about the tummy trouble associated with many iron supplements, and who wants to acquire hemorrhoids from taking iron?
I have taken some Cadillac iron supplements in my time, but I highly recommend over-the-counter Vitron C. You see, all the other iron supplements still caused gastrointestinal problems and constipation, even if they promised not to do so. I was discussing this problem with some of my buddies in healthcare (yes, we talk about these things over lunch – it’s a nurse thing), and one of my new acquaintances said she was going to change my life.
Apparently, this knowledgeable individual had worked in large, university-based oncology centers – the kinds of hospitals where they conduct state of the art research and publish their findings for the rest of the world to follow ten years later. In those large research centers they had virtually stopped administering blood transfusions to their cancer patients by starting them on Vitron C.
Now, this is not some sort of magical potion. It has been well known for decades that iron is better absorbed when taken with Vitamin C. Nurses and physicians used to tell patients to drink some orange juice each morning with their iron pill. The difference is that Vitamin C enhances iron absorption, and ferronyl iron (a carbonyl form of iron) is also absorbed more readily in the GI tract than the ferrous salts (ferrous sulfate, ferrous gluconate, etc.). The ferrous salts (the most common type of iron supplement) are more likely to have side effects such as nausea and constipation (from the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional/). I found that these side effects prevented me from continuing iron supplementation because I was just too uncomfortable. However, this particular form of iron paired with Vitamin C significantly decreases the gastrointestinal problems associated with iron supplements as well as improves absorption. I can vouch for that fact. This is the first time I have been able to stick with an iron supplement for more than a week, and believe me, I am noticing that I have more energy, feel less breathless, and yes, even my hands feel warmer.