Can we boost our hemoglobin levels?

My most recent blood test results showed a slight drop in my hemoglobin, hematocrit and red blood cell count. I’m not worried yet, since the IMF Patient’s handbook talks about <10 g/dL, and I’m nowhere near that. At any rate, in order to avoid a more worrisome drop (prevention prevention prevention!), I’ve been gathering information on how to give these three numbers a boost. And, since I’ve received a few queries on this topic, I thought I’d write a post about my findings thus far. IMG_3080

In addition to increasing our intake of iron-rich foods (red meat, beetroots, etc.), there are a few tips out there that I’d like to highlight. You can find them here, by the way (and on many other websites, too):

–Withania somnifera, also known as ashwagandha, has been used in Ayurvedic Medicine for ages and ages to treat anemia caused by iron deficiency. And ashwagandha just happens to be an anti-myeloma herb that I’ve tested a couple of times in the past with a certain success, though I hadn’t considered its effect on my HGB…And looking at my test results, which I did earlier today, didn’t help. I mean, back then my HGB was normal, and on ashwagandha it stayed within the normal range. At any rate, I’ve begun taking ashwagandha again…If it can push my HGB back into the normal range, I’ll be the happiest girl in town!!!

–Decrease our intake of gluten. I didn’t know this until today, but apparently gluten-rich foods can actually cause anemia. Reducing or eliminating gluten can therefore increase hemoglobin levels. The studies I’ve seen so far seem to support this…

–Blackstrap molasses. If only it tasted like melted chocolate…

–Increase our intake of vitamin B12 and folic acid. I had both tested, and the results are in the normal range, BUT on the low side, especially the former.

In sum, can we boost our hemoglobin levels? Hard to say, with myeloma. Mine is an attempt. But I’ve done it before, so I’m hopeful this time, too. As always, the eternal optimist! 🙂

I’d like to end the post with this old Italian saying: “il vino fa buon sangue.” Roughly translated, it means “wine makes good blood.” Well, as far as hemoglobin goes, wine turns out to be on the “no no no!” list. Bummer. In the past few months, you see, I’ve been enjoying about a quarter of a glass of red wine with supper…I guess I’ll have to stop doing that now. 🙁 Oh well…

P.S. This is a recent photo of our youngest cat, Prezzemolo (which means “parsley” in Italian), whom we got a couple of years ago at a local cat shelter. Isn’t he handsome??? Awwww…my boy!


  1. In PubMed search the following UID and you will likely find the reason for low hemoglobin.
    Apparently curcumin does have some side effects.

    1. Thanks for the link to the PubMed abstract, Val. I’ve known about curcumin’s chelating effects for a long time, and I’ve posted about them here on the blog, in fact. And, I admit, it’s always been a bit of a concern. However, I’ve been taking curcumin for more than nine years now, so if it is the culprit, which it certainly could be, at least in part, it’s taken a long time to reach this level. The odd thing is that my iron and ferritin levels are within normal range…not at the high end of normal, but still…normal.
      I can’t (won’t) stop taking curcumin, but I’m trying some natural hemoglobin-boosters that I hope will work. My next test results should be better! 🙂

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