Hemoglobin, considered the most important component of our red blood cells, plays a crucial role in maintaining your overall health and well-being. It does not only give your blood its typical red color but also significant biological abilities. Hemoglobin is the protein responsible for transporting oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body and carrying carbon dioxide back to the lungs for exhalation. Sounds quite important, right?
Published in General Health · 6 min read · Nov 05, 2023
Published in General Health
6 min read · Nov 05, 2023
Therefore, naturally, maintaining an optimal hemoglobin count is crucial for ensuring that your body receives enough oxygen to function at its best.
In this article, CARE will dive deep into the world of hemoglobin, from understanding what it is to practical and easy methods to increase your hemoglobin levels naturally and potential symptoms and causes of a low hemoglobin count.
Hemoglobin is a protein found in your red blood cells and responsible for giving blood its distinct red color. It constitutes up to 90% of your red blood cells.
To the astonishment of people in the Middle Ages, even people of royal heritage have red and not blue blood. Gotcha, Harry and Meghan!
Anyway, hemoglobin comprises four subunits, each containing an iron atom. This iron atom is the key to hemoglobin's oxygen-carrying capability.
And how does this transport work?
When we breathe in oxygen, it binds to the iron atoms in hemoglobin, forming oxyhemoglobin, which travels through our bloodstream to deliver oxygen to cells throughout the body. 
In turn, it collects carbon dioxide, a waste product of metabolism, and transports it back to the lungs for exhalation. By the way, Hemoglobin is not only involved in transporting oxygen but also various nutrients, hormones, and other vital molecules through the bloodstream to different parts of the body. 
Hemoglobin is important for other health aspects in our body as well. It helps to regulate the pH balance (acidity) of your blood. By binding with hydrogen ions, it helps prevent the blood from becoming too acidic.
Hemoglobin can also help maintain the body's temperature by redistributing heat throughout the body. When it releases oxygen in the tissues, it can also release excess heat, helping to regulate your body temperature.
And where is hemoglobin produced? Hemoglobin is primarily produced in the bone marrow, specifically in the spongy tissue found in the cavities of certain bones, such as your sternum (breastbone), ribs, and pelvic bones. The red bone marrow produces red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
So, what are considered low hemoglobin levels?
A simple blood test known as a complete blood count (CBC) is the best and most accurate way to determine whether your hemoglobin levels are within a healthy range.
Hemoglobin levels are measured in grams per deciliter (g/dL) of blood. The reference ranges for a healthy hemoglobin count can vary slightly depending on factors such as age, sex, and overall health.
However, generally speaking, anything below these hemoglobin level thresholds may be considered low :
For adult men: 13.8 to 17.2 grams per g/dL or 138 to 172 grams per g/L
For adult women: 12.1 to 15.1 g/dL or 121 to 151 g/L
For children: Varies by age
Since we are all unique human beings and institutions and health organizations worldwide have different standards, these values may vary from one health institution to another.
Therefore, it's important to discuss your individual results with a CARE healthcare professional or your physician for accurate interpretation and guidance.
But let’s get to the main topic of this article: how to increase hemoglobin.
Suppose you recently found out through your CARE blood analysis that your hemoglobin levels are lower than the recommended range. In that case, there are several strategies you can employ to boost your hemoglobin production naturally. 
And what is more wonderful than to improve your health through food containing essential nutrients? Foodies unite and read carefully.
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is essential for the absorption of dietary iron. Since iron is a fundamental component of hemoglobin, it's wise to ensure you have steady iron levels and are getting enough iron through a balanced diet. 
Incorporating vitamin C-rich foods such as grapefruit and other citrus fruits, strawberries, and bell peppers into your diet can enhance iron absorption from other plant-based sources like spinach, lentils, and fortified cereals.
Consuming foods that are high in iron is a pretty direct way to increase your hemoglobin levels. Heme iron, found in animal products like red meat, poultry, and fish, is more easily absorbed by the body than non-heme iron from plant-based sources such as green beans, green leafy vegetables, nuts, and whole grains. 
When you eat foods containing iron, your body absorbs iron from the digestive tract, primarily in the small intestine. Once absorbed, the iron is transported in the bloodstream to the bone marrow, where red blood cells, including hemoglobin, are produced. Combining both types of iron in your diet can help maintain healthy hemoglobin levels. 
Folate, also known as vitamin B9, is essential for the production and maintenance of red blood cells. It is a key component in the DNA synthesis process that is necessary for the rapid cell division and development of red blood cells.
Including folate-rich foods like leafy greens, legumes, and fortified cereals in your diet can help ensure a healthy red blood cell count, which indirectly supports hemoglobin levels. Interestingly, papaya is also jam-packed with folate. 
By the way, while folate is the natural form of vitamin B, folic acid is synthetic.
In cases of severe anemia, iron deficiency, and low levels of hemoglobin, healthcare professionals may recommend iron supplements to elevate your hemoglobin levels. Supplements to combat iron deficiency or low hemoglobin levels include iron supplements, vitamin C, vitamin B12, and folate. 
These should only be taken under the guidance of a medical expert, as excessive iron intake can lead to complications and side effects.
And what symptoms can you expect if you have low hemoglobin levels in your blood serum?
Do you recognize yourself often having cold hands and feet? This could be a symptom of low haemoglobin levels. A low hemoglobin count, often referred to as anemia, can manifest with a range of symptoms that impact your daily life and even your physical appearance.
Recognizing these symptoms early on can prompt you to take action to address the issue. Some common signs of low hemoglobin levels include :
Feeling constantly tired and lacking energy, even after a full night's sleep, is a hallmark symptom of anemia.
Anemia can lead to a paler complexion, especially noticeable in the lips, gums, and inner lower eyelids.
Due to the reduced oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood, you may find yourself out of breath more easily during physical activities.
Anemia can put extra strain on the heart as it tries to compensate for the reduced oxygen supply, leading to irregular heartbeats or palpitations.
Inadequate oxygen supply to the brain can cause dizziness and frequent headaches.
Poor circulation resulting from low hemoglobin can lead to extremities feeling unusually cold.
Anemia may affect cognitive function, causing difficulty in concentration and memory problems.
And how are these symptoms caused?
The two most common causes of low hemoglobin count are anemia and iron deficiency . Understanding these underlying causes of low hemoglobin levels is essential for effective treatment and prevention.
Anemia is a condition characterized by a reduced number of red blood cells or a lower hemoglobin concentration in the blood. Various factors, including nutritional deficiencies, chronic diseases, or genetic conditions, can cause it. 
Iron deficiency and low iron levels are the most prevalent cause of anemia. When the body does not have enough iron to produce sufficient hemoglobin, it leads to a decreased oxygen-carrying capacity in the blood. 
This deficiency can result from inadequate dietary intake of iron, poor iron absorption, or excessive iron loss due to conditions such as heavy menstrual bleeding (blood loss) or gastrointestinal bleeding.
Maintaining healthy hemoglobin levels is vital for overall well-being. Understanding the role of hemoglobin in oxygen transport, recognizing the symptoms of low hemoglobin levels, and taking proactive steps to raise your hemoglobin count through dietary changes, a healthy lifestyle, and potentially through supplements can significantly improve your quality of life.
If you suspect that you have low levels of hemoglobin or anemia, we invite you to have a thorough health checkup in one of our futuristic practices. There, one of our CARE healthcare specialists will meticulously explain the findings of your blood analysis and your in-depth health assessment. Remember, your preventative healthcare and your well-being are in your hands, and raising your hemoglobin levels can lead to a brighter, more energetic future.
Elena is an enthusiastic Health Coach and blog writer at CARE, with a passion for holistic medicine and health. Previously, Elena worked for almost five years as a coach leading retreats, workshops, and seminars. These included mind-body therapy: breath work, meditation, and massage; as well as energy force therapy: reiki, and qi gong; and third expressive therapy: movement, writing and support groups. Elena shares exciting articles on the blog, on the topic of where the alternative and traditional medicine intersect with Western Medicine. Elena is also the driving force behind the CARE community. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, traveling to remote locations and dancing. You might also see her on the lake of Zurich as a coast guard. Join her on her journey to learn more about health and discover the world of preventive medicine! Visit all articles written by Elena!