What are the Causes of Nutritional Anemia?

Causes of Nutritional Anemia

Nutritional anemia, specifically iron deficiency anemia, can be caused by various factors related to inadequate iron intake, absorption, or utilization in the body. Some common causes include:

  • Inadequate dietary intake: Not consuming enough iron-rich foods in the diet is a significant cause of nutritional anemia. Iron is found in both animal-based (heme iron) and plant-based (non-heme iron) foods. Vegetarians and vegans may be at a higher risk if they do not adequately plan their diets to include sufficient iron sources.
  • Poor iron absorption: Certain conditions or factors can affect the absorption of iron from the diet. These include gastrointestinal disorders (such as celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease), surgeries that affect the digestive system, or the use of certain medications that interfere with iron absorption.
  • Increased iron requirements: There are periods when the body’s iron requirements increase, such as during pregnancy or rapid growth in children and adolescents. If the increased iron needs are not met through diet or supplementation, it can lead to iron deficiency anemia.
  • Blood loss: Chronic or acute blood loss can deplete the body’s iron stores, leading to anemia. Common causes of blood loss include heavy menstrual periods, gastrointestinal bleeding (ulcers, gastritis, or colorectal cancer), or frequent blood donations.
  • Poor iron utilization: Even if there is sufficient iron intake, certain conditions can affect the body’s ability to utilize iron effectively. For example, chronic kidney disease, certain chronic inflammatory conditions, or genetic disorders like thalassemia can interfere with iron metabolism and utilization.

It’s important to note that nutritional anemia can also be caused by deficiencies in other essential nutrients, such as vitamin B12 or folate, which play a role in red blood cell production. A balanced and varied diet, along with appropriate medical management, is crucial in addressing and preventing nutritional anemia.

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