How to raise hemoglobin naturally? NOT Iron

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 03, 2012 at 1:11 PM

My hemoglobin is 12.7 (female) and I think that my athletic performance might be better with a higher hemoglobin (but then again, maybe not?)

I gave blood 60 days ago with a 13.7 reading, had a lady cycle, and then hemoglobin was down to 13 perhaps 4 weeks later. After a 5k last week (I don't normally run) it was down to 12.7.

My iron levels are high (lab tested), and a 6 week old B12 reading was high as well (I think I get a lot B12 from my diet). What else could be a limiting factor (other than B12/Iron) in hemoglobin production? Vitamin C? K2?

Anyone give any credit to the theory that running squashes your red blood cells and can lower hemoglobin? A friend mentioned it, sounds plausible, yet wacky at the same time. That could explain the 0.3 dip after the 5k (and unusual amount of exercise that week).

Anyways, not terribly concerned, but if there is some nutrient I'm missing in my diet that's a limiting factor, I'd like to correct it. The "hypobaric" chamber is orders of magnitude beyond the scope of my amateurish athletic needs.

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on April 03, 2012
at 03:59 PM

Folate is the other major dietary limiting factor besides iron and B12, but as 12.7 isn't abnormal I doubt you're deficient.

Raising a normal hemoglobin is probably not going to happen without external tricks like chambers/altitude training or banned substances. Interesting question though.


on December 29, 2012
at 02:13 PM

Hemoglobin concentration can also fluctuate based on hydration status. Changing from 13 to 12.7 is well within the normal range of variation.

Also when you measured at 13.7, what point in your cycle were you? Maybe you were at the point of highest hbg, right before menses? If that were the case, then dropping from 13.7 to 13 after menstruation seems reasonable.



on December 29, 2012
at 02:02 PM

Re: "squashing" RBCs... there is a condition that I've heard of called "march anemia", which was documented in soldiers who marched for extensive periods of time. Not sure how this translates to running or other forms of exercise, though.

Also, iron levels aren't terribly helpful in determining actual iron sufficiency... they can fluctuate rapidly in response to dietary iron intake. Just because your iron levels are normal or high doesn't mean you've got adequate stores, it may just mean that you recently ate something rich in iron before getting blood drawn.


on December 29, 2012
at 11:25 AM

I'd try extra folate, i take 800mcg of folinic acid(not folic acid) daily, i think its added nearly a point to my HB score, mine was also low. Red cells turn over every 2 months i think, so try for that long and retest. Unless you eat green twice a day and eggs too it can be hard to get large amounts of folate. Ensure you have enough B12 too as someone else mentioned..


on December 28, 2012
at 06:58 AM


My haemoglobin is low too (still waiting test results re iron) but yeah I wonder how I can increase it?

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