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Have you been told you're Anaemic?

During my Naturopathically-based training we were taught to treat Anaemia and iron deficiency by prescribing iron supplements, improving the patient’s ability to absorb more iron from their diet, and reducing iron loss. So I was fascinated to learn that of all the iron our body needs daily, only 5% needs to come from our diet, and that 95% of it should be coming from our body’s own ‘iron recycling system’.

Red blood cells (RBCs) live for an average of 120 days and then they grow ‘old’ and no longer function the way they should. They get marked for ‘recycling’ and get gobbled up by cells called macrophages, the ‘pac-men’ of our body. The macrophage breaks down the RBC into its constituents for re-use. It then delivers the iron from the RBC to the bone marrow to make more blood cells. In order for the iron to be released from the macrophage, it needs to go out a ‘doorway’ called ferroportin. This ferroportin requires bioavailable copper in order to activate. Without adequate copper, the iron cannot be released from the macrophage, and consequently builds up inside the cell, causing oxidative stress and inflammation.

Then the bone marrow doesn’t receive adequate iron to make more blood, so production is low, and there are less blood cells to transport oxygen in the body. Bioavailable copper is also necessary for iron to be loaded into haemoglobin to enable it's function of carrying oxygen.

Usually when a person is “Anaemic”, they actually have plenty of iron; in fact they are most likely iron–toxic. What’s really going on is a lack of bioavailable copper, leaving the cells of the body unable to release the iron they are carrying. Some of the most common affected tissues of the body are the liver, endocrine (hormone) glands and stomach lining, leading to allergies, hormonal disturbances and leaky gut (to mention just a few).

This explains why so many people who use iron supplements or have an infusion feel better for a while, but inevitably go back to their previous state of ‘iron deficiency’, and require more supplements, or repeated infusions.


Further to this, the blood tests used to determine Anaemia don’t measure the iron inside the cells and tissues, only in the blood. In fact Anaemia literally means, “Not in the blood”.

Health professionals see Anaemia and want to fix the low iron by adding more in: a ‘band aid’ fix, which doesn’t ask, "Why is iron low? How can we improve the way this person’s body manages iron?"

The Root Cause Protocol does ask these questions, and seeks to resolve them through a series of STARTS and STOPS that have the purpose of increasing bioavailable copper, and supporting its many roles in the body including the efficient recycling and re-use of iron.

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