Blood Deficiency: A TCM Approach
Blood Deficiency. Iron Deficiency. Anemia. Low Ferritin.
Blood deficiency is a very common TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) pattern I see in clinic, especially with menstruating women. From a young age until menopause, many of us will have monthly bleeds which makes it super important to ensure we are consistently building back the blood we lose every month. Unfortunately, this isn't happening and for most women -- they don't even know they have a deficiency. A TCM blood deficiency diagnosis can show up on western blood work as low ferritin and in my experience it usually does, but because the range is so large on a test (roughly 5-270 ug/L) it often goes missed by many doctors. In clinic, I see many women who are around the 20-40 ug/L when optimally you want your levels to be at least 100 ug/L. This is something I recommend checking with your doctor/ naturopath/ health care practitioner.
Below are the most common symptoms, causes and my favourite ways to treat it!
Symptoms can include:
- fatigue/ low energy
- easily bruising
- poor memory
- dizziness/ dizziness upon standing
- floaters in the eyes
- hair loss
- scanty flows OR heavy flows (yes, it can go either way)
- dry, brittle nails - muscle tension/tightness - restless leg syndrome
The most important part of treating a blood deficiency is finding the root cause of the issue, which if I'm being honest, can sometimes be a pain in the ass. I always recommend working with a practitioner to find your root cause and treat from there. Below are some of the most common causes of blood deficiency:
blood loss (from injuries, surgery, childbirth), internal blood loss (ulcerative colitis, crohns, stomach ucler), heavy menstruation, nutrient deficiency, digestive issues (IBS, SIBO, H Pylori, leaky gut or low stomach acid) , overworking + overthinking, and stress.