SICKLE CELL ANAEMIA
Written by Slawomir (“Swavak”) Gromadzki, MPH
Sickle cell anaemia is caused by a genetic mutation of the haemoglobin, which carries oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body. Any type of sickle cell disease is associated with abnormal haemoglobin. Haemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells which carries oxygen throughout the body via the circulatory system.
Sickle cell means the red blood cells are sickle shaped. Abnormal haemoglobin and sickle shaped red blood cells cause blockages in arteries, veins and capillaries.
When blood vessels are blocked by sickle-shaped red blood cells, parts of the body are deprived of oxygen. This can cause severe pain and damage to the organs and tissues that are deprived.
SYMPTOMS & POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS
Anaemia, pain, swollen hands and feet, frequent infections, vision problems, gallbladder stones, inflammation, painful erections, strokes, high blood pressure, etc.
– It is extremely important to live according to the principles included in the HEALTH RECOVERY PLAN and learn to control stress. Treat any emotional and mental health problems including anxiety and depression by positive thinking and implementing all the recommendations found in the section dealing with DEPRESSION > and EMPOWERMENT.
– Drink plenty of DISTILLED WATER > to avoid crisis.
– Studies show that people who did moderate exercise daily had fewer problems with the symptoms associated with Sickle Cell Anaemia.
– In order to control the pain use a heating pad, hot bath or fomentation. Go to HYDROTHERAPY to learn more about those simple and very effective home treatments.
– Go on a mostly raw UNREFINED PLANT BASED DIET. The best and most effective diet in the world is HALLELUJAH DIET >
– Berries are high in anthocyanins which are important in order to inhibit Sickle Cell Anaemia. The Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Sciences at the University of Kinshasa found that regular consumption of berries helps suppress Sickle Cell Anaemia.
– Get only natural iron and plenty of chlorophyl to boost energy and oxygenation of cells. Chlorella and Spirulina are the excellent natural sources of iron and chlorophyl. Find out more best natural sources in the article on IRON >
– CHLORELLA: 2 x 10-20 tablets (or 1 heaped tablespoon of organic chlorella powder) 30 min before meals with 2 glasses of distilled water. Start from 2-3 tablets or small teaspoon per day and slowly increase the dose. Apart from being one of the best sources of iron, it is the highest source of chlorophyll which works like haemoglobin and transports oxygen which is the most important in case of SCA.
Apart from Chlorella you can also use Wheat grass juice powder (it must not be wheat grass powder but wheat grass juice powder, Pukka makes very good one as it is much higher in chlorophyll than regular wheat grass powders). You can also use all three alternatively: For instance, 20 tabl (or 1-2 tablespoons of organic chlorella powder) before breakfast, 1 heaped teaspoon of wheat grass juice powder (Pukka) before second meal.
– It is suggested to avoid iron supplements in haemolytic anaemia such as sickle cell anaemia. Anaemia caused by sickle cell disease is not the same as the common iron deficiency anaemia. The problem isn’t the amount of iron, but the shape of the cells themselves. Therefore, in case of sickle cell anaemia you shouldn’t take iron supplements without seeking professional advice as they could be dangerous as because extra iron build up in the body can lead to liver damage and other problems. Find out more about IRON >
If you decide to use iron supplements avoid Ferrous sulfate, a form of iron found in many multivitamins, including children’s multivitamins as it is relatively toxic. A safer form of supplement is iron bisglycinate or carbonyl iron. Iron phosphate is also regarded as good (organic iron).
To reduce iron toxicity take 600mg of Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) two times a day. ALA will also boost your energy and prevent damage caused by radicals and iron over-dosage. Read more fascinated facts about ALA >
In addition, take natural iron from foods such as moringa, goji beries, molasses, beetroots, pulses, (legumes), dried fruits, seeds, nuts, prunes, green leafy vegetables, nettle leaf, etc.
– People with sickle cell anaemia often develop nutritional deficiencies due to problems with absorption. Therefore, recommended dietary allowances for the general population are insufficient for the sickle cell patient. For this reason all those who suffer from SCA must consume super foods high in nutrients such as spirulina, organic chlorella, organic bee pollen, moringa leaf, barley grass, wheat germ, sprouts, raw vegetable juices, etc. These foods are at the same time excellent energy boosters and detoxifiers.
– A study demonstrated that “regular intake of LIME JUICE may be of great therapeutic and nutritional relevance in children with SCA”.
– Seaweeds are the greatest food you can eat and are the most oxygenating plants on the planet and greatly increase and enhance oxygen throughout the body. The best seaweed you can consume is Blue Green Algae.
– Folate (Vitamin B9): Often consume black eyed peas, raw spinach, parsley leaf, and lentils as they are high in folate. If you don’t like these foods get supplements, but find L-methylfolate instead of folic acid – 400mcg a day. Unlike folic acid (synthetic vitamin B9) L-methylfolate is the biologically active form of vitamin B9. Folic acid has to be converted into methylfolate in human body and some people are are deficient in special enzyme required for the conversion. Methylfolate is also better absorbed and interacts with fewer medications than folic acid
– Detoxify blood: chlorella, charcoal, nettle leaf powder, dandelion, spirulina will do the job.
– There was a significant increases in red blood cell production in mice ingesting dandelion root extract. Dandelion contains many powerful compounds including levulin, tracxacerin, or inulin.
– Frequent deep breathing is very important as oxygen also plays a role in reversing iron deficiency disorders.
– Liquid oxygen drops products can prove most helpful in cases of sickle cell anaemia.
– Vitamin D3 – 20.000 to 30.000 IU a day with food. High doses of vitamin D3 demonstrated to have a therapeutic role in certain cases of chronic pain associated with sickle cell anaemia. Studies show that taking 10,000 IU of Vitamin D3 daily helps increase haemoglobin, lower C-reactive protein or inflammation, and increased platelet production. The same day you use vitamin D3 you must take at least 800mg of good quality magnesium (such as citrate in a powder form free from binders, fillers, etc.) as vitamin D supplements lead to magnesium deficiency (almost all of us are already deficient in magnesium anyway due to soil depletion and other factors!). Also Vitamin K2 MK7 (from fermented Nato) plays important role in absorption of vitamin D3. Whenever it is possible expose your body to the sunlight between 10am and 2 pm as it is still the best way to get vitamin D.
– Magnesium supplements were successfully used in one experiment to reduce erythrocyte dehydration in patients with sickle cell disease.
– Avoid caffeine products (block iron), black tea, sugar, green tea, cola drinks, chocolate, white flour products, meat, dairy, hot spices, stimulants.
– Zinc is thought to have a stabilizing effect on the cell membrane of red blood cells in people with sickle cell disease. Take 30-50 mg of zinc 2 x a day only after meals. Zinc in the form of citrate is well absorbed and shouldn’t cause nausea. Studies emphasize the significant deficiencies of the antioxidant vitamins A, C and E and zinc along with the significant elevation of serum copper in patients with severe sickle cell disease >
– Omega 3 (1000 mg) – 3 x 1 with meals. Must be good quality (only molecularly distilled as it is free from heavy metals and other contaminants) and with antioxidants such as the one made by HealthAid capsules or Viridian (organic in liquid form without capsules and with antioxidants to prevent oxidation). A small double-blind, placebo-controlled trial found evidence that fish oil may reduce the frequency of painful sickle cell episodes.
– Taking daily alkaline baths (in Celtic salt or sea salt) will help to alkalise the body. Add half a box of Celtic or sea salt to a bath and it should significantly reduce the symptoms as it will increase alkalinity and the amount of oxygen in the body.
– If you have an oxygen or ozone machine, you can take an oxygen bath.
– Thiocyanate is known to have anti-sickling properties. Thiocyanate has been proven to greatly reduce the sickling of red blood cells. Foods rich in thiocyanate are: yams, cassava, banana, all legumes (beans, lentils, black eye peas, chickpeas, etc.), millet, buckwheat, humus, oatmeal, almonds, raspberries, cabbage, carrots, cashew nuts, cauliflower, strawberries, and broccoli. At the time when yams and cassava (high in thiocyanate) were consumed in Africa on a regular basis, sickle cell anaemia was non-existent.
– Suma (Pfaffia paniculata) – a plant that grows in South America has demonstrated to be beneficial in the treatment of sickle cells. Root of this plant has been shown in studies to give a person more vital energy and build strength. Taking 3/4 teaspoon of Suma root powder daily or 2 – 400 mg capsules daily
– A study revealed that citrulline and spirulina should be used in the management of sickle cell disease. In addition, spirulina also shows the promising effect on stroke prevention. People with sickle-cell anaemia are at greater risk for brain ischaemia which refers to a lack of blood flow to the brain, leading to oxygen deprivation and contributing to a stroke. In a 2010 study it was found that a 180mg/kg of spirulina had a protective effect on the brain and nervous system of rats exposed to high amounts of free radicals (>).
There is also an evidence that the following natural remedies are also very helpful in controlling symptoms of SCA:
– Alpha lipoic acid > (amazing antioxidants): 600mg twice a day or more.
– Coenzyme Q10
– Taking 1,200 and up to 2,400 mg of N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) daily helped prevent painful Sickle Cell Anaemia attacks. The same antioxidants also reduced Sickle Cell Disease related oxidative stress. Find out more on NAC >
– B12 (must be in the form of sublingual methylcobalamin >, not cyanocobalamin) – 2,000 mcg only after breakfast under the tongue.
– Garlic (aged, black)
– Bee propolis
– Bee pollen
– Pau d’Arco (bark) increases red blood cell production and it has anti-bacterial, anti-viral and antibacterial properties. You can use it in the form of capsules, tincture, or a tea. Take tablespoons of Pau d’Arco bark, place in a litre of boiling water in a large thermos flask for 30-60 minutes. Drink one glass 3 times a day between meals.
– Vitamin B6 – 100mg daily with breakfast.
– Turmeric (organic raw powder) – 3 times 1 teaspoon before meals.
– Milk thistle is beneficial as well.
– It is extremely important to live according to the principles included in the HEALTH RECOVERY PLAN and control stress, anxiety, depression by positive thinking and implementing all the recommendations found in the section dealing with EMPOWERMENT.
Agatha M. Thrash, M.D. on Sickle Cell Anemia
Red blood cells are usually round discs that are thin in the middle. A person who has sickle cell anemia will produce a certain percentage of the cells in a crescent shape, or some other abnormal shape. The reason the cells are distorted is that the hemoglobin molecules are structurally abnormal producing an elongated shape and pressing the red blood cell capsule into a curve or sickle shape.
Two and a half million black Americans have sickle cell disease of one form or another. That is almost one of every ten blacks in America who have the disease. Occasionally a Puerto Rican or person of Mediterranean origin may develop sickle cell trait or disease.
The disorder is genetically determined and occurs in two forms: the “sickle cell trait” and the “sickle cell disease.” The “disease” is severe, disabling, and chronic, manifested by bouts of acute episodes called “crises,” and by chronic breaking down of the red blood cells. The crises are produced by plugging of small blood vessels by the crescent shaped red blood cells. When hemoglobin forms an elongated shape it is of the so-called hemoglobin S variety rather than hemoglobin A which most adults have. It is of interest that there are other forms of hemoglobin in addition to S and A; hemoglobin F is produced in the unborn baby and during the first year of life. It is a normal type of hemoglobin only during that period and produces disease when it appears at other times of life. Hemoglobin C and other abnormal hemoglobins may also produce anemia; they are less common than hemoglobin S.
The diagnosis of sickle cell anemia or trait is made by determining the amount of hemoglobin in the blood, and by a simple test to reduce oxygen in the blood which increases the amount of sickling. If all things are ideal, even a heavy sickler may show no sickling at times. When the environment deteriorates even slightly, sickling begins. If only a few red blood cells form the crescent shape and the hemoglobin is not very low the disorder is spoken of as sickle cell trait, but if the sickled red blood cells are numerous and the hemoglobin is quite low, the disorder is spoken of as sickle cell disease. When the crises occur, any area of the body can be involved, including bones, hands or feet, spleen, lungs, brain, or gastrointestinal tract.
How can one treat genetic disorders such as sickle cell disease? The disease should be studied and every attempt made to minimize the load and correct deficiencies of the body. Recent reports are indicating that one of the best ways is to consume a low salt diet. In this way the sickling molecules in the red blood cells can be redistributed, as with low sodium the red blood cells may swell slightly with water, dispersing the hemoglobin molecules better and preventing the abnormal shape. From infancy the sickler should be taught to enjoy food completely without salt. The family can join in this crusade as it will not harm the relatives of a person with sickling to be totally salt-free. Read labels, allow no salt, and buy no junk foods. All dairy products are quite high in salt, and should be avoided.
Sickle cell patients should drink large amounts of water and should eat much raw food with its extra amount of water. They should not use concentrated foods as these tend to dehydrate the red blood cells and make the blood more viscid or thick and heavy. Concentrated foods include all animal products—meat, milk, eggs, and cheese—also all other foods that have a high calorie concentration per unit volume of food – nuts, wheat germ, oil, margarine, mayonnaise, fried foods, free sugars, and most refined foods.
Regular exercise is good for sickle cell patients, as the appetite for food is better controlled and the appetite for water is promoted. Exercise causes oxygen to perfuse all tissues better, including red blood cells. While it should not be overdone, exercise is an important adjunct to any treatment routine for sickle cell anemia.
All other diseases should be fought earnestly, as an infection or a degenerative disease can precipitate a sickle cell crisis. All over-the-counter drugs should be avoided, but particularly those that cause contraction of blood vessels or an acid condition. That would include all the opiates, LSD, and other hard drugs. Since sickle cell patients are already suffering under the handicap of a chronic disease, even prescription drugs should be avoided as completely as possible to protect the patient from the extra burden that any drug can give. For pain, the sickle cell patient should be treated not with pharmaceuticals, but with hot fomentations, ice packs, poultices, heating pads, hot foot baths, massage, passive and active exercise, and other physical therapeutic measures rather than with drugs. If jaundice develops the patient should be treated with charcoal tablets by mouth, 8 tablets in the middle of the morning and in the middle of the afternoon to reduce the amount of bile being reabsorbed into the bloodstream from the gastrointestinal tract. Splenic infarcts are a frequent source of abdominal pain in the child. These may be treated with alternating hot and cold packs to the left upper abdominal quadrant, by charcoal poultices at night, and by heating compresses.
Pulmonary signs of coughing, chest pain, and shortness of breath may be due to pulmonary infarcts and can be treated with moderately hot chest packs maintained for 20 to 50 minutes, ending with a brief, mildly cold application, and followed by a heating compress to the chest or a charcoal compress. A heat lamp to the chest can often be helpful, as can a heating pad.
Bone pain should be treated with massage, hot or cold compresses, and by passive or active exercise. It should be remembered that fresh air is a must in the treatment of sickle cell disease. When red blood cells lose their oxygen they are much more susceptible to sickling.
The diet should be well-balanced and chiefly of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. All other food items should be taken sparingly or omitted, as the influence on the water content of the red blood cells and the capsule must be carefully guarded by preventing increased osmolarity of the plasma. Heavy and concentrated foods give heavy and concentrated plasma with loss of fluid from the red blood cells to the plasma. Since sickled cells themselves make the blood more viscous, nothing should be done that will promote heavier plasma with dissolved sugars, drugs, lipoproteins, and dispersed fats. Only whole grains should be used, and a high fiber diet should be aimed for. Whole grains and legumes contain vitamin E which seems to benefit sickle cell patients. A diet high in folic acid should be taken, which means plenty of greens and other vegetables. Rest should be abundant, particularly in children. Adults need around 8 hours of sleep and some may require a bit more. A half-hour nap taken just before dinner can be very good. Since a rhythmical pattern has been noted in the development of sickle cell crises, a Herculean attempt should be make to keep the patient on a regular schedule 365 days in the year. Watch out for irregular mealtimes, bedtimes, arising times, exercise times, and elimination times. Exercise should be described as vigorous though not violent.
A person with sickle cell disease should stay away from alcohol entirely. Red blood cells do poorly when exposed to alcohol. They tend to cluster together and impede flow into capillaries. Avoid getting chilled as the slowed circulation can reduce the oxygen content of the red blood cells, and the low tissue oxygenation can cause a crisis.
The person with sickle cell disease should avoid areas of decreased oxygen tension. That would include hiking or camping at high altitudes and flying in unpressurized airplanes. If at all possible one should avoid surgery because of the stress of anesthesia. Dentists should not use nitrous oxide or any other form of general anesthesia. A warm climate at or near sea level represents the best geographical location for the patient with sickle cell disease, and a rural setting is by far the most conducive to health.
For more information contact: Uchee Pines Lifestyle Center, 30 Uchee Pines Road #75, Seale, Alabama 36875, Tel. 334-855-4764, www.ucheepines.org
McCarty, M. F. (2010). Potential utility of full-spectrum antioxidant therapy, citrulline, and dietary nitrate in the management of sickle cell disease. Medical hypotheses, 74(6), 1055-1058.
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