Blood Deficiency, Fertility & Diet

What Is Blood Deficiency?

Blood Deficiency is common with infertility. So Blood is very important for your health as a woman.

This article explains what Blood Deficiency is. It is a vital substance and your Blood can be improved through dietary changes.

In Chinese Medicine, the spleen (digestive energy) transforms food into Qi and Blood. Then the Liver Energy stores the blood. Good Blood means you can ovulate, build a healthy endometrial lining and conceive normally.

Blood Deficiency is lacking this vital substance so your body cannot function well.

Medically, iron deficiency is low iron in the blood (anaemia). You can diagnose Anaemia through a blood test. Your iron levels may be below or even just above normal range. However, you can still present as Blood Deficient in Chinese Medicine.

*This article refers to Blood (Xue) which is an energetic vital substance in Chinese Medicine. Not the word ‘blood’ that is used medically.

What Is Blood?

Blood in Chinese Medicine is a vital and pure substance.

In Chinese Blood is Xue (pronounced “shway”).

  • It is denser than Qi.
  • It connects to Qi, you can’t separate it from Qi.
  • Where Qi flows, Blood follows.
  • Qi activates and moves Blood.
  • Blood nourishes the organs that create Qi.

What Does Blood Do?

  • It keeps you warm.
  • Blood nourishes your skin and eyes.
  • The Blood allows you to have a good period with enough lining.
  • It even keeps your fingers and toes warm.
  • Blood nourishes your cells.
  • Provides nutrition to organs, tissues and meridians.
  • Good body movement and sensation.
  • Supports the mind and mental activity.

Where Is Blood Made?

The Lung energy creates Qi, which leads the Blood around the body. The Blood is made in the Spleen energy. The Spleen energy transforms food into Gu Qi (Food Energy). This is the basics of Blood formation. Thus if you eat good quality food plus adequate Blood foods, then you are providing your Spleen Energy with great building blocks to create Blood. Hence, the Spleen also transports the Gu Qi around the body.

How Does Blood Deficiency Occur?

Notice when your Blood is weak, your body is not adequately nourished. Thus your body needs appropriate Blood from Gu Qi (Food Energy). Constitutionally, your body can’t make enough Blood if there is too much overwork, poor diet or stress. These factors all consume and minimise your Blood production. Sadly this is all so common in our modern life.

Causes Of Blood Deficiency

  • Poor dietary choices and irregular eating habits
  • Worry, anxiety and overthinking
  • Stress
  • Excessive work, lack of sleep and rest
  • Withholding communication and emotions
  • Excessive drug, alcohol & substance abuse

Signs & Symptoms Of Blood Deficiency

Naturally, these symptoms will range in intensity and frequency.

Usually Blood Deficiency presents with at least 3-4 of these symptoms:

  • Pale lips, face,tongue, dry facial skin and body skin.
  • Hair falling out, floaters in the vision, body aches, numbness and weak tendons that are easily injured.
  • Dizziness, poor memory, difficulty focusing, depression, anxiety.
  • Difficulty relaxing, easily stressed, difficulty falling and/or staying asleep, amenorrhoea (no period), a feeling of floating and disembodiment.
  • Lack of strength, upper body tension, really heavy periods or light periods.
  • Dull headaches or migraines, especially after the period has finished.

Blood Stagnation

Long-term Blood Deficiency (from inadequate Blood Foods in the diet) can cause Blood Stagnation. This is a more serious pathology in Chinese Medicine. Blood Stagnation means that parts of the Blood in your body are stuck and cannot function properly. Blood Stagnation is a common pattern with Fertility patients.

How Can Blood Deficiency Be Improved?

Blood is essential for your fertility and health. Because it circulates vital substances and nourishes and moistens the body.

When your blood is healthy, your period comes smoothly and regularly, with little clotting, is fresh red in colour and of substantial flow (because the body has enough to give). Blood is a condensed form of qi (energy), and qi leads the blood so it circulates effectively. Amenorrhoea or not getting your period would be considered as a severe case of Blood Deficiency.

You need good, healthy digestion to be able to break down the food to then transform it to blood. This is why restricted diets and eating disorders affect your Blood. Poor nutrition and unguided Vegan and Vegetarian diets lead to long-term Blood Deficiency.

Pumpkin Blood Deficiency Food

Vegans & Vegetarians

Tend to have Blood Deficiency. If you are Vegan or Vegetarian you need to see a good naturopath who specialises in vegan and vegetarian nutrition before further implicating your health. If you are a Vegan trying to conceive, consider going Vegetarian. Libido, pregnancy and breastfeeding all call for good health. Many healthy women have health issues in the post-partum and struggle with breastfeeding. Restricting your diet can make you more vulnerable to postpartum issues.

Blood Deficiency, Vegetarians & Vegans

Vegetarians and Vegans are more prone to Blood Deficiency. Vegetarians have a wider range of foods than Vegans. Vegans are more prone to Blood Deficiency. Butter and eggs are Qi and Blood tonic foods. Eggs are a fertility superfood. They are imperative for pre-conception, pregnancy and postpartum health. Research has shown that men on vegetarian diets have poorer sperm quality than men who eat meat. Women on Vegetarian diets are also more likely to have eating disorders. Vegan diets lack B12. They lack bioavailable proteins and fats essential to human health. Dietary deficiencies are not a good way to start a pregnancy. The health of your baby may be affected.

Benefits of Vegan Cleansing

Vegan cleansing and diets can be excellent for your health on a short-term. This is given most people over consume animal protein and processed foods. Vegan cleansing is a great way to detox your body. If you feel like you need to do a detox and eat too much meat and processed food, this could be a great option for you. Ideally it would be short-term and done during the warmer seasons like spring or summer.

Vegan Fertility & Ethics

I completely understand that being Vegan is an ethical decision. However, as an expert on Traditional Chinese Medicine I advocate from my knowledge and experience that transitioning to a Vegetarian diet will help your fertility. Even Medical Fertility Specialists recommend this. There are no traditional cultures that have ever been Vegan. The Weston-Price Foundation has done much empirical research on this topic.

I have been a Vegan and Vegetarian myself. It is much harder to conceive once you have been nutritionally restricted for a long-period of time. Given minerals, vitamins and vital substances have all been depleted. Thus this leaves your body with very little resources for baby-making. At the very least adding eggs to your diet can make functional changes to your health and fertility.

Even if you need to do IVF, would you rather try and eat eggs and other vegetarian foods before embarking on an intensive drug regime? I don’t recommend Vegan diets for pre-conception, pregnancy or post-partum stages in a woman’s life.

Foods That Build Blood

The foods below help your Spleen make Blood. It can take months to improve your Blood with Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs and of course with dietary changes.

Healthy Blood nourishes your skin, nails, muscles, tendons and hair.

It keeps your memory and responses sharp. You feel centred and grounded with our emotions and feelings.

  • Grains – Barley, corn, oats, rice, sweet rice, red quinoa
  • Vegetables – Alfalfa Sprouts, artichokes, beetroot, button mushrooms, cabbage, celery, dandelion leaves, dark leafy greens, kelp, shiitake mushroom, spinach, watercress & wheatgrass.
  • Pumpkins¬†– great for your Spleen.
  • Fruits – Apple, apricot, avocado, date, fig, grape, longan, mulberry, cherry, raspberries, goji berries & Chinese red date
  • Beans – Adzuki, black soya, kidney, blackbeans
  • Nuts & seeds – Almonds, black sesame & chia
  • Fish – Mussel, octopus, oyster, sardine, tuna, salmon & ocean trout
  • Meat – All red and dark meat especially bone marrow & liver (choose organic)
  • Dairy – Eggs
  • Herbs/spices – Nettle, angelica, rehmannia, withania & parsley
  • Condiments – Amasake & Molasses
  • Supplements – Algae, spirulina, Floridax (Iron), B12, Folica Acid, Vitamin C & bee pollen

Egg is a Blood Deficiency Super Food

Eat Warm

  • Support your Spleen qi with lightly cooked and warm foods.
  • This helps your Spleen make blood.
  • The spleen hates the cold. It slows it down.
  • Add¬†some spices to aid digestion such as ginger, cumin,¬†fennel and cardamom.
  • Avoid eating food cold straight out of the fridge or drinking cold water or icy drinks.
  • Drink very warm water to support digestion and circulation.

Liver Blood Foods (Very Important For Fertility)

  • Naturally dark red, green & black foods are beneficial for the liver blood
  • Red meat, raw egg yolk, Artichoke, beetroot, dandelion leaf, kelp, avocado, date, mulberry, dark grape, black sesame, oysters, liver, nettle, berries & molasses.

Meal ideas

Congee, well-cooked grains, leafy green salads, uovo sbatutto, sprinkling almonds & black sesame seeds on meals, stews, in summer freshly-squeezed juice with beetroot, cooked spinach & carrot, fried liver and home-made p√Ęt√© to omelettes.

Acupuncture For Blood Deficiency

Acupuncture can strengthen the blood. Often Ilana will also apply infra-red heat lamp or Moxa to strengthen your Spleen energy to make blood. Special points are selected on the body according to your needs and constitution. Acupuncture is excellent to help you relax if you get stressed or overly emotional.

Chinese Herbs For Blood Deficiency

There are many wonderful Chinese Herbs tonify blood. Classically, the Chinese have used a select few of Herbs that are excellent for improving menstruation, hormones and fertility. Traditionally they would be eaten in a bone soup. Nowadays you can take them in a high quality powder, and most are Vegan.

Treatment

If you need support to improve you health, you have come to the right place.

Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs are a gentle and functional therapy to help you be strong and well again.

At Ilana Sowter Acupuncture Auckland, expect the best holistic health consultation, tailored treatment and advice with 8 years experience.

Ilana has experience with fertility, Amenorrhoea, Low Libido and Blood Deficiency.

Contact Ilana on 020 4159 8393 or info@ilanasowter.com to book.

Skype consultations available for international clients.

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