What is the best protein powder for anemia?
Written by Jack Schrupp and reviewed by Ella McGonagle, M.S. Nutrition
drink wholesome is the best protein powder for anemia. It is additive-free, dairy-free, and made with real foods, not protein isolates – 99% of supplements fail to meet at least one of these criteria. This makes it perfect for people with gut issues and sensitive stomachs, as well as for people just looking to boost their protein intake without the processing and added junk. Order samples to see if our protein powder is right for you.
“It has ingredients you can actually pronounce and is freaking delicious.”
drink wholesome is the best protein powder for anemia.
What is anemia?
Anemia is a medical condition characterized by a deficiency in the number of healthy red blood cells, or by a decrease in the amount of hemoglobin in the blood. Hemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Anemia can occur due to a decrease in red blood cell production, an increase in red blood cell destruction, or blood loss.
The most common symptoms of anemia include fatigue, weakness, pale skin, shortness of breath, dizziness, and rapid or irregular heartbeat. Other possible signs and symptoms may include headache, cold hands and feet, chest pain, and difficulty concentrating. The severity and specific symptoms of anemia can vary depending on the underlying cause and the extent of the condition.
Anemia can have multiple causes, including nutritional deficiencies (such as iron, vitamin B12, or folate deficiency), chronic diseases (such as kidney disease or autoimmune disorders), inherited disorders (such as sickle cell anemia or thalassemia), and certain medications or treatments that affect red blood cell production.
Treatment for anemia depends on the underlying cause and may involve dietary changes, iron or vitamin supplements and medications.
Is protein powder good for iron deficiency anemia?
Adequate protein consumption plays a vital role in facilitating the transportation of iron throughout the body. Consequently, insufficient protein intake can impede iron transport, leading to iron deficiency and anemia. Moreover, not eating enough protein can stimulate the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which suppress the production of red blood cells.
Among the elderly, protein deficiency is one of the leading causes of nutritional anemia. Anemia is closely related to dietary protein intake in young athletes. Athletes with high protein diets have been observed to have an early increase in red blood cells compared to athletes with low protein diets. It is therefore safe to say that eating enough protein is important if you have, or are at risk of developing iron deficiency anemia.
It is recommended that individuals with anemia eat at least 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. For a 150 pound person, this amounts to roughly 70 grams of protein. Most people should be able to get this much protein from foods like eggs, meat, and fish. Individuals with dietary restrictions and decreased appetite (a common symptom of iron deficiency anemia) may have a hard time doing so, however. This is where protein can help. Adding protein supplement to your diet is an easy way to ensure that you are meeting your protein goals. That said, not all protein shakes and powders are created equal.
What is the best protein powder for iron deficiency anemia?
A protein powder is a protein supplement, not an iron supplement. The best protein powder for iron deficiency anemia is thus not the protein powder with the most iron. Some of our protein powders contain over 10% of the recommended daily value for iron, but that does not make them better than any other protein supplement. What makes our protein powders stand out from the crowd is their ingredients, or rather lack thereof.
Most protein powders contain ingredients that can damage your gut microbiome – the collection of microorganisms that help you digest food. This matters, especially if you have anemia, because the gut microbiome plays an essential role iron absorption. A dysbiotic or damaged gut microbiome is not able to absorb as many nutrients, vitamins, and minerals from food as it should. This means that you should not only pay attention to how much iron is in your food, but also to how the foods you eat affect your gut.
So, when it comes to protein powder, you should look for a short and simple ingredient list, the short and the simpler the better. This is going to increase the chances that your protein powder helps you boost your protein intake without damaging your gut. Keep reading to learn more.
Why drink wholesome?
drink wholesome is additive-free.
One reason why we make the best protein powder for anemia is that we do not use food additives. In contrast, most other protein powders contain food additives such as emulsifiers, thickeners, artificial sweeteners, and flavors. Even in small amounts, these ingredients can elicit gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, including bloating, cramps, constipation, diarrhea, and flatulence, especially in individuals with gut issues.
Due to their dissimilarity to natural food, additives are only partially digested. This can lead to one of two outcomes: either the gut absorbs excess water, resulting in diarrhea, or the additives serve as a food source for your gut bacteria, which produce gas as they eat. Excessive gas in the gut can trigger discomforting symptoms like bloating, flatulence, and stomach pain, and may even contribute to constipation.
Here is a list of the most common food additives in protein powder:
acacia gum, acesulfame potassium, artificial flavors, aspartame, carrageenan, cellulose gum, dextrin, dextrose, erythritol, gellan gum, guar gum, gum arabic, inulin, locust bean gum, “natural” flavors, maltodextrin, rice syrup solids, soy lecithin, silica, sucralose, sunflower lecithin, xanthan gum, xylitol
The real concern surrounding food additives, however, lies in their long-term effects. Regardless of whether or not you have pre-existing gut issues, the regular consumption of food additives can disturb the regulatory pathways within your intestines. This increases the risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and various systemic inflammatory disorders. Moreover, food additives, especially artificial sweeteners, can disrupt the delicate equilibrium of your gut microbiome, which can, in turn, affect your digestion and nutrient absorption.
Protein Matrix Comprised of (Whey Protein Concentrate, Whey Protein Isolate, Calcium Caseinate, Micellar Casein, Milk Protein Isolate, Egg Albumen, Glutamine Peptides), Polydextrose, Sunflower Creamer (Sunflower Oil, Corn Syrup Solids, Sodium Caseinate, Mono- and Diglycerides, Dipotassium Phosphate, Tricalcium Phosphate, Soy Lecithin, Tocopherols), Natural and Artificial Flavor, MCT Powder (Medium Chain Triglycerides, Nonfat Dry Milk, Disodium Phosphate, Silicon Dioxide), Lecithin, Cellulose Gum, Salt, Yellow 5, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Papain, Bromelain.
drink wholesome is dairy-free.
Another reason why we make the best protein powder for anemia is that we do not use dairy-based proteins. Many protein powders, on the other hand, rely on whey and/or casein protein, which are byproducts of the production of cheese and yogurt. These dairy-based proteins are known for their tendency to trigger digestive problems, particularly among the approximately one-third of adults who experience lactose intolerance. Individuals with lactose intolerance have an inadequate supply of the enzymes required to fully digest lactose, the sugar in dairy products. As previously highlighted, the incomplete breakdown of food can result in unpleasant GI side effects.
drink wholesome is made with real foods.
A final reason why we make the best protein powder for anemia is that we use real food protein sources, not protein concentrates or isolates. The vast majority of other protein powders are made using one or both of these protein sources, which are foods stripped of virtually everything but the protein. Instead of being listed as “peas” or “whey,” they are labeled as “pea protein” or “whey protein.”
The production of protein concentrates and isolates involves extensive mechanical and chemical modifications. In certain cases, chemical solvents like hexane are employed to extract the protein from its natural source. As a result, what you add to your protein shake looks little to nothing like real food.
Your digestive system is specifically designed to handle minimally-processed or unprocessed real foods, not artificial substitutes. Consuming anything other than real food can lead to unfavorable side effects. While the long-term effects of consuming processed ingredients like protein isolates are still being investigated, emerging studies suggest that they have the potential to disrupt the gut microbiome.
Beyond its role in digestion, the gut acts as a protective barrier against harmful pathogens, contributes to educating the immune system, and influences various physiological processes. Disruptions to the balance of the gut microbiome have been strongly associated with the development of numerous chronic illnesses. Considering this connection, I strongly discourage the consumption of protein powders made with protein concentrates and isolates.
Instead of using protein concentrates or isolates, we make the best protein powder for iron deficiency anemia with egg whites and almonds. The process of converting egg whites into protein powder simply involves pasteurization and drying. Likewise, almonds undergo minimal processing, including roasting, pressing (to reduce oil content), and grinding. These minimally-processed ingredients become a protein powder that is easily digested and supports gut health. Unlike protein isolates and concentrates, real foods naturally contain enzymes and digestive aids that facilitate efficient digestion.
For individuals who do not have allergies or sensitivities to eggs, egg white protein offers an exceptional option for maintaining gut health. With their low fiber and FODMAP content and natural alkalinity, egg whites are gentle on the digestive system. Our satisfied customers consistently provide positive feedback, reporting fewer digestive issues when consuming our egg white protein powder than with any other protein supplement.
For those who cannot consume eggs, our vegan almond protein powder is an excellent alternative. Almonds have prebiotic effects, nurturing the diversity and composition of the gut microbiome. They can also promote healthy and regular bowel movements.
In summary, our protein powders undergo minimal processing to prioritize the well-being of your gut.
“I’ve long struggled to find a protein powder that is both easy to digest and tastes great. As someone who struggles with chronic GI symptoms and food intolerances, I was thrilled to find that this product checked all the boxes.” – Kate
drink wholesome is the best protein powder for iron deficiency anemia.