Whatever we do, if our bodies don’t have enough red blood cells, we will not have adequate energy and experience fatigue. I wrote this story because I had this problem in my younger years. Only after it was resolved I felt an abundance of energy. It was the missing link in my energy profile….CONTINUE READING
Fatigue is the feeling of tiredness caused by a lack of energy that can be physical, mental, or both. There are many factors causing fatigue. They are complex and require a holistic and integrative health approach.
In this story, I only focus on the physiological aspects of fatigue caused by the dysfunction of red blood cells
and hemoglobin in the circulatory and hematopoietic systems.
Red blood cells are vital for energy transport because they carry oxygen from the lungs to cells, tissues, organs, and systems. Oxygen is crucial for energy production through cellular respiration.
Red blood cells contain hemoglobin, a protein that binds to oxygen in the lungs and releases it to the cells. Cell mitochondria use oxygen to produce ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate), the primary energy source for cellular and metabolic processes.
Red blood cells transport both oxygen and nutrients to cells. They carry micronutrients, glucose, lipids, and amino acids to cells, which are necessary for cellular metabolism and energy production.
In addition, Red blood cells remove carbon dioxide from tissues and transport them to the lungs for elimination. This exchange of nutrients and waste products is essential for proper functioning of cells, tissues, organs, and systems.
Without red blood cells carrying adequate oxygen and nutrients, mitochondria cannot produce ATP effectively, resulting in a lack of energy and making us feel fatigued and sluggish.
ATP is a molecule that stores and releases energy for cellular processes. Cells can break down the ATP molecule to release energy for various cellular processes. ATP is known as the energy currency of cells.
In this post, I overview the relevant systems maintaining red blood cells. My first goal is to give you a high-level perspective and then provide practical tips to improve their function for increasing energy and preventing anemia, fatigue, exhaustion, and brain fog.
In this section, I provide a very high overview of the circulatory system focusing on the role of red blood cells to highlight their importance.
This fundamental information can create awareness to make lifestyle changes to support these critical cells for energy production in the body.
The circulatory system is critical in our bodies for transporting blood, oxygen, and nutrients. It consists of the heart, blood vessels, and blood. The heart pumps blood through a network of tubes called blood vessels.
The hematopoietic system maintains the production and function of blood cells. It includes the bone marrow, the blood, the formation of blood cells, lymphatic vessels, and interaction with the lungs, the liver, the heart, the spleen, and kidneys for proper circulation and function of blood cells.
Our blood consists of red blood cells ( erythrocytes), white blood cells ( leukocytes), platelets ( thrombocytes) for blood clotting, and plasma (the liquid component of blood).
Red blood cells carry oxygen. White blood cells fight infections. Platelets are responsible for blood clotting. Plasma is a fluid that makes up more than 50% of blood and contains water, proteins, and other nutrients.
Red blood cells and hemoglobin are essential circulatory system components but are different entities. Hemoglobin is a protein found inside red blood cells responsible for binding to and carrying oxygen.
The body creates blood through a process called hematopoiesis and red blood cells through erythropoiesis.
Hematopoiesis is forming blood cells, including red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets, from hematopoietic stem cells in the bone marrow. This process is necessary for maintaining a blood cell population. Growth factors and cytokines regulate it….CONTINUE READING
Erythropoiesis is a specific type of hematopoiesis that produces red blood cells from erythroid progenitor cells in the bone marrow. The erythropoietin hormone produced by the kidneys regulates erythropoiesis.
I use the analogy of a kitchen to explain hematopoiesis and erythropoiesis. Creating a dish requires a preparation area, tools, and recipes. So the creation of blood through the bone marrow is similar to preparing a dish.
Hematopoiesis and erythropoiesis are complex processes that involve the coordinated actions of multiple cells, tissues, organs, and systems.
Red blood cells are formed in the red bone marrow of bones. They contain stem cells (hemocytoblasts). When a stem cell becomes a proerythroblast, it develops into a new red blood cell.
Hematopoietic stem cells
in the bone marrow are the source of all blood cells in the body. Cytokines and growth factors are signaling molecules that help regulate the hematopoiesis process.
Interestingly, the body produces around two million red blood cells every second. Red blood cells have a limited lifespan. They live around 120 days
in the body. Therefore, they must be continually replenished through the process of erythropoiesis.
on Frontiers states, “Despite the plethora of investigations, we still have an incomplete understanding of the molecular details of red cell clearance.” The paper provides valuable perspectives to practitioners.
The key nutrients for the production of blood cells are protein (hemoglobin), amino acids, and glucose, iron, copper, vitamins (B12, B9, B6, A, C, D, E). Lacking these nutrients can impact production.
Too much of red blood cells can also be problematic. Blood disorders such as polycythemia vera, a type of blood cancer, cause excessive red blood cells leading to cardiovascular issues.
As documented by Mayo Clinic
, “Polycythemia vera causes the bone marrow to make too many red blood cells. These excess cells thicken the blood, slowing its flow, which may cause serious problems, such as blood clots.”
In this section, I explain the mechanisms behind three lifestyle factors affecting the production and dissemination of red blood cells in the body.
Getting essential nutrients is the most critical step for forming red blood cells and its critical component, hemoglobin.
Lacking essential nutrients can lower the number of hemoglobin and cause energy deficiency in cells, tissues, organs, and systems.
Hemoglobin levels indicate different conditions. For example, my blood tests showed low hemoglobin markers when I had mild anemia due to nutrient deficiencies
in my younger years.
My hematologist solved the problem by supplementing with various nutrients like vitamins (B12, B6, folate), iron, and copper. My anemia, causing fatigue and pale skin, disappeared when I fixed my nutritional deficiencies. I felt more energetic.
You can learn more about essential nutrients for red blood cell production in a comprehensive paper
published in the International Journal of Hematology titled “The hematopoietic stem cell diet ” in 2018. It is publicly available.
The key point is to get essential nutrients from whole foods and avoid anti-nutrients that can reduce their bioavailability.
If, for some reason, you cannot get the critical nutrients from your diet, then the next option is supplementing them with support from qualified healthcare professionals.
In addition, time-restricted eating
can be valuable, as I experienced in my health and fitness journey. For example, this 2022 paper
in MDPI informs that “There is evidence showing that caloric restriction and prolonged fasting contributes positively to hematopoietic stem cells functions.”
Sleep is a critical component of maintaining a healthy hematopoietic system. During sleep, the body creates various processes to support the production and function of blood cells.
During restorative sleep, the body produces significant growth hormones
. These hormones are necessary to produce both red and white blood cells. Growth hormone stimulates the differentiation of hematopoietic stem cells into blood cell precursors, maturing blood cells.
During sleep, the body’s oxygen requirements are reduced. This is beneficial because it might support the production of red blood cells and hemoglobin to carry more oxygen to cells.
Sleep deprivation can cause elevated cortisol levels. Too much cortisol
and oxidative stress might negatively affect the hematopoietic system, suppressing its production.
This 2014 study
published in Nature informs that sleep disruption impairs hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in mice.
This 2019 paper
in Nature titled “Sleep modulates hematopoiesis and protects against atherosclerosis” highlights the importance of undisturbed sleep in maintaining proper hypothalamic release of hypocretin, which limits pre-neutrophil CSF1 in the bone marrow.
In addition, anemia can disrupt sleep, as it happened to me. This review paper
(meta-analysis) informs that “the presence of anemia was significantly associated with a higher likelihood of having insomnia in adults.”
Studies indicated various beneficial effects of moving the body and regular exercise on the hematopoietic system. I briefly summarize the benefits.
Exercise can increase blood flow to the bone marrow. This increased blood flow can stimulate the production and differentiation of hematopoietic stem cells into blood cell precursors.
Exercise can enhance the body’s oxygen requirements. More oxygen can help stimulate the production of red blood cells.
Exercise can change hormone levels that affect the hematopoietic system. For example, regular movement can increase erythropoietin levels, a hormone that stimulates the production of red blood cells.
Exercise can also increase growth hormone and testosterone. These anabolic hormones can contribute to the production and differentiation of blood cell precursors.
Exercise can improve bone density. Dense bones are important for maintaining a healthy hematopoietic system. The bone marrow is the site of hematopoiesis. Maintaining a healthy bone marrow environment is necessary for the production and function of blood cells….CONTINUE READING
The effects of exercise on hematopoietic stem cell transplantation have been studied for a long time. All studies show the benefits of exercise on the hematopoietic system.
For example, this review paper
in Nature states, “Up to May 2007, fifteen published studies have examined physical exercise interventions in the context of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, with no study reporting any unexpected or negative effects.”
Getting essential nutrients is the most critical step for forming red blood cells and its critical component, hemoglobin. Lacking essential nutrients can lower the number of hemoglobin and cause energy deficiency in cells, tissues, organs, and systems.
Restorative sleep is crucial for maintaining a healthy hematopoietic system by regulating necessary hormones. Sleep deprivation can cause elevated cortisol levels and oxidative stress, which may negatively affect the hematopoietic system by suppressing its production.
Exercise is beneficial for the hematopoietic system. It can increase blood flow to the bone marrow, strengthen bones, enhance oxygen requirements that stimulate red blood cell production, and improve hormones affecting the production of blood cells.
A healthy diet, sleep, and exercise might also lower oxidative stress and chronic inflammation
and reduce the need for anti-inflammatory medication, which can cause side effects on the hematopoietic system, such as internal bleeding that might cause anemia .
Here are the key takeaways of this story.
Here are 7 Reasons You Have No Energy .
Thank you for reading my perspectives. I wish you a healthy and happy life.
As a new reader, please check my holistic health and well-being stories reflecting my reviews, observations, and decades of experiments optimizing my hormones and neurotransmitters.
I also wrote about valuable nutrients. Here are the links for easy access:
I publish my lifestyle, health, and well-being stories on EUPHORIA .
My focus is on cellular, mitochondrial, metabolic, and mental health. Here is my collection of Insightful Life Lessons from Personal Stories.
My posts do not include professional or health advice. I only document my reviews, observations, experience, and perspectives to provide information and create awareness.
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20K writers contribute to my publications. You might find more information about my professional background
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