Anaemia is globally prevalent, affecting billions of people and transcending age groups and gender. The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that an estimated two billion individuals – a whopping 30% of the world’s population – suffer from anaemia.

According to the National Heart, Lung And Blood Institute (NHLBI), an estimated 20% of women of childbearing age have iron deficiency anaemia (IDA). This is backed by a study carried out in Malaysia, reporting that 25% among all women aged 18-60 are affected by IDA.

Pregnant women are even more likely to experience IDA because they require greater amounts of blood to support their babies.

Anaemia, a health condition in which the blood registers a low amount of red blood cells (RBC) or haemoglobin, has an impact on the distribution of oxygen in the body. A reduced amount of oxygen affects cell functions, tissues and organs.

If left misdiagnosed or untreated, anaemia could lead to other serious conditions. The most common type of anaemia is IDA, which applies to individuals who lack sufficient iron in their diet and leads to low formation of RBC.

Making dietary changes is an important step in addressing IDA. According to the UN Food And Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and WHO, an average adult needs to absorb 18mg of iron every day, which is essential for alertness, focus and staying healthy.

One of the best ways to effectively address IDA is to improve one’s dietary practice by consuming food that help increase iron intake (called “iron enhancers”) and by avoiding food that impair iron absorption (known as “iron inhibitors”).

Iron enhancers include ascorbic acid (or vitamin C) that occurs naturally in vegetables and fruits. Ascorbic acid enhances the absorption of various nutrients including iron.

Food rich in beta-carotene also help as iron enhancers. Beta-carotene is present in fruits and vegetables such as carrots, corn, red grapes, oranges, peaches, prunes, red peppers, spinach, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and yellow squash.

Heme iron, more readily absorbed by the body, comes from sources such as red meat (including liver), poultry, fish and oysters. Surprisingly, moderate alcohol consumption – two drinks a day for men; one drink for women – also enhances the absorption of iron.

On the other hand, it is important to note “iron inhibitors” are found in iron binding phenolic compounds (tannins) including tea, coffee and most red wines.

Phytates is present in cereal bran, bread made from high-extraction flour, breakfast cereals, oats, rice, pasta products, cocoa, nuts and seeds. Calcium such as milk, cheese and soy proteins also affects the absorption of iron in the body.

Aside from consuming food rich in iron and avoiding those that hinder iron absorption, another way to combat IDA and rebuild iron stores in the body is by taking iron supplements like Sangobion Complete. It is an iron supplement with vitamins and minerals that provides reliable treatment against IDA.

Besides iron, it has five ingredients which specifically promote the formation and maintenance of blood health. These blood health builders are vitamin C, folic acid, vitamin B12, copper sulphate and manganese sulphate, all of which help to promote healthy red blood cell production.

Sangobion Complete comes in an easy-to-swallow vanilla-scented capsule that leaves no metallic aftertaste, and sorbitol that helps to minimise constipation which is common in iron supplement consumption. It helps to improve iron absorption as well.

Iron is best absorbed on an empty stomach, but to minimise the side-effects of taking iron supplements like stomach cramps, nausea or diarrhoea, it can also be taken with a small amount of food.

Iron supplements should not be taken at the same time with milk, calcium, antacids, caffeine or food that are rich in high fibre.

Coupled with a healthy and balanced diet, anaemia can be addressed by doing proper exercise and making lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking and drinking.

With early diagnosis, the right diet and proper treatment and by developing healthy habits, anaemia can be addressed and treated, enabling people to stay in the pink of health.

As the No. 1 iron combinations brand in Southeast Asia, Sangobion is committed to improving and strengthening blood health of Malaysians.

Through raising awareness on the issue, we believe that Malaysians will benefit from a better understanding of iron deficiency, and to take the necessary steps to begin living healthily. When iron deficiency anaemia is not treated, it may become severe enough to affect daily lives.

Merck is organising complimentary haemoglobin tests at selected pharmacies nationwide to raise awareness on anaemia to consumers.


The information contained in this article is not intended or designed to diagnose, prevent, treat or provide a cure for any condition or disease, to ascertain the state of your health or be substituted for medical care. Merck encourages you to seek the advice of your doctor or healthcare professional if you have any questions or concerns arising from the information in this article.
This is a medicine product advertisement. For more information on the complimentary haemoglobin tests, and to do an initial self-check using Anaemia Risk Assessment Tool, visit sangobion.com.my. For enquiries, e-mail ch.my@merckgroup.com. Internal reference No.MYS-SAN-1704-0047. KKLIU No.1283/2017.