Macrocytic Anemia- Causes, Symptoms Treatment

You may know about microcytic anemia but what is macrocytic anemia? Let us know about this anemia, which is one of the various types of anemia.

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What is Macrocytic Anemia?

Macrocytic anemia is a medical condition characterized by the enlargement of red blood cells with lower hemoglobin levels necessary to carry the oxygen all over the body. The condition will result due to lack of folate, vitamin B12, malabsorption deficiency as well as some medications that greatly affect the levels of folic acid in your body.

Symptoms of Macrocytic Anemia

Depressed appetite is one of the initial symptoms of this type of anemia which result to fatigue due to less food consumption. In addition, nails on toes and fingers become brittle, coupled with skin discoloration like paleness on the area of the face most particularly on the lips; weakness, smooth and sore tongue and mouth as well as nausea. Further symptoms manifest over time.


The condition is a strong indication of improper development of your red blood cells in which they lost their nuclei causing their size to decrease during the natural growth process. The lack of essential nutrients such as folate or Vitamin B12 is the common cause why this condition occurs. Yet, it may also be the result of any recent intake of cancer drugs and abuse of alcohol.

• Folate Deficiency – folate is found in green-leafy vegetables, mushrooms and liver and proper cooking makes this essential nutrient available while absorption occurs on the small intestines. Folate deficiency occurs because of folate malabsorption due to celiac disease, which harms the cells where folate absorption occurs.

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• Vitamin B12 deficiency – B12 vitamins are found in meat and are absorbed on the small intestine. However, deficiency occurs when your diet lacks vitamin B12 and absorption difficulties.

• Certain medications and alcohol – some cancer drugs, like methotrexate, impedes the use of folate in the body. These drugs inhibit the cancer cells to build DNA; the drugs have similar effects to the cells of the body, including the red blood cells as well as cells on the digestive tract. On the other hand, alcohol also gets in the way of using folate in the body.


Folate and Vitamin B12 are essential nutrients for healthy nerves and long-term deficiency of these essential nutrients will result into tingling toes and fingers as well as numbness. If left untreated, the condition aggravates to glove-and-stocking dissemination. In severe cases, confusion and even paranoia happens. Moreover, folate deficiency during pregnancy can cause neural tube defects like spina bifida among infants.

Treatment for Macrocytic Anemia and Prevention

Treatments are only initiated once the causes are discovered. Oftentimes, treatment for the underlying cause is incorporated with dietary changes, ensuring that the patient’s diet plan consists of the right amount of folate and vitamin B12 as well as supplementation. Furthermore, injections of Vitamin B12 may be recommended for those suffering from pernicious anemia.

Eating a balanced diet, which is a combination of green leafy veggies and animal proteins, is your finest shield against macrocytic anemia. If you are taking medications, it is best to discuss with your physician about folate or vitamin B12 supplementation as he or she is well aware of what is enough for your specific needs.

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