For a long time it has been vaguely realized that there is a relationship between food and blood formation. This idea has recently been put on a quantitative basis by the work of two groups of investigators: Whipple and his associates, by their experimentation on dogs, have determined the amount of hemoglobin formed in two-week periods from various types of food substances; Minot and his colleagues have established certain objective criteria for the effect of dietary substances in human anemias, mainly by the use of the reticulocyte response. If a substance has a positive effect on blood formation, increased numbers of young (reticulated) red blood cells appear in the circulating blood within ten days. This phenomenon has the obvious advantage of giving a rapid method of determining whether the substance administered to the patient is or is not effective.
Anemia can presumably be produced either by an excessive loss or
CASTLE WB, HEATH CW, STRAUSS MB, TOWNSEND WC. THE RELATIONSHIP OF DISORDERS OF THE DIGESTIVE TRACT TO ANEMIA. JAMA. 1931;97(13):904-907. doi:10.1001/jama.1931.02730130008002