Hi, what are people's thoughts/experiences about donating blood, specifically the health benefits of doing so. A Dr. who's opinion I really respect and trust suggested I do it to lower my high levels of iron in my blood. I would suspect that a lot of paleo eaters have high ferratin levels.
This topic seems to be an elephant in the room. I have heard about prominent doctors who have told patients it will help with many problems including cancer but that they will not prescribe it as a treatment. The red cross will only say that giving blood is like an 'oil change' for your body. Other people have suggested that the two most beneficial things you can do for your long term health is to control insulin levels and donate blood on a semi-regular basis.
asked byJeff__1 (15236)
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on April 23, 2011
at 05:32 PM
Keeping ferritin low actually is quite protective and good medical strategy but is dangerous chronically for thyroid function. The more fructose one eats the more deregulated their ferritin becomes due to small bowel absorption.
on April 30, 2011
at 04:53 AM
I don't give blood because the FDA dictates that nobody wants mine ??? their antiquated rules about gay men's blood being unfit for the public supply still stand. Hearing about the health benefits makes me even more annoyed that, unlike many other organizations and countries, the FDA hasn't gotten with the times.
on April 29, 2011
at 09:50 PM
American J. Cardiology 86:256, 2000
Our Ancestors Had It Right
Mary Hanudel-Larsson's stress test.
The absorption of just the right amount of iron through the intestine (duodendum) might have provided significant cardiovascular advantages to early man, the Masai of today, and conceivably has been advantageous to an extraordinary urban athlete. Excess iron may be more detrimental than iron deficiency, because high iron levels can lead to the formation of highly reactive hydroxyl radicals and lipid peroxidation, conducive to early atherosclerosis. Furthermore, there must be enough protein in the diet to sequester iron.(1)
But can we, with our modem diet and often iron supplements, establish a proper balance? Before the development of the crudest of weapons, early man probably survived by chasing his "lean meat," until the animal dropped from exhaustion, probably even during the hot. dry seasons.(2) It is conceivable that early man supplemented water scarcities with the blood of his prey. This is supported by observations of today's Masai of East Africa who drink 3 to 5 quarts of cow's milk daily, but during the dry season of 4 to 5 months, ingest fresh cow blood, mixed (balanced) with milk. Yet the Masai have minimal atherosclerosis (3) and are talented endurance athletes.
Might the consumption of animal blood in the form of "blood pudding" simulate the apparent advantages of the Masai food intake? The case of 40-year-old Mary Hanudel-Larsson suggests this possibility. Larsson was studied by me in Toledo, Ohio, soon after having won the USA title of Ultramarathoner of the Year in 1987. At the time of my study, she was running 30 km/ day, preparing for an upcoming 1,000-km race in Australia, but was plagued with numerous stress fractures, intermittent amenorrhea, and pronounced stress-related gastrointestinal bleeding. Subsequently, a magnesium-loading test (4) indicated severe magnesium deficiency, which may adversely affect the homeostatic regulation of iron.(5)
In the early 1990s she moved to Sweden, and soon adapted a Swedish custom, ingesting rich blood pudding containing cow's blood (as with the Masai), but mixed with flour and fat, consuming during heavy training over 500 g/week up to now. The amenorrhea completely subsided along with cessation of stress fractures despite a persistent exercise program of 120 to 150 km of running each week, swimming, and rowing-machine training, totaling 15 to 20 hours/week. In 1997, Larsson won a 24-hour USA race (213 km), and in that year and also in 1998 set new course records in Japan in 250-km races. There has been no requirement for correction of anemia since moving to Sweden.
William J. Rowe, MD Swanton, Ohio 28 March 2000
- Andrews NC. Disorders of iron metabolism. N Engl J Med 1999:341:1986-1995.
- Carrier DR. The energetic paradox of human running and hominid evolution. Anthropology 1984;25:483-495.
- Ho KJ. Biss K, Mikhelson B, Lewis LA. Taylor B. The Masai of East Africa: some unique biological characteristics. Arch Pathol 1971:91:387-410.
- Rowe WJ. Extraordinary unremitting endurance exercise and permanent injury to normal heart. Lancet 1992:340:712-714.
- Kimura M. Yokoi K. Iron accumulation in tissues of magnesium-deficient rats with dietary iron overload. Biol Truce Elem Res 1996:51:177-197.
on April 23, 2011
at 08:54 PM
I donate blood as often a I can (every 56 days). I haven't really thought much about the effect on my body. I feel fine after every donation as long as I have a snack and hydrate and avoid strenuous activity the rest of that day.
My thoughts are that I would really want someone to do it for me or my family if we were in need. It's only 1 hour out of my day and it does a world of difference.
on April 23, 2011
at 05:26 PM
The first time I came across this was a mention from Steven Fowkes (older than Paleo dietary movement, but generally dislikes grain, thinks the modern diet degenerates the populations health). He mentioned that donating blood was a good way to remove iron, which is supposed to be a strong source of free radical damage. So his work might be a decent start on this.
In addition, the notion that items like blueberrys / anthocyanins containing items are good mainly rests on their ability to bind to iron (aka form chelates) and prevent damage. But if you have to much iron, it might be a good idea to remove it, seeing as how iron itself definitely has downsides.
Aside from that, donating blood is helpful for those who need it. So it is a win/win situation.
on October 29, 2011
at 12:18 AM
Much upside. Little to no downside.
on April 29, 2011
at 10:46 PM
The "Rowe" post was plagiarized from here: http://www.femsinspace.com/ancestors.htm
on April 24, 2011
at 12:11 AM
I remember hearing on the benefits of blood donation as a means to get rid of the excess iron from Dr. Sharon MOalem (author of "Survival of the Sickest"). He was convinced that a lot of diseases (Alzheimer and cancers) "feed" on iron.
Other point I remember reading/hearing somewhere, was that our bodies evolved to accommodate constant parasites, which fed on our blood. So now, when we live with no parasites for the most part, thanks to modern medicine and hygiene, we overproduce iron and other components, so it's beneficial to let some of it go.
That's why in ancient time letting blood was so popular, b/c they noticed that sometimes it was really helpful and healing... problem is they used ax where scalpel was needed...
I haven't done my blood works in a while, but last time, after over 6mo of paleo and high meat consumption, I still was anemic and had low iron levels. Go figure... :)
on April 23, 2011
at 08:31 PM
This is discussed in Protein Power Lifeplan by the Eades...the human body naturally holds on to as much iron as possible. The Eades hypothesize that most early humans probably carried parasites that would consume small amounts of blood thus keeping iron levels in check. In our sterilized, modern world this is not a prevalent problem and men especially can have iron levels that are excessive which then affects and depletes magnesium. For men, in particular, they recommend regular blood donation. For women that are still having a menstrual cycle it's not a much of a problem but they can donate if they wish.