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Donating blood fasted or fed?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 17, 2010 at 10:42 PM

I am going to be donating blood later tomorrow and was wondering on your opinions regarding being fasted or fed when I do it? I will be very well hydrated (as always) but I will be giving it around 3-4 hours after I have woken so I normally wouldn't have eaten by then as I typically eat 2 meals a day, a late lunch and dinner...

Obviously paleo man would have often 'given blood' fasted during or due to the hunt, but this is not purely about paleo reenactment (its just a really good thing to do!) and like dr harris says medical science first, paleo second...

Be4b60059db3511771303de1613ecb67

(1137)

on March 19, 2010
at 12:26 AM

Thanks, I'll have to remember to make an early appointment next time. And yes, forgot about the water. Water before, during and after.

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on March 18, 2010
at 10:29 PM

Interesting point, Jay. Donated blood contains living cells and platelets, which use glucose, triglycerides, and free fatty acids for fuel. I don't know if the different fuel levels in the blood after eating would affect the quality of blood either positively or negatively. On the other hand, blood is refrigerated immediately after collection to slow down cell metabolism. Then it is filtered, processed and separated into 20 different products: http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Blood_donation . I don't know what happens to the glucose and fats during processing.

Be4b60059db3511771303de1613ecb67

(1137)

on March 17, 2010
at 11:25 PM

I always eat a little bit before donating blood. (This way when they offer me juice and cookies afterward, I can say, "no thanks, I've eaten.") Seriously, I don't know the science behind it, someone else can supply that here. I just know that I feel better if I have a small meal beforehand. It has eliminated the lightheaded feeling that I used to get when donating blood. But I am a recent recovering carb addict, so maybe that had something to do with it.

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3 Answers

best answer

1
2ebfa52e50871351572c73fb5a5f2f2a

on March 17, 2010
at 11:28 PM

Cave Man Mind,

I found no problem when donating blood while fasting recently.

I am overweight by about 25 pounds and as such eat 1 meal a day and sometimes a snack of cream and some sardines within a couple hours after dinner. My 1 meal a day is dinner at approximately 6PM.

I donated blood at around 2PM. At that point, I had been fasting for approximately 20 hours. I too was well-hydrated and recommend the same for anyone else before giving blood since you lose a significant volume of blood in the process.

After my donation, I sat around briefly and downed a bottle of water, then went on my way.

Hope this helps.

best answer

3
6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on March 17, 2010
at 11:38 PM

It probably does not make much practical difference when a healthy person gives blood, since your internal blood pressure regulation can compensate for the fluid loss. As has been pointed out, adequate hydration is important when you donate.

Theoretically, you would not want to give blood after a large meal, because blood flow is shunted to your digestive system, which would leave less blood flow to your heart and brain. A small snack or breakfast would probably not cause a significant shunting effect. Also, there could be a theoretical advantage to donating blood early in the morning, when your blood pressure is at its highest.

Be4b60059db3511771303de1613ecb67

(1137)

on March 19, 2010
at 12:26 AM

Thanks, I'll have to remember to make an early appointment next time. And yes, forgot about the water. Water before, during and after.

2
15d23403fb836f2b506f4f3ad2c03356

(1219)

on March 18, 2010
at 09:14 PM

Anybody thinking of the end-user? Maybe there is an advantage for trauma victims in getting blood from somebody that ate breakfast???

6426d61a13689f8f651164b10f121d64

(11478)

on March 18, 2010
at 10:29 PM

Interesting point, Jay. Donated blood contains living cells and platelets, which use glucose, triglycerides, and free fatty acids for fuel. I don't know if the different fuel levels in the blood after eating would affect the quality of blood either positively or negatively. On the other hand, blood is refrigerated immediately after collection to slow down cell metabolism. Then it is filtered, processed and separated into 20 different products: http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Blood_donation . I don't know what happens to the glucose and fats during processing.

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