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Donating blood has significant health benefits

blood donation heart disease myocardial infarction cholesterol insulin sensitivity cancer prevention

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#1 Fafner55

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 08:15 PM


Studies have shown dramatic decreases in heart attacks and other causes of mortality from donating blood.

My doctor recommends donating blood 4 times per year.

 

 

Blood donation is associated with 40 to 88% reduction in acute myocardial infarction.

A study of nearly 3,000 middle-aged men found that men who donated blood had 88% less risk of acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) compared to men who didn’t donate.

“Donation of Blood Is Associated with Reduced Risk of Myocardial Infarction” (1998) https://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/148/5/445.full.pdf

 

Occasionally donating blood (every three years) is associated with a 50% drop in cardiovascular disease in men.

“Possible association of a reduction in cardiovascular events with blood donation” (1997) http://heart.bmj.com/content/78/2/188.short

 

This study finds a 40% reduction in cardiovascular risk, after adjusting for other differences between donor and non-donor groups.

“A historical cohort study of the effect of lowering body iron through blood donation on incident cardiac events” (2002) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12430669

 

With women, after menopause their risk of heart disease begins to approach that of men.  A study following more than 23,000 Dutch women for a decade found that those who said they'd typically had irregular periods in the past were 28 percent more likely than women who reported regular monthly periods to develop heart disease.   

“Irregular menstrual periods tied to heart disease” (2010) http://www.reuters.com/article/us-irregular-menstrual-periods-tied-hear-idUSTRE64K5MS20100521

 

Blood donation improves lipid profile and insulin sensitivity

Regular blood donation may be protective against cardiovascular disease as reflected by significantly lower mean total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein levels in regular blood donors than in non-donors. Mean total cholesterol, triglycerides, and low-density lipoprotein were significantly lower in the regular blood donors than the control group.

  1. “Lipid profile of regular blood donors” (2013) http://www.ncbi.nlm....les/PMC3663474/
  2. “Effects of phlebotomy-induced reduction of body iron stores on metabolic syndrome: results from a randomized clinical trial” (2012) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3386865/

 

Blood donation lowers all-cause mortality

Among a large cohort of US blood donors, this study found a 30% lower rate for all-cause mortality.

"Cancer Incidence and Mortality in a Cohort of US Blood Donors: A 20-Year Study” (2013) https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jce/2013/814842/

 


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#2 Nate-2004

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 05:12 AM

This is very interesting, I wonder what the theory around it is. I've only done it once in my life because I felt week for a while after.



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#3 Darryl

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Posted 05 August 2017 - 05:02 PM

Given that blood donors answer long questionaires about risk behaviors, and tend to be conscientious (the "healthy donor effect") I don't think studies comparing donors to non-donors are particularly meaningful. The studies to pay attention to are randomized trials, and those that compare outcomes between donors with low donation frequency and those with high donation frequency. There are a few of these, with more mixed results.

 

Zheng et al, 2005. Iron stores and vascular function in voluntary blood donorsArteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology25(8), pp.1577-1583.

Valenti et al, 2007. Iron depletion by phlebotomy improves insulin resistance in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and hyperferritinemia: evidence from a case-control studyThe American journal of gastroenterology102(6), p.1251.

Zacharski et al 2007. Reduction of iron stores and cardiovascular outcomes in patients with peripheral arterial disease: a randomized controlled trialJama297(6), pp.603-610.

Zacharski et al, 2008. Decreased cancer risk after iron reduction in patients with peripheral arterial disease: results from a randomized trialJournal of the National Cancer Institute100(14), pp.996-1002.

Edgren, 2008. Donation frequency, iron loss, and risk of cancer among blood donorsJournal of the National Cancer Institute100(8), pp.572-579.

Zacharski et al, 2011. Effect of controlled reduction of body iron stores on clinical outcomes in peripheral arterial diseaseAmerican heart journal162(5), pp.949-957.

Houschyar et al, 2012. Effects of phlebotomy-induced reduction of body iron stores on metabolic syndrome: results from a randomized clinical trialBMC medicine10(1), p.54.

Adams et al, 2015. The impact of phlebotomy in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: A prospective, randomized, controlled trialHepatology61(5), pp.1555-1564.

 

You'll note the results are all over the place. Some significant results, some null ones.In the Zacharski study, there was little effect on the targeted condition, but cancer rates plummeted. On balance, there doesn't appear to be a downside to blood donation, and I've donated 4 gallons in the past four years.

 

The usual theory is reducing the amount of poorly liganded iron reduces ROS generation.

 

 


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#4 sthira

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Posted 05 August 2017 - 06:23 PM

... I've donated 4 gallons in the past four years...


I've donated about half of that -- double reds -- during the past four years, but was recently turned away for low hemoglobin, which was 12.3.

"Eat more spinach," the RC volunteer said (I'm vegan). In the past year I've been taking about 4/g per day of supplemental curcumin, and I'm wondering if that's binding up iron.

#5 Nate-2004

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Posted 05 August 2017 - 06:38 PM

Why eat more spinach?



#6 Fafner55

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Posted 05 August 2017 - 06:43 PM

I donated blood 4 times over the last year with little if any effect on hematocrit levels. I am not a picky eater, eat any and everything, and pay little attention to diet.

 

Donation                                         HCT Level
2016-08-26 Whole blood, 500 ml       43
2017-01-16 Whole blood, 500 ml       42
2017-03-29 Whole blood, 500 ml       44
2017-06-15 Whole blood, 500 ml       41

Edited by Fafner55, 05 August 2017 - 06:45 PM.


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#7 sthira

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Posted 05 August 2017 - 07:06 PM

Why eat more spinach?


Spinach is rich in iron. So are beets -- roots and leaves. Too much blood donation for vegans (especially females) can result in anemia.

#8 Rocket

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Posted 06 August 2017 - 01:06 AM

Of course donating blood has health benefits: you're reducing the amount of bad "stuff" in your blood supply for a little while until it replenishes. I feel great every time I donate. I take a day off from the gym and just chill out at home for an evening.

Isn't it postulated that mouse parabiosis aids the older mouse by diluting its old blood full of harmful factors with younger blood with less harmful factors? Hasn't that replaced th3 defunct gdf11 work?

Edited by Rocket, 06 August 2017 - 01:09 AM.


#9 Fafner55

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Posted 06 August 2017 - 02:37 PM

There is also the possibility that donating blood stimulates growth factors, but I haven't been able to find research that either supports or disproves this theory.


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#10 Nate-2004

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Posted 06 August 2017 - 02:48 PM

 

Why eat more spinach?


Spinach is rich in iron. So are beets -- roots and leaves. Too much blood donation for vegans (especially females) can result in anemia.

 

 

Spinach is not rich in iron. I can definitely say that for sure. That's a myth that started with a mistake almost 100 years ago, a misplaced decimal. Popeye was based on that mistake. Spinach is high in fiber of course, beta carotene and omega 3, but not iron. Also carrots do not improve night vision, that's based on wartime propaganda, spinach and kale do more for eyesight than carrots do. Also carrots contain omega 6 not omega 3.

 

Clams have tons of iron though. I don't think most people need that much iron to deal with blood oxygen, heavy metals aren't that great either in terms of aging, but if they've been donating blood a lot that's probably another story.

 

Someone made a great point above that the studies showing a difference in people who donate blood are association studies and may correlate with other factors such as being self-conscious about what one eats.


Edited by Nate-2004, 06 August 2017 - 02:50 PM.

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#11 sthira

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Posted 06 August 2017 - 05:07 PM

If I eat 400/g of raw spinach then I eat about 135% RDA for me, or about 11mg of iron.

Now cue the argument about heme versus non-heme, absorbable versus non-absorbable, vegan versus omnivore, religion versus science, fuck I'm so sick and tired of these fake arguments. Same old shit for the last decade. Nothing much is advancing. Keep on aging, folks, neither pristine diet nor blood donations are going to do much of anything to extend your human longevity. It doesn't fucking matter -- move on.
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#12 Rocket

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Posted 07 August 2017 - 12:56 AM

I know twin brothers that are 55 and they donate every 8 weeks and have done so, they tell me, since their 30s. They are 2 of the healthiest looking 55yo guys I know. Purely anecdotal of course. They both suffer from high lipids however. They also don't go light on alcohol consumption!

#13 Never_Ending

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 10:21 PM

Just think about how blood is regulated, it's produced actively. When a person suffers an injury the blood production increases to make up for lost blood. The blood volume is in a well tuned state of equilibrium.  There is no "extra" blood. Whenever blood is lost, you simply remake what's missing(which likely has a hidden cost). It's very easy for studies to show selection bias and then people read them and start rationalizing the results despite it making no sense at all.



#14 Benko

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 11:35 PM

Just think about how blood is regulated, it's produced actively. When a person suffers an injury the blood production increases to make up for lost blood. The blood volume is in a well tuned state of equilibrium.  There is no "extra" blood. Whenever blood is lost, you simply remake what's missing(which likely has a hidden cost). It's very easy for studies to show selection bias and then people read them and start rationalizing the results despite it making no sense at all.

 

Your comments do not address the issue of body iron stores e.g. ferritin.  I would argue this is the important issue. 


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#15 sthira

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 01:26 AM

Give blood to help people -- by donating you're literally giving the gift of life.

#16 Never_Ending

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 09:04 PM

 

Just think about how blood is regulated, it's produced actively. When a person suffers an injury the blood production increases to make up for lost blood. The blood volume is in a well tuned state of equilibrium.  There is no "extra" blood. Whenever blood is lost, you simply remake what's missing(which likely has a hidden cost). It's very easy for studies to show selection bias and then people read them and start rationalizing the results despite it making no sense at all.

 

Your comments do not address the issue of body iron stores e.g. ferritin.  I would argue this is the important issue. 

 

 

It's not even an issue, iron is a common mineral and the body needs it. It's not a toxin,  it has multi-faceted effects. I highly doubt there is benefit to withdrawing blood from a healthy individual, it makes no sense.  If someone told me that withdrawing blood and running it through a filter to remove the toxins while keeping the healthy portion and injecting it back into the person has health benefits, I wouldn't be so skeptical because it would actually make sense.


Edited by Never_Ending, 10 August 2017 - 09:32 PM.

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#17 Benko

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 09:27 PM

see below

 

 


Edited by Benko, 10 August 2017 - 09:43 PM.


#18 Never_Ending

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 09:33 PM

 

 

"It's not even an issue, ferritin is a common mineral and the body needs it. It's not a toxin,"

 

I'm sorry but you are just showing ignorance.

 

"Ferritin is a blood cell protein that contains iron. A ferritin test helps your doctor understand how much iron your body is storing"

 

 

 

 

I changed it to iron. Although you're right in the distinction, the point I made still applies just the same.

 

If you're taking in too much iron... decrease your iron intake, so simple.

 

Although it's unlikely that a balanced diet supplies excess iron to begin with.


Edited by Never_Ending, 10 August 2017 - 09:38 PM.


#19 Benko

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 09:43 PM

Never ending,

 

You don't seem to understand the idea of iron stores in the body or that too much could be a problem. 

 

 

Edit: my comments are not to discount the studies posted above (though they are scattered looking at multiple different endpoints) but to point out that there is an issue i.e. body iron stores underlying the giving blood.

 

I have a dinner engagement.

 

Edited by Benko, 10 August 2017 - 09:52 PM.


#20 Never_Ending

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 09:55 PM

Never ending,

 

You don't seem to understand the idea of iron stores in the body or that too much could be a problem. 

 

"If you're taking in too much iron... decrease your iron intake"

 

Unless one menstruates, the body has no way to get rid of iron.

 

I have a dinner engagement.

 

Benko this is truly amusing.  "Unless one menstruates, the body has no way to get rid of iron". Why is there a recommended daily intake? if you never get rid of it the daily intake should be 0. Does the 40 year old have twice the iron of a 20 year old from all those years of build up?  Please explain.

 

And I do understand too much iron "could be a problem". Why would "too much" of any compound not cause a problem? But it makes no sense at all to assume that it's too much.


Edited by Never_Ending, 10 August 2017 - 10:09 PM.


#21 Turnbuckle

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 12:58 AM

From Wikipedia--

 
Iron recycling and loss
 
Most of the iron in the body is hoarded and recycled by the reticuloendothelial system, which breaks down aged red blood cells. In contrast to iron uptake and recycling, there is no physiologic regulatory mechanism for excreting iron. People lose a small but steady amount by gastrointestinal blood loss, sweating and by shedding cells of the skin and the mucosal lining of the gastrointestinal tract. The total amount of loss for healthy people in the developed world amounts to an estimated average of 1 mg a day for men, and 1.5–2 mg a day for women with regular menstrual periods. People with gastrointestinal parasitic infections, more commonly found in developing countries, often lose more. Those who cannot regulate absorption well enough get disorders of iron overload. In these diseases, the toxicity of iron starts overwhelming the body's ability to bind and store it.

 

 

By comparison, donating one unit of blood is equal to around six months of normal loss--more for men, less for women.

 

Each 1.0 mL of blood contains approximately 0.5 mg of iron. A unit of donated blood therefore contains approximately 250 mg of iron and a single donation of one unit of blood can lead to the loss of 236 mg iron in men and 213 mg in women.

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm...les/PMC3096860/

 

 


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#22 Darryl

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 01:21 AM

 it's unlikely that a balanced diet supplies excess iron to begin with.

 

Generally true in healthy people for non-heme iron, though in genetic hemochromatosis and liver disorders affecting hepcidin production (fatty liver, metabolic syndrome) non-heme iron uptake becomes disregulated and excess is absorbed. Heme-iron uptake is under less stringent regulation, a person replete in iron will still uptake around 10% of heme iron. The big problem is that once excess iron is present, the body has no means of efficiently disposing of it. 1-2 mg/d is lost as gut mucosal cells slough off, but one can see how very high heme iron intake, or iron intake in the context of fatty liver/metabolic syndrome, could result in excess.

 

There's also the consideration that the optimum level for growth and reproductive fitness may not be the optimum for longevity. Natural selection doesn't care much about longevity past menopause/andropause.


Edited by Darryl, 11 August 2017 - 01:21 AM.

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#23 Benko

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 01:42 AM

Never ending I corrected that just as you corrected ferritin is a mineral.

 


Edited by Benko, 11 August 2017 - 02:16 AM.


#24 Benko

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 02:19 AM

Darryl,

 

I don't believe this and don't think I said it.  Perhaps you copied me quoting somthing.  

 

Benko, on 10 Aug 2017 - 5:27 PM, said:snapback.png

 it's unlikely that a balanced diet supplies excess iron to begin with.

 


Never ending:

 


 "But it makes no sense at all to assume that it's too much."

 

There are studies e.g. ones linked above.  I assumed nothing.

 

 



#25 Never_Ending

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 02:22 AM

Well think about this. For a person who already is suffering from a disease or imbalance, a drastic measure can potentially resolve something and be a good choice in limited cases. But this does not mean that this measure is good in a general sense.

 

This blood donating concept could be like this. So the fact that excess iron can be alleviated by such a means is actually a distraction from the general effects of the thing.

 

Also, blood is a highly complex mixture , iron is just one part of it.


Edited by Never_Ending, 11 August 2017 - 02:33 AM.


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#26 mrkosh1

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 02:27 AM

If I eat 400/g of raw spinach then I eat about 135% RDA for me, or about 11mg of iron.

Now cue the argument about heme versus non-heme, absorbable versus non-absorbable, vegan versus omnivore, religion versus science, fuck I'm so sick and tired of these fake arguments. Same old shit for the last decade. Nothing much is advancing. Keep on aging, folks, neither pristine diet nor blood donations are going to do much of anything to extend your human longevity. It doesn't fucking matter -- move on.

 

Some things are advancing. For example, CRISPR technology. When it comes to supplements, I'd say there were some minor advancements. For example, nicotinamide riboside is arguably a useful supplement and the "R" isomer of alpha lipoic acid is available. MitoQ is also now sold over the counter although I don't know if it is affordable yet. 

 

I think that the biggest breakthrough will be a combination of senolytics to kill senscent cells followed up with glucosepane breakers to clean them up and some genetic engineering to induce rejuvination.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: blood donation, heart disease, myocardial infarction, cholesterol, insulin sensitivity, cancer prevention

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