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potential health benefits of giving blood


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#1 openeyes

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Posted 22 May 2007 - 12:47 PM


"At a time when blood banks report dangerously low supplies, the best argument for rolling up your sleeve is still to do someone else some good. But if University of Florida researcher Jerome Sullivan, M.D., is right -- and there's new evidence to suggest he is -- giving blood could also save your life.

Here's why. Each time you give blood, you remove some of the iron it contains. High blood iron levels, Sullivan believes, can increase the risk of heart disease. Iron has been shown to speed the oxidation of cholesterol, a process thought to increase the damage to arteries that ultimately leads to cardiovascular disease.

Sullivan has long suspected that blood iron levels help explain why a man's risk of heart disease begins earlier than a woman's. Women lose blood -- and lower their iron levels -- each time they menstruate. Men, on the other hand, begin storing iron in body tissues starting in their twenties, which is just about the time their heart attack danger begins to climb.

According to Victor Herbert, M.D., a hematologist at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, there are normally about 1,000 milligrams of iron "stored" in the average adult man's body but only about 300 milligrams in a premenopausal woman's. Once women stop menstruating, however, their iron levels -- and their heart disease risk -- begin to climb, eventually matching that of men."

the rest of the article can be found here: http://archives.cnn....give.blood.wmd/
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#2 mike250

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Posted 22 May 2007 - 01:40 PM

well i have minor alpha thalassemia so I'm not sure if I can donate blood.

#3 tamalak

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Posted 23 May 2007 - 06:05 AM

An even better self-interested reason to give blood is that if YOU ever need a transfusion, you'll be on the short list for it. Donors get transfusions over non-donors.
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#4 Arcanyn

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Posted 24 May 2007 - 11:32 AM

Iron also produces free radicals, which contribute to the aging process.

http://en.wikipedia....enton's_reagent

It's really unfortunate that we need iron in order to carry oxygen around in our bloodstream, given its toxicity. I've often wondered about the possibility of replacing the haemoglobin in our blood with some alternative metal complex which reversibly binds oxygen. If this could be done, then this would likely increase lifespan, although the difficulty of course will be getting the body's cells to synthesise the new compound, no small task.
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#5 david ellis

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Posted 28 May 2007 - 06:01 PM

One more advantage to giving blood, you can see how clear your plasma is. (if you donate two units-apheresis process that removes your plasma and returns it) I was pleased to see how clear my plasma was. Cloudy plasma is a sign of unhealthy plasma. Clear plasma was a pleasing contradiction to my 254 total cholesterol reading. High cholesterol doesn't necessarily mean cardiovascular disease, just like normal cholesterol levels are not necessarily safe. (I understand that 1/2 of the people who have heart attacks have normal cholesterol.)

#6 Jacovis

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 11:33 AM

Paul Wakfer, a real powerhouse in the life extension world, seems to have reasons for not donating blood. See his post late last year from usenet pasted in below...


http://groups.google...donation wakfer

jc101 (October 21, 2007):
"...Then when you add in removal of the stored iron in hemosiderin and paracrystalline iron (by regular blood donation) that has built up over a lifetime causing oxidative stress (and lipofuscin production), one can end up with some darn clean cells..."

Paul Wakfer (October 21, 2007):
"...I used to agree with this and for some years regularly donated blood
for this purpose, to help others and to contribute so that blood was
available if I ever needed a transfusion. I do not do this any more
for several reasons:

1) my hemoglobin and ferritin levels were already sufficiently low.
2) Iron is a major necessary mineral required by the body to function
well
3) Iron seems to become depleted in the body with age
4) Donating blood also removes perfectly good white bloods cells which
then need to be regenerated and some of which are part of the body's
immunity that has been acquired from past infections. For many
reasons, I don't think that it is a good idea to continually deplete
these white blood cells..."
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#7 magnelectro

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Posted 17 December 2009 - 11:54 PM

I would like to comment on Paul Wakfer's reasons for not donating.

...Paul Wakfer (October 21, 2007):
"...I used to agree with this and for some years regularly donated blood
for this purpose, to help others and to contribute so that blood was
available if I ever needed a transfusion. I do not do this any more
for several reasons:

1) my hemoglobin and ferritin levels were already sufficiently low.
2) Iron is a major necessary mineral required by the body to function well

Although the definition of "sufficiently low" is debatable, if ferritin is too low this would certainly be a valid reason for not donating. "When the body's supply of available iron is too low, a condition known as iron deficiency results. People with iron deficiency cannot produce an adequate amount of hemoglobin to meet their body's oxygen-transport needs. When the deficiency becomes severe (so that there are too few circulating red blood cells or the hemoglobin content of these cells is very low), the condition is diagnosed as iron-deficiency anemia. The most common symptoms of iron-deficiency anemia are tiredness and weakness (due to the inadequate oxygen supply to the body's cells) and paleness in the hands and eyelids (due to the decreased levels of oxygenated hemoglobin, which is red-colored)(1)." However, iron-deficiency anemia only occurs in about 3% of men (2). So, this is unlikely to be a problem for most men. Plus, nearly all blood donation centers will test and refuse your donation if your hematocrit is too low. I can't find it at the moment but another thread referenced a study that showed that men in the lowest quartile of the 'normal range' had the lowest incidence of heart disease, Alzheimer's and diabetes with something like a four-fold reduction from those men in the highest quartile of the normal range.

3) Iron seems to become depleted in the body with age.

This is FALSE. Our bodies have evolved to bleed and are very efficient at retaining iron despite the oxidation issues that now plague us in our relatively safe modern environment. Serum ferritin has "an age-related tendency to rise and in every age studied it was higher in males than in fernales(3)."

4) Donating blood also removes perfectly good white bloods cells which then need to be regenerated and some of which are part of the body's immunity that has been acquired from past infections. For many reasons, I don't think that it is a good idea to continually deplete these white blood cells..."

This is not a problem with 'double-red cell' apheresis as all the plasma and white blood cells are returned to the donor. I doubt it is a problem with whole blood either because a pint is typically 1/10th of the total blood volume and one need not donate that often to see the iron reduction benefits. Plus, as I said before we evolved to bleed and periodically loosing small quantities of blood seems to be beneficial as we can see from the relative risk differences between men and premenopausal women.

TAKE HOME MESSAGE: DONATE! It's good for you and everyone else.

1. http://www.chemistry...n/Ferritin.html
2. http://www.associate...men.html?cat=52
3. http://ageing.oxford...stract/10/2/119
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#8 Lufega

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 08:13 PM

4) Donating blood also removes perfectly good white bloods cells which
then need to be regenerated and some of which are part of the body's
immunity that has been acquired from past infections. For many
reasons, I don't think that it is a good idea to continually deplete
these white blood cells..."


Leukocytes are formed from hematopoietic stems cells. As they progress down the chain, they regenerate the stem cell culture leaving behind a base of which other white cells will form. So that comment doesn't apply!

See this graph

http://en.wikipedia....esis_simple.png
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#9 kismet

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Posted 21 December 2009 - 11:35 PM

I am not sure what you're saying Lufega. Are you saying that the depletion of leukocytes per se is not a problem because they are regenerated? I concur. I'd even go farther and pre-emptively add the following: on the face of it (and that is very, very superficially) "stem cell exhaustion" sounds like a possible side-effect of blood donation. That is until you find out just how great the turnover of leukocytes is to begin with. I did some back of the envelope calculations some time ago and concluded that this may be a very small problem if you donated your whole life every month or basically as often as legally possible, but it's unlikely.

Furthermore, Abbas et al. Cellular and molecular immunology* sez that memory cells are generally located in the bone marrow or peripheral tissues. Maybe you could ever so slightly deplete the peripheral ones. You also remove some immunoglobulins, but those, too, are continously regenerated.

*my undergrad immunology textbook

Edited by kismet, 21 December 2009 - 11:35 PM.

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#10 JLL

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 07:39 AM

Yeah I would donate blood if the very idea didn't make me extremely nauseous.

#11 e Volution

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 09:03 AM

I am planning on giving blood tomorrow and wondering about eating prior...

Im a paleoish eater who regularly does 16 (even a few 24) hour fasts finished of with workout, no problem, what would be optimal in terms of eating before hand? I will probably go in 2-3 hours after waking, and in my normal routine I would not have had a meal by this time (I eat once or twice a day, lunch and/or dinner). Should I switch up the routine and eat a decent breakfast, or shouldn't be a problem? Cheers

#12 Sillewater

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 09:23 AM

I find that donating blood while fasting causes difficulties in extracting the blood. I don't know what it is, maybe fasting reduces blood pressure or water is lost.

#13 magnelectro

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Posted 30 December 2009 - 07:43 AM

I am planning on giving blood tomorrow and wondering about eating prior...

Im a paleoish eater who regularly does 16 (even a few 24) hour fasts finished of with workout, no problem, what would be optimal in terms of eating before hand? I will probably go in 2-3 hours after waking, and in my normal routine I would not have had a meal by this time (I eat once or twice a day, lunch and/or dinner). Should I switch up the routine and eat a decent breakfast, or shouldn't be a problem? Cheers


Drink plenty of water upon waking and have a hearty meal the next time you would ordinarily eat--sooner if you feel light headed. It is not neccesary to eat beforehand.

I sometimes wonder if supplements make any difference in blood quality...
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#14 Mind

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 09:55 PM

Recent studies piqued my interest in regards to blood donation and life extension. The theme of this theory was already touched upon in this thread which again goes to show that Longecity/Imminst is way ahead of the curve when it comes to healthy life extension.

Former Imminst director Eternal Traveler (Justin Rebo) was involved in research which developed a method of mechanically removing anergic T-cells from blood. It has been theorized this could improve immune function, but it is highly speculative at this point.

Also Technion Insitute of Technology recently saw rejuvenation/re-popualtion of young B-cells in mice after the removal of old senescent B-cells. Of course we know from the Mayo study that removal of senescent cells in general improved most health metrics of mice.

So I was thinking I should experiment on myself and remove anergic T-cells and senescent B-cells. Then see if my immune system improved. Then I thought of this old thread. I give whole blood, so I am probably losing a small amount of anergic T-cells and senescent B-cells every time. I probably donate about 3 times a year. Of course, there has also been some research suggesting the blood donors have a lower risk of heart disease.
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#15 The Immortalist

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 11:36 PM

Recent studies piqued my interest in regards to blood donation and life extension. The theme of this theory was already touched upon in this thread which again goes to show that Longecity/Imminst is way ahead of the curve when it comes to healthy life extension.

Former Imminst director Eternal Traveler (Justin Rebo) was involved in research which developed a method of mechanically removing anergic T-cells from blood. It has been theorized this could improve immune function, but it is highly speculative at this point.

Also Technion Insitute of Technology recently saw rejuvenation/re-popualtion of young B-cells in mice after the removal of old senescent B-cells. Of course we know from the Mayo study that removal of senescent cells in general improved most health metrics of mice.

So I was thinking I should experiment on myself and remove anergic T-cells and senescent B-cells. Then see if my immune system improved. Then I thought of this old thread. I give whole blood, so I am probably losing a small amount of anergic T-cells and senescent B-cells every time. I probably donate about 3 times a year. Of course, there has also been some research suggesting the blood donors have a lower risk of heart disease.


Why does removing anergic T-cells and senescent B-cells increase immune function? Also what effects would blood donation have on athletic performance?

#16 niner

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Posted 28 April 2012 - 12:56 AM

Why does removing anergic T-cells and senescent B-cells increase immune function? Also what effects would blood donation have on athletic performance?

Anergic means that they don't respond to antigens, so they don't sound very useful to have around. Getting rid of them might lead to the generation of new replacements that were competent. Senescent cells of any type are bad, because they pump out a lot of disruptive compounds that you'd rather not have around. They also might not be immunologically competent. Blood donation would probably cause a slight reduction in stamina that would go away fairly quickly. There may or may not be a hormetic response that would result in improved performance relative to baseline, after the initial dip. (That is a speculation on my part.) Long term, the presumed benefits should result in better athletic performance in later life, particularly if blood donation results in you not having a heart attack.
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#17 Mind

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 08:24 PM

Thanks Niner. So just as a general speculative idea/theory, do you think the removal of a small percentage of senescent cells through blood donation would be a net positive for long term health? I tend to think so. Anyone else have an opinion?

#18 lucid

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 06:49 AM

Mind, I think you may be right about the senescent cell removal, but I think the iron hypothesis is more compelling because there just aren't that many senecent cells removed. As I'm sure you all know there are a two studies, one done in the netherlands and one done in kentucky that showed significant reduction in all cause mortality in those that donate blood 40-80% reduction. That was enough reason for me 4 years ago and it still is today.

I have been donating blood 3-4x/year for about 4 years. When I went in recently to get my blood work done, my doctor was very surprised seeing my ferritin levels (markers of total iron storage) to be on par with a healthy woman. Meanwhile, other markers for anemia: hemoglobin, and another iron marker I can't remember were normal for a man. In my mind that means success. This is one of the biggest payoff - low risk things us men can do to improve longevity.

Not to mention you will be helping other people with their immediate longevity ;)

Edited by lucid, 01 May 2012 - 06:52 AM.

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#19 Mind

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 03:13 PM

More good information about immunosenesence.
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#20 Mind

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 04:48 PM

My base circulatory metrics are still doing good, according to the blood donation technicians/nurses. My iron is on the low-ish side - good. Body temp is low - good. My blood pressure is low - good. My pulse rate is very low - not sure how low it can go before being a negative. The nurse was a little surprised at how low my pulse rate was - 44. She hadn't come across that low of a pulse rate in a long time - so long that she had to consult with some other technicians to make sure I was "fit" for giving blood on that day. I told her I could go run around the block and fix that "problem".
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#21 AgeVivo

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 06:15 PM

Unless you have some non-standard pattern like too little or too much iron, It is not obvious in the end whether regularly giving one's blood is good or bad in the long term. Is there any statistics about it?

#22 czGLoRy

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 04:33 AM

pretty weird question, but I am unable to donate blood (tried) and I think the benefits are real, any safe alternative way?

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#23 Sith

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Posted 27 April 2016 - 02:19 PM

I would love to donate blood but I have a question, can one donate blood whilst taking low dose daily aspirin, cod liver oil but also vitamin K2? 


Edited by Sith, 27 April 2016 - 02:19 PM.


#24 ironfistx

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Posted 23 May 2016 - 06:31 PM

When you are giving blood frequently are there any chances that it will become difficult to donate in the future from the constant poking the veins?



#25 Daniscience

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Posted 09 January 2017 - 03:23 PM

When you are giving blood frequently are there any chances that it will become difficult to donate in the future from the constant poking the veins?

 

Lulz?

 

Anyone I bump this thread, I am very interested on it. So giving blood removes iron or is it broscience?



#26 mwestbro

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Posted 09 January 2017 - 03:47 PM

In reply to Ironfistx above, I'm a phlebotomist in a plasma donation center.  Many of our donors have donated twice a week for years, even decades.  If they use the same site every time, they develop a large lump of scar tissue, sort of a "blood nipple".  We just punch through it.  Sometimes it's like going through tire rubber, but it doesn't stop them from donating.


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#27 fntms

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Posted 09 January 2017 - 09:53 PM

Twice a week? Here you are limited to once every two months.

#28 mwestbro

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 02:45 AM

They are donating only plasma, not whole blood.  We separate the red cells from the liquid components of the blood and return them.  If they lose red cells to any significant degree as a result of the process, they are deferred from donating for 56 days, just like whole blood donors.

 

Plasma donation is significantly different from whole blood in many ways.  We are a profit making company, and we pay our donors for their donation.  Many of our donors are folks on the margins of society for whom plasma donation is one of the few ways they have to make money.


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#29 adastra

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 09:52 PM

Sorry to bump this, but I have a similar question to what was asked above and went unanswered.

 

Basically, I am not allowed to donate blood in the U.S.A. because I was born in Europe (due to mad cow risk, however small). I have high iron and would like to get a phlebotomy, but I don't have health insurance. 

 

Would anyone know of a way to get a phlebotomy without having a doctor's prescription? I am starting to consider leeches out of desperation, but someone please stop me! :-)



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#30 fntms

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 09:13 PM

Ip6 works pretty well for iron chelation, taken regularly on an empty stomach.




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