The Selfish Case For Donating Blood

I recently listened to a podcast where the guest talked about the medical benefits one gets from donating blood. Men can get iron heavy blood, which is an oxidative stress. By donating blood on a regular basis, you force the body to create new blood, which won’t have the metallic load.

From the article The Incredible Health Benefits of Donating Blood by Kristie Leong M.D.:

Studies have shown that, in general, Americans tend to consume more iron on a daily basis than is necessary for good health. Ingestion of quantities of iron beyond a certain quantity can promote formation of free radicals in the body. Free radicals have justly earned their reputation for causing cellular changes which can disrupt normal cell function and increase the risk of certain chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. This is more likely to be a problem for men and post menopausal women since women of child bearing age shed excess iron through regular menstrual cycles. If a person happens to be a red meat eater, the risk for iron overload can be even higher.

Yahoo! has taken down the article, but a copy exists on Facebook. 

After learning about this, I raced out to donate blood. However, for the first time ever my blood was rejected. Turns out that my visit to Cambodia last winter means my blood is at risk for malaria for up to 12 months. Come December, I intend to get back in the habit of donating blood on a regular basis. Either that or I’ll take a trip to another country with a high risk of malaria. 😉

blood donor


Photo by makelessnoise

JULY 2015 UPDATE: Since this post, I have donated more than 3 gallons of blood.


Add yours

  1. Interesting stuff. I read some articles on the health/therapeutic benefits of giving blood several months ago. Since we have a blood mobile come to my workplace every other month it was easy to sign up and give blood the last two times it was here. And while there is a certain ‘good feeling’ for having helped someone else I’m not kidding myself…I did it for selfish reasons primarily. I’m not ashamed of that.

    Regardless of what the techs and everyone else will tell you…I felt a bit tired for a couple of days following each donation. Serious exercise was out of the question. However, I’ve felt healthy and strong pretty much the rest of the time so perhaps there is some benefit there.

  2. I just did a double red blood cell donation. I’m not even sure if this is my first time ever donating. Anyway, I didn’t realize how much a regular, let alone the double I did, would affect me when riding my bike.

    Is there anything you do to help mitigate this problems after donating? Any tips or suggestions?

  3. @John – I’ve never had a problem, but then I don’t cycle, so I don’t know. Longer rest period?

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