I Won Blood Donation

In 2010, I posted The Selfish Case For Donating Blood. In that post I mention the health benefits one gets from reducing the iron level in your blood. So beginning in December 2010 – a full year after returning from my trip to Cambodia – I began to donate blood regularly.

Every 8 weeks. Like clockwork.

Only during my 13 months in California was there any interruptions. And while I was there I donated double red blood cells twice. So for all practical purposes, for 6 years I was a regular donor. Each time purging my blood of iron.

During those years I read some great articles on the health benefits of reducing Iron levels by Anthony Colpo. I’d love to link to those articles now, but they are now only available for paid members. (Side note: I went to see how much a Membership would be and the sign up page is empty. His server is also not secure. Goodbye!) 

Last December I was ready to hit a milestone. I was one donation away from receiving my 4 Gallon Pin. But I was turned away, because my Iron levels were too low. That had never happened before. Not unhealthy low, but too low to donate. They assured me I was still in a healthy range. I was on the edge.

I returned a few days later to try again. I really wanted that pin. And although I bumped my Iron level up a little, I was still just outside the range. Turned away again.

For 2 weeks I ate sunflower seeds and lamb and beef. Then I returned and my Iron level was finally high enough to donate. I collected my 4 Gallon Pin and this time instead of scheduling an appointment for 8 weeks, I pushed it out to 11 weeks.

Today was my first donation since collecting my 4 Gallon Pin and guess what? My Iron levels are too low to donate. Still in a healthy range, but just a little too low for their needs.

Being turned away 3 out of the last 4 times was a bummer at first, but really it is a good thing. I did exactly what I intended. I purged my blood of the oxidative stress. My blood is baby fresh and clean. And if I did my research correctly, I extended my lifespan by a few years. Oh yeah and I probably helped a few people along the way.

I won. I won at blood donation. Now I will go into a maintenance donation schedule. Maybe twice a year.

If you are a non-vegan male, donating blood is a no-brainer way to improve your health and the health of whoever gets your blood.


Add yours

  1. i have been thinking about getting into a donation routine like this. are there any “recovery” recommendations? such as diet, sleep, and exercise changes for a period of time after donating?

  2. @Chuck – What I do is time it so I lift weights the day before I donate. They advise against heading back to the gym for a day, but given I do HIT, I extend that to 2-3 days. Everything else is the same. They serve raisins and orange juice at the place I donate. That is enough. I feel the same though. Don’t donate fasted. I did it once to see how it felt. I struggled to stay alert.

  3. I was turned away ‘cos I had borreliose from a tick bite last June. Permission again in June 2018 – didn’t want to wait that long. Want to get my ferritin down to < 90 ng/dl and doing phlebotomy by myself at home now. Unfortunately nobody can benefit from my blood.

  4. @mas
    do you find giving blood effects cold tolerance in any way?

  5. @Roland – Can I assume you are in the medical field and have already been trained on drawing blood? I’m guessing the average person couldn’t do this without risk or am I mistaken?

    @Chuck – Funny you should ask that question. My cold tolerance has gotten worse every winter since I started this. I didn’t notice it at first, but this past winter I have felt quite cold. I still have more cold tolerance than the average person, but not as much as before. Looks like I have another research project to dive into 🙂

  6. No MAS, I’m not in the medical field. I’m just very interested in my/my family’s health since my younger son got diagnosed with diabetic type 1 aged 9 twelve yrs. ago. (Following your blog since the beginning! Keep up the good work!)
    I’ve quickly learned that it’s a bad idea to trust your doc unconditionally and I have reached a stage where I take even “serious” matters in my own hands – provided I’m able to. Probably I’m not unlike you: I am my own guinea pig.
    Poking a needle into my vein wasn’t my thing either at first but it’s less difficult as one might think. I’ve got a friend who is a vet and I just asked her to show me but I would also have done it without her help.

  7. @Chuck – Thank you for your comment. You inspired my next post.

    @Roland – I love your DIY spirit! Inspiring,

  8. I’d give ANYTHING to be able to donate blood again. I used to donate every 3 months, minimum. But then in the mid-1990’s, the Government decided that anyone who’d lived in the UK for 3 or more consecutive months in the 1980’s would no longer be able to give blood (or bone marrow) because of fears of Mad Cow Disease. Never mind that I’d *been* giving blood for over a decade between living in London and the new rules/regs that forbade me to.

    This affects servicemen and women in the US military as well, a segment of the population that regularly donated blood but because of where they’ve been stationed, they no longer can. It also affects LGBTQ donors, another segment of the population who deeply understands the need for blood donations, and would willing give all they can, but aren’t allowed to. All because our Government can’t figure out how to join the 21st Century?

    There are those who CAN give blood but who don’t or won’t (which I don’t understand at all!). And then there are those of us who would love nothing more than to give blood regularly, all year round, but CAN’T.

    Thank YOU, Michael! Thank you, for being one of the ones who can and also does, regardless of your reasons for doing so. I wish more folks would do so if only to stand in for those of us who aren’t allowed to. Here’s hoping I can experiment with my own iron levels some day by donating blood again… it sounds like it could provide some great health benefits.

  9. I gave blood in January, and marked the calendar where I can give again in April. It’s also a free way to get some of your blood markers checked, like cholesterol and liver enzymes.

  10. @Cheryl – Thanks for the nice comment.

    @Garymar – Seems every state is different. I don’t get those metrics in Washington.

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