Everyone knows the life giving benefits of donating blood for the recipient. According to the Red Cross, around 36,000 units of red blood cells are needed in the U.S. daily. Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. Since blood can’t be made or manufactured, these patients depend on blood donors for their very lives.
But most people don’t realize the health benefits that donating blood provides for the donator as well.
As we age our blood thickens due to excess hormones. The problem with thick blood is that it flows more slowly through your circulatory system, delaying the transport of nutrients and oxygen to your cells. It increases our chances of having a stroke, heart attack or kidney disease. Plus, when your blood is thicker, you’re more prone to getting blood clots which can block blood vessels in your heart, brain or lungs.
In addition, as we age, our glutathione levels decrease. Glutathione is one of the bodies main antioxidants. It’s reduction makes the liver work much harder to remove toxins. This is why a few cocktails at 25 doesn’t affect you at all the next day, while a few at 45 leaves you feeling a bit hungover.
It was once explained to me that giving blood is like an oil change for your body. After donating blood, your body’s system gets to work within 48 hours of donation with the help of bone marrow new blood cells are produced and all the lost Red Blood Cells are replaced within a span of 30 to 60 days. Hence, donating blood helps in maintaining vital health.
Today we are sharing many of the health benefits you may experience from consistently donating blood.
1. Giving blood can lower harmful iron stores.
One of the benefits to giving blood that directly affects you is that you can lower the iron levels in your body, which can reduce your risk of heart disease. Prevalent in the Caucasian community, studies have shown that most people consume too much iron day-to-day. By giving blood, you lower your iron levels and allow your body to replenish it with fresh blood.
2. Giving blood can lower your risk of a heart attack.
Donating blood at least once a year could reduce your risk of a heart attack by 88 percent, according to a study conducted by the American Journal of Epidemiology. This relates to iron levels. High levels of iron in the blood constrict your blood vessels and create more risk of a heart attack. Depleting those extra iron deposits by donating blood gives your vessels more room to operate.
3. Giving blood can help your liver stay healthy.
“In recent years, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), the hepatic expression of metabolic syndrome, has reached epidemic proportions,” reports the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Research has linked too much iron with NAFLD, Hepatitis C and other liver diseases and infections. Though there are many other factors involved in these problems, donating blood can help relieve some of those iron stores and avoid extra issues in your liver.
4. Giving blood may reduce the risk of cancer.
Iron has also been thought to increase free-radical damage in the body and been linked to an increased risk of cancer and aging. The Miller-Keystone Blood Center says that consistent blood donation associated with lower risks of cancers including liver, lung, colon, and throat cancers due to the reduction in oxidative stress when iron is released from the bloodstream.
Additionally, in a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers followed 1,200 people split into groups of two over the course of 4 1/2 years. One group reduced their iron stores via blood donations twice a year, while the second group did not make any changes. The results of the study showed that the group of blood donors had lower iron levels, and a lower risk of cancer and mortality.
5. Giving blood may boost your mental health.
While there are several physical benefits to donating blood, the most powerful health benefit is arguably psychological. Donating blood means that someone (or multiple people) somewhere will receive the help they desperately need. The psychological health benefit you receive from knowing you’re helping others can be just as helpful as the physical health benefit. When you roll up your sleeve and sit down in that chair, you know you’re making a difference – and that makes you feel good.
So as you can see, giving blood is a win/win for both the recipient and the donor. To find out where you can give blood in your local area, just click here to visit the Red Cross website and search by your zip code. Your health will thank you!
Also, did you know that we have IV Therapies that contain the antioxidant glutathione? If you feel like your experiencing symptoms decreased glutathione, give us a call or just walk in. We will have a quick consult and have feeling better ASAP!