Blood transfusions have been around for hundreds of years, and plenty of research and sacrifice went into making it safe and for the recipient. There hasn't been nearly as much research into what it does to the donor. We know the human body will replace the required amount of blood in time. The volume will stabilize in about 24 hours, but there's a lot more to blood than just water. What about iron and hemoglobin? And what happens to the generous people who donate blood on a regular basis?
Donation centers do not normally check for iron levels before drawing blood. They check for anemia, which is not the same thing. Frequent donors often live just on the edge of anemia, so how does this affect their lives? An experiment identified 79 donors with low iron levels after donating blood. Half were given intravenous iron, and the other half were given saline. Four to six months later, the two groups showed no measurable difference in blood quality, cognitive function, or quality of life. However, women under 50 benefitted the most from the intravenous iron supplement. The implication of this study shows that regular blood donation does not significantly affect the donor, but does lead to some new recommendations for best practices concerning frequent donors that show signs of anemia. Read about the effects of blood donation at Stat. -via Damn Interesting
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