T Nation

Blood donation

I know that exercising when you’re down a pint is not an ideal situation, but what are your thoughts on donating blood.
Besides being an unselfish act is it beneficial? I had read somewhere it is very good for men to do occasionally. Women purge and make fresh blood monthly.


I heard giving blood is good for some reason, but I don’t remember what. You can probably ask someone at Men’s Health Magazine. They’re pretty good at knowing this stuff. One cool thing about giving blood is if you drink a beer right after, and really fast, you get a massive buzz!

About 15 years ago, a doctor named Sullivan had the iron hypothesis regarding heart disease. He hypothesized that excess iron in western diets increased the production of radicals that in turn caused greater plaque build up and exacerbated ischemic damage. In support, Sullivan cited studies that showed ischemic cardiac damage in rabbits was reduced by iron chelation, and that coronary disease rates among nations correlate well with with serum ferritin levels and diets high in red meat. This seemed to explain, for example, why the Japanese smoked more than Americans but had less hear disease, and Eskimoes could subsist on blubber with low rates of coronary disease. In a Finnish study, except for smoking, serum ferritin levels were the best predictor of heart disease, even better than cholesterol levels. Circumstantial evidence was an Italian study in which blood donors had significantly greater longevity than nondonors (something like three years on average, I think).Last I read, about ten years ago, Sullivan was going to a VA hospital to continue researching his hypothesis. I’ve not heard anything else about his theory, so I guess his theory wasn’t panning out. But there is still the Italian study.

For what that’s worth.

That was my understanding, that it was good to lower iron levels

Q: Are there any health benefits from giving blood?

Dr. Harvey Klein: There are several benefits. The first and most important is that you receive a health history and a limited examination as well as laboratory studies every time you donate blood. So the process of donation has health benefits. There are also a set of studies that show that blood donation is beneficial to your heart. While the medical community doesn't have absolute proof, and we are not sure why that might be, it does appear that people who donate blood regularly may have less heart disease.

from.... Klein is president of the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB). AABB member facilities are responsible for collecting virtually all of the nation’s blood supply. Klein also is chief of the Department of Transfusion Medicine at the Warren G. Magnuson Clinical Center of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md (aabb dot org)

you're welcome, popeye

Being a guy with high T levels and a 54% hematocrit (thick blood) to show for it, I’m increasingly interested in giving a pint every several weeks to lose some red cells. If you go for this approach, you might consider coming off any supplements for a week prior to the donation so as not to waste “expensive blood” on the Red Cross.
Otherwise, some old lady receiving your blood may just recover instantly and hunt you down for more!

Okay, one more comment - since I haven't seen it discussed... 
It may be the case that high iron concentrations in the blood have pro-oxidant effects that worsen the oxidation of LDL / atherosclerotic plaque progression. This appears to be one reason for the heart disease correlation.
It's also of interest that excessive iron absorption is one of the most common genetic abnormalities among humans. Men, of course, are at greater risk of high iron ("normal" male hemoglobin conc. is about 12-15 g/dl) than women. In *serious* cases of elevated iron status, hemosiderosis / hemochromatosis and liver damage can even result - but that's much less common.
I agree that donating and having some blood work done is of great value regarding both prevention / wellness and peace of mind.

Oops, sorry Newbie - I just reread your post. You seem to be right on the money!