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I've been wondering about that. Nutrients aside, how many calories are required to replace a pint of blood? I know it's mostly water, but still, it's got to require some energy to replace it.
Hey, that gives a swell idea for a new diet craze: The Blood and Plasma Donation Diet!
I'm a regular donor... when I'm not being tattooed. (In NY you're *supposed* to wait 12 months after getting inked.)
Depending on who hosts the blood drive, there are different kinds of food. Usually pizza, or hot dogs. One place does sandwiches, or sometimes it's just cookies and juice.
Since it's something I only do every couple of months, or less, I'll have a bottle of water and a small amount of food at the donation center (so that they're convinced I'm ok) then go home and have a nice big meal.
In "The Protein Power Lifeplan" by Michael & Mary Eades, they devote an entire chapter to "The Modern Iron Age". That chapter alone is worth the price of the book. Anyhow, they write that we basically have too much iron in our bodies (way too much), as our bodies no longer harbor parasites and other visitors. The only other way to eliminate iron from the body is by bleeding. To exacerbate that, many foods, particularly grain products are now iron fortified.
So what's the problem? This excess iron is nasty stuff. It's a pro-oxidant, which the body quickly shrouds in a protective coat of ferritin to keep it from damaging cells. Some iron is used for blood production, but with our diets we have lots of excess iron, and that is sequestered away throughout the body. The authors call them "little time bombs". When tissue sequestering iron is denied oxygen, as in a heart attack or stroke, that protective coating on the iron dies. When blood flow is restored, the iron oxidizes and goes into a "free-radical explosion", creating mucho damage to the surrounding tissue. They write that this is what makes heart attacks and strokes so deadly.
Iron is also a wicked cancer creator (when oxidized) and iron itself becomes the food for the cancer cells. Nice.
So they recommend giving blood if your ferritin level is over 100 (it's a simple blood test). They write that most of their patients are middle aged (more time to collect & store iron) and they typically test in the 300-500 range for ferritin.
They have a handy table in the book with the number of blood donations needed to bring your levels down to safer levels.
So give blood, or to be more primal, get some parasites.
According to the book, women (pre-menopausal) lose 0.6 mg of iron per day on average of the month. People generally lose 1 mg/day of iron due to various processes, so the 0.6 in addition is pretty nominal, but helpful nonetheless (see my next paragraph) They also noted that teen women (girls?) are the most likely to be anemic as they tend to veer towards vegetarianism.
They also noted (with a shocking graph) that women post-menopause have equal rates of heart attacks as men (much lower pre-menopause). It was previously believed this was due to estrogen issues, but that was ruled out with studies cited in the book. It now appears that the iron build-up is the cause.
Maba, thanks for the link. I have spent many hours on the WAP site, but had not seen that article.
Finally, another scary facet to this issue: With high iron, you can have a tumor and not know it. The tumor will grow thanks to your excess iron, yet you won't feel anemic (faint) until much later in the game than if you had lower iron levels. By then the tumor may have advanced to an untreatable stage.