ezekiel's chariot - 張敦楷 (pjammer) wrote,
ezekiel's chariot - 張敦楷
pjammer

Is Giving Blood Good for Your Own Physical Health?

The human body reacts in predictable ways to external pressure; quite often, the harder you push it, the better it works. Bodybuilders are the most obvious exploiters of this fact: anaerobic weightlifting causes microscopic tears in the muscle fiber, and it is the body’s efforts to overcompensate for the damage that causes the rebuilt tissue to be larger and stronger. Multiply this effect by repeatedly stressing and tearing the same muscle groups (with appropriate intervals for rest) serves to amplify its strength and resilience. This much is common knowledge.

So what about your blood supply?

I’ve been thinking about this from since two weeks ago when I last donated blood at the Red Cross. Losing a pint of blood is a pretty stressful event from a physiological point of view. Donors are told to drink plenty of fluids and eat lots of iron-rich food in the week following their donation. Now we know blood loss stimulates your body’s red-cell production. Question: does regular blood loss from donations have a similar effect on bone marrow (where blood cells are manufactured) as physical exercise on muscles? Do regular donors have stronger blood-manufacturing capacities than their non-donor counterparts? Does the body “overcompensate” for periodic blood loss by becoming more efficient/powerful at manufacturing/replenishing your own vital fluids?

If so, what are the health benefits for having a stronger-than-average blood-production capacity?

(posted to longevity. Comment here)

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