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Sthira

Donate double red cells, all ye healthy FREAKS!

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And I say healthy freaks because I donated today at a Red Cross drive at a large research university, and literally nine out of ten people in the large room (dozens of volunteers and donors) were obese or overweight. I'm not exaggerating. Not being judgemental here, either, but I could have shot a photo. Nearly everyone -- even the sweet volunteer removing my blood -- was fatso city.

 

So we may have "healthier" blood since we're apparently eating less and eating healthier, or is that a stretch? Does eating well matter to blood donation quality?

 

I donated 2-units of double red cells which makes things easier and quicker for blood to get it to those who need it. They had trouble locating a vein on me, and it took them awhile to get what they needed out of me, which was awkward.

 

Also my iron levels were low bottom end -- 13.2 ml -- and range for males is evidently 13.5 - 20 (they said). WebMD says 12.5. My 13.2 was a level after more than 24-hours of (my daily) intermittent fast, and not eating is supposedly when iron levels outta be highest? You know more than I do, dear reader. I'm wondering if I should supplement iron to avoid anemia? I eat no meat, am a practicing longterm vegan, but do eat loads of legumes, spinach, nuts, seeds daily. Apparently veg sources of iron are less than optimal?

 

Also my pulse was only 42; temp 96.9; blood pressure was low 99/69; weight was 148 (which is up for me -- I've recently been eating more). All these numbers (?) caused people to ask questions, and kinda look at me. Maybe I'm paranoid from coffee. Stop drinking that poison, Sthira...

 

I donated blood to help people who need it. I gave double red after a 4 hour (rigorous) ballet rehearsal (lots of jumps, lifts, high energy crap...) and despite giving up 614 ml of blood (I think that's the amount) I strangely didn't feel any lightheadedness, which I expected...

Edited by Sthira

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Sthira,

 

I donated today at a Red Cross drive...

 

Good for you!

 

So we may have "healthier" blood since we're apparently eating less and eating healthier, or is that a stretch? Does eating well matter to blood donation quality?

 

That's a good question. I would expect our blood would be marginally more beneficial for the recipient, since we'll presumably have less artery-clogging cholesterol, and more cancer-fighting compounds in our blood. There is a ton of evidence that dripping blood from CR folks (Luigi's study) as well as from fruit/vegetable eaters on human cancer cells prevents their proliferation. Dr. Greger has a bunch of videos highlighting the the anti-proliferation effects of the blood from healthy eaters, for what it's worth. 

 

But if I were a blood transfusion recipient, I'd be much more concerned about the Cytomegalovirus (CMV) status of the donor than how healthy her diet was. Speaking of which, do you plan to call your local Red Cross to check on your CMV status?

 

I donated 2-units of double red cells which makes things easier and quicker for blood to get it to those who need it.

 

I tried that once, and my veins conched out after 1.25 units. Then I was forced to wait 16 weeks (rather than 8) until I could donate again. So I haven't tried it again since then. There is a regular blood drive every 8 weeks or so at the high school ½ mile from my house, so it isn't a big deal to give regularly. Plus less of a drain on my precious bodily fluids that way. ☺

 

Also my iron levels were low bottom end -- 13.2 ml -- and range for males is evidently 13.5 - 20 (they said). WebMD says 12.5. 

 

13.2 ng/ml is fine. Labcorp says 12.5 is the lower end of the healthy range too. But it is interesting that the Red Cross appears to consider 13.5 - 17.5 to be the "normal" range for healthy men.

 

Regarding blood donation, the minimum hemoglobin has always been 12.5 (which I'm usually skirting). But as of May 2016, the FDA increased the minimum hemoglobin level for men to donate from 12.5 to 13.0. That's good to know, since I'm donating in a couple weeks. It looks like you barely squeaked by this time.

 

I'm wondering if I should supplement iron to avoid anemia?

 

I do supplement with iron because I want to give blood and because I'm prone to anemia (or at least used to be, when eating a very low-cal CR diet). My hemoglobin barely remains above the donation threshold when I'm taking the iron supplement, so I figure I've got it dialed in just about right. Since you aren't feeling the symptoms of anemia after donating double reds, I'd say you're in pretty good shape. But you are risking getting rejected next time if you're hemoglobin drops a bit to below 13.0.

 

To see how close you are to anemia, you could get your ferritin level tested, as I plan to do this coming week as part of my semi-annual blood work.

 

--Dean

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...do you plan to call your local Red Cross to check on your CMV status?

 

Fascinating, and thank you, Dean. How long after donating did you call the blood bank for herpes results? I'll def hold my breath and call, nervously...

 

Meanwhile, I wonder if Greg Fahy's attempts to rejuvenate the thymus would help? Or would those new t-cells (if that's what would happen with a healthier thymus) simply bind to more shitty herpes? 10,000 rat studies later, it'll all be clear in rat herpes vs fighting t-cells, we reckon.

Edited by Sthira

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Sthira,

 

I called my blood donation organization to check my CMV status as soon as I got back from the CR conference, which was about a month after my last donation. But I (and you) could call anytime. Since we both are regular donors, they'll have a record of the CMV status of our most recent donation.

 

--Dean

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All,

 

Sthira wrote regarding donating "double reds" (two units of red blood cells):

I donated 2-units of double red cells which makes things easier and quicker for blood to get it to those who need it.

 

Here is something interesting I learned about donating blood, and "double reds" last week, while doing my usual donation (one unit of whole blood every 8 weeks).

 

I asked the technician, who's been working for our local bloodbank for many years, what the best, most useful form of blood donation would be for someone like me (blood type O-, CMV-negative). She unhesitatingly said "double reds". I asked her why, since that would mean I'd have to wait twice as long (16w instead of 8w) between donations per their rules, meaning I'd be donating the same amount (two units) of blood every 16 weeks either way. 

 

Her explanation was interesting and informative. She said double reds were better because when people need large amounts of blood (e.g. during major surgeries or after traumatic accidents), they like to provide a patient with blood from a single donor if possible, since giving a person blood from multiple people increases the risk that there will be complications resulting from the patient having trouble dealing with the large & diverse mix of antibodies etc. She said this was particularly true in my case - since I'm both a universal donor (O-) and CMV-negative, they like to given blood like mine to children, and she said giving kids blood from a single donor is even more important.

 

So next time Sthira, I think I'm going to take your advice and try donating double reds.

 

But to do it I'm going to have to lie a bit about my weight, since the Red Cross requirements for double red donation for male donors say:

  • Must be healthy and feeling well
  • Must be at least 17 years old in most states
  • Must be at least 5 Foot, 1" in height
  • Must weigh at least 130 lbs.

Well, immediately after I eat my one big meal a day, I'm pushing that weight these days, so maybe it isn't a lie.

 

--Dean

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I donated two more units of double reds today -- winter blood supplies are low here in the pre-apocalypse. My iron rose from 13.2 in June '16 to 14.9 today -- wonder why? Do iron levels naturally fluctuate, or have I been eating too many Jerusalem artichokes (delicious...)?

 

I'm on day two of a three day water-only fast and felt no dizziness after the donation. My pulse was 60, BP 110/57, I weigh 148 and I'm 6'2". I asked about checking my CMV status, she mumbled something. Do you call the Red Cross office nearest you to determine this?

 

It takes about thirty minutes to donate double red -- go for it.

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I'm on day two of a three day water-only fast and felt no dizziness after the donation. My pulse was 60, BP 110/57, I weigh 148 and I'm 6'2". I asked about checking my CMV status, she mumbled something. Do you call the Red Cross office nearest you to determine this?

 

Call in about 3 days, but they told me they no longer test for CMV (I'd love a second opinion on that though).  I believe Dean posted something about Red Cross possibly using a filtering technology to remove it?  Or possibly they just don't care about it anymore since its so pervasive?  It would be a good question to ask them when you call ;)

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That's correct Gordo.

 

I can't remember who it was, but someone was disappointed when Red Cross couldn't tell them their CMV status. I asked my own blood donation center (not Red Cross) about it, and they speculated that the Red Cross doesn't test for it (anymore) because they have technology (in their bags or tubing?) that can filter the virus out of the blood they collect (although I'm dubious about that...).

 

--Dean

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Hmph. The Red Cross turned my blood donation down today because my hemoglobin was too low at 12.3.

 

"Eat more spinach and come back some other time," the volunteer said.

 

My last donation of double reds was about four months ago, when blood iron was 14.9.

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When it comes to longevity, some people think moderate iron deficiency has benefits. 

Quote

How 5 Longevity Researchers Stave Off AgingThomas Perls, 49

Director, New England Centenarian Study at Boston University Medical Center

What he does: Tries to donate blood every eight weeks.

Why: He believes that moderate iron deficiency may be good. Iron stimulates cells to churn out free radicals, molecules that may contribute to cancer and other diseases of aging. Women tend to outlive men and are generally better at postponing the onset of age-related diseases, and one theory involves iron loss due to menstruation. "I can't menstruate," says Perls, "but maybe I can donate blood to a blood bank." Besides, it's a good deed. He hopes to live to 95.

 

Here are Dr Greger's videos on the health benefits of blood donation on the reduction of cancer:

Considered strictly from a health/longevity statepoint, does anyone know if it is preferable to donate double red (two units once every 16 weeks) or a single unit every 8 weeks?

I don't know for sure, but I assume that it doesn't take the body too long to replenish iron levels. If you donate double red it probably takes longer to replenish them, but does it really take twice as long? And then you have to wait 16 weeks before you can do it again. Might it be better to donate every eight weeks in order to moderately deplete iron every eight weeks, even if the body recovers faster each time?

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Hi Thomas!

In addition to Perl's statement on delaying aging, the views of the first three other researchers in your link "How 5 Longevity Researchers Stave Off Aging" are very much worth listening to -- they are top researchers, and have spoken at CR Society meetings.

Shame that you brought in "Greger" -- from serious, Nobel Prize level researchers, to a popular vegan bigot.

  --  Saul

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19 hours ago, Saul said:

In addition to Perl's statement on delaying aging, the views of the first three other researchers in your link "How 5 Longevity Researchers Stave Off Aging" are very much worth listening to -- they are top researchers, and have spoken at CR Society meetings.

The best parts: "Sinclair gave up a calorie-restricted diet, which may work similarly, after a week. "It just made life seem longer," he says."

and

"

"I laugh a lot," he says.

Why: "I really think that's the best we can do for a while," he says, laughing at his own skeptical view of the current state of research on aging.

[Read about how to get "infected" with happiness.]

"

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I don't want to distract from my original question, but I have thought quite a bit about this comment about CR:

Quote

 

"It just made life seem longer"

 

What I find striking about this comment is that I think many people would say the same thing about exercise. Exercise is often unpleasant in the kind of way that makes time seem to slow down. Yet the larger society regards marathoners and triathletes with admiration for their dedication and discipline. Why not view the practice of CR in a similar way? It is taking nutrition as seriously as many people already take exercise.

Just to plug my earlier question in case anyone has any leads on an answer, for the sake of moderate iron deficiency would it be better to lose two units of blood every 16 weeks or one unit every 8 weeks?

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