Help me stay red-blooded if not old-fashioned
April 18, 2014 11:53 AM   Subscribe

Best practices / protips for what to eat after having a large amount of blood drawn? Also, I will be having additional draws over the next few weeks.

I went today for a blood draw in which they took 9 vials of blood. Oy. This large draw is a one-off, but I will likely have additonal draws once or even possibly twice a week for the next 4-6 weeks. The future draws should be only 1 vial if memory serves, but could be two.

Complication: I am trying to get pregnant (don't tell anybody!!!), and the draws are related to that; they must be concurrent and are non-negotiable in terms of waiting to do one or the other.

I went through a similar but actually much heavier protocol a few years ago and though not one of the many doctors I saw ever said anything to me about being anemic, I was pretty tired a lot of time for the duration.

I already eat a pretty clean diet; I mostly stick to lean proteins, steamed veg, and very little processed carbs; I also eat legumes on a regular basis. Recently I've added avocado and coconut oil into my daily diet in order to add more fat. I take a multi, extra folate, and D every day.

Aside from the idea of just eating more beef, which I am not opposed to, is there anything specific that helps the body rebuild it's red blood cell count and ward off anemia?
posted by vignettist to Health & Fitness (10 answers total)
Certainly ask your doctor, but back when I was giving blood regularly (so what is that, a pint at a time?) I was never instructed to eat more or differently just because I was giving a pint every month or two. One of those vials is about 10 ml, which is less than a third of an ounce. You might need to be more concerned about them using the same vein every time.
posted by rtha at 12:32 PM on April 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

That's not really a sufficiently large amount such that you need to concern yourself. As rtha says, blood donation has you dropping a pint, more than your 9 vials even. The pint donations have the plasma/fluid levels replenished within 24 hours & platelets replenish in 4-6 weeks.

If you want to do anything special - which I don't think you do - you could follow the Red Cross's "after you donate" information.
posted by phearlez at 12:36 PM on April 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

I found that drinking a lot of water really helped with keeping liquid volume up. Once I got super dehydreated after giving blood and I was sick as a dog.

How about milk products? Greek yogurt, whole milk, etc?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:38 PM on April 18, 2014

RN here who draws blood every shift I work. Each one of these vials typically holds less than 5mLs of blood, which is less than a teaspoon. Nine vials at about 5mLs apiece is about an ounce and a half of blood. You don't need to do anything differently, especially if each future draw is only 1 vial. If you are still concerned, call and ask to speak with a nurse at your doctor's office and ask him/her this question.
posted by pecanpies at 12:55 PM on April 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yeah, stay hydrated. Mr. gudrun is a regular blood donor and staying hydrated and eating normal well balanced meals at regular intervals are his advice (and keeping up with the vitamins). That should be more than enough.

You can add some dried fruit, or peanut butter, or eggs, into your diet if you wanted to up your iron rich foods a bit, but I would not worry too much.
posted by gudrun at 12:58 PM on April 18, 2014

Generally, food with lots of iron (particularly heme iron). Iron helps build hemoglobin.
There is a lot of heme iron in meat/fish/seafood. Stuff like beef liver, chicken liver, oysters, clams etc. have even more heme iron than beef. Beef, turkey, canned sardines have about the same amount, which is less than the aforementioned group of foods.

Nonheme iron comes from plants. Legumes, tofu, pumpkin/sesame seeds have a lot of nonheme iron. Also cereals with added iron are good. Other good sources of nonheme iron are broccoli, potatoes and dried apricots.

Our bodies need various other elements to replenish blood, like vitamin B complex (including folic acid), vitamins C & K, and calcium.
The healthiest way is a balanced and varied diet. If you want more advice, you could always ask your doctors/nurses next time you go in to get blood drawn.
posted by travelwithcats at 1:07 PM on April 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

The largest common blood draw vials are 10 mL. The others are 6 mL and 3 mL. Worst case, you had 100 mL of blood taken, which is 1.6-2% of the total blood in your body, and would only result in a quarter-point drop in hemoglobin levels. Probably less total effect than a moderate period would have.

Drink some juice, eat some (lean) red meat, and you'll be more than fine.
posted by WasabiFlux at 1:51 PM on April 18, 2014

I reguarly donate blood, but the Red Cross's usual post-donation snacks are awful -- total junk food. I always bring an apple and have a glass of water, too.
posted by BlahLaLa at 3:02 PM on April 18, 2014

Thanks to everyone, for the very good and very reassuring answers. Not quite so worried about it now.
posted by vignettist at 3:38 PM on April 18, 2014

When I whined after having a few vials of blood drawn, the phlebotomist told me I'd make that much before I was back in my car. She was exaggerating -- as far as I know -- but her point was that we recover very quickly from that, even though it seems like a lot when it's there in the stand.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:16 AM on April 19, 2014

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