Are There Unexpected Benefits Of Donating Blood?

Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood and more than 41,000 blood donations are needed every day, according to the American Red Cross. So while you may never worry about having enough blood to function, plenty of others aren’t as fortunate.

It may be time to start thinking about it today, or muster up the courage to overcome your fear of needles, as giving blood doesn’t only help others… it helps you too.

Four Benefits of Giving Blood

Someone in the US needs blood every two seconds,  so if you’re up for doing a good deed, donating blood is a phenomenal choice. More than 41,000 blood donations are needed each day, and because blood cannot be manufactured, the only way to supply this need is via generous blood donors. It’s certainly an altruistic act… but it’s also one that offers important yet little-discussed benefits.

1. Balance Iron Levels in Your Blood

2. Better Blood Flow

3. You Get a Mini Physical

4. A Longer Life

Doing good for others is one way to live a longer life. A study in Health Psychology found that people who volunteered for altruistic reasons had a significantly reduced risk of mortality four years later than those who volunteered for themselves alone.

What You Should Know About Excess Iron Levels

Iron is essential for life, as it is a key part of various proteins and enzymes, involved in the transport of oxygen and the regulation of cell growth and differentiation, among many other uses.

One of the most important roles of iron is to provide hemoglobin (the protein in red blood cells that contains iron at its core), a mechanism through which it can bind to oxygen and carry it throughout your tissues, as without proper oxygenation, your cells quickly start dying.

However, because your body has a limited capacity to excrete iron, it can easily build up in organs like your liver, heart, and pancreas. This is dangerous because iron is a potent oxidizer and can damage your body tissues contributing to serious health issues. Cancer researchers have found evidence that bowel cancers are two to three times more likely to develop when dietary iron is too high in your body.  High iron levels have also been linked to:

Cirrhosis Liver cancer Cardiac arrhythmias
Type one diabetes Alzheimer’s disease Bacterial and viral infections

Article Summary

  • Repeated blood donations may help your blood to flow better, reducing viscosity, and possibly helping to limit damage to the lining of your blood vessels, which should result in fewer arterial blockages
  • Every blood donor gets a “mini physical” prior to donation to check blood pressure, hemoglobin, and temperature, along with testing for 13 infectious diseases
  • People who volunteer for altruistic reasons, i.e. to help others rather than themselves, live longer than those who volunteer for more self-centered reasons
  • For each unit of blood donated, you lose about one-quarter of a gram of iron, which is one of the best ways to avoid the health risks associated with iron overload
  • Your body has a limited capacity to excrete iron, so it can easily build up in and damage organs like your liver, heart, and pancreas; many adult men and postmenopausal women are at risk for health problems associated with excess iron

article source: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/07/28/blood-donation-benefits.aspx
photo credits: Google Images

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