Healthy Donors are the Key to Our Mission of Ensuring a Safe Blood Supply
Protecting your health is important to us, which is why we check your hemoglobin/hematocrit before you donate. Each time you donate a unit of blood, it removes iron from your body. Iron is a part of hemoglobin, which is a protein in your red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to nourish the tissues throughout your body.
It is important to keep a healthy iron level so your body can build new red blood cells daily and also replace those you donate. Iron is also important for normal growth and development, energy level and brain function. A proper iron level is especially important to pregnant women.
Most blood donors need to pay attention to their iron level, particularly:
- Young females and males age 16-18.
- Frequent donors: females 2x and males 3x per year.
Recommendations for successful donation:
- Replace iron loss by taking an oral iron supplement daily for 60 days immediately following your blood donation. We recommend taking an over-the-counter (OTC) supplement or multivitamin containing 18mg of elemental iron per day. Although iron supplements are safe and compatible with most medications, ask your doctor or pharmacist if iron is appropriate if you are taking other medications. You should not take iron if you have Hereditary Hemochromatosis or other diseases or conditions related to iron overload.
- Eat a nutritious diet rich in iron and vitamin C.