Am I Eligible to Donate?
Find out here if you are able to donate blood and help us save a life...Read more
World Blood Donor Day
Imagine that you owe your life to someone that you will never meet – someone who has donated his blood freely...Read more
Make a Financial Contribution
Because Donner Sang Compter is a non-profit volunteer-based organization, we rely on you to help us...Read more
A space dedicated to your voice: come in to share your experience whether you are a donor or a receiver...Read more
The BLOOD BROTHERS BRACELET is finally here at Donner Sang Compter!Read more
Hemoglobin and Iron
To help keep up your hemoglobin levels, please read the following information:
Your Hemoglobin check
Every time you come to give blood or platelets your hemoglobin levels are checked. Hemoglobin, or 'Hb', is a protein found in the red blood cells that carries oxygen around your body and gives blood its red color.
Hemoglobin levels vary from one person to another. Men usually have higher levels than women. We want to be sure that your hemoglobin will not drop below normal after you have donated; if you donate platelets you lose a certain number of red cells each time, and after a number of donations your iron stores and Hb can drop.Why might Hemoglobin levels be too low to Donate?
- Variation between people – some of us just normally have a low level of hemoglobin.
- Iron - we all need iron to make hemoglobin. If your iron stores are low, the hemoglobin may fall below normal (or below the donation level).
More About Iron. Iron is very important because it helps your body produce hemoglobin. You give away a lot of iron when you donate blood, and so it is even more important for blood donors to eat plenty of iron-containing foods.
Where does Iron come from?
As iron is found in a variety of foods, you can usually get enough from a balanced diet. The major sources of iron are meat and meat-based foods; cereals and cereal products and vegetables.
Iron is not easily absorbed by the body so we all need a regular supply of it. Try to eat a well-balanced diet. Also, every day try to eat three portions of food that are good sources of iron. Reducing the amount of snacks and sugary foods which contain very little iron will also help. These foods are good sources of iron:
- Lean red meat, turkey and chicken.
- Breakfast cereals – some cereals are fortified with iron.
- Pulses and beans – in particular canned baked beans, chickpeas and lentils.
- Nuts (including peanut butter).
- Brown rice.
- Bread – especially whole meal or brown breads.
- Leafy green vegetables – especially curly kale, watercress, broccoli and spinach
- Dried fruit – in particular apricots, raisins and prunes
The amount of animal fat in your diet should be kept low. So when eating meat, try to choose lean meat. It is also best to grill steam, roast or microwave food rather than fry it.
Vitamin C (sometimes called ascorbic acid) helps you to absorb more iron. So to get the most from the food you eat, have vitamin C rich foods with meals: for example fresh fruits and vegetables or drinks such as fresh orange juice.
A note about tea! Tea may reduce the absorption of iron from foods. Avoid drinking tea just before, after or with meals.
What if I am a Vegetarian or Vegan?
Although iron from non-meat sources is more difficult for the body to absorb, people following a well balanced diet should be able to get enough iron in their diet.
Do I need to take Iron tablets?
Most people should be able to get all the iron they need by eating a varied and balanced diet and should not need to take iron supplements or tablets. Iron tablets should only be taken if your doctor has advised you to take them.