Here’s what you need to know about iron!
I was deferred today because of low blood count. Why couldn’t I donate?
We care about your health, so we check the blood hematocrit level of everyone who comes in. Hematocrit is the percentage of red blood cells in your blood. The test you had is called a “hematocrit.” For men, a normal hematocrit is in the range of 42-51%; for women, 36-45%. Your test result today was below the minimum level for donating blood.
Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout your body. When you make a donation, it removes red blood cells and iron from your body. We always make sure you have enough red blood cells to donate safely.
Don’t worry—low blood count is usually temporary, and you’ll likely be able to donate again soon. On an average day, about one-in-ten donors is deferred because of a low blood count.
What causes a low blood count?
What should I do if my count is low?
Here’s what we recommend if you were deferred from donating today:
As a regular or frequent blood donor, what do I need to know about iron?
For some people, frequent donation (three or more times a year for men; two or more times a year for women) can sometimes result in iron deficiency. We strongly urge regular and frequent donors to consider extra measures to rebuild your iron stores after every whole blood or red cell donation. This page includes suggestions about boosting your iron level, and sources of information about high iron foods.
Boosting your iron level
The best way to boost your iron level is to eat a healthy diet with plenty of iron-rich foods. These include beans, nuts, seeds, dark leafy greens, root vegetables, dried fruits, enriched and whole grain breads, lean red meats, shellfish, whole grains, and eggs.
Women need more iron
Low iron levels can be quite common, especially for women, whose bodies naturally require more iron. The recommended daily amount of iron for women is 18 milligrams, and for men is 10 milligrams. Many food labels list iron levels for the food inside the package.
Maintain healthy iron levels by eating regular, nutritionally balanced meals, and drink plenty of fluids.
Coming Back to Donate
Some tips to increase your iron level:
Some foods and beverages may decrease iron absorption including caffeine (coffee, tea, colas) as well as some antacid medications.