Donating blood is typically thought of as a commensal act, benefiting the recipient at no cost beyond time and inconvenience to the donor. Some even view it as a parasitic act, wherein the recipient benefits at some health cost to the donor. But it seems reasonable to posit the opposite.

Iron has been suggested as the reason why women have notably lower incidence of cardiac events than men, until menopause that is. Why? Because some blood loss every 28 days helps to reduce iron levels in the blood. Similar logic holds with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

Additionally, treatment-resistant high blood pressure responds — unsurprisingly — quite well to blood loss, as a bit less blood means, all other things being equal, proportionately lower pressure.

But this is speculation. Is there any legitimate evidence of the health benefits of blood donation?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I believe a number of claims in this post come across as sensationalist or false. I recommend you cite sources that support these numerous claims. For example, who is referring to blood donation as a form of parasitism?? Where did you read/hear about prevalence of cardiac events? (what exactly is a "cardiac event")? What evidence do you have for the health benefits of blood donations -- who is making those claims and based on what scientific evidence? Please update your question explicitly indicating some previous research effort regarding these points. $\endgroup$ – theforestecologist Mar 4 '19 at 16:05
  • $\begingroup$ Simple Google searches can bring up useful and informative sources rather easily (e.g., This report from Heart.org), so please do a bit more homework to improve your question. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – theforestecologist Mar 4 '19 at 16:08
  • $\begingroup$ @theforestecologist I was unaware that the claims in the question were controversial enough to warrant evidence-based research. The Heart.org source you supplied strongly supports at least one of the claims, feel free to edit the question :) Finally, I used the words "commensal" and "parasitic" strictly in the ecological sense, with the second implying some form of harm to the donor resulting from some aspect of the donation process. This is as opposed to parasitism in the biological sense, which isn't the meaning at all. Unfortunately, English doesn't seem to differentiate between the two. $\endgroup$ – Tal Mar 5 '19 at 7:22

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.