Blood Work

Why You Should Donate Blood to Reduce Blood Viscosity, Iron Overload and Cardiometabolic Disease Risk

by Mike Mutzel


Thick, viscous blood is linked with heart disease development and blood clots. Learn how to assess your blood viscosity and ways to reduce it.




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About Today's Show

The practice of bloodletting has taken place since at least 500 BC.

Back then, the ancient sages suggested that if a fever lasted more than two days, phlebotomy (a procedure in which a needle is used to take blood from a vein) was indicated.

During this COVID-19 era, there may be a role for prophylactic blood donation—especially in men and post-menopausal women with high hemoglobin and hematocrit levels.

After recently contracting omicron, my hemoglobin rose to over 19 g/dL! (This is quite high and is associated with a hypercoagulable state.)

Here are more details on blood viscosity and blood donation considerations:

We discuss more about:

-Simple blood tests that help approximate blood viscosity

-Why blood viscosity is a problem, especially with COVID-19

-Who should consider donating blood and why

-How blood donation helps you and others


Time Stamps

00:05 Therapeutic phlebotomy may benefit high ferritin and hemoglobin in men and in post-menopausal women.

00:30 Donating blood once or twice a year brings down stored iron.

00:35 Iron overload and iron excess can drive the process of cardiovascular disease.

01:35 Iron depletion by phlebotomy improves insulin resistance in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

01:45 Insulin and hyperinsulinemia cause changes in iron metabolism, iron absorption and iron physiology, and ferritin metabolism.

02:41 Excess iron gets stored in your liver, pancreas, and heart, and can impact your brain.

03:35 More than diet influences iron levels.

06:00 You need iron to transport oxygen in your hemoglobin.

07:18 Iron and ferritin are acute phase reactants.

08:45 COVID 19, even the omicron variant, may increase blood viscosity/thickness.

09:35 Free iron accelerates the process of the oxidation of LDL.

11:15 Ferritin stores iron. It is amino acids that hold molecules of iron.

12:50 Exercise helps with iron metabolism and your cardiovascular system.

14:15 High ferritin and high hemoglobin and hematocrit mean that there is a lot of free iron floating around.

17:50 Phlebotomy therapy for study participants with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease showed improvements in ferritin, hemoglobin, liver enzymes and markers of insulin sensitivity.

21:40 High frequency blood donation is protective against cardiovascular disease and reduced relative risk of having a heart attack.

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