Blood Platelets: Ingredients for Healing
How to Raise Blood Platelet Level Naturally
Platelets are the cell fragments that cause blood to clot, and are thus necessary to protect against dangerous bleeding problems. Low platelet count (or thrombocytopenia) can be caused by factors as diverse as chemotherapy, pregnancy, food allergies, and dengue fever, or for reasons that aren't well-understood, but may be related to autoimmune disorders, as in idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpea (ITP). Working with medical experts is important when dealing with low platelet count. Under their guidance, there are natural methods you can try to possibly help raise your platelet level.
Raising Your Overall Health
Target some key nutrients.Again, the key nutrients promoted for those with low platelet levels varies by source. Work with your medical team to determine your best course of action. Some common nutrients that seem particularly valuable, and that are beneficial to practically anyone, regardless of platelet count, include:
- Vitamin K, which aids in blood clotting and has anti-inflammatory properties (inflammation can be a cause of platelet destruction). Vitamin K is found in leafy greens like kale, collards, spinach, broccoli, and edible seaweed. Cook these vegetables lightly if at all to retain nutrients. Eggs and liver are also food sources of Vitamin K.
- Folate (Vitamin B9), which is important in the cell division process (remember that platelets are cells); low folate counts can also contribute to low platelet counts. Folate-rich foods like asparagus, oranges, spinach, and fortified (whole grain, low sugar) cereals should be a part of your diet anyway. Vitamin supplements may also be a consideration, so talk to your doctor.
- Watch your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, which are an immune-system booster with anti-inflammatory properties found in fish, edible seaweed, walnuts, flaxseed oil, and fortified eggs.People with cardiovascular disease risks can benefit from consuming more omega-3. However, omega 3 fatty acids inhibit platelet-activating factor and reduce platelet activation, so in the case of thrombocytopenia, omega-3 fa are contraindicated.
Cut down on problem foods.Low-nutrient, high calorie foods, such as foods with refined grains (white bread, for example) and sugars (cakes, cookies, etc.) provide little benefit to the body and are considered by some to increase inflammation.
- Heavy alcohol consumption can damage bone marrow and decrease platelet production,so it is probably wise to severely restrict or even eliminate alcohol consumption if you are trying to increase platelet levels.
- Gluten sensitivity and celiac disease (essentially a gluten allergy) are autoimmune disorders that may negatively impact platelet counts. Consider being tested for these disorders and, if so, eliminate gluten from your diet.
Exercise regularly but carefully.Cardiovascular workouts, like walking or swimming, and strength training exercises promote blood flow within the body and can help boost your immune system, both of which can be beneficial if you have a low platelet count.
- You need to be smart and take precautions, however. If you have thrombocytopenia, you may fatigue more easily. Fatigue and overexertion can make you more susceptible to injury.
- Take special care not to engage in bleeding risk activities — not just external but internal bleeding (bruising).Remember that with a low platelet count, your blood will clot more slowly.
- Sports and impact activities — pickup basketball and skating, to name some examples — need to be done with extra caution or not at all. Protect yourself from scrapes, cuts, and bruises even while walking by wearing good fitting shoes with traction, layering loose-fitting clothing, and generally paying attention.
- On a side note regarding bleeding risks, talk to your doctor about over-the counter medications that may increase this risk, such as aspirin and other pain relievers.
Get adequate rest.Seven to nine hours of sleep is recommended for adults regardless of platelet count, but those seeking to boost their count can only benefit from allowing their body time to rest and recharge.
- You may feel tired more often if you have a low platelet count, so you need to balance your need for rest with the benefits of remaining (carefully) active. Consult your physician.
Stay hydrated.Everybody needs water, and few of us consume enough. A properly hydrated body is a better functioning body, one that may be more conducive to platelet formation.
- The average adult should consume between two-to-three liters of liquids daily, so the old adage of drinking eight (8 oz.) glasses of water today is fairly accurate.
- Some espouse drinking warm or even hot water to boost platelet levels because colder water slows the digestive process and therefore can hinder nutrient absorption.At the very least, drinking water at any palatable temperature can’t hurt, so give this a try if you wish.
Stay positive.Always good advice, especially when facing a medical problem such as thrombocytopenia.
- It may be hard to quantify the benefits of a positive attitude, but this is another piece of advice that certainly can’t hurt your chances of improvement.
Raising Your Knowledge
Understand platelets.When that shaving nick or cut on your finger or nosebleed stops bleeding, platelets are at work. They are cells in the bloodstream that tend to clump together and thus work to plug up avenues of escape for your circulating blood.
- Individual platelets exist for only about 10 days in your bloodstream, so they are in constant need of replenishment. An average healthy person has somewhere between 150,000 and 450,000 platelets per microliter of blood.
- If you are told your platelet count is 150, then, it means you have 150,000 platelets per microliter of blood.
Know your condition.A wide range of factors can cause your platelet count to be low. The condition is known as thrombocytopenia when your count is under 150.
- These include immune system disorders (in which platelets are mistakenly attacked), leukemia (because platelets are created in bone marrow), chemotherapy (when platelets are destroyed as collateral damage), pregnancy (the strain placed on the body’s systems may harm platelet counts), and several other possible causes.
- Symptoms of thrombocytopenia can include fatigue, easy bruising, prolonged bleeding, bleeding from gums or nose, blood in urine or stool, and pin-sized purple-red rashes on the lower legs and feet.
- If you have these symptoms, talk to your doctor about possibly testing to determine your platelet count.
Work with your medical team.If you do have a low platelet count and the reason why is not already clear, more testing may be done. (For instance, a malfunctioning spleen may be incorrectly filtering platelets out of the bloodstream.)
- Usually the cause of thrombocytopenia can be determined, and sometimes the best treatment can be to just wait it out (as is often the case during pregnancy), but discuss treatment options with your doctor.
- Talk to the medical professionals treating your thrombocytopenia regarding more natural options for increasing, or at least stabilizing, your platelet levels. The particulars of your condition can have a significant impact on what options may be right for you.
- To repeat, do not try to raise your platelet levels without the guidance of your medical team.
Accept medical treatments as needed.While it is nice to believe you'll be able to raise your platelet levels naturally, and it usually won't hurt to try, the specifics of your condition and severity of your thrombocytopenia may necessitate medical treatments. These often include:
- Treatments for the underlying cause of the condition; for instance, replacing heparin with another blood thinner if that is causing your thrombocytopenia. It is important to not just stop taking a blood thinner your are prescribed, especially if you take it to combat a cardiovascular condition.
- Transfusions of packed red blood cells or platelets, to directly increase the platelet count in your blood.
- Medication such as a corticosteroid or other immune system suppressant, if that is determined to be the problem. Your doctor will discuss precautions you will need to take, as you may be more susceptible to infection.
- Surgery to remove your spleen (splenectomy) if that organ is malfunctioning and improperly filtering out healthy platelets.
- Plasma exchange, which is usually only used in severe cases that cause emergency situations.
Try to separate science from speculation.There are countless websites with countless opinions about how low platelet counts can be increased naturally. Making sense of the wide-ranging and often contradictory information available can be a challenge, and is part of the reason why your physician should be involved.
- Sample diets from reputable organizations that focus on platelet disorders can differ on the value of consuming milk, for instance, demonstrating the challenge in determining the proper course to follow.
- There is, in truth, little scientifically-supported evidence that a particular diet can increase platelet levels, for example.What seems closer to scientific fact is the idea that changes in diet can help defend against platelet decreases.
- Does this mean you have no options? No. It just means you need to do your homework, manage your expectations, and rely on your medical team for advice and assistance.
QuestionI had a high fever for the past four days. When I went for blood test, my platelet count was reduced to 91,000. What should I do?
Naturopathic DoctorNaturopathic DoctorExpert AnswerWhile a platelet count of 90,000 is low, it is likely that it is a response to your fever. However, you DO want to keep an eye on your platelet count. Ask your doctor to re-check your blood in the next 3 – 4 weeks and see if it is back to normal. In the meantime, make sure you are eating well (make sure you eat lots of leafy green vegetables) and getting enough rest. You may want to think about supplementing with B-vitamins like folate, Vitamin K and fish that are rich in omega-3 fats.Thanks!
QuestionWhat are the effects of having a platelet count of 80000?
Naturopathic DoctorNaturopathic DoctorExpert AnswerNormally, the platelet count should be 150,000 – 400,000. 80,000 is a low number and indicates a condition known as thrombocytopenia. This means that you may bleed too much because your blood does not clot normally. This may mean little cuts take a long time to stop bleeding but it can also mean that you may have "microbleeds" and may not know it. You should talk to your doctor about what may be causing this low platelet count.Thanks!
QuestionHow long can I take vitamin K?
Naturopathic DoctorNaturopathic DoctorExpert AnswerVitamin K is best obtained through foods such as leafy green vegetables (kale, spinach, Swiss chard, broccoli etc) and you can eat as much of these as you want. If you are taking Vitamin K as a supplement, take as directed. You can take Vitamin K daily as long as you stay with the directions. There are no reports that Vitamin K can be toxic.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I increase my blood platelets?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIn addition to eating green and leafy vegetables, drink juice of papaya leaves.Thanks!
QuestionIs it dangerous if my platelet count is between 125,000 and 145,000? Are there foods to help raise the level?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerWhile that is a slightly low level, it is not considered to be dangerous by doctors. It is only when it is regularly falling below 100 that it is a possible problem to worry about. Even then, a little below 100 is not a serious problem but it is worth investigating by your doctor. There are no foods that will actually raise your platelets. The proper foods will help to prevent your platelets falling. There aren't even truly safe medications to raise platelets although there are a couple that can be given with much care and attention by the doctor that will raise them.Thanks!
QuestionCan protein supplement powder decrease platelets level?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThere have been some reports (7) of protein supplements causing a decreased platelet count, but it is unlikely that the protein supplement directly caused the decrease. Talk to a nutritionist about how much protein supplement you should have.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I know which over the counter medications will help raise my blood platelet level naturally?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerSpeak to a doctor or medical professional rather than looking it up on the internet. They will provide you with more information about what you should take and how it will influence your body.Thanks!
QuestionCan you recommend any over-the-counter pills to build low blood platelets?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo. Platelets are easy to destroy but very difficult to increase. Platelets are not true cells since they have no nucleus. They are fragments of large cells, megakaryocytes, that break up into platelets. One over-the-counter chemical that may help is Vitamin K. It is very safe to take as it has no known unsafe upper limit as long as it does not include vitamin D. Vitamin K is required by the blood clotting system and liver disease can greatly reduce the proper use of Vitamin K. A lack of Vitamin K is commonly associated with low platelet counts. Anything that reduces intestinal bacteria can also reduce Vitamin K, since they produce it; this especially includes antibiotics.Thanks!
QuestionMy count is 32,000. Is that considered low?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt is low. Perhaps you should start consuming platelet-boosting foods and get frequent blood work done to monitor your level. Anything below 20,000 is cause for concern.Thanks!
QuestionIs it a problem if an older woman has 23,000 platelets?Andrew S McCulloughCommunity AnswerYes. See your physician and increase your intake of cruciferous vegetables and sources of Vitamin B12, B9 and Vitamin K. Don't jump on supplements until you've talked to your physician.Thanks!
Is there any relation between low platelets and fungal infection?
My blood platelet count is 15000. How can I get back to normal?
What are the effects of having low blood platelets, example headache or vomiting?
How can I tell if my blood platelet level is good
How do I increase my blood platelet levels when I had hep C?
- Before you embark on any of these remedies, be sure to consult with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor you carefully because you may have other preexisting conditions that may be affected by your change in diet or overall behavior. If your condition worsens, you may need immediate medical intervention.
- Before you embark on taking an excess amount of any pill check for independently verified medical evidence that the pill works. Medical evidence should include volume blind tests in which half the tested subjects are given a placebo. Make sure that the results have been published in a scientific medical journal.
Sources and Citations
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