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How often do you donate blood to keep hematocrit levels in a healthy range?

pickapeck

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because it will go right back up as fast as it dropped
You don't go off for one month in 10 years and expect it to stay down. You do it periodically. Of course if you are constantly on 2+ grams sure it will barely go down in a month off and go back up fast, probably faster. Personally, mine goes from ~55% to 49% in one month. For me that's OK. I see guys that don't take action with hct in the 60-66% range. Back when I was donating every 8-12 weeks my hematocrit would go higher and higher at the peak. Eventually ferritin would go down. Playing games with blood donation can cause more issues. I'm not saying that it is a nono but it may not be necessary for the most part if you regulate your protocols so this pseudo-blood-filled-tick syndrome isn't a problem. Everybody is a little different so basically you have to do blood work and track your PED protocols to find the best one for you.
 

pickapeck

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I go to a Cancer doctor for the phlebotomy. That's the number he uses now? To me 13-19 equals (46-52)... I will ask him when I see him why he uses a different percentage?
Those are hemoglobin (13-19) and hematocrit (46-52) normal ranges.
 

iron lifter

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Those are hemoglobin (13-19) and hematocrit (46-52) normal ranges.
its much better to track blood work and when its high for you (what that may be is different for everyone, i max out at .54 usually), back off 4- 8 weeks rinse and repeat. also i don't run high RBC h/H drivers back to back on cycle. if i run test/eq/drol won't run them when i go back on, ill choose test/dht/19-nor column drugs so the CBC panel don't get pounded as hard.

if you set your plan up really no need to donate , stay hydrated and do your cardio etc and come off when its time.

one thing i don't get is - Dante spoke about repeated blood donations cause rbc to go back up since the bone marrow senses loss of blood makes sense. why do they than allow reg population to donate every 8 weeks? do they know this will happen and are not concerned for the gen pop? i guess if your not on gear, a little bit rise in h/h. doesn't hurt anyone.

i know many people personally that donate every 8 weeks all year long and they seem to be fine. mind you they don't workout or take any gear, just gen pop people.
 

OuchThatHurts

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FYI . . . regarding elevation, for what is worth, there are mine workers
in South America (think Andes) who routinely work at very very high
altitudes for long periods of time and it does indeed really elevate their
hematocrit to no ill effect that I am aware of. You at 5,500ft me thinks
the effect of that altitude would not be a significate factor. But hey,
what do I know. Maybe somebody here with a bigger brain than mine
(easy) can chime in on this.

PS. My doctor wants me under 52 (lab specs), preferably lower, like 50,
or even a bit lower. Even on a very low dose TRT mine still climbs enough
to warrant donating blood.
Yup. My father, grandfather and his father and all their brothers and sisters were all coal miners and wives of coal miners. Hard workers. They lived in a village (a small town) in the Carpathian Mountain areas village just north of another town where Karol Wojtyłare (Pope John Paul II) came from. Your body adapts to the altitude by kicking up RBCs to carry more oxygen. It's called acclimatization.

Yes, normally no I'll effects until very high altitudes are reached very quickly. On those summits, you have to take several camps until your body adjusts or you'll suffer hypoxia. When I went out west to summit Mt. Baker in the northern Cascades, we spent 3 days at 8,000 ft before ascending to the summit at 10,800ft.

Above 10,000 ft, the air has only 75% of the oxygen as at sea level. Above 10,000ft you are considered to be "at altitude". Fortunately for me, my Hbg and HCT were already high so I felt fine. Others on that team felt out of breath with some dizziness and their pace got slower with more rest stops.

In the below picture, I was standing at the Mt. Baker peak (10,780 ft). Barry was pointing at the peak of Mt. Shuksan (9,131ft) which we reached 3 days later:

20181201_114225.jpg
 

opietaylor

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no gyms up there i'm assuming. :rolleyes:. very cool pic. amazing to be able to go where very very few have ever gone
 

maldorf

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If you had an HCT of 13-19% you would be dead. Levels in that range would be found on cadavers of people who have bleed to death during open heart surgery.
think he meant hemoglobin on that.
 

maldorf

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I go to a Cancer doctor for the phlebotomy. That's the number he uses now? To me 13-19 equals (46-52)... I will ask him when I see him why he uses a different percentage?
Thats your hemoglobin number. Not sure how it is derived, but its not a percentage like hematocrit is. The conversion between the two is roughly 3x. So a hemoglobin of 15 would be about a hematocrit of 45.
 

OuchThatHurts

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If we're talking just about PEDs, almost all AAS dramatically increase red blood cell production (secondary erythrocytosis). We can consider the performance enhancement of these drugs transporting and greatly improving nutrients and oxygen to your body's cells, along with the changes to the cell receptors and the high-affinity agonists themselves. When we consider living in this state for long periods of time, it's not difficult to see the negative repercussions all this may have on our health. High HCT, Hbg, and RBC's are a given.

All the problems associated with long-term use of PEDs like hypertension, high HCT, wrecked lipids, cardiopulmonary problems, hormonal imbalances, all of these, common side-effects directly related to the massive influx of RBC's, erythrocytes, hormone analogs, etc. We can deduce right now that HEAVY HYDRATION at all times is perhaps one of the most vital aspects of our overall health.

Hydration alone will unlikely solve the problem entirely but it's still the best remedy to start.

Additionally, lack of proper hydration can lead to greater blood viscosity (thicknes) and cause problems pushing the thick blood through the circulatory system and also reduce endurance, strain kidneys, heart and organ failure, higher clotting factor, just to name a few. Disastrous to growth. Your blood needs a healthy amount of plasma. The point is simple. The longer you stay in a state of high blood viscosity (thick blood) the greater chance of adverse health effects. Stay hydrated. High blood viscosity is a good predictor of future organ failure.

Like water and protein, cardiovascular exercise should also be considered very seriously by every BBer because when you're properly hydrated, the RIGHT AMOUNT OF CARDIO increases lung capacity and improves the overall health of the circulatory system; the entire cardiopulmonary system itself and the release of endorphins that improve your state of well-being. In regards to cardio, 1) too much can cut into your gains and recovery as well as cause hypertrophy of the heart muscle itself and 2) too little can reduce endurance, increase chance of clotting, higher resting heart rate, etc.

As most of you have already discovered, replacing iron or correcting an iron deficiency takes time. There is no way to speed up this process. Here lies the crux. If you thin out the blood through phlebotomy, you lose the the iron-rich hemoglobin and myoglobin needed to gain size and recover quickly. Even if you were able to keep your HCT low while maintaining a healthy level of iron in your hemoglobin and myoglobin, you lose part of the enhancement that AAS provide (to say nothing of the general health problems).

PHLEBOTOMY SHOULD NOT BE USED TO REDUCE OVERALL MASS IN YOUR BLOOD

Only under the close supervision of a hematologist should this be done.

The self-medicating BBer logic becomes, "I need get rid of these RBC's and offload blood and lower my blood pressure". But this is not a solution because of the danger of losing components that are not readily replaceable by your body. There are medications like Fergon (ferrous gluconate, as one example) that can increase iron in Hbg but too much iron (hemochromatosis) is also dangerous and leads to liver disease, inflammation, autoimmune disorders, heart conditions, fun stuff..

You do not need to be a hematologist to understand the thin ice you're walking on while blood-letting to lower BP or HCT. As I've already said, I have to do it due to my condition. But keeping everything in exactly the right balance has not been an easy journey. I often neglect to give blood, I can be forgetful of my blood pressure medications, I can neglect to eat iron rich foods.

I can't see any reason why anyone would do this on purpose.

*Note: All of this doesn't have to prevent you from generously donating badly needed blood. If you are a healthy individual you can donate blood, platelets, or RBC's occasionally if you meet the criteria without worry. (those questions can be answered for you individually by your doctor, lab annex, or the American Red Cross)

This has turned out to be quite a good thread.

.
 

maldorf

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One thing to consider too, taking out too much blood all at once or over a short period can cause the body to produce more platelets. The body sees that as if you are bleeding out.
 

OuchThatHurts

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One thing to consider too, taking out too much blood all at once or over a short period can cause the body to produce more platelets. The body sees that as if you are bleeding out.
I have no problem believing this is true. I know platelets are replaced faster than red blood cells. So It could happen that your platelets become to high. I couldn't find anything on this particular mechanism but it stands to reason.

"Blood volume makes up approximately 8% of your body weight. About 55% of blood is comprised of plasma, of which 90% is water. So, although you donate less than a pint of blood at a time, almost half of this is water. That's why it is important for you to drink plenty of water before you donate and immediately after you've donated. It's important to replace fluids after you've donated, to help bring your blood volume levels back to normal. The kidneys also play their part in controlling blood volume by regulating the amount of sodium and water lost in urine."
 

maldorf

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I have no problem believing this is true. I know platelets are replaced faster than red blood cells. So It could happen that your platelets become to high. I couldn't find anything on this particular mechanism but it stands to reason.

"Blood volume makes up approximately 8% of your body weight. About 55% of blood is comprised of plasma, of which 90% is water. So, although you donate less than a pint of blood at a time, almost half of this is water. That's why it is important for you to drink plenty of water before you donate and immediately after you've donated. It's important to replace fluids after you've donated, to help bring your blood volume levels back to normal. The kidneys also play their part in controlling blood volume by regulating the amount of sodium and water lost in urine."
I go to a hematologist/oncologist as well and have phlebotomies periodically. Since I have a tendency to build up rbcs as well as a blood clot disorder, we are careful to keep an eye on things. Lately it has been building up much slower and not much of an issue. I think its been almost 12 months since I had a phlebotomy. He used to want my hemoglobin down around 15 and if it was higher he would do one. Now he is letting me sit up around 16. No issues so far. Im also on coumadin for life as well.

When I had my heart attack I was doing my own phlebotomies. I was turned down at the blood donation place and so took it into my own hands. I didnt want to deal with my GP at the time because he was being a jerk. I did 500 ml 2x within about 5 days. Im wondering if I did too much and it made me hypercoagulable. i had read online where doctors had done it that often, so i wasnt too worried. My hematologist did phlebotomies on me when mine was high at the rate of about one every other week I think it was. Looking back, I was very foolish to do it on my own and I should have broken down and seen a doctor. It probably didnt lead to the clot, but who knows. Its a possibility. i had the heart attack at the gym a few days after I did the last one. My hemoglobin was down around 16 to 17 by then because of the phlebotomies I gave myself.

I had a hemoglobin meter at home that I tested myself with. At the time my hematocrit was up around 62, the hemoglobin was around 21.
 

pickapeck

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its much better to track blood work and when its high for you (what that may be is different for everyone, i max out at .54 usually), back off 4- 8 weeks rinse and repeat. also i don't run high RBC h/H drivers back to back on cycle. if i run test/eq/drol won't run them when i go back on, ill choose test/dht/19-nor column drugs so the CBC panel don't get pounded as hard.

if you set your plan up really no need to donate , stay hydrated and do your cardio etc and come off when its time.

one thing i don't get is - Dante spoke about repeated blood donations cause rbc to go back up since the bone marrow senses loss of blood makes sense. why do they than allow reg population to donate every 8 weeks? do they know this will happen and are not concerned for the gen pop? i guess if your not on gear, a little bit rise in h/h. doesn't hurt anyone.

i know many people personally that donate every 8 weeks all year long and they seem to be fine. mind you they don't workout or take any gear, just gen pop people.
To the bold print: Because the general population is not on androgens. Androgens have been used as far back as 80 years to increase red cell production, since WWII. Dante is correct and I've seen it many many times myself.
 

maldorf

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To the bold print: Because the general population is not on androgens. Androgens have been used as far back as 80 years to increase red cell production, since WWII. Dante is correct and I've seen it many many times myself.
Yeah, I think one of the original uses for Anadrol was for anemia.
 

XXL

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Legally every 56 days you can but you don’t do it so much from hematocrit but more hemoglobin, ferritin, % iron sat etc. Don’t chase though find out why first
 

iron lifter

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Legally every 56 days you can but you don’t do it so much from hematocrit but more hemoglobin, ferritin, % iron sat etc. Don’t chase though find out why first
SO I take it hematocrit alone out of range isn't a real problem? sometimes my hematocrit is high but hemoglobin is in range and i have been told when that happens its more of a hydration issue otherwise truly high hematocrit would reflect high hemoglobin at same time.
 
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nothuman

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My hematocrit chills between 56-61 now for a few years. Donating is worthless because it immediately rises back up while depleting my ferritin and making me feel like absolute shit. It's one of the most reckless trends to come from bodybuilding. Once a year is good for overall health but not the every 8 weeks shit.
 

XXL

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SO I take it hematocrit alone out of range isn't a real problem? sometimes my hematocrit is high but hemoglobin is in range and i have been told when that happens its more of a hydration issue otherwise truly high hematocrit would reflect high hemoglobin at same time.
Donating won’t to much to hematocrit, only hemoglobin. If you keep donating it will regulate over time. But high hematocrit is an issue. But AAS can have that effect. I have read research showing grapefruit can lower hematrocit. Never had that issue but maybe there is a supplement for that.
 

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