18 October, 2011
Can Red Meat Boost Platelets?
Platelets are a type of blood cell, but are significantly smaller than red blood cells and only make up a small fraction of your total blood volume. Platelets are designed to help prevent bleeding. Low blood levels of platelets, known as thrombocytopenia, increases your risk of bruising and bleeding. While red meat can help increase red blood cells, it does not have an affect on platelet count.
Although called cells, platelets are cell fragments produced in your bone marrow. Their primary role in your body is to clot blood and stop bleeding. Platelets contain proteins on their surface, which allows them to stick to each other. They also release proteins that help form plugs to seal breaks in blood vessel walls. A normal platelet count ranges from 150,000 to 350,000 per microliter of blood.
Low Platelet Count
Low platelet counts often occur due to an underlying disease, such as leukemia, or as a side effect from medication. A low platelet count increases your risk of bleeding and bruising. If your bleeding does not stop, you should seek medical attention immediately. Most cases of low platelet count are mild and require no treatment. In more serious cases, it is usually necessary to treat the underlying cause of the low platelet count. Blood transfusions are also sometimes needed. A platelet count less than 10,000 per microliter of blood can lead to internal bleeding in the intestines or brain, which can be fatal.
Red meat includes any type of meat that is dark in color before cooking, such as beef, lamb and pork. These types of meats are a good source or heme iron, a highly absorbable form of iron. For example, a 3-ounce portion of beef chuck contains 3.2 milligrams of heme iron, and a 3-ounce portion of pork loin contains 0.8 milligrams. Iron is a mineral needed to produce red blood cells. Adult men and women over age 51 need 8 milligrams of iron a day, and adult women ages 19 to 50 need 18 milligrams of iron a day. Iron deficiency anemia is the most common nutritional disorder in the world, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. Because of its iron content, eating red meat can help boost red blood cell production, but does not seem to boost platelet count.
Increasing Platelet Count
No special food or diet is recommended to help boost platelet count. However, it is recommended that you limit your intake of alcohol because it can lower your platelet count. You may also want to include food sources of vitamin K, such as spinach, kale or broccoli, to help promote blood clotting if you have a low platelet count.
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