Let’s talk iron!
The Importance of Iron in Our Blood
Before you donate, LifeStream takes a small, finger-stick blood sample to measure the amount of red blood cells in your blood. Iron is an important component in hemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. Hemoglobin gives blood its rich, red color, too.
If your red blood cell level (we call that “hematocrit”) meets FDA minimums, you are allowed to donate.
However, it is possible to have a normal number of red cells and still be iron-deficient.
When we give blood, we give red blood cells, and iron is needed to make new red cells. To do so, your body either uses iron already stored in your body or iron in the food you eat. Women typically have lower iron stores than men; however, men who donate blood regularly also are subject to low iron stores.
Click on the links below to learn more.
What is iron and why is it important?
What does iron deficiency mean?
Are blood donors potentially at risk for iron deficiency?
Is iron deficiency from blood donation harmful?
I am a frequent blood donor. What can I do to maintain a normal iron level?
I couldn’t donate blood because of “low hematocrit.” What does that mean, and can I ever donate again?
I tried to donate in the past and was told that I have “low iron.” What does that mean?
What does hematocrit tell us about a person’s iron stores?