Platelets are blood cells that help in clotting and must be kept at a healthy level. Some people, however, suffer thrombocytopenia, or a low platelet count, which means they must discover strategies to boost their levels.
Thrombocytopenia can be caused by infections, leukemia, cancer therapies, alcohol abuse, and cirrhosis of the liver, spleen enlargement, sepsis, autoimmune diseases, and some medicines.
If a blood test reveals that your platelet count is low, it’s important to seek medical attention to determine what’s causing it. So, weve gathered 11 tips on how to increase platelet count safely
Causes of Low Platelet Count
Low Platelet count or severe thrombocytopenia can be caused by a variety of factors. They include:
Bone Marrow Problems
The spongy substance inside the bone is called bone marrow. It is the site of the production of all blood components, including platelets. A low platelet count indicates that your bone marrow is not generating enough platelets. Low platelet production can be caused by aplastic anemia, vitamin B-12 deficiency, folate deficiency, iron deficiency, leukaemia, cirrhosis, myelodysplasia, and viral infections like HIV, Epstein-Barr, and chickenpox.
In a healthy body, each platelet survives for around ten days. A low platelet count can also be caused by the body eliminating an excessive number of platelets. This might occur as a result of the adverse effects of some medicines, such as diuretics and anti-seizure medications. Other platelet destruction causes include enlarged spleen or hypersplenism, autoimmune disorder, pregnancy, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, haemolytic uremic syndrome, and disseminated intravascular coagulation.
Symptoms of Low Platelet Count
Symptoms of a low platelet count appear only when levels are extremely low. Mildly low levels frequently do not cause any symptoms.
Symptoms include dark, red patches on the skin (petechiae); headaches after mild traumas; easy bruising; bleeding from the mouth or nose when brushing the teeth
People who are experiencing symptoms should consult a doctor immediately. Without medical treatment, a low platelet count might lead to serious problems.
How To Increase Platelet Count Safely
If you have moderate thrombocytopenia, you might be able to boost your platelet count with diet and supplements. However, if your platelet count is really low, you will almost certainly require medical treatment to avert problems.
Here are some foods and supplements to include in your daily diet to ensure a rise in platelet count.
Folate is a B vitamin that is required for the proper functioning of blood cell count. Folic acid is a man-made type of folate supplement. Adults require at least 400 micrograms (mcg) of folate per day, while pregnant women require 600 mcg.
The following foods contain folate or folic acid:
- Liver of beef
- Dark leafy green veggies like spinach and Brussels sprouts
- Black-eyed peas
- Calcium-fortified breakfast cereals and dairy substitutes
Although, it is not harmful to consume a lot of folate-rich foods; people should be cautious about eating excessive amounts of folic acid from supplements or fortified meals since excessive amounts can interfere with vitamin B-12 activity.
Vitamin B-12-rich Foods
Vitamin B-12 is required for the production of red blood cells. Low platelet counts may also be caused by low B-12 levels in the body. Adults over the age of 14 require 2.4 mcg of vitamin B-12 each day. Women who are pregnant or nursing require up to 2.8 mcg.
Dairy products also include vitamin B-12; however, some evidence shows that cow’s milk might interfere with platelet formation.
Vitamin B-12 may be found in animal products such as beef and cow liver, eggs, and fish such as clams, trout, salmon, and tuna
Vitamin B-12 can be taken by vegetarians and vegans through the following sources fortified cereals and fortified dairy substitutes, such as almond milk or soy milk
Vitamin C-rich foods
Vitamin C plays a vital role in immune activity. Vitamin C also aids platelet function and improves the body’s capacity to absorb iron, which is an important vitamin for platelets. Because heat degrades vitamin C, it may be better to consume vitamin C-rich foods raw when it is available.
Source of Vitamin C include fruits and vegetables, including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruits, kiwifruit, red and green bell peppers, and strawberries.
Vitamin D-rich foods
Vitamin D helps the bones, muscles, nerves, and immune system work properly. Vitamin D is also required for the proper function of bone marrow cells, which generate platelets as well as other blood cells.
Sun exposure can cause the body to generate vitamin D, but not everyone gets enough sunlight each day, especially if they reside in colder climes or northern regions. Adults aged 19 to 70 require 15 mcg of vitamin D each day.
Vitamin D-rich foods include an egg yolk; fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel; Fatty fish liver oils; and calcium-fortified milk and yogurt
Vitamin D may be obtained by strict vegetarians and vegans from enriched grains or cereals, fortified orange juice, enriched dairy substitutes such as soy milk and soy yogurt and UV-exposed mushrooms
Foods Rich in Vitamin K
Vitamin K is required for proper blood clotting and bone health. For people aged 19 and above, adequate consumption of vitamin K is 120 mcg for men and 90 mcg for females.
Vitamin K-rich foods include: natto, broccoli; soybeans and soybean oil, pumpkin seeds, and leafy greens such as collards, turnip greens, spinach, and kale
Iron is required for normal amounts of red blood cells and platelets. Males over the age of 18 require 8 milligrams (mg) of iron per day, whereas females aged 19 to 50 require 18 mg. During pregnancy, women require 27 mg per day.
Oysters are a good source of iron; others are beef liver, fortified morning cereals, white beans and kidney beans, dark chocolate, lentils, and tofu are all iron-rich foods.
To enhance iron levels, combine vegetarian iron sources like beans, and lentils with a form of vitamin C. Consuming calcium-rich foods and taking calcium supplements at the same time as iron sources is not recommended.
Foods to stay away from
Platelet counts can be reduced by eating and drinking certain foods and beverages, such as:
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Cranberry juice
Blood Platelet Supplements
According to some studies, some supplements can boost blood platelets counts. Among the supplements are:
Papaya Leaf Extract
Platelet counts in rats were dramatically enhanced by papaya leaf extract. While further study is needed to assess its impact on humans, it will not cause any issues if taken in the prescribed amount.
Papaya leaf extract pills are available at numerous health food stores and on Amazon. Another study found that drinking papaya leaf juice can cause an increase in platelet count in individuals with Dengue Fever.
Colostrum is the first material given to a baby cow by its mother. It’s also gaining popularity as a nutritional supplement.
While there is not much research on its advantages, an informal study shows that it may improve blood platelet levels in certain people. An experimental study discovered colostrum components that comprised of proteins involved in platelet activation along with immunological responses.
Chlorophyll is a green pigment that helps plants to absorb sunlight. Some mild thrombocytopenia patients reported that taking a chlorophyll supplement helps to alleviate symptoms such as tiredness. Nevertheless, no clinical trials have been conducted to assess its efficacy.
Melatonin is produced naturally by the body, but it is also available in liquid, pill, and lotion forms at many health food stores. While it is commonly used to treat insomnia, it has also been shown to raise platelet levels
People who have a low platelet count may be able to boost their condition by consuming some foods and taking special supplements. Avoiding alcohol consumption, aspartame, and other foods that lower blood platelet counts can also be beneficial.
Always seek medical advice first, since diet alone may not be sufficient to restore normal platelet count.