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Plasma donation

Plasma donation impairs the circulation

Monday, April 11, 2011 by: Prof. Karl West
Tags: plasma donation, circulation, health news

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(NewsTarget) People everywhere, struggling to pay the bills, are getting a little extra (tax-free) cash in return for "donating" plasma: an act that is widely purported to be harmless, and necessary to save lives. In reality though, practically all of these donors are unaware of the importance of this portion of their blood stream and do not realize the donation they are making: i.e, the actual cost regarding the quality and length of their life.

Do one quick search of the internet on the safety of donating blood plasma and you will find countless postings on a variety of blogs where people (who have found reason to be concerned) have enquired about the safety of this practice. In nearly every instance the answers are all the same. You can see the same type of reply regurgitated repeatedly - always in an attempt to dismiss any concerns, even from people who have no medical education to speak of.

In reality, the role of plasma protein throughout the body is enormous, and the idea of frequently robbing anyone's blood stream of it, without any kind of detrimental repercussions, is improbable. An important question to begin with is: Why do we need certain particulates in our blood stream, and what roles do they play in preserving our life and overall wellness?

The primary component of blood plasma is a protein called albumin. To be fairly acquainted with even a fraction of the services performed by this super protein is to know the value of maintaining its highest levels in blood: for all morbidity and mortality are associated with diminished levels.

In short, albumin is the greatest measure of health. If you have a high level you will have great mental and physical health. If your level is low you will begin to experience a rapid decline in your mental and physical health. Without exception, any infection or disease process will be marked by a diminished level of this incredible blood plasma protein in the blood stream. "The common denominator in every pathological state is a decrease in serum albumin" (J. Luetscher, Physiol. Rev. 1947, 27, 621-642).

Albumin holds most of the water in your blood stream, keeping your blood from total collapse at all times. It holds sodium and this is the main electrolyte responsible for the magnetic attraction of water to the blood proteins.

Ideally, the cells attract only a certain amount of water in opposition to an amount that is attracted to the blood stream. It is a kind of tug of war with water that results in optimal irrigation of the tissues as the blood travels its circular path. The water diffuses out of the blood stream with extreme ease on the arterial end because of an increase in pressure as the heart pumps, and it only has to travel across the tissues a very short distance before it is pulled back into the blood stream by the venous side. Yet once the plasma is taken from the blood this dynamic equilibrium loses its intended specifications. This may be why so many who donate their plasma (as frequently as allowed) have complaints of edema, although that could be blamed on kidney failure.

Even though the osmolarity of the blood stream is quickly adjusted to within normal range, it stands to reason that the irrigation of the tissues from the arterial end and subsequent retrieval of fluid from tissues on the venous end would not be as dynamic; this is just one way that plasma donation impairs the circulation.

Sources include:
Guytons Textbook of Medical Physiology (Eight Edition)
All About Albumin, Academic Press, 1996, p 188
Super Physique Secret, Kenneth Seaton, D.Sc. 1994
J. Luetscher, Physiol. Rev. 1947, 27, 621-642

About the author

Prof. Karl West is the current President of the International Academy of Lymphology; originally founded by Dr. C. Samuel West.
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