Donating blood is a common practice by healthy individuals throughout the world. The process of blood donation is not time taking and pain-free.
In the US, around 3800 blood donations of all blood types are required every day. The blood collected is used for blood disorders, trauma or injury, surgical, laboring mothers, and cancer patients.
Athletes and fitness enthusiasts donate more as they are fit and healthy. But the question arises; can you work out after donating plasma?
Right after donation, the body is undergoes a regeneration process. So, it is essential to relax your body first.
You must know the consequences that your body goes after plasma donation. We will dive into the detail; of what plasma is and how frequently one can donate.
This article will also guide you regarding the timing and workout intensity after donation.
Table of Contents
What Is Plasma?
Blood is made up of different constituents in different percentages. According to the American Society of Hematology, the four main components are plasma, white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.
Plasma is the clear fluid left behind after the extraction of RBC, WBC, and platelets. It makes the most percentage of human blood volume.
Plasma consists of antibodies, salts, proteins, and enzymes. It is used for treating life-threatening diseases.
In the past few years, the trend of plasma donation has grown worldwide.
The study claims, plasma of COVID-19 recovered patients saved the life of considerable number of critically ill patients. Plasma being antibody-rich, works great for immune-compromised patients.
Process of Plasma Donation
The process is not very complicated or time-consuming, but whenever you go for plasma donation go through a screening process.
It will confirm your eligibility for plasma donation. Hydrate yourself well with electrolyte water or juice before donation.
Plasma donation is almost the same as donating blood; a needle is placed in your arm’s vein.
Blood is drawn into a collection bag; the plasma is separated through a process called plasmapheresis.
After the plasma is separated, the remaining components are returned to the body. The process may last from 1 to 2 hours approximately.
Best Time To Donate Plasma For An Athlete
The donation period for plasma and blood varies. You need to have a gap of at least 3 months between the blood donations.
According to American Red Cross, a healthy individual can donate plasma every 28 days, but some private collection centers have recommended 15 days interval is good enough for a healthy individual.
The plasma donation process is 15 minutes long, and other components like RBC, WBC, and platelets are returned to the body.
The recovery time after plasma donation is fast, but more frequent donations than the recommended time may impact the quality of plasma.
Moreover, avoid plasma and blood donation when your body is at the peak of training or you are about to appear in a tournament.
Try to have a gap of a month between event date and plasma donation.
You are likely to observe a slight decrease in your activity level and you might tire out sooner than expected which may result in losing a championship.
Can You Work Out After Donating Plasma?
Athletes are encouraged to donate plasma as they are more physically fit and active.
But it is essential to know that your body will need some time for recovery. You may experience less efficiency during endurance performance.
A systematic review conducted in 2016 gives information that after whole blood donation body needs 48 hours before getting into vigorous exercise. According to American Red Cross, avoid heavy weight lifting for a day after plasma donation.
Workout increases the oxygen demands, and right after the donation of blood or plasma, you may experience fatigue as the body cannot cope with the increased demands of oxygen.
Side Effects Work Out After Donating Plasma
Side effects vary from person to person as each person has a different body type and activity level. Some commonly observed side effects are mentioned below;
Blood donation is taking out fluid and minerals from your body, and the body is likely to undergo some minor to significant changes. Generally, it is recommended to drink 2 cups of water before donation.
Workout increases your water demand, and you might experience dark urine, dizziness, or dry mouth. These are the symptoms of dehydration.
It is good to consume as many fluids in the form of juices, soup, and low-electrolyte drinks to restore hydration levels.
Fatigue is the most frequently observed side effect after plasma donation. Working out can worsen the situation. It is always advised to give your body a break to restore energy and fluids.
When you donate blood, hemoglobin levels reduce, producing less oxygen in the muscle. In case of intense physical activity, your body will tire out sooner than in normal circumstances.
The National Institute of Health recommends the donor work on iron reserves, and consume iron-rich foods from meat sources, lentils, and leafy green vegetables in combination with vitamin C-rich food.
Is Donating Plasma Worrisome For Weightlifters?
According to scientific research, plasma donation causes a marked difference in your weight-lifting capacity.
It claims that your anaerobic capacity is decreased by 14 to 15%. Post-workout blood lactate and maximum oxygen capacity 2 hours later the plasma donation was significantly lower than the usual levels after the workout.
Weight lifting is a form of anaerobic exercise; you will experience lesser strength to perform after plasma donation.
There are marked differences in the measurement of anaerobic capacity two hours after plasma donation. But don’t worry; you will recover in less than 24 hours after plasma donation.
Running After Plasma Donation
Plasma donation affects not only anaerobic capacity but also impacts aerobic activity.
Plasma donation makes your body dehydrated; hence running can worsen the situation. So, it is advised to give your body 24 hours of rest before restoring any sort of workout.
Healthy and physically fit individuals are always encouraged to donate plasma and blood.
These plasma donations are a source of help for patients dealing with a variety of diseases. But make sure that you take pre and post-donation care under consideration.
Plasma donation is safe for athletes, but getting back to intensive physical activity may cause some severe health problems like extreme dehydration, fatigue, fainting, and in some cases, iron deficiency as well.
Rest for one day, rehydrate your body, and eat healthy iron-rich foods to restore your anaerobic and aerobic capacity.