Dipping blood platelet counts can be worrisome. But if you’re looking to increase the count naturally, you’ll be surprised at the sheer number of ways at your disposal. Natural remedies using easily available foods as well as some lifestyle modifications can go a long way in helping rebuild blood and restore the platelet count to healthy levels.
Platelet Count Under 150,000 Per Microliter Is Dangerous
The blood platelet count in your body can drop as a result of any kind of acute infection, viruses like chickenpox, rubella, mumps, or the Epstein-Barr virus, and autoimmune diseases like immune thrombocytopenia. Certain medications like diuretics or over-the-counter medications like aspirin and ibuprofen could also cause a dip in platelet count. This is known as thrombocytopenia.1
So what counts as “normal” and when do you have a problem? A healthy normal platelet count is typically in the region of 150,000–450,000 platelets per microliter. Platelet count below 150,000 platelets per microliter is considered low and will need to be remedied. If you don’t stop the problem in its tracks and work at building up the count, you may end up experiencing spontaneous bleeding which can be life threatening.2
Papaya Leaf Juice: Bitter But Effective Way To Boost Platelet Count
Popular in folk medicine and home remedies, papaya and the juice of the papaya leaf can help with a low blood platelet count. Simply pound papaya leaves sans stalks with a mortar and pestle to release its juice. Consume two tablespoons of the papaya juice twice a day to help bring your platelet count up. While you could wait it out for more human studies to be done, this is a simple remedy that many attest to working wonders for them. One animal study found that the papaya leaf extract raised both the red blood cell and the platelet count significantly.3
Leafy Greens: Vitamin K For Better Clotting And Higher Platelet Count
Vitamin K is known to help people with low platelet disorder. In fact, in one study of people with platelet disorder, almost 27 percent of those who tried vitamin K as a treatment found improvement in their platelet counts and nearly 8 percent experienced sustained results. What’s more, it helped improve bleeding symptoms by aiding clotting.4 With bleeding being a very real concern for those with very low platelet counts, you may do well to increase your intake of foods rich in vitamin K.
Some vitamin K-rich foods you could try are turnip greens or kale – half a cup of the greens each give you 425 mcg and 550 mcg of the vitamin. Spinach has 444 mcg in half a cup. Collard greens and beet greens have 530 and 350 mcg in the same serving size.5 All these greens work well in salads or even soups. Alternatively, create delicious stir-fry meals or serve them blanched or roasted as sides with your mains. Try and get in a couple of serves through smoothies or at main meals.
Vitamin C-Rich Foods: To Counter Free Radical Damage To Platelets
If you have a low platelet count, taking in the daily recommended level of vitamin C is important. You can get the nutrient from citrus fruits like oranges and lemons, as well tomatoes, spinach, and bell peppers. Because they are antioxidant-rich, they may be able to help counter free radical damage to platelet proteins.6 In the platelet disorder patients’ survey, nearly 35 percent of those taking vitamin C said they found positive effects from it. And a little over 10 percent said the results were sustained.7
In one case study of a woman with chronic idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, a condition that causes very low blood platelets in the body, the consumption of vitamin C caused platelets to increase to 20 x 10(4)/microliters in about 4 months. She did not experience any side effects, indicating promise for the treatment.8
Vitamin B12-Rich Foods: To Overcome Thrombocytopenia From B12 Deficiency
Vitamin B12 deficiency has been associated with a low platelet count. Conversely, ensuring you overcome this deficiency by increasing your intake of B12 rich foods could help restore normalcy.9 Seafood like clams and liver are among the best sources of vitamin B12 though you will also find good amounts in salmon, trout, poultry, eggs, milk, cheese, and fortified cereals.10
Amla Or Indian Gooseberry: Ayurvedic Antioxidant Remedy
The Indian gooseberry or amla is a popular Ayurvedic remedy. A known antioxidant, it is packed with vitamin C, which in itself is good for anyone whose immune system is under attack. Its immunomodulatory properties make it a popular remedy and supplemental therapy.11 In an animal study, rats were administered the aqueous extract of Indian gooseberry for a week to study the effect on their hematological parameters as well as lipid levels. Subjects who were given a 250mg/kg dose saw an increase in their platelet counts.12 You can eat plain gooseberry on an empty stomach in the morning – three or four should do; or have two tablespoons of its juice mixed with honey twice or thrice daily.
Sunshine: To Boost Vitamin D And Platelet Production
Vitamin D is needed to sustain healthy function of certain stem cells in your bone marrow that are responsible for platelet production. Your body produces the vitamin when it is exposed to sunlight. So plan some “sun time” every day where you expose the skin on at least your arms and legs to the sun’s rays.13 Certain foods like fatty fish, egg yolks, liver, fortified milk, juice, and cereals also contain vitamin D but are far less effective than direct sunlight exposure.14
Wheatgrass: Chlorophyll To Help Cleanse And Build Blood
Wheatgrass, that poster child of fitness, can do plenty for you too! The structure of chlorophyll, which is present in copious amounts in wheatgrass, closely resembles that of hemoglobin molecules in your blood. As one study found, it can help boost your platelet count and also causes significant increases in red blood cell and white blood cell counts as well as hemoglobin levels.15 Simply drink fresh wheatgrass juice every day to help boost your immunity and improve your blood platelet count.
Mild Exercise: To Boost Circulation And Aid Platelet Production
Working out won’t just improve your fitness levels and burn calories, it can also help your immune system and blood circulation. These combined translates to a rise in platelet production. If your platelet count is low, you should check with your doctor if it is okay to do some gentle walking and stretching. In general, though, if your platelet count is under 15,000, do not exercise without your doctor’s go-ahead. Strenuous exercise could cause you to bleed and be dangerous for your health. Resistance band exercises and brisk walking are good for those whose platelet counts are over 20,000.16
Alcohol Ban: To Stay Hydrated And Build Blood
If you love your alcohol but have a low platelet count, you may want to stay off the tipple for a while. People who are heavy drinkers are more at risk of having low platelet count because alcohol interferes with platelet production. Alcohol intake causes a suppression of the production of blood cells. The red blood cells produced may also be defective, causing them to be destroyed prematurely.17
Water: Drink Plenty To Build Blood Plasma
Staying hydrated is important. Besides containing proteins, sugar, and fats, blood plasma in which your platelets are found also contains a lot of water.18In fact, your plasma is 92 percent water! And the yellowish liquid that is plasma constitutes a little over half of your blood volume.19 Reason enough to reach for that glass of water. Keep up your water intake through the day to ensure your body has adequate water to keep the blood healthy.
|↑1||What Causes Thrombocytopenia?. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.|
|↑2||Gauer, Robert L., and Michael M. Braun. “Thrombocytopenia.” American family physician 85, no. 6 (2012).|
|↑3||Dharmarathna, Sinhalagoda Lekamlage Chandi Asoka, Susiji Wickramasinghe, Roshitha Nilmini Waduge, Rajapakse Peramune Veddikkarage Jayanthe Rajapakse, and Senanayake Abeysinghe Mudiyanselage Kularatne. “Does Carica papaya leaf-extract increase the platelet count? An experimental study in a murine model.” Asian Pacific journal of tropical biomedicine 3, no. 9 (2013): 720-724.|
|↑4||Result 4 – Acupressure, Acupuncture, Vitamin C, Vitamin K “Result 4 – Acupressure, Acupuncture, Vitamin C, Vitamin K”). Platelet Disorder Support Association.|
|↑5||Vitamin K Content of Foods. American Dietetic Association.|
|↑6||Goswami, K., B. D. Bhatla, and R. Shankar. “Platelet protein damage by free radicals and glycationin vitro: The pathological consequences.” Indian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry 15, no. 1 (2000): 11-16.|
|↑7||Result 4 – Acupressure, Acupuncture, Vitamin C, Vitamin K. Platelet Disorder Support Association.|
|↑8||Nomura, S., M. Yanabu, T. Soga, T. Fukuroi, H. Kido, H. Nagata, T. Kokawa, and K. Yasunaga. “Chronic ITP with a remarkable response to vitamin C administration after splenectomy.” [Rinsho ketsueki] The Japanese journal of clinical hematology 31, no. 4 (1990): 523-524.|
|↑9||Ingeber, Steen, and Erik Stoffersen. “Platelet dysfunction in patients with vitamin B12 deficiency.” Acta haematologica 61, no. 2 (1979): 75-79.|
|↑10||Vitamin B12. Office of Dietary Supplements.|
|↑11||Chulet, Rahul, and Pankaj Pradhan. “A review on Rasayana.” Pharmacognosy Reviews 3, no. 6 (2009): 229.|
|↑12||Sana, Haque, and M. P. Sinha. “Effect of Embilica officinalis Fruit Extract on Haematological Profile and Serum Lipid Variables of Albino Rats.” Global Journal of Pharmacology 9, no. 4 (2015): 311-315.|
|↑13||Vitamins and Other Supplements. Platelet Disorder Support Association.|
|↑14||How do I get the vitamin D my body needs?.Vitamin D Council.|
|↑15||Tirgar, P. R., K. V. Shah, B. L. Thumber, and T. R. Desai. “Investigation into therapeutic role of Triticum aestivum (wheat) grass in busulfan induce thrombocytopenia.” Int J Univ Pharm Life Sci 1, no. 1 (2011): 91-97.|
|↑16||Activity & Exercise. Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program of British Columbia.|
|↑17||Ballard, Harold S. “Hematological complications of alcoholism.” Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 13, no. 5 (1989): 706-720.|
|↑18||Blood Basics. American Society of Hematology.|
|↑19||Plasma. The American National Red Cross.|