Plasma is the reason your blood isn’t a series of dried, red flakes flowing through your capillaries, veins, and arteries.
Thanks to the liquid component of plasma, your blood is capable of carrying proteins, hormones, cells, and vitamins throughout the body, delivering them where they’re needed.
Though plasma doesn’t carry actual calories, you do lose calories when you donate plasma—anywhere between 450 and 650 calories, depending on how much you donate.
The reason is not that your body does anything during the plasma donation. It's what your body has to do to replace the lost plasma that makes a dent in your body’s calorie content. Your body is essentially burning calories while you are on your way home from donating.
Key Take Aways: Does donating plasma burn calories?
Losing weight is hard and sometimes we are tempted to resort to non-traditional ways to shortcut the process. Here, in this article, we will answer the question: does donating plasma burn calories. And the benefits and drawback from doing this purely to lose weight.
How Many Calories Can You Burn By Donating Plasma?
It's entirely dependent on how much you donate. The maximum amount of plasma you can donate at one time is 880ml and the amount is based on your weight. If you’re a male and weigh 165 lbs, you are probably limited to around 815 ml.
Women who weigh less than 150 lbs can only donate the minimum, which is 690 ml.
|150 lbs or less||150 lbs to 175 lbs||176 lbs +|
|Plasma Amount||690 ml||691 ml to 825 ml||826 ml to 880 ml|
|Calories Burned||450 to 500||550 to 600||600 to 625|
Is it Safe to Lose Weight by Donating Plasma?
It is safe to lose weight insofar as a side effect. It's not safe to purposefully donate as much plasma as you can to lose weight. If you are already on a weight loss program, it's even more dangerous. When you couple the loss of vitamins and critical proteins with a low-fat diet, your body might begin consuming itself.
When you fast, your body reacts by feeding on itself. It starts by getting rid of the bad things, such as excess, stored fat (which is the entire purpose behind your body storing fat), free radicals, and other, wasteful products in the body.
Once it finishes with that, it will begin consuming muscle tissue and some of the vital fluids and nutrients needed for proper organ function. That's why it's highly advisable to consume the following after donating plasma:
- Meals high in iron
- Carbohydrates for energy restoration
You should avoid caffeine and nicotine, as both of these raise your metabolic rate when you need your body to slow down and take it easy.
5 Reasons You Should Donate Plasma to Burn Calories Make Money
There are very few ways in this world to make money by donating something essential to your bodily functions. Plasma is one of them. Don’t worry, you’re not going to be moving in next door to Elon Musk anytime soon but you can make between $40 and $80 per donation.
In some places, you can make more, and in others, less. It depends on how much it's needed. According to experts, you can make an additional $4,000 a year if you stick to a donation routine.
I can't say that I recommend this as a reason, but some people do it for cash.
It Boosts Your Mood
While you can take your earned money and spend it on weight-loss essentials, there is nothing better than being in a good mood when you’re trying to lose weight. It's not the loss of plasma that makes you feel better, it's the act of giving, which is a proven way to elevate your mood.
It Helps Others
Bouncing off the whole “improved mood” thing, the fact that you’re helping others is something that can’t be overstated enough. Not only are you trying to better yourself, but you’re also helping others and, perhaps, saving lives.
Recent studies show that regular plasma donation helps to reduce bad cholesterol in your body. Loss of calories (and therefore fat), along with losing the bad cholesterol, is a massive improvement in your cardiovascular system, when the two are combined.
- Lower Your Blood Pressure
A separate study shows that regular plasma donation also lowers blood pressure—another major benefit to your cardiovascular system.
5 Reasons You Shouldn’t
In life, there is always a balance. When you gain something, there is always a payment, whether it's in cash or something else. While you may gain some nice side effects from donating plasma, there are also some reasons you should avoid doing so.
Regular donations of plasma can affect your body’s blood production and anemia is one of the unfortunate results. Anemia is the loss of red blood cells in your body. In itself, that’s not good, however, it can cause a host of other problems as well.
Immunoglobulin Levels Drop
Immunoglobulin is essentially your body’s antibodies—what it uses to fight off infections, bacteria, and viruses that assault your body all day long, every day. The less effective your immune system is, the more likely you will get sick or suffer from an infection.
Causes Damage to Your Veins
If you think about how many times you have to donate plasma to hit $4,000 a year, that’s a lot of needles and plastic sleeves puncturing the veins in the crook of your elbow. Over time, that takes a toll.
Hydration is a Must
Donating plasma can lead to dehydration. Our bodies are mostly water and when plasma leaves the body, it takes a lot of water with it.
Burning Calories by Donating Plasma is Nothing Exciting
By changing your diet, you will find that your body is capable of burning a lot more calories every day than with a single, plasma donation session.
How to Recover from Donating Blood or Plasma
The first thing you should do is drink a full glass of water. The more water your body has at its disposal, the quicker it can replace the lost plasma. Then you need to eat a good meal. Just make sure the meal is low-fat, and light.
The last thing you want to do is grab a double quarter pounder with cheese and a side of large fries from Mcdonald's.
Does Your Appetite Increase After?
Everybody reacts differently but it's fairly common to have an increased appetite after donating plasma. Your body is alerting you to the fact that you just lost a lot of nutrients, proteins, and water.
Can You Gain Weight from Donating Plasma?
That depends on how you react to the loss of plasma. If you take the above McDonald’s route, you will certainly gain weight. There are 740 calories in a double-quarter pounder, which will quickly overtake anything you just lost.
How Many Calories Would it Take to Replace One Pint of Blood?
It's generally understood that one pint of blood loss will burn up 650 calories as your body works to replace it. As you can see from the above, the fast food menu option, it doesn’t take long to replenish those calories if you have a mind to.
A single slice of pie would probably do it. Stick with fish, nuts, watermelon, whole grains, tofu, and other, iron-rich sources of protein when you are done donating.
Bottom Line – Should I Donate Plasma To Lose Weight?
Does donating plasma burn calories? Yes, it does, but it is not a viable method to lose weight.
Donating plasma to lose weight is not recommended by anyone, anywhere. But there are benefits to doing it.
Donating plasma causes your body to go into overdrive mode, working to replace the plasma you just lost. In turn, this helps you lose calories without ever lifting a finger. The problem is, while donating plasma is not harmful in the long term, there are less risky ways of burning calories.
On the bright side, if you are on a diet and looking to help others, donating plasma will take care of both.
References and Citations
Cirino, E. (2018, April 24). Donating plasma: What are the side effects? Healthline. Retrieved December 2, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/health/donating-plasma-side-effects#tips
Haskell WL, Lee IM, Pate RR, Powell KE, Blair SN, Franklin BA, Macera CA, Heath GW, Thompson PD, Bauman A. Physical activity and public health: updated recommendation for adults from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007 Aug;39(8):1423-34. doi: 10.1249/mss.0b013e3180616b27. PMID: 17762377.
Health Benefits of Donating PLasma. oneblood. (n.d.). Retrieved December 2, 2022, from https://www.citationmachine.net/bibliographies/dc2577fa-ef28-4b74-9ad9-a4c5888aae77
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