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Iron Pills Aid Recovery for Blood Donors

Taking iron pills can help restore hemoglobin and iron in the body faster after blood donation, a study has found. Hemoglobin is made up of iron and protein. It is the part of red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body. The new study included 215 blood donors. They were divided into 2 groups based on their iron levels before they gave blood. After giving blood, half of each group was randomly assigned to take a daily iron pill (ferrous gluconate). The other half did not take the pills. People in the lower-iron group who took the pills returned to 80% of their hemoglobin level before donation in about 5 weeks. Recovery time was shorter, about 4 weeks, for the pill takers who had higher iron levels before donation. Those who did not take iron pills took longer to recover hemoglobin levels -- 23 weeks in the low-iron group and 11 weeks in the high-iron group.

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