Low platelet count, also called thrombocytopenia, is a condition where the clotting agent in human blood is at a low, unsafe level. For people with thrombocytopenia, minor scrapes, cuts or bruising can become major injuries because the bleeding is difficult to stop. Many cancer patients have problems with low platelet count because both chemotherapy and radiation attack these fast-growing cells as they do cancer cells. Thrombocytopenia can also be caused by anemia, dengue fever or other diseases. It is easier to prevent low platelet count than try to rebuild it. There are certain foods and practices that can help keep platelet count at a healthy level.
There are three possible causes of low platelet count:
- Presence of platelets in the spleen due to cancer or severe liver diseases. This causes a decrease in the number of platelets in circulation.
- Reduced production of platelets due to leukemia, some types of anemia, viral infections, exposure to toxic chemicals, chemotherapy drugs, heavy alcohol consumption and deficiency of essential vitamins like vitamin B12.
- Increased breakdown of platelets due to autoimmune diseases, reaction to medicines, bacterial infection in the blood, pregnancy and health problems like idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP).
With certain lifestyle changes and some easy-to-follow home remedies, you can quickly improve your platelet count and live a healthy life. Continue any of these remedies until your platelet count is restored to normal. If the problem is severe then consult your doctor.
1# Both the papaya fruit and its leaves can help increase a low platelet count within just a few days. In 2009, researchers at the Asian Institute of Science and Technology in Malaysia found that papaya leaf juice can increase the platelet count of people diagnosed with dengue fever.
- Eat ripe papaya or drink a glass of papaya juice with a little lemon juice 2 or 3 times daily.
- You can also pound a few papaya leaves without the stalk using a pestle and mortar to extract the juice. Drink 2 tablespoons of this bitter juice 2 times a day.
2# Choose organic foods whenever possible. Some studies have shown that certain pesticides and fertilizers make autoimmune diseases worse, which could lead to low platelet count. Eat organic meat, fish, produce and grains.
3# Wheatgrass : Wheatgrass can be beneficial in increasing platelet count.In fact, it can produce significant increases in hemoglobin, red blood cell, total white blood cell and differential white blood cell counts. This happens because wheatgrass is high in chlorophyll with a molecular structure almost identical to the hemoglobin molecule in human blood.
- Simply drink ½ cup of wheatgrass juice mixed with a little lemon juice daily.
4# Reduce or stop your intake of aspirin, naproxen or ibuprofen. These non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pills thin the blood and increase the risk of bleeding and low platelet count.
5# Pumpkin is another helpful food to improve your low platelet count. It is rich in vitamin A that helps support proper platelet development. It also regulates the proteins produced in the cells, which is important to raise the platelet level.
- In ½ glass of fresh pumpkin juice, add 1 teaspoon of honey and drink it 2 or 3 times a day.
- Also, include pumpkin in your diet by adding pumpkin puree to soups, stews, smoothies and baked goods.
6# Vitamin K is essential for proper blood clotting, and thus it is important to reduces the risk of excessive bleeding.
- Boil 4 or 5 leaves of fresh spinach in 2 cups of water for a few minutes. Allow it to cool, and mix in 1/2 glass of tomato juice. Drink it 3 times a day.
- Also, enjoy this green vegetable in salads, green smoothies, side dishes or soups.
7# Obtain enough sleep and rest. Try to get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. The rest can help your body to recharge and produce more platelets.
8# Vitamin C , To increase your platelet count, you need to increase your intake of vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid.
- Being a powerful antioxidant, high doses of vitamin C also prevent free-radical mediated damage of the platelets. Your body requires 400 to 2,000 mg of vitamin C per day, depending on your age and overall health.
- Eat foods high in vitamin C like lemons, oranges, tomatoes, cantaloupes, kiwi, spinach, bell peppers and broccoli.
- You may also take vitamin C in supplement form daily, but only after consulting your doctor.
9# Indian Gooseberries, A popular Ayurvedic remedy to raise your platelet count is Indian gooseberries, also known as amla. The vitamin C in amla can help increase the production of platelets and boost your immune system.
- Eat 3 to 4 gooseberries on an empty stomach every morning.
- Alternatively, mix together 2 tablespoons each of amla juice and honey. Drink it 2 or 3 times daily.
- You can also eat homemade jam or pickles made with fresh Indian gooseberries.
10# Sesame Oil,This cold-pressed oil is also beneficial in increasing your platelet count. Sesame oil has properties that can raise platelet level naturally. It reduces free radical damage, inflammation in the body and helps improve blood circulation.
- Drink 1 to 2 tablespoons of high-quality sesame oil twice a day.
- You can also rub some sesame oil externally on lymph node areas several times daily to help increase platelet counts.
- In addition, use cold-pressed sesame oil for cooking.
11# Eating beetroot is another popular dietary method of increasing the platelet count. Being high in natural antioxidant and hemostatic properties, beetroot can raise your platelet count within a few days.
- Drink 1 tablespoon of fresh beetroot juice 3 times daily.
- Another option is to mix 3 tablespoons of beetroot juice in a glass of carrot juice and drink it 2 times daily.
12# Blood cells are made of water and protein, hence it is highly recommended to drink plenty of water throughout the day. When it comes to a low platelet count, avoid drinking cold water as it can affect your digestive tract and the body will not absorb nutrients properly.
- Instead, drink filtered and purified water that is room temperature. This will help your body produce more blood cells and eventually improve the platelet count.
- Drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of room temperature water daily.
13# Get a Dose of Folate, A severe folate deficiency can lead to low platelet counts. Folate, or vitamin B-9, is required for cell division and growth, which supports increased blood platelets. Adults should strive for 400 micrograms of folate a day. Orange juice is known for its folate content, but fortified cereals, spinach, asparagus, chickpeas, lentils and lima beans also contain this nutrient.
14# Regular exercise will boost blood circulation, improve your immune system and lead to an increase in platelets.
According to the Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program of British Columbia, certain specific exercises can help increase different levels of low platelet counts. Here are a few guidelines:
When platelets are 15,000 to 20,000, you can perform sitting or standing exercises, gentle stretching and walking.
When platelets are 20,000 to 40,000, you may use some light resistance like weights or elastic tubing or latex bands. You can also do brisk walking.
When platelets are 40,000 to 60,000, you may perform activities like stationary cycling and golfing.
When platelets are above 60,000, you may do aerobic exercise like biking or jogging.
15# Meat and Fish have been shown to increase platelet counts. It is especially important to avoid growth hormones during pregnancy, and to avoid all bottom-feeding fish, due to their heavy metal contamination (think kosher). Also beware of farm-raised fish, which do not have the health benefits that are present in those that are wild caught.