Platelets, along with red blood cells and white blood cells, are an important component of blood. They are also known as thrombocytes and play an important function in the body. Their main function is wound healing by deterring bleeding (hemostasis) in the body by blood clot formation. Their normal range in the human body is 150,000-450,000 per cubic millimeter. Platelet count below 150,000 per cubic millimeter is known as thrombocytopenia and platelet count over 450,000 per cubic millimeter is known as thrombocytosis. Platelets are produced in the bone marrow and their life span is about 10 days.
Causes Of Low Platelet Count
Low platelet count is also known as thrombocytopenia and this might be due to either inherited or acquired causes or conditions. Thrombocytopenia occurs either due to platelet entrapment in the spleen, decreased platelet production and/or increased destruction of platelets.
Platelet Entrapment: Spleen is responsible for filtering unwanted materials from the blood and fighting infection, but splenomegaly (due to various causes) leads to entrapment of platelets in the spleen causing decreased platelets in circulation.
Decreased Platelet Production: Bone marrow is responsible for the production of platelets in the body. Conditions responsible for decreased platelet count in the body include leukemia, anemias, viral infections (hepatitis C or HIV), excessive alcohol consumption and chemotherapy.
Increased Platelet Breakdown: Factors that are responsible for increased platelet breakdown include pregnancy, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, bacterial infection, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, hemolytic uremic syndrome and certain medications (heparin, quinine, anticonvulsants and sulfa-containing antibiotics).
Which Food Increases Platelets In Blood?
Generally, when there is mild thrombocytopenia, no treatment is required as platelet count comes back to normal on its own or by treating the underlying cause can bring back the normal platelet count. In mild thrombocytopenia, a healthy diet rich in platelet promoting foods can bring back platelets to normal.
Vitamin K Rich Foods: Vitamin K is responsible for cell growth and it is responsible in blood clot formation cycle. Its deficiency could lead to impaired hemostasis and blood clot formation. Foods with good sources of vitamin K include kale and other green leafy vegetables, vegetable oils, parsley, liver and eggs. An individual who is on warfarin should consult their physician before starting supplementation with vitamin K.
Folate Rich Foods: Folic acid deficiency is responsible for decreased platelet count in the body as it is responsible for cell division and growth. The daily intake of folic acid per day should be around 400 mg. Foods rich in folate include fortified cereals, oranges, spinach, asparagus, chickpeas, lima beans and lentils.
Vitamin A Rich Foods: Vitamin A is responsible for healthy platelet production as vitamin A is an important factor in the formation of proteins and proper regulation of protein helps in cell division and growth. Food sources rich in vitamin A include carrot, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and kale.
Vitamin B12 Rich Foods: The deficiency of vitamin B12 can be responsible for thrombocytopenia, heart problems, and fatigue and pregnancy complications. Therefore, to avoid these conditions daily consumption of vitamin B12 is necessary for a healthy diet. Foods that are great source of vitamin B12 are oysters, beef, crab, chicken, turkey, tuna, salmon and yogurt.
Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidant Rich Foods: Experts suggest that anti-inflammatory and antioxidant diet is good for increased blood production. Antioxidants are responsible for combating harmful free radicals and foods rich in antioxidants include berries such as blueberries, strawberries, nuts, avocados and green vegetables. Anti-inflammatories include green vegetables, whole grains and organic beans. Anti-inflammatory diet should contain decreased consumption of animal protein, but lean meats such as chicken and fishes along with cheese and yogurt are considered okay.
Along with the above nutrients, it is also a healthy tip to include foods that are rich in vitamin C such as kiwis, oranges, lemons, spinach, broccoli and bell peppers. Milk is also a good option as it contains calcium, which along with vitamin K and protein fibrinogen is responsible for blood clot formation.