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How To Increase Platelet Count Naturally

By Dr. Nikita Toshi +2 more

The human blood contains a number of different cells that serve various purposes. The cells include red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Platelets are cells that are responsible for helping the blood clot in the event that we cut ourselves or have any bleeding anywhere else.

how to increase platelet count

In order for the platelets to function normally, it is important for us to be physically healthy. However, in certain conditions, the platelet count can reduce dramatically which can be a problem for overall health. If the platelet counts are low, it can result in not just minor bleeding from tiny cuts and bruises but also catastrophic bleeding inside the gut or around the brain.

It is therefore essential to know how to improve platelet count either through medication or naturally. In this article, we shall take a brief look at how you can increase the platelet counts in your blood through natural methods in various clinical conditions.

Low platelet counts can cause severe bleeding and potentially fatal complications. If you detect a drop in platelet count on routine blood reports or experience abnormal bruising, petechiae or bleeding, seeking medical attention from a haematologist is necessary. Relying solely on home remedies is not recommended.

Dr. Arpit Verma, MD

The Platelets:

In simple terms, platelets are blood-clotting cells. When there is any damage to the lining of blood vessels, platelets team up and stick together in an attempt to plug the damage. Normally, we have around 1.5 lac to 4 lac platelets per microliter of blood. Any number lesser than 1.5 lac is called thrombocytopenia, while a number greater than 4 lac is called thrombocytosis.

The shape of platelets is quite amazing. When platelets are inactive, they are shaped in the form of small plates. However, when they are activated by signals released from damaged blood vessels, they change their shape so that they become sticky and can plug any bleeding anywhere.

Just of note, one of the causes of heart attacks is excessive activation of these platelets. When there is damage to the blood vessels within the heart, the platelets clump together and form a mass of platelets and other material called a thrombus. This thrombus completely occludes a blood vessel and can lead to a heart attack. Treatment that is given for such individuals are medications that reduce the activation of platelets and prevent them from forming these clumps. These drugs are called antiplatelet agents and include aspirin, clopidogrel, prasugrel and ticagrelor.

At times, however, the platelet counts can reduce significantly. As mentioned earlier, this is called thrombocytopenia and is complicated by bleeding from sites such as the stomach, bowel and even around the brain. Low platelet count can occur from viral fevers, dengue fever, certain bone marrow conditions such as leukaemia or lymphoma, chemotherapy drugs that are given for cancer, certain medications and even excessive alcohol consumption. It is therefore important that natural ways be utilised for how to increase platelets.

Here are the measurements for different levels of platelets in the blood. Platelets are measured by checking how many platelets are in 1 microlitre of blood μL.

TypePlatelet CountDescription
Thrombocytosis (high platelet level)450,000 μL (per microlitre)Can result in over clotting internally such as in the limbs.Clots may break off and get stuck elsewhere in the body, leading to further complications.Occurs in people who are bedridden (due to old age, illness or recovering from injury).
Normal Platelet level150,000 to 450,000 μLNormal platelet count is different for people depending on age, sex and other factors.
Thrombocytopenia (low platelet level)150,000 μLHas a high risk of excessive bleeding for even minor injuries and cuts.Very low platelet levels may result in spontaneous bleeding.Can be caused after injury, surgery, extreme exercise and B12 deficiency.Can also be caused by viral or other infections, anaemia, cancer, autoimmune disorders and more.

Did You Know?

  • Patients with a low platelet count should take precautions to avoid injuries and bleeding. source: cancer.org
  • Platelet count may be low due to certain types of cancer or cancer treatments. source: cancer.org
  • Platelet disorders can be diagnosed through blood tests and bone marrow examination. source: nhlbi.nih.gov
  • Some platelet disorders can improve on their own without treatment. source: nhlbi.nih.gov

How COVID Can Affect Platelet Count:

It has been previously recorded that exhaustion and fatigue are an indication of a drop in your platelet count. Viral Infections result in the dropping of blood platelets and since Covid is also a severe type of viral infection, the drop in platelet count can be an early symptom of Covid-19. A meta-analysis of a group of covid patients revealed that those with a severe case of Corona had a much lower average platelet count than those with a milder infection. 

The platelets have been found to play a defensive role against inflammatory and infectious responses from the virus. They combine thrombotic and immunity functions by preventing microbial infections. The Blood platelets interact directly with the viruses via receptors and engulf the aggregating pathogens and microbes. They also help in the formation of leukocyte aggregate and endothelial protection. However, the severity of the virus can cause Platelet Antibody Formation leading to platelet clearance. 

It is highly advised to not ignore symptoms of fatigue, exhaustion, and breathlessness. Many cases of covid-19 aggravate due to ignorance of these symptoms. The condition of having low platelets is known as Thrombocytopenia. Blood platelets are essential in clotting blood and forming plugs in blood vessel injuries. The average platelet count is 1.5-4.5 lakhs in a healthy person. Mild covid results in a drop of platelets to 85,000. Severe covid infection can result in a drop of blood platelets to 20,000 or less, making the disease life-threatening. Early detection and early diagnosis can save several lives. 

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How to Increase Platelet Count:

It is rather difficult to increase platelet count through diet and exercise alone. Sometimes, certain conditions such as dengue fever and viral fever may require the infusion of platelets in the form of a platelet transfusion given intravenously to restore normal platelet counts.

That being said, if you are looking for how to increase platelet counts naturally, then the list of foods below should help you to some extent.

1. Milk

We all know that milk is a rich source of calcium and protein and is important in maintaining the strength of bones and muscles in our body. What is even more interesting is that milk contains vitamin K, which is an essential vitamin in the blood clotting mechanism in our body. Furthermore, it is believed that regular consumption of milk may help in improving total blood platelet counts. So, if you are looking for home remedies to increase platelets, make sure you have a glass of milk regularly.

2. Green Leafy Vegetables:

Green leafy vegetables are at their source of vitamin K, which I have mentioned earlier to be essential in the blood-clotting pathway. But they also have the property of increasing platelet counts to some extent. In addition to just parsley, basil, spinach and celery, other vegetables such as asparagus, cabbage and watercress are also useful in increasing platelet count.

3. Papaya Leaf Extract:

This is probably the most well-known remedy for low platelet counts. If you are looking for how to increase platelet count during dengue fever, then consuming a glass or two of papaya leaf extract regularly can do the trick. It is not clear how this really works, but clinical trials have clearly demonstrated a significant benefit of papaya leaf extract in increasing platelet counts in viral fever.

However, the juice of papaya leaf can be rather bitter and some people experience nausea and possibly even vomiting at times. In such a situation, oral medication in the form of capsules is now available in India that contains the same quantity of extract needed to boost up platelet counts.

4. Pomegranate:

The seeds of pomegranate are packed with iron and can improve blood counts tremendously. Pomegranate is now prescribed as a fruit that has to be consumed regularly if platelet counts have to be increased. If you are looking for how to increase platelets during malaria, then try having a bowl of pomegranate fruit a couple of times a day to give you the boost you need. Not just that, pomegranate also contains numerous antioxidants and vitamins C which can help boost immunity and help fight infections effectively.

5. Pumpkin:

Pumpkin is another food that has amazing properties of increasing platelet count. This is because it contains vitamin A, which can have some benefit in enhancing the number of platelets being produced by the bone marrow.

Other vitamins A rich foods such as carrots, sweet potato and kale are also beneficial. If you are looking for how to increase platelet count during pregnancy, you may want to talk to your doctor about increasing your intake of these foods.

6. Wheatgrass:

Wheatgrass contains high levels of chlorophyll that is structurally similar to the hemoglobin in our blood. It is extremely beneficial when it comes to boosting platelet count, but has additional benefits of increasing the total quantity of red blood cells and white blood cells in the blood. Freshly made wheatgrass juice can be extremely useful if you are looking for how to increase platelet count during chemotherapy.

A low platelet count can be of concern. If you are looking for how to increase platelet count naturally, then try and indulge in these foods now and again. However, if there is a medical reason for the low platelet count, then you may want to speak to a hematologist (blood specialist) regarding getting tested to determine the cause of the problem.

Also Read: White Asparagus: Nutritional Benefits and Culinary Uses Explored

Nutrients that can Increase Platelet Count:

1. Vitamin B-12

Vitamin B 12 is an essential vitamin that keeps the blood cells healthy. The deficiency of Vitamin B 12 can lead to a low platelet count. Animal proteins like eggs, liver, seafood are good sources of this vitamin. 

Searching for best vitamin B12 supplements? Check out – Carbamide Forte Methylcobalamin Vitamin B12 Supplement

2. Iron

 Iron is a vital nutrient that helps in the production of red blood cells in the body. Iron deficiency is associated with low platelets and low haemoglobin too, which can cause the disease called anaemia. Food rich in iron includes leafy vegetables like spinach, lentils, pumpkin seeds, raw bananas and guava

Your search for best Iron supplements ends here! Check out – Wellbeing Nutrition Melts Nano Iron

3. Folates 

Folates are a type of Vitamin B. Also referred to as folic acid, this nutrient is beneficial for all kinds of cells in the body including red blood cells. Rich sources of folates include peanuts, oranges, kidney beans, lentils, etc. 

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4. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is closely related to the level of platelets in your body. Vitamin C is essential to improve and maintain the immunity of your body. Vitamin C helps you absorb iron efficiently and increase your platelet count. Great sources of Vitamin C are lemons, lime, oranges, pineapples, etc. 

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FAQs

Which are the foods one must avoid when trying to increase platelet count?

There are certain foods responsible for the decrease in platelet count. You must avoid quinine, which is found in tonic water, and don’t drink alcohol, or cranberry juice. It is best to stick to your doctor’s advice.

What happens if my platelet count does not increase naturally?

If your platelet count does not increase naturally, you will have to contact the doctor and he or she will decide what’s the best treatment for you. You may need to undergo a platelet transfusion or put on medications.

How dangerous is a low platelet count?

An untreated low platelet count can be very serious because it can lead to internal bleeding of the brain or the intestines. In the worst cases, this may even cause death. To avoid any risks, you must consult the doctor immediately if your platelet count is lower than normal.

What are the symptoms of low platelet count?

Symptoms may include excessive bruising, prolonged bleeding from cuts, petechiae (tiny red dots on the skin), fatigue, and in severe cases, internal bleeding. The condition may sometimes be symptomless and is discovered through routine blood tests.

How is low platelet count diagnosed?

Low platelet count is typically diagnosed through a complete blood count (CBC) test, which analyzes the number of platelets in the blood. Further testing, such as bone marrow biopsy or specific blood tests, might be necessary to find the underlying cause.

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.
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