Hemoglobin too low to donate blood
I'm one of the many people who donated blood for the first time on Sept 11. Since then I've been donating 2 or 3 times a year. Last time I went they had to try twice to get hemoglobin readings high enough for me to donate; I went this week and they told me I couldn't - you need 2 out of 3 over 12.5 and mine were 12.1, 12.3, and 12.7.
I'm a 50 year old woman, in menopause, in good health. I've been a strict ovo-lacto vegetarian for about 16 years, so it's not surprising I'm a little on the low side. I know this isn't low enough to be considered anemia, and it certainly isn't causing any symptoms; but it's annoying to go to the trouble of going over there and then being turned away. I've looked for info and found some, including a good thread a couple months ago on this forum.
Anyway, my question is this. How long does it take the hemoglobin level to reflect what you eat? I had a cup of black tea, then lunch, then another cup of tea and then went to donate. Were those cups of tea enough to knock the hemoglobin level down? If I loaded up on iron rich food for a day or 2 before I went in to donate, would that put the level up? Or is it more a reflection of your overall diet, health, etc, and there aren't any short term 'fixes'?