ELi5 Why is periodically donating whole blood good for your health and longevity?

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This is what my father told me, and something he did throughout his lifetime. He lived to be 95.

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One of the scientifically supported claims of blood donation can be found through this [study](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3663474/). Basically, they found people who donated blood have less cholesterol level, which obviously leads to healthier hearts.

Donating blood also provides a mental boost, knowing you are doing something good for others, having good mental health is incredibly important to longevity. Stress and self-pity are not just imaginary, it will damage your body on a cellular level.

Donating blood is useful for people with iron overload disorders. This is a group of genetic conditions where a person isn’t able to regulate iron absorbtion. Thus it tends to build up in the body….. unless you’re chronically malnourished. As group this is probably the most common type of genetic disease.

Overall, donating blood may lower cholesterol and triglycerides for a few weeks. It also lowers blood pressure. Although it’s debatable if donating blood often enough to keep cholesterol low wouldn’t also result in chronic low grade anemia. It may also, temporarily result in raised pulmonary blood pressure.

I had a very bad fear of needles for most of my young life and many years ago I heard that giving blood was both good for me and good for the recipients! So I confronted the fear and figured out that it wasn’t so bad.

I read at one point that giving blood purges you of iron and too much iron in your blood is apparently not ideal.

Supposedly one of the things that make cigarette smoking so terribly bad for your heart is that it raises iron levels in your blood.

I give blood about as often as allowed for many years; I believe it is every 56 days for whole blood. It’s a good idea.