Platelets are blood cells that promote blood clotting to help prevent bleeding. It may be possible to increase platelet count naturally by consuming certain foods, vitamins, and supplements.
It is essential to maintain adequate platelet levels to ensure that the blood clots correctly. Doctors diagnose people with thrombocytopenia if they have a low platelet count. They can offer advice on increasing platelet levels through nutrition, including both the diet itself and supplements.
This article describes what thrombocytopenia is, including its symptoms. It also lists foods and supplements that may help increase platelet counts. Finally, it provides tips that could help a person determine whether their platelet count is low.
Thrombocytopenia is the medical term for a low blood platelet count. Platelets are colorless blood cells that play a vital role in blood clotting. If a person sustains an injury, these cells will clump together to form a seal over the injured blood vessel, thereby helping prevent bleeding.
According to the
Platelets are essential to blood clotting, so a person with thrombocytopenia will be more prone to bleeding. According to the
Mild thrombocytopenia often does not cause any symptoms. In these cases, a person may only learn that they have the condition following a routine blood test.
The symptoms of thrombocytopenia usually only occur when a person’s platelet levels are particularly low. They may include:
- persistent bleeding following even a small injury
- bleeding gums
- blood in the urine
- blood in the stool, which may appear bright red, dark, or tarry
- heavy menstrual bleeding
- bruising easily
- petechiae, which are small, flat, red or brown spots beneath the skin due to leaking blood vessels
- purpura, which is a red, purple, or brownish-yellow skin patch due to bleeding beneath the skin
People who experience symptoms should contact a doctor immediately. Without treatment, thrombocytopenia can cause severe complications.
Several vitamins and minerals can promote a higher platelet count.
According to the
Some foods containing folate or folic acid include:
- beef liver
- dark, leafy green vegetables, such as spinach and Brussels sprouts
- black-eyed peas
- fortified breakfast cereals and dairy alternatives
People should be careful not to consume excessive amounts of folic acid from supplements or fortified foods because
Vitamin B12-rich foods
Vitamin B12 is necessary for the formation of red blood cells. Low levels of vitamin B12 in the body may also contribute to low platelet counts.
According to the
Vitamin B12 is primarily present in animal-based products, including:
- fortified cereals
- fortified dairy alternatives, such as almond milk or soy milk
Some supplements may also increase platelet counts.
However, it is important to check with a doctor before taking a new supplement, as some can worsen certain conditions or interact negatively with other medications or supplements.
Taking chlorophyll may alleviate some of the symptoms of a low platelet count, although research on its effectiveness is limited. The PDSA mentions chlorella as a potential supplement for those with a low platelet count.
In the PDSA survey, of the participants who took chlorella, 19% felt it had a positive effect on their platelet count while 33% reported improvements in their bleeding symptoms.
However, a 2018 case report does not support the notion that chlorella increases platelet count. Rather, high doses of chlorella were found to cause a decreased platelet count in a healthy female patient.
Papaya leaf extract
The study discovered that in 3 of 4 cases, administration of papaya leaf extract was associated with at least one episode of increased platelet count. These findings suggest that PLE may help boost platelet counts, though more research is needed to support this claim.
Papaya leaf extract is available in health stores in pill form.
According to the PDSA, the following supplements have been reported to lower or interfere with platelet levels in people with immune thrombocytopenia (ITP):
- vitamin B3
- ginkgo biloba
- guarana (dietary supplement)
- pycnogenol (pine bark extract)
It is unclear whether other supplements may also reduce a person’s platelet counts. As a result, the PDSA warns that a person diagnosed with thrombocytopenia should notify the doctor of any new supplements they have been taking.
The following are some of the more frequently asked questions about increasing a person’s platelet count naturally:
How can a person increase their platelets in 2 days?
There is no quick fix for increasing platelet count but eating nutrient-rich foods is good support for the entire body. Research suggests that eating foods rich in
What foods to avoid if you have low platelets?
Certain foods, herbs, and drinks can decrease platelet counts in people with immune thrombocytopenia (ITP). If a person has low platelets, they should consider talking with their physician before consuming the artificial sweetener aspartame, tahini, cranberry juice, and quinine. Regular excessive alcohol consumption may also reduce platelet count.
People with a low platelet count may be able to improve their condition by eating specific foods and taking certain supplements. Foods that may be of benefit include those containing folate and those rich in vitamin B12.
Supplements that may help include chlorophyll and papaya leaf extract. However, a person should always ask for a doctor’s advice before starting a new supplement, as some can interact negatively with other medications or supplements.
People with thrombocytopenia should also be cautious of substances that could decrease their platelet count, such as cranberry juice, aspartame, and quinine. Supplements including L-tryptophan, niacin, and feverfew may also have the same effect.
It is advisable to seek medical advice before adjusting the diet, as dietary adjustments alone may not be sufficient to restore platelet levels.