Excess iron in the blood may damage arteries and giving blood at six-monthly intervals to promote iron reduction may boost your health if you are young, say researchers.
A normal adult has five to six litres of blood in his/her body, of which only 300 ml is used during blood donation. This blood is replaced by the body within 24 to 48 hours.
Researchers at the White River Junction VA Medical Centre and the Dartmouth Medical School in Vermont looked at 1,277 men and women aged 43 to 87 who had peripheral arterial disease, over a period of six years, reported an online edition of the Daily Mail.
Peripheral arterial disease is a common condition, affecting one in 20 people of over 55 years in Britain, in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to the limbs.
In the study, blood was drawn to promote iron reduction at six-monthly intervals from some of the patients, but not from others.
When the researchers analysed the results for patients aged 43 to 61, they found fewer deaths from all causes in the iron-reduction group, and fewer heart attacks and strokes.
"While our study did not show that reducing iron led to decreases across the board in overall mortality, it did support the theory that vascular health might be preserved into later life by maintaining low levels of iron over time," said lead author Leo Zacharski.
The study was published in this week's journal of the American Medical Association.