May 1995, pg. 9
Sanguineous Sharing Stipulations
By Lori Duffy
Most runners wisely avoid giving blood before a major effort. After all, doing so can leave you feeling weak for several days and lower your body’s oxygen-carrying capacity. For some would-be donors, giving blood after a big race seems OK; they have nothing important coming up and think that they can afford the temporary loss.
These runners may keep their blood, according to the American Red Cross.
“I would not suggest that a donor exercise strenuously before giving blood,” says Lazaro Rosales, M.D., associate medical director of the Syracuse, N.Y., Red Cross chapter. “It could appear as if they have hepatitis.”
Hard efforts, including long runs and speedwork, can elevate the level of the enzyme alanine aminotransferase in the bloodstream. A high level of this enzyme can also indicate liver damage or infection, so technicians reject such donations, regardless of the apparent health of the donor. Runners who admirably wish to share their blood should therefore allow a few days of short, easy training both before and after scheduled donation.