Familiar to every blood donor is the quick little pre-donation fingerstick to make sure your hemoglobin is high enough for you to safely donate. Unfortunately, a lower level is the most common reason for being deferred. We currently use a hemoglobin of 12.5 g/dL for women and 13.0 g/dL for men.
Donors sometimes think getting deferred means they are anemic. That may not be the case at all, rather their levels are not quite high enough to safely spare some red blood cells based on the current criteria.
We recommend doing two things to keep your hemoglobin levels up:
1. Take a daily multi-vitamin with at least 18 mgs of iron. Do not have dairy products or additional calcium supplements one hour before or two hours after taking your multivitamin with iron, as the calcium may interfere with iron absorption.
2. Increase the amount of iron rich foods you regularly eat in your diet.