Your blood contains three major cell types: platelets, white blood cells and red blood cells. Platelets clump together to form blood clots or scabs
Your blood contains three major cell types: platelets, white blood cells and red blood cells. Platelets clump together to form blood clots or scabs to begin healing after an injury, while white blood cells make up a part of your immune system and fight infection. Red blood cells, also called erythrocytes, carry oxygen from your lungs to tissues throughout your body. Red blood cells live about four months, so your body must constantly create new ones to replace the aged and dying cells. Proper nutrition helps ensure your body can make the red blood cells it needs, with specific vitamins and minerals playing a role in red blood cell production.
Vitamins B6, B9 and B12
Several B vitamins help produce functional red blood cells. Vitamins B6, B9 and B12 all contribute to the production of hemoglobin, a protein abundant in erythrocytes. Each hemoglobin molecule contains four heme chemical groups, with each group able to carry oxygen. Vitamins B6, B9 and B12 activate enzymes that you need to properly form heme; a deficiency in any of these vitamins prevents healthy red blood cell formation. Get 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B12, 400 micrograms of vitamin B9 and 1.3 milligrams of vitamin B6 each day, recommends the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Iron and Copper
The minerals iron and copper are pivotal in making healthy red blood cells. Iron makes up the active part of heme; the iron molecule in each heme group directly binds to and carries oxygen. If you don’t eat enough iron, you cannot produce enough heme to make functional red blood cells. You also need copper to make heme; it helps make sure your cells have access to the chemical form of iron needed for red blood cells. All adults need 900 micrograms of copper daily, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Men need 8 milligrams of iron each day, and women need 18 milligrams.
Vitamin A, or retinol, helps support red blood cell development. All three types of blood cells originate from stem cells found in bone marrow. The presence of chemical factors determines if these stem cells form red blood cells, white blood cells or platelets. Vitamin A helps stems cells develop into red blood cells, ensuring that your body can produce enough red blood cells to replace those that die due to age. It also makes sure your developing red blood cells have access to the iron needed for hemoglobin. Women need 700 micrograms of vitamin A daily, according to the Linus Pauling Institute, while men require 900 micrograms.
Foods for Red Blood Cell Production
Several foods contain one or more nutrients important to red blood cell production. Incorporate kale into your diet. The leafy greens contain vitamins A, B6 and B9, as well as copper and iron. Fortified cereals, such as bran cereal, contain vitamins B6, B9 and B12, and might also contain iron, while lean meats provide sources of B vitamins and iron. Eat more oysters; they are a rich source of iron and copper as well as vitamin B12.