A low platelet count, medically known as thrombocytopenia, is a health disorder in which your blood has a lower than normal number of platelets.
Platelets are the smallest of the blood cells that aid in blood clotting by forming plugs in blood vessel holes. The platelets circulate in the blood with an average lifespan of 5 to 9 days.
A normal platelet count in a healthy person ranges from 150,000 to 450,000 platelets per microlitre of blood. When the count is below 150,000 per microlitre, it is considered a low platelet count.
There are three possible causes of low platelet count:
- Presence of platelets in the spleen due to cancer or severe liver diseases. This causes a decrease in the number of platelets in circulation.
- Reduced production of platelets due to leukemia, some types of anemia, viral infections, exposure to toxic chemicals, chemotherapy drugs, heavy alcohol consumption and deficiency of essential vitamins like vitamin B12.
- Increased breakdown of platelets due to autoimmune diseases, reaction to medicines, bacterial infection in the blood, pregnancy and health problems like idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP).
The telltale signs of a low platelet count are easy or excessive bruising, prolonged bleeding from cuts, spontaneous bleeding from the gums or nose, blood in urine or stools, and skin rashes due to superficial bleeding into the skin.
Women may experience unusually heavy menstrual flows. People with low platelet counts may also complain of malaise, fatigue and general weakness.
With certain lifestyle changes and some easy-to-follow home remedies, you can quickly improve your platelet count and live a healthy life. Continue any of these remedies until your platelet count is restored to normal. If the problem is severe then consult your doctor.
Here are the top 10 ways to increase a low platelet count naturally.
Both the papaya fruit and its leaves can help increase a low platelet count within just a few days. In 2009, researchers at the Asian Institute of Science and Technology in Malaysia found that papaya leaf juice can increase the platelet count of people diagnosed with dengue fever.
- Eat ripe papaya or drink a glass of papaya juice with a little lemon juice 2 or 3 times daily.
- You can also pound a few papaya leaves without the stalk using a pestle and mortar to extract the juice. Drink 2 tablespoons of this bitter juice 2 times a day.
According to a 2011 study published in International Journal of Universal Pharmacy and Life Sciences, wheatgrass can be beneficial in increasing platelet count.
In fact, it can produce significant increases in hemoglobin, red blood cell, total white blood cell and differential white blood cell counts. This happens because wheatgrass is high in chlorophyll with a molecular structure almost identical to the hemoglobin molecule in human blood.
Simply drink ½ cup of wheatgrass juice mixed with a little lemon juice daily.
Pumpkin is another helpful food to improve your low platelet count. It is rich in vitamin A that helps support proper platelet development. It also regulates the proteins produced in the cells, which is important to raise the platelet level.
- In ½ glass of fresh pumpkin juice, add 1 teaspoon of honey and drink it 2 or 3 times a day.
- Also, include pumpkin in your diet by adding pumpkin puree to soups, stews, smoothies and baked goods.
Spinach is a good source of vitamin K which is often used to help treat low platelet disorder. Vitamin K is required for proper blood clotting. Thus, it reduces the risk of excessive bleeding.
- Boil 4 or 5 leaves of fresh spinach in 2 cups of water for a few minutes. Allow it to cool, and mix in 1/2 glass of tomato juice. Drink it 3 times a day.
- Also, enjoy this green vegetable in salads, green smoothies, side dishes or soups.
5. Vitamin C
To increase your platelet count, you need to increase your intake of vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid. A study published in 1990 in the Japanese Journal of Hematology stated that vitamin C improves platelet count.
Being a powerful antioxidant, high doses of vitamin C also prevent free-radical mediated damage of the platelets. Your body requires 400 to 2,000 mg of vitamin C per day, depending on your age and overall health.
- Eat foods high in vitamin C like lemons, oranges, tomatoes, cantaloupes, kiwi, spinach, bell peppers and broccoli.
- You may also take vitamin C in supplement form daily, but only after consulting your doctor.
6. Indian Gooseberries
A popular Ayurvedic remedy to raise your platelet count is Indian gooseberries, also known as amla. The vitamin C in amla can help increase the production of platelets and boost your immune system.
- Eat 3 to 4 gooseberries on an empty stomach every morning.
- Alternatively, mix together 2 tablespoons each of amla juice and honey. Drink it 2 or 3 times daily.
- You can also eat homemade jam or pickles made with fresh Indian gooseberries.