Iron Education






Health and Safety




Can I donate if I have low iron? What does having low iron mean?

Checking your hemoglobin level before making a donation gives an indication of how much hemoglobin you have in your red blood cells, and therefore how safe it is for you to donate. Low iron is not the same as being anemic; anemia must be diagnosed by a doctor. LifeSouth requires a hemoglobin level of 12.5 g/dL due to the American Association of Blood Banks suggested regulations.  Some anemia is not due to inadequate iron consumption. If you are chronically anemic, please consult a physician. In order to help maintain adequate blood iron levels, we recommend that you include the following foods in your normal diet:

  • Spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes beans (lima beans, soybean sprouts, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, etc.)
  • Bran cereal, whole wheat bread, white rice cocoa, brown sugar raisins, dried apricots, peaches, nuts (especially black walnuts, almonds and cashews)
  • Oysters, clams, scallops and shrimp
  • Wheat germ and wheat, rice or corn flakes, brewer’s yeast Prune juice, apple juice
  • Red meats, liver, chicken
  • Vitamin C enhances iron absorption
  • The tannic acid in tea can act as an iron blocker carbonated soda can act as iron blockers.
  • Other iron blockers include oxylates and phosphates.