• Welcome to the DeeperBlue.com Forums, the largest online community dedicated to Freediving, Scuba Diving and Spearfishing. To gain full access to the DeeperBlue.com Forums you must register for a free account. As a registered member you will be able to:

    • Join over 44,280+ fellow diving enthusiasts from around the world on this forum
    • Participate in and browse from over 516,210+ posts.
    • Communicate privately with other divers from around the world.
    • Post your own photos or view from 7,441+ user submitted images.
    • All this and much more...

    You can gain access to all this absolutely free when you register for an account, so sign up today!

Blood volume and hemoglobin level recovery

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.


New Member
Jun 28, 2002
Okay boys and girls, here's one I haven't seen in the forum yet. After giving blood, approximately how long does it take for your body to recover in terms of blood volume and hemoglobin levels? The first time I experienced this was over the summer. I did a workout two days after giving blood and had a horrible workout. It later occurred to me that my body was still recovering. Since then, when I have given blood I have taken a week off of any freediving activities to avoid frustration, but also to avoid trouble since I know that I could potentially push myself too far.

Thanks in advance for any input or thoughts on the matter.

A vampire once told me...

Not to worry. It would be back in 24 hours. For menstruating woman too.

I believe him.


Plasma volume will recover in 24 hours. Hemoglobin will take at least 3 weeks to recover, and only if you take iron supplements. Further, if you were in intense training when you gave blood, your hemoglobin will never return to the previous level, until you repeat the same training sequence as before.

The bottom line is that for freedivers, donating blood is much more of a sacrifice than for the average joe.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
Thanks guys. It doesn't surprise me that there is full recovery of some blood components, but I'm also not surprised that hemoglobin takes so long. That explains a lot and helps me get a better grasp on what I'm looking at when donating blood and training or diving.

Hey Skin, what are you doing having conversations with vampires anyway? ;)


use it for the plus

So , would it not be to ones advantage ,
to train and donate blood regularly (every 2 weeks),
thus training with a disadvantage, and get your body used to under performing.


some weeks before and event, you stop donating blood, eat a lot of iron (supplements)
and have like a blood doping effect ?
You can also keep one "donation" in the fridge, and return it to it's origin before the comp.

I don't know if healthy, legal or usefull, but I saw in some movies that some athletes do that (FICTION movies).

Hmm, I guess that from a too high level of hemoglobin/hematcrit(spelling) you could get an unwanted blood coagulation and result in a stroke.

So too much hemoglobin can hurt you more.
I wouldn't suggest it....


I understand your thinking, but I don't think that it would work in this case. It's kind of the flip side of training at altitude. By training at altitude your limiting the available O2 and training your body to be more efficient. But I would be surprised if it would work by limiting your hemoglobin, which is what you're essentially talking about. There are complications in measuring improvement also. How do you tell what is actually improvement in your static times due to training vs. improvement due to recouping hemoglobin?

Interesting topic .......


Originally posted by DeepThought
You can also keep one "donation" in the fridge, and return it to it's origin before the comp.

I don't know if healthy, legal or usefull, but I saw in some movies that some athletes do that (FICTION movies).

this is called blood doping (i dont know if this is just the cycling slang for it though) for this to work, you need to remove the blood plasma from the blood that was taken, and then you only put back the hemoglobin/hemocrit into your body, which will increase your hemoglobin/hemocrit concentration,
similar to EPO but all "natural"

however, if to much hemocrit is added back into the body the same consequences as EPO occur, your blood becomes too thick and you have a stroke/heartattack because your heart cant pump the blood


(this is from one of my conversations my coach, i dont know if this is entirely right, or if i am missing something)

oh and its illegal if your hemocrit/hemoglobin level is over 50% (and they do a blood test) the results would be the same as EPO doping... and it would ruin your career

Currently, no freediving organization does blood testing. So your favourite star freediver could be blood doping or using EPO and no one would know.

In cycling, a blood test with hematocrit of more than 50% does not mean your career is over. In fact, it doesn't prove anything. For them, it is simply not safe for you to race in that state. The star of cycling recently measured at 52%, which to most people meant he 'doped', when in fact it is possible to reach more than 50% naturally. Excluding the athlete from competing is not an accusation of doping, because neither EPO nor blood doping can yet be conclusively proven. They simply prevent the athlete from competing due to safety reasons.

Keep in mind that enormously thick blood is possible naturally. Andean natives (living at 5000m+) frequently have hematocrits of 75-80%, but their blood does not get excessively thick, because their body reduces their fibrinogen and other viscosity agents to partially compensate for the increased viscosity due to the extra hemoglobin. The problem is if you put your hematocrit way up there with EPO or blood doping (i.e. artificially & suddenly), then your body was not responsible for the increase, and your body is not able to adjust other viscosity agents to compensate, so you can suffer a stroke/heart attack.

So, high hematocrits can be very safe, but only if your body reached that level naturally.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
  • Like
Reactions: Erik
Platelets Count

I have a medical condition called Idiopatic Trombocytopenia Purpura (I.T.P.) since 1999. This condition keeps my platelets count between 80,000- 40,000. The normal count is between 140,000 and 400,000. I am not taking medications at the moment. I want dive without being worried about bleeding. I want to know how dangerous is to freedive with a low platelets count and how can I get more infromation. Thank you for helping.

Javier Matos Vázquez
DeeperBlue.com - The Worlds Largest Community Dedicated To Freediving, Scuba Diving and Spearfishing


ISSN 1469-865X | Copyright © 1996 - 2024 deeperblue.net limited.

DeeperBlue.com is the World's Largest Community dedicated to Freediving, Scuba Diving, Ocean Advocacy and Diving Travel.

We've been dedicated to bringing you the freshest news, features and discussions from around the underwater world since 1996.