8 Things That Can Increase Your Blood Platelet Count

Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
  • Close up of female nurse hands holding blood test vials

    Platelets are red blood cells that help promote clotting, an important function that prevents serious bleeding. However, many things—including cancer, anemia, autoimmune disorders, and certain medications—can cause platelet levels to fall. The same approaches you might use to increase red blood cell production, in general, can help you raise your platelet count. If your doctor has advised you to increase your blood platelet count, you might wonder how to do that. These tips can help you understand how to raise your blood platelet count with foods and supplements.

  • 1
    Eating more leafy greens
    Woman chopping kale on kitchen counter

    Leafy green vegetables like kale and collards contain vitamin K, which will not directly raise your platelet levels but can help your blood clot better. Vitamin K plays an important role in helping your body produce proteins important to the clotting process. Because blood clotting is a complex function that involves not only platelets but other biologic pathways, eating adequate vitamin K can preserve the body’s ability to stop bleeding.

  • 2
    Eating more fatty fish
    Close-up of chopsticks picking up piece of salmon nigiri sushi

    Topping the list of foods that increase platelet counts? Possibly fatty fish, because it’s high in vitamin B12. This vitamin plays a key role in red blood cell formation, and some research suggests low platelet levels may be linked to B12 deficiency. Salmon, trout and tuna all pack a big B12 punch, so add more of these fatty fishes to your diet to help boost your platelet count. You could take a B12 supplement instead, but getting B12 from foods may help your body make use of the vitamin more effectively.

  • 3
    Increasing folate consumption

    Folate (folic acid) is another B vitamin that can help elevate platelet levels. It’s far better to get folate from foods rather than from supplements (except for pregnant women), since folate supplements deliver a high dose of folic acid that can disrupt the ability of B12 to function correctly inside the body. To boost your folate consumption, eat more broccoli, Brussels sprouts, liver, and beans. This should help raise your platelet levels.

  • 4
    Avoiding alcohol
    Young man drinking beer while listening to friend

    Alcohol, whether you choose beer, wine, or spirits, can disrupt red blood cell production in the bone marrow. Damage to the bone marrow can decrease production of all types of red cells, including platelets. It’s not known how much alcohol consumption can cause bone marrow damage. Your best bet is to avoid alcohol entirely if you have a low platelet count. This might help your marrow function better and bring your platelet count back up.

  • 5
    Eating more citrus
    Overhead shot of citrus foots including grapefruit, orange and pomegranate

    Vitamin C plays a key role in how platelets work, so increasing your vitamin C levels can help your existing platelets function better. Vitamin C also helps your body absorb iron, an important component of red blood cell production. To increase your vitamin C consumption, add plenty of fresh oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit to your diet. Ask your doctor about eating grapefruit if you take any prescription medications, though, as compounds in grapefruit can alter medication absorption.

  • 6
    Consuming more iron-rich foods
    Cutting tofu with knife

    While you’re adding citrus to your diet for vitamin C, also consider increasing your iron intake. Avoid iron supplements, which can cause constipation, and instead opt for beef liver, tofu, kidney beans, or oysters. Iron plays a vital role in red blood cell production, which includes platelets. Boosting your iron intake can help you raise your platelet levels naturally. And here’s a fun fact: dark chocolate is a good source of iron, too!

  • 7
    Trying a chlorophyll supplement
    Bowl of chlorella powder

    Chlorophyll may count as one of the supplements that increase blood platelet count. One survey suggested that taking a type of supplement called chlorella (a fresh-water algae) may boost platelet counts in people who had been diagnosed with a platelet disorder. Chlorophyll abounds in any green plant, so taking a supplement that contains spirulina or parsley may also help your platelet levels. You also can increase your chlorophyll intake by eating more green, leafy vegetables and grasses, like wheatgrass.

  • 8
    Avoiding vitamin E and fish oil supplements
    Close-up of vitamin d or e supplements next to open pill bottle

    If you have a low platelet count, it means your blood doesn’t clot as well as it should. Vitamin E and fish oil supplements can make that problem worse. Compounds in these supplements actually decrease the ability of blood to clot, so you should avoid them if you’re trying to increase your platelet count. These supplements won’t cause your platelet count to go lower, but vitamin E and fish oil capsules can disrupt other aspects of the blood clotting process and make you even more prone to bleeding.

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  1. How Can I Increase My Platelet Count Naturally? Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322937
  2. Diet & Lifestyle. Platelet Disorder Support Association. https://pdsa.org/treatments/complementary/food-as-a-cure.html
  3. Vitamins and Other Supplements. Platelet Disorder Support Association. https://www.pdsa.org/treatments/complementary/vitamins-and-supplements.html
  4. Thrombocytopenia (low platelet count). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/thrombocytopenia/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20378298
  5. Thrombocytopenia. U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/thrombocytopenia

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2020 Dec 1
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