Can moringa increase platelets? This has been one of the things that experts have been looking into with regards to moringa oleifera. Having a very impressive nutritional profile, some researchers believe it can help address platelet problems.
As parents, and as humans in general, if there’s one thing we do not want for ourselves or our families that would be that any of us get sick. However, in this day and age, we cannot deny the fact that there are just so many factors that affect human health and overall well-being.
Now, our body as you know is composed mostly of blood. Blood is essential to keep our body functions normally. The blood helps send out oxygen to the different parts of the body, as well as it acts as a vessel that brings all the vitamins and minerals, and nutrients that people intake.
Now, the blood has different compositions – and one of them is the platelets. Platelets play a very important role especially when bleeding happens. It is the primary blood cell that helps the body to form clots to stop bleeding. It helps fix the damage when one of the blood vessels malfunctions.
With that said, the lack of platelet would mean imbalance and may cause a greater risk in one’s health. That is why when healthcare providers find out that a person lacks platelets, they require immediate action to be done.
While there are so many medicines that helps address the problem right there and then, there are also natural ways of dealing with such case. No wonder why in recent years, more and more studies are being conducted particularly in this emerging superfood called moringa. Researchers started checking out hoping to answer the question — can moringa increase platelets?
But first —
What is the platelet?
Although we already mentioned a brief description about what platelet does a while ago, let’s go deeper and look into what is it really.
According to Dr. Marlene Williams, assistant professor of medicine and CICU director at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center (as published in the Johns Hopkins Medicine website), “Platelets are the cells that circulate within our blood and bind together when they recognize damaged blood vessels.”
The doctor further said that the platelets, also known as thrombocytes, “bind to the site of the damaged vessel, thereby causing a blood clot.” The clot happens because that is how platelets react to stop a bleeding from happening.
The platelet is considered as the smallest type of blood cells. In fact, it can only be seen by using a microscope. They are called as such because they literally look like small plates in their non-active forms.
When a blood vessel is damaged, it normally sends out a signal, and once the platelet received that signal, the plate immediately responds and travels down the affected area and transforms into its “active” form. Platelets grow long tentacles to be able to make contact with the damaged blood vessel, and then, it resemble an octopus or spider when that happens.
Normally, a person must have 150,000 to 450,000 platelets per microliter of blood. On one hand, when the number decreases or below the normal level, which is less than 150,000, the condition is called thrombocytopenia. On the other hand, when a person’s platelet is more than the normal level, which is 450,000 platelets, the condition is called thrombocytosis. Either way, having less or more platelets is poses a threat to human health and must be addressed as soon as possible by healthcare providers.
Usually, you will know the number of platelets you have in your body by conducting a routine blood test called complete blood count. As soon as you notice some irregularity in your platelet count, you must immediately consult a doctor.
What are the symptoms of low platelet count?
Now, since we are specifically addressing if can moringa increase platelet, let us look into why decreases platelet count happens.
As published in the Johns Hopkins Medicine website, when a person does not have enough platelet count, the condition is called thrombocytopenia. Normally, a person’s platelet drops when “something is preventing your body from producing platelets”.
Furthermore, according to Healthline.com, you would know if you have low platelets if you have or you are experiencing any of the following:
- red, purple, or brown bruises, which are called purpura
- a rash with small red or purple dots called petechiae
- bleeding gums
- bleeding from wounds that lasts for a prolonged period or doesn’t stop on its own
- heavy menstrual bleeding
- bleeding from the rectum
- blood in your stool
- blood in your urine
In addition, in more serious cases, a person may go through an internal bleeding. You would know if you have internal bleeding if you experience the following symptoms:
- blood in the urine
- blood in the stool
- bloody or very dark vomit
As soon as you notice such symptoms, it is highly advised to immediately see a healthcare provider so that further tests may be done.
Moreover, in some very rare cases, this blood condition could also lead bleeding in your brain, which is very tricky if that happens. If you were found to have low platelet count, and you experience headaches or any neurological problems, see your doctor as soon as you can.
What causes of low platelet count?
There is a wide variety of causes why a person’s platelet count drops. But some of the common reasons according to the Johns Hopkins Medicine report are the following:
- An inherited condition
- Certain types of cancer, such as leukemia or lymphoma
- Chemotherapy treatment for cancer
- Kidney infection or dysfunction
- Too much alcohol intake
In addition, based on Healthline.com, below are some possible causes why a person gets decreased platelet count:
– Bone marrow problems
The bone marrow is the “spongy tissue inside the bone.” It is where the production of all the blood components happens, which include platelets. Now, if your bone marrow is not producing enough platelets, then that is when you get decreases platelet count.
Low platelet count causes that are related to bone marrow problems include:
- aplastic anemia
- vitamin B-12 deficiency
- folate deficiency
- iron deficiency
- viral infections, including HIV, Epstein-Barr, and chickenpox
- exposure to chemotherapy, radiation, or toxic chemicals
- consuming too much alcohol
– Platelet destruction
In a normal and healthy body, a platelet can live for about 10 days. But in some cases, the body destroys too many platelets resulting to low platelet count. This may be because of taking certain medications like diuretics and anti-seizure medications.
However, in some cases, it can also be because of the following conditions:
- hypersplenism, or an enlarged spleen
- an autoimmune disorder
- a bacterial infection in the blood
- idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura
- thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura
- hemolytic uremic syndrome
- disseminated intravascular coagulation
How is a low platelet count diagnosed?
Depending on the severity of the case, or the suspected case, your healthcare provider may detect your platelet count or platelet problems by conducting any of the following tests:
- Blood Test (Complete Blood Count)
- Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy
What are the treatments available to address low platelet count?
Now, like any other diseases, there are treatments that can be done to possibly help address low platelet count. However, the treatment will depend on the cause and the severity of your condition.
Normally, if the condition is mild, healthcare providers would hold off on treatment, and instead, monitor your condition. To help avoid your condition from worsening, you may be asked to:
- Shun away from doing contact sports
- Avoid doing activities with a high risk of bleeding or bruising
- Limit your alcohol intake
- Stop or switch medications that affect platelets (e.g. aspirin and ibuprofen)
In some cases, your healthcare provider may suggest supplements to help increase your platelet count. That is where moringa comes into place. Later on, we will discuss further how can moringa increases platelets?
Furthermore, still based on Healthline’s report, in cases when the low platelet count is considered as severe, your doctor may require you to undergo medical treatments like:
- Blood or platelet transfusions
- Changing medications that are causing a low platelet count
- Immune globulin
- Corticosteroids to block platelet antibodies
- Drugs that suppress your immune system
- Spleen removal surgery
Now, that we already understand what platelet is all about, what are the symptoms and causes of low platelet count, let’s move on to the real deal – how can moringa increase platelets? But before that let’s get to know what moringa is all about first —
What is moringa?
Moringa oleifera or popularly known as moringa is a plant tree that has been found to be rich in essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals that are essential to help keep the body healthy, as well as in preventing and treating certain health conditions.
Moringa oleifera is the most popularly used and the most common type out of 13 various moringa species. Moringa oleifera is a native plant tree of India. However, it is also well-known in other Southeast Asian countries like Pakistan, Nepal, and the Philippines. Since the tree easily grows in tropical countries, it is not surprising that it also grows in certain parts of Africa, South America, as well as Oceania.
Moringa has been long existent, but it was only in recent years when it became well-known in global arena. While it has already been used for centuries as a staple food as well as for medicinal purposes by folk or herbal medicine practitioners in its countries of origin, it has only been recently when more people have come to know this superfood.
Through research, experts found that moringa is rich in vitamins and minerals that are essential to human health. Also, because of its nutritional profile, it has been found to help prevent and/or treat certain kinds of diseases.
Interestingly, almost all of the moringa tree’s parts are useful. From its leaves to its flowers, seeds, fruit, and even the moringa bark and roots were also found to be very helpful and nutritious. Yes, all of these are filled with their respective set of nutrients. However, it has been found that among all the parts, moringa leaves are the most nutritious of all. In fact, when shade-dried correctly, moringa leaves’ nutritional content increases by 300-500%.
With such amazing fact, it is not surprising why moringa was tagged as “miracle tree” and “tree of life”.
What is the nutritional profile of moringa?
In September 2014, the United Nations the Food and Agricultural Organization named moringa oleifera as the “Traditional Crop of the Month”. Such recognition was given because of the amazing nutritional profile and benefits of this superfood.
As mentioned earlier, moringa oleifera is rich in vitamins and minerals. Some of its essential components include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
- Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin K (Phylloquinone)
As mentioned earlier, moringa leaves were found to be the most nutritious of all the parts of the moringa tree.
In the book entitled, “Nutritive Value of Indian Foods,” which was published by the National Institute of Nutrition’s 1989, it says that moringa leaves contain such as a very impressive nutritional value compare to other food type like (data published as it is):
- Seven times the amount of vitamin C in an orange
- Three times the amount of iron in spinach
- Four times the amount of vitamin A in a carrot
- Four times the amount of calcium in one glass of milk
- Three times the potassium in one banana
- Two times the protein found in regular, plain yogurt
How can moringa increases platelets?
Many studies have been done regarding the efficacy of moringa in relation to blood problems. While further studies have yet to be made, there are studies that show a very promising result particularly addressing how can moringa increases platelets.
In the article entitled, “Moringa Oleifera Leaves as an Inhibitor of Human Platelet Aggregation” published in Pharmaceutical Biology Journal on ResearchGate, it states:
“Moringa oleifera L. (Moringaceae) leaves were examined for their effect on human platelet aggregation in vitro. The aqueous extract of Moringa oleifera leaves significantly (p ≤ 0.05) inhibited platelet aggregation induced by agonists such as adenosine diphosphate, collagen, and epinephrine. The degree of inhibitory activity varied depending on the agonist used, the concentration of extract and duration of incubating the extract with platelets. Heat treatment reduced the inhibitory activity of the extract against platelet aggregation. In addition, the extracts significantly (p ≤ 0.05) decreased the amount of malonaldehyde formed in agonist challenged platelets. This study is the first report on the effect of aqueous extract of Moringa oleifera leaves against human platelet aggregation. Overall, Moringa oleifera leaves have the potential to protect platelets against aggregation.”
In addition, in a research article entitled, “Healing and Prophylactic Effects of Moringa Oleifera Leaf Extract on Lead Induced Damage to Haematological and Bone Marrow Elements in Adult Wistar Rat Models” published in Open Access Scientific Reports website, a study conducted has found that:
“Generally, the administration of lead had an adverse effect on blood hemoglobin and the administration of Moringa produced a regenerative effect in most instances. Level of such effect, however, varies in sexes. Lead also appeared to affect cellular immunity, in agreement with report of Jonderko. The effects of Moringa though were positive, certain instances did not appear positively constant.”
In conclusion, based on the study conducted among animals, they found that:
“Lead generally has a deleterious effect both in hematological parameter observed, as well as hematopoiesis in the bone marrow, by reducing hemoglobin concentration and or capacity, as well as altering the leuco-erythroid ratio in the bone marrow as a sign of cellular immunity imbalance. Moringa in almost all cases, produced an effect that was positive while in most instances, being regenerative or healing and in some other instances reducing the severity of lead toxicity. Moringa on its own also appears to improve the quantity of blood hemoglobin, when administered.”
From our personal point of view, any studies have found that moringa may help in addressing blood-related problems. In fact, some studies even suggest that moringa is a great source of vitamins and minerals that are good in maintaining blood health. It is rich in iron, and other essential nutrients need to fight off blood cases like anemia.
With that in mind, we find it not surprising if in future studies, it will be found that moringa is indeed effective in increasing platelet counts. After all, it has been long believed by folk or herbal medicine practitioners to be efficient in addressing health issues like blood problems.
With all that’s been said, can moringa increase platelets really? Well, based on what we found, we believe it has the potential, but further studies must be made especially among humans to prove this claim. Meanwhile, there is totally nothing wrong if you would want to incorporate moringa into your diet – just make sure though to consult your healthcare provider first. After all, it contains necessary nutrients to keep you healthy.