Cutting-edge therapies are helping millions of people around the world heal faster, regain mobility and live the lives they want following painful injuries, wounds and chronic conditions. Even the best therapy can be made better. From a holistic perspective, patients have every reason to want to learn about how to use natural methods and lifestyle tips to enhance the benefits of today’s breakthrough therapies. This is certainly the case when it comes to platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy.
PRP therapy is an injection-based outpatient treatment that uses blood taken from your own body to heal damaged or injured tissue. Following a blood draw, the blood is placed in a centrifuge capable of isolating your own plasma and platelets. The “formula” that is created is full of growth factors that can help to repair and restore tissue. Following injection, the platelet-rich plasma helps many people to feel “brand new” in the face of debilitating, long-term tissue injuries.
There’s no denying that PRP therapy is a promising option based solely on the science behind it. However, people who decide to pursue PRP therapy can actually enhance its benefits with some simple lifestyle changes. In some patients, everything from small dietary tweaks to supplementation may contribute to better outcomes. The good news is that these are all things that most of us should be doing in our daily lives even when PRP effectiveness isn’t a motivating factor. Take a look at how to increase blood platelets for best results from PRP therapy.
Eating Foods That Are Rich in Folate (Vitamin B9)
Folate is a B vitamin that we all need for healthy, robust blood cells. Having the correct folate intake enables those newly injected blood cells from PRP therapy to grow more easily. Unfortunately, many people simply don’t get the folate they need. Adults over the age of 19 require 400 micrograms of folate in their daily diets. The recommendation is higher for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Fortunately, folate is a relatively easy vitamin to fit into our diets with some careful planning. The following foods are considered high-folate foods:
- Dark, leafy vegetables.
- Beef liver.
- Kidney beans.
- Black-eyed peas.
- Orange juice.
- Fresh oranges.
- Fortified cereals and breakfast bars.
It’s obviously better to get folate from natural, whole foods like spinach or fresh oranges whenever possible. While foods that are “enriched” with folate still help to contribute to the daily recommended intake, they may also add in unnecessary sugars or carbs that can be counterproductive to good health. The added benefit of getting folate from sources like liver or spinach is that you’re also getting nutrients like iron and protein.
Consuming Plenty of Iron Daily
Iron is another helpful dietary tool for anyone trying to enhance the benefits of PRP therapy. Like folate, iron contributes to the formation of healthy red blood cells. Some common foods that contain high iron content include:
- Beef liver.
- Dark chocolate.
- Fortified cereals.
- Kidney beans.
People looking to improve iron levels shouldn’t necessarily take the fact that dark chocolate makes the list as a license to overindulge. While a square of high-quality dark chocolate is an acceptable source of iron, that doesn’t mean that a blanket statement equating eating chocolate with better PRP results applies! Natural, whole foods that don’t contain refined sugars are going to be better sources of iron.
Avoiding Platelet-Reducing Foods and Beverages
Some foods are known to reduce platelet counts. What is surprising for many people who are looking to naturally boost PRP results is that many of the foods on the platelet-reduction list are actually considered very healthy, whole foods that do belong in a balanced diet. While these foods are considered healthy, they may not be ideal for a PRP-minded person during initial recovery. Here’s a look at the foods that can drag down platelet count:
For those concerned with platelet count, alcohol is the most important item to focus on during the post-PRP phase. That’s because long-term research confirms that alcohol reduces the number of platelets contained in the blood by hampering blood-cell production. Additionally, platelets that are produced tend to be “less sticky” than “normal” platelets.
Avoiding Smoking and Drug Use
The link between smoking cigarettes and delayed wound healing has been established for decades. Continuing to smoke while receiving PRP therapy can be extremely counterproductive. PRP patients should also be conscious of any drug usage that could slow or derail the healing process.
Participating in Regular Cardio Exercise
Intense, routine cardio is one of the best options for naturally strengthening your immune system! Cardio also helps to naturally ramp up our production of red blood cells to amplify the push given by PRP injections. Cardio can obviously be difficult for patients with decreased mobility stemming from pain or stiffness. However, making a plan to safely participate in appropriate forms of cardio is one of the biggest boosts PRP patients can receive!
Taking a Supplement Like Papaya Leaf Extract
It should be said that the science isn’t fully settled on this tip. When working with a doctor who offers PRP therapy, be sure to talk over any supplements that you’re considering before you begin taking them. There is always the risk of interactions between the therapies you’re receiving and the supplements you’re taking.
The reason why papaya leaf extract is on the radars of people receiving PRP therapy goes back to a 2013 study that showed that this supplement significantly increased platelet counts in animals. While that study hasn’t been recreated with humans, another study featuring patients with Dengue fever revealed that people who took papaya leaf juice saw accelerated repopulation of their platelet counts.
Supplementing With Bovine Colostrum
This is another supplement that requires a chat with your doctor. However, the Platelet Disorder Support Association has gone as far as to recommend bovine colostrum as being beneficial for some people looking to improve platelet count. According to researchers, the benefits delivered by bovine colostrum come by way of its rich concentration of proteins involved in platelet activation.
Final Thoughts on Boosting Your PRP Results: Follow Your Post-Procedure Recommendations
Getting approval for PRP therapy brings patients very close to the finish line! However, there’s still a lot that needs to be done before the benefits of PRP can begin trickling in following treatment. Patients can help themselves by being honest about their lifestyles and habits when communicating with their doctors.
It’s also so important to take all post-procedure recommendations seriously. The instructions given following PRP treatments are designed to promote the best outcome by creating the ideal scenario for healing and cell regeneration. It’s also important to remember that “recovery time” doesn’t end when your PRP session is over! Your body will be working hard to trigger increased platelet activity at the injection site for months to come. Make sure you’re creating a natural boost to amplify your results by living a platelet-friendly lifestyle through your diet and actions!