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Red Blood Cell Count

Red blood cell count refers to total erythrocytes in serum, and is usually measured in toxicology testing or some instances of anemia. Although higher than average levels of red blood cells can needlessly increase blood pressure, it supports aerobic exercise and oxygen delivery.

Research analysis led by Kamal Patel.
All content reviewed by the Examine.com Team. Published: Jul 5, 2013
Last Updated:

Human Effect Matrix

The Human Effect Matrix looks at human studies (it excludes animal and in vitro studies) to tell you what supplements affect red blood cell count
Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Outcome Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
grade-b - Very High See all 4 studies
The overall amount of red blood cells does not appear to be significantly altered with supplemental vitamin E.
grade-c Minor - See study
At least one study has noted an increase in red blood cell count following ingestion of Royal Jelly
grade-c Minor Moderate See 2 studies
A decrease in RBCs has been noted in one study suggesting saffron toxicity with prolonged supplementation of a double dose (60mg).
grade-c - - See study
grade-c - - See study
Oddly ineffective despite an increase in erythropoetin seen
grade-c - - See study
There are no alterations in red blood cell count with normal doses of garlic (although there does appear to be a decrease when a toxic dose of garlic oil is ingested)
grade-c - - See 2 studies
grade-c - - See study
Currently insufficient evidence to support a change in RBC count.
grade-c - - See study
No influence of this supplement on red blood cell count following prolonged supplementation
grade-d Minor - See study
A normalization of RBC count has been noted in the treatment of hepatitis C with the seed oil of nigella sativa
grade-d Minor - See study
Small drops in red blood cell count were noted in vitamin D-insufficient healthy people supplemented with 800 IU over 12 weeks.
grade-d - Moderate See 2 studies
Supplementation with the water extract of the roots for 30 days in otherwise healthy persons did not significantly influence red blood cell count. Another study found no change in the ashwagandha group but a slight increase in the placebo group when ashwagandha was given to healthy, active adults.
grade-d - Very High See all 3 studies
No effect observed in the studies so far.
grade-d - - See study