Is Drinking Blood Good For You?

Blood is the essence of life It brings rich nutrients and oxygen to the many organs and muscles upon which we rely

Without it, we could not live There are people who see the potential for blood to enhance and restore our health Not just any blood, though – they seek human blood You may not notice them, but tens of thousands of people around the world are vampires But is drinking blood as beneficial as they claim? And should they do it? Throughout history, there have been people who drank the blood of others in order to extend their lives

In the late 1500s, Hungarian Countess Bathory tortured and killed hundreds of teenage girls in order to keep her youthful looks In 1492, three ten year old boys died so Pope Innocent VIII could drink their blood on his deathbed This is claimed to be the world’s first blood transfusion, but blood infusions were already widely used in what is known as corpse medicine In 1649, the crowd at Charles I’s execution rushed to mop up the king’s blood, so they could benefit from its healing properties As Richard Sugg from the University of Durham says, “Blood was a medium between the physical and the spiritual

” Imbibing the blood of a healthy young human, brings the strength of their soul too Today, there is a subculture of people who identify as medical sanguinarians, or clinical vampires They drink human blood to alleviate sometimes cripplingly painful symptoms that modern medicine has been unable to remedy In 2014, Doctor Emyr Williams said there are up to 15,000 vampires in the United Kingdom In the USA, a survey found at least 5,000; it is quite probably there are many thousands more

Sociologist DJ Williams says, “From what we can tell, most major cities across the world have a vampire community” Clinical vampires often suffer fatigue, headaches, excruciating stomach pain and nausea They only find relief by consuming human blood, drank in shots – typically, seven shots to a cup’s worth of blood makes the worst sufferers feel better

According to research by John Edgar Browning, blood treatments can work for weeks and are not taken every day In this regard, it does seem that drinking human blood is beneficial to clinical vampires Tomas Ganz from the University of California Los Angeles says blood is highly nutritious and a natural laxative, which may explain why it helps treat the symptoms described by vampires Alternatively, vampirism may be another example of the placebo effect – where the mere belief that drinking blood will help, has a positive effect on the physical symptoms But in this day and age, we know that compatible blood types and communicable diseases are a genuine danger

In response to this, vampires usually conduct the process of drinking human blood to very modern standards Blood must be provided consensually by a fully-informed donor Both the donor and the vampire are first tested at sexual health clinics for transmissible diseases If they are both clear, the vampire will make an incision somewhere on the body, using disposable scalpels or syringes, which they open and clean in front of the donor They will swab the donor’s skin before the first cut

Some vampires prefer to drink directly from the wound If so, they clean their lips and brush their teeth beforehand Still, Tomas Ganz says these precautions cannot completely remove the risk of infection “Testing in sexually transmitted disease clinics does not cover the full spectrum of potentially transmissible diseases, but should cover the more common ones such as HIV or hepatitis B and C” Even if the blood is clean, it can be life-threatening to consume it

Generally speaking, a teaspoon of human blood will not harm us However, if a person regularly drinks more than that, they can develop haemochromatosis – an iron overdose The body cannot easily excrete excess iron, and blood contains a lot of it Animals that live on a diet of blood, like vampire bats, leeches and mosquitoes, have specially adapted physiologies to prevent too much iron being ingested Haemochromatosis can lead to a buildup of fluid in the lungs, dehydration, low blood pressure, liver damage, heart disease and nervous disorders

The early symptoms of iron overload include fatigue, weight loss, joint pain, weakness, irregular menstrual cycles, and erectile dysfunction If untreated, the sufferer has a high risk of death As Benjamin Radford, deputy editor of the Skeptical Inquirer, summarises, “Because humans did not evolve an iron-extracting mechanism, drinking blood can kill us” However, the true effects of vampirism can only be established through a comprehensive study of medical records This will be very difficult to achieve, because vampires are understandably reluctant to disclose their habits to doctors The secretive nature of the vampire community has grown from fear of persecution, which itself has grown from popular perceptions of vampirism Blood-quaffing serial killers like Richard Chase and Rod Ferrell have confirmed the worst parts of fiction and folklore in the eyes of the public

DJ Williams observes, “When people talk about self-identified vampires, a lot of times these horrible images come to mind So the community has been closed and suspicious of outsiders” Yet thanks to the Internet, vampires form a worldwide network

They are perfectly normal people, with children, hobbies and respectable careers Nevertheless, they still operate in secret You probably wouldn’t recognise them in the street You might be very good friends with one They might even ask you to be a donor

But before you say yes, remember that drinking human blood requires many safety precautions, and even then is likely to cause many serious health problems A very small sip of blood now and then won’t hurt you, but a habit may kill you

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