As a prepper, it’s important to know how to change and adapt to an array of different situations. What are you going to do in the event of a hurricane? What about if the economy collapses? What if you run out of your food supplies or water? Having answers to as many of these questions as possible is key, and today, we’re raising the question of “Is drinking blood bad for you?”.
That question might sound awfully odd at first, but in a survival setting, you’ll likely come across it faster than you think. Let’s say that you’ve run out of drinking water and recently killed a deer for food. That deer is filled with blood, and in that moment, you might consider drinking it as a way to fuel your body to keep going.
But is doing this safe? Can you drink animal blood to survive? There’s been debate regarding this matter off and on over the years, but a concrete answer is difficult to come across.
Thats’ what we’re here to settle once and for all.
Buckle up, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover.
Under the right circumstances, you might be able to drink blood to survive
Blood varies quite a lot from body to body, but under the right circumstances, it is safe to drink it.
What qualifies as “the right circumstances”, though?
For starters, it’s only safe to drink blood in very small doses, usually about a few teaspoons at a time. Additionally, if you resort to drinking blood, you’ll want to be absolutely certain that it’s free of any pathogens. Pathogens are blood-born diseases, and when ingested, can cause serious harm to your body.
With these things in place, you might be safe to drink blood without any major issues.
However, notice that we say “might.” It’s hard to be entirely sure when drinking blood to know everything about it, and the risk that’s involved usually outweighs any benefit that comes with it.
The danger of drinking blood to survive
In a dire situation when you’re out of water and getting weaker and weaker, resorting to drinking blood can seem like your best option. Blood is what keeps our bodies alive, after-all, so what’s so bad about ingesting it?
Actually, there are quite a few dangers that you need to be aware of should you choose to do this.
Simply put, blood can be very toxic and harmful to the body when it’s ingested. Very small amounts of healthy blood probably won’t cause too much trouble, but if you drink too much or ingest blood that has pathogens throughout it, you could be looking at seriously bad news.
We all know that blood is rich in iron, and the human body usually has a hard time trying to excrete and work through extra iron that’s put through its system. So, if you drink a lot of blood that’s already heavy in iron, you could very possible get an iron overdose.
Having too much iron in your system is referred to as hemochromatosis, and it can prove to be quite deadly. Between live damage, dehydration, low blood pressure, excess fluid in the lungs, and even nervous breakdowns, the results are not fun.
In other words, if you drink too much blood, it could very easily kill you..
The difference between humans and animals
After reading that, you might begin to wonder why it’s so dangerous for humans to drink blood when animals do it all the time. Whether you’re talking about a coyote, bear, lion, or any other predator, these are all animals that ingest blood on a regular basis when killing and eating their prey.
The bodies of humans and animals are very, very different. Over the years, animals have slowly adapted and changed with special digestive systems that allow them to take in blood without getting horribly ill.
This is described in “The Science of Vampires” by Penguin Putnam:
“[Vampire bats] require an enormous intake of iron, which helps make hemoglobin for carrying oxygen from the lungs to the body tissues. Yet the iron intake is generally higher than what the bat needs, so it has a special process for secreting the excess.
When ingested, the blood goes through a tract that’s adapted for extracting nutrients. Research on this system suggests that bats have a mucous membrane along the intestinal tract that acts as a barrier to prevent too much iron from getting into the bloodstreams.”
What to resort to instead
If it isn’t safe to drink your own blood, then what in the world should you do instead if you find yourself in a desperate situation?
First off, we’d recommend picking up some sort of water filtration system if you don’t already have one. This will allow you to turn virtually any source of water into something that you’ll be able to drink without any issues, and as such, the available drinking water around you will increase substantially.
Water filtration systems come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from large contraptions to devices that are no bigger than a drinking straw. It really is worth investing in something along these lines if you haven’t already, because under the right circumstances, it could be the differences between life and death.
Additionally, if you absolutely need to, you can choose to drink your own urine. This process is much more bearable if you have a water filtration system, but if you don’t, you can resort to this if you have absolutely no other options.
You’ll always want to get actual water over this or blood, but if you have to choose between the two, urine is a safer bet than your own blood.
So, is drinking blood bad for you? In short, yes. There are certain circumstances where you might be able to justify it, but the risks involved with this far outweigh any possible benefits. The number of illnesses associated with drinking blood is tremendously high, and we strongly advise seeking other options to keep yourself hydrated while trying to survive.