Uh, why is my plasma green?

We all know that “being green” is pretty trendy right now. But your blood components actually being green? That’s kind of weird/cool/gross to think about…

I never really thought about the fact that health and lifestyle factors could affect the hue of your blood and plasma until Lise brought this topic up to me a few weeks ago. I didn’t have any answers to her questions, which was driving my inquisitive nature absolutely crazy. So I did a little research and here’s some fun–and totally random–facts about habits that affect the color of your blood and plasma:

Birth control: Women who are on birth control tend to have a greenish tinge to their blood and plasma. It’s a harmless chemical reaction that some of the types of birth control pills have with plasma proteins.
Carrots: If you eat a lot of carrots (I mean A LOT), your plasma might be a yellowish-orange color. The pigments in the carrots can actually turn your skin a yellowish-orange color, too! Not so cute.
Fatty foods: Eating a meal high in fat before you donate plasma can make your plasma look milky (instead of transparent yellow like “normal” plasma). This is due to an increase in blood fats called triglycerides. The milky color can sometimes interfere with post-donation lab testing, so avoid eating fast food before donating plasma!
Smoking: The blood of really heavy smokers is often a bright raspberry red color. This is due to increased levels of carbon monoxide in their red blood cells. The carbon monoxide interferes with the absorbtion of oxygen in the blood…yet another reason to lay off the ciggies.


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