One of the most prolific of mythical monsters is the vampire. Whether it’s the infamous Vlad Dracula, the Hindu goddess Kali or the Norse god Odin, vampires have existed as part of almost every culture. Living corpses in Romania, corrupted warlocks in England, murdered werewolves in Germany and Norway, steel toothed predators in Africa, furry predators in the Outback and stealers of Chi energy in China, vampires require life energy, usually symbolized as blood, to keep living. However, all of this mythology has lead many people to style themselves after vampires and to question whether or not living off of blood is possible, or even healthy.
Many people, most of which fancy themselves sanguinary vampires (people who drink blood as a way to sustain themselves), drink blood as a regular activity. Those who partake often refer to sating some thirst or hunger, to feeling stronger or to growing healthier. If someone feels these things though, it isn’t because the blood they’ve ingested has actually nourished them though. Rather it’s a likely psychological effect because the drinker believes in the power of the blood.
If you break blood down, there isn’t really much in it that’s good for you. Iron is there to make it red, and there’s water and a little bit of protein. However, human blood is put together in such a way that the body isn’t meant to digest. Otherwise you’d be able to ingest your own blood without worry or care. However, if you drink too much blood (a pint is the most that the human body should be able to ingest) you get violently sick. That blood is thrown up in a rather disgusting display so that it’s ejected from your body where it won’t make you ill or damage your stomach lining.
If you don’t drink enough blood to make you throw up though, it isn’t likely to nourish you. True you can absorb the iron in blood, and you could use the water, but if you drink more than a little blood then you’re likely to get too much of a good thing and it can upset the balance of nutrients in your system. Generally the blood is expelled through your stool (which can be alarming if you’re not expecting it), your urine and your pores. Your body wants to get rid of it so that you can take in proper nutrients from food.
There are places in the world where people can, and do, drink blood. However, these are isolated cases. This is not a common trait in humanity, and it is not human blood that’s being drunk in most cases. Blood doesn’t make you stronger or faster, nor does it make you live longer. Whether you drink it, or bathe in it like the mad Countess Elizabeth Bathory, blood is just a bunch of cells meant to absorb and deliver oxygen. If it was that healthy, then blood would be found in your food pantry, and corporations would pay top dollar for donors.
“Blood Drinking,” by Anonymous at Angelfire
“What Are The Effects of Swallowing a Lot of Your Own Blood?” by Anonymous at The Medical Questions
“Oral Health and HIV,” by Dr. Reznik at The Body