Platelets, or thrombocytes, are cells that are vital to your blood's ability to clot. While a low platelet count, or thrombocytopenia, can arise from a variety of conditions, a variety of vitamin supplements can help prevent and treat this condition. Despite the ability of some vitamins to increase your platelet count, you should not use these supplements to replace pharmaceutical treatments.
Vitamin C, otherwise known as ascorbic acid, is involved in the production and maintenance of your body's tissues. In addition, this vitamin is linked to a number of immune-boosting properties. As such, it may not come as a surprise that Atsushi Hirano and Hiroshi Ueoka of Okayama University Medical School in Okayama, Japan, found the use of ascorbic acid supplements to be effective in the treatment of chronically low platelet counts, in a 2007 study.
By taking vitamin C supplements or eating foods rich in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, you may be able to increase your platelet count.
Similar to vitamin C, vitamin D plays roles in healthy bone development and maintaining and repairing immune cells. While the Platelet Disorder Support Association, or PDSA, recommends both vitamin C and vitamin D supplements to help avoid low platelet disorders, vitamin D supplementation may only be effective if your low platelet count arises from a vitamin D deficiency.
Whether or not it directly raises your platelet count, a 2008 report by doctors John Cannell of the Vitamin D Council and Bruce Hollis of the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina, recommends vitamin D when treating low platelets. In addition to supplements, good sources of vitamin D include fortified milk and exposure to sunlight.
One of the symptoms of low platelet count is vitamin B12 deficiency. As such, vitamin B12 may play a role similar to vitamin D, helping to increase your platelet count if your low platelet count is related to a vitamin deficiency. Endorsed by the PDSA, the role of supplements and foods rich in vitamin B12, such as fish, eggs and dairy products, in raising your platelet count is noted by the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements.
Due to the negative effects of excessive vitamin B12 on your blood's ability to clot, however, you should not exceed the recommended daily intake unless advised to do so by your doctor.
While vitamin K may not directly influence your platelet count, it is essential to your blood's ability to clot. In fact, the name "vitamin K" originates from the German "Koagulationsvitamin," highlighting this vitamin's role in the coagulation of blood. Endorsed by the PDSA, the use of vitamin K to help treat low platelet disorders is common. Found in such foods as liver, broccoli and asparagus, vitamin K can help to reduce your risk of excessive bleeding due to a low platelet count, thus increasing your chances of being effectively treated for and recovering from this condition.