We all know that healthy blood is essential to make our body function properly. People with bone marrow disorders don’t produce enough of some blood cells, produce too many of a type of blood cell or unhealthy blood cells, which push out the healthy ones.  But what is blood made up of? And how does that matter to you? Here we look at the basics of how the blood produced by your bone marrow works.

Blood is a body fluid that has four main parts; plasma, red white blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.  Together these components perform essential functions, including the transport oxygen and nutrients to the tissues and lungs, form blood clots to stop excessive bleeding, carry cells and antibodies to fight disease and infection and regulate body temperature.

Blood makes up 7-8% of your total body weight and the average man has about 12 pints of blood in his body at any time, the average woman 9 pints.


Plasma is the liquid that carries the other blood cells around the body. It is straw coloured an made up of water, sugar, fat, protein and salt. As well as making the blood liquid, plasma transports nutrients, waste products, antibodies and proteins around the body, as well as hormones and proteins that help to keep the body’s balance of fluid healthy.

Red Blood Cells (also called RBCs or erythrocytes)

Named because of their bright red color, red blood cells are the cells that give blood their color. Red blood cells in healthy blood make up about 40-45% of the total blood. A healthy red blood cell is shaped like a donut, a spongy disc with a flattened middle. The absence of a nucleus in red blood cells allows them to alter shape to fit through the various blood vessels within the body.

RBC production

Red blood cell production is controlled by a hormone made mainly in the kidneys, called erythropoietin.  Red blood cells are made in the bone marrow and after about 7 days of development they are released into the bloodstream. A red blood cell will survive for about 120 days.

RBC function

Red blood cells contain a protein called hemoglobin, which gives the cells their red color. Hemoglobin is sticky to oxygen and helps carry oxygen from the lungs and disperse it around the rest of the body. Once it has delivered oxygen to tissues, the hemoglobin takes carbon dioxide (the waste product) back to the lungs, where it is breathed out.

Too few red blood cells will result in lack of oxygen in the body and tissues, leading to fatigue, shortness of breath and anemia.

To find out more about white blood cells, platelets and how a bone marrow transplant can create healthy bone marrow and return blood levels to normal, click here. Or contact us for more information about Bone Marrow Transplant Mexico.