Bloodborne illnesses can be contracted from drinking animal or human blood. Medical professionals do not recommend this practice.

In vampire fiction, drinking blood is haute cuisine. It has no known health benefits and can have serious health risks.

Some groups and subcultures gravitate toward practices like these, such as Sanguinarians or the vampire lifestyle. But within these communities, organizations warn about the risks of drinking actual blood and advise people to take significant safety precautions.

“Let’s learn more about the consequences of drinking blood.”

Warning: The consensus in the medical community is that drinking raw blood is associated with health risks and can have serious, life threatening outcomes. This is not a recommended practice.

It is not safe to drink raw blood.

Carnivorous animals eat raw meat and blood, so why can’t humans? Animals in the wild have anatomy that developed over time to counter the bacteria and foodborne pathogens that can otherwise cause harm. Humans, who found their meat tasted better cooked, didn’t develop as many digestive protections.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) lists foods associated with foodborne illness such as chicken, beef, turkey, and raw eggs. Blood would also be considered raw and potentially carry similar foodborne illness and food poisoning risks.

“In small quantities, drinking animal blood is generally safe. Food poisoning can still be a concern, but a medium-rare steak or blood sausage link won’t have any ill effects.”

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends cooking ground beef, veal, pork, or lamb to an internal temperature of 160°F and steaks, roasts, or chops to an internal temperature of 145°F.

“If the blood wasn’t collected in a sanitary way, it could be dangerous to ingest it. If you eat more than a small amount of blood, you could be at risk of getting infections.”

The risk of certain medical conditions could be increased by drinking blood.

Bloodborne illnesses

As with raw meat, blood can contain harmful bacteria and pathogens that can cause food poisoning and pass on diseases such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, norovirus, or HIV.

“Most people don’t have access to the testing resources that are required to make sure the blood doesn’t contain contaminants”

For the best chance at avoiding foodborne or bloodborne illness, thoroughly cook anything you eat using safe food handling, cooking, and cleaning practices. Some basic tips include:

Blood is covered by all of the safety standards. It is recommended to reconsider if you are considering consuming any raw blood due to the health risks.


Hemochromatosis occurs when the body absorbs too much iron, which can build up to harmful levels.

Primary hemochromatosis is caused by hereditary factors, while secondary hemochromatosis is caused by eating a diet too high in iron or by multiple blood transfusions. The condition can cause illness and damage to organs, including:

  • The heart.
  • The system of hormones.
  • The person has a body part called the liver.
  • The pancreas.
  • There are joints.

Eating a balanced diet of nutrient-rich foods will not typically cause this condition. But consuming large amounts of iron-rich blood could be a risk, especially if you have the genetic markers for hemochromatosis.

Symptoms of hemochromatosis include:

  • fatigue or weakness
  • It is possible to lose weight unintentionally.
  • Joint pain.
  • Bronze or gray skin color is darker than usual.
  • There is abdominal pain.
  • Lower libido.

The answer is no.

A blood transfusion is not the same as drinking blood, and it is not used for people who have lost blood or have difficulty making healthy blood.

With a blood transfusion, the donor blood is transferred to your vein directly through an intravenous (IV) line. This blood is thoroughly tested with rigorous standards to ensure its safety.

There is no evidence that drinking blood has any health benefits, even though you may have heard rumors on the internet.

Depending on where you live, you can be punished for eating blood.

Louisiana, for example, has a law on the books that prohibits “ritualistic acts.” The state defines these as any practice with the intention of ingesting human or animal blood or human or animal waste.

Someone found in violation of the law could be imprisoned for up to 5 years or fined up to $5,000. Other states may have similar laws.

The U.S. Supreme Court has held that animal sacrifices for religious purposes — which may include drinking blood — are constitutional under the First Amendment’s religious liberty clause. But that doesn’t mean people who practice ritualistic animal sacrifice are safe from state animal cruelty laws.

Blood from humans and animals can pose health risks. While eating small amounts of animal blood is not likely to cause harm, it is still a concern for the public. Food handling and cooking are recommended.

If you have any questions about consuming anything with these risks, please consult a medical professional.