Low Blood Count? How to Increase Your White Blood Cell Count
A sufficient white blood cell count is essential for your immune system. Produced from hematopoietic stem cells in the bone marrow, white blood cells, or leukocytes, are the immune system’s fighter cells that protect the body from infectious diseases coming from foreign pathogens like bacteria and viruses. An increased white blood cell count typically points out to an infection, a drug reaction, an issue in the bone marrow, or an immune system disorder. But that’s another topic for another time.
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In this article, we will focus on increasing a low white blood cell count. A low blood count of the leukocytes may result from simple problems such as an infection or allergies, or serious health issues like anemia, leukemia, or autoimmune disorders. This makes the body more vulnerable to diseases. But before we head off to the natural ways of increasing our fighter cells, let’s discuss first what is considered as a “normal” blood count.
What is the Normal White Blood Cell Count?
A white blood cell count between 4,500 to 10,000 white blood cells (WBCs) per microliter of blood is considered to be “normal”. When it gets 3,500 or less, generally, it can be considered as low WBC. A very low count of white blood cells amounting to 1,000 is already a forewarning of a possible serious infection. In addition, a certain medical condition called “neutropenia” happens when neutrophils, a common type of white blood cells deemed vital for fighting off various infections, get abnormally low, usually with 1,500 neutrophils per microliter of blood. You can always undergo a test to determine low blood count, especially if you are experiencing fatigue, weakness, shortness of breathing, fever, sore throat, lymph nodes that are swollen, and in particular, recurring infections that seem untreatable.
How to Increase Your Low White Blood Cell Count
It is always a must to have a regular consultation with your physician. You may be recommended, especially if it is a severe case, to take certain medications to increase your low blood count. Nonetheless, there are natural approaches available that you could easily incorporate into your daily routine to help improve the condition of your white blood cells. Yes, through this list, you can naturally increase your low white blood cell count and your immune system overall.
While the body has its own process of producing vitamin A, boosting your consumption via vitamin-rich foods or even supplements will upsurge the production of lymphocytes, one of the white blood cell subtypes mostly occurring in the lymphatic system that include natural killer T and B cells. This is along with various immune processes that vitamin A can foster. You can get your daily dose of vitamin A from green leafy (or otherwise), yellow and orange vegetables like carrots and squash; fruits such as mangoes and cantaloupe; fishes including salmon; and other organ meats like beef liver. Vitamin A Deficiency? Top 20 Vitamin A Foods You Have to Try Before Supplements
Vitamin B9, also known as folic acid or simply folate, on one hand, is needed for the production of neutrophils. As stated above, a low blood count with this particular white blood cell can lead to neutropenia which increases the body’s vulnerability to infections. A folate deficiency, along with the lack of iron, can also lead to anemia, a condition where there aren’t enough red blood cells in the blood to carry the nutrients to the rest of the body. 400 micrograms of folate are the daily recommendation for adults; rich sources include legumes, leafy green vegetables, cereals, and rice.
Naturally found in virtually any fruits, particularly citrus fruits, vitamin C has been proven by many studies to be greatly responsible for a fortified immune system. Vitamin C is said to have influence over various mechanisms of the immune system. Specifically, the synthesis of the different white blood cells lymphocytes, phagocytes, and neutrophils, along with its functions, is promoted. Moreover, it augments the production of interferon, a group of signaling proteins that sets off a physiological response to prevent cells from being infected, and enhances the response of the body’s immune system from vaccination. The recommended amount of vitamin C daily consumption for adults is 70 to 90 milligrams, and through an upper limit of 2,000 mg a day is not harmful, megadoses can lead to diarrhea. Vitamin C Deficiency? Top 10 Vitamin C Foods You Have to Try Before Supplements
Another nutrient that does not really help, at least directly, in the white blood cells production is vitamin D. It does help though by reducing the frequency at which they are destroyed. A low level of vitamin D can affect the way our body holds off common illnesses like flu or cold and even as serious as cancer, thus making one more susceptible. Simply spend time in the sun since vitamin D is being regulated by the sunshine. Similarly, incorporate eggs, fatty fish, fortified milk and grass-fed butter, yogurt, and enriched cereals into your diet. Consuming about 15 to 20 micrograms of vitamin D is advised for adults. Vitamin D Deficiency? Top 20 Vitamin D Foods You Have to Try Before Supplements
The last booster for low white blood cells we have in this item is vitamin E, the intake of which the synthesis of natural killer cells that destroys foreign invaders is being stimulated. Aside from that, vitamin E is also responsible for the manufacture of B-cells or B lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell that produces antibodies which bind with pathogens and aid in its destruction. The Percent Daily Value (DV) for this vitamin is 30 IU or roughly 20 mg. Among the rich sources of vitamin E are raw seeds and nuts like almonds; vegetables including spinach, parsley, olives, kale, and turnip greens; and fruits like papaya and avocado. By and large, all these vitamins are effective antioxidants that have been shown in numerous researches to improve the function and maintain an optimal white blood cell count by preventing oxidative damage to them. Vitamin E Deficiency? Top 10 Vitamin E Foods You Have to Try Before Supplements
Speaking of powerful antioxidants, zinc is among the essential minerals needed to increase low white blood cell count and restore its normal functioning to further boost the immune system. Aside from augmenting immune function, zinc plays other important roles for the body’s defences including, 1) the enhancement of the cell activity and function of neutrophils and macrophages, a big white blood cell that consumes and digests cancer cells, cellular debris, and other foreign substances; 2) the activation and development of T-cells or T lymphocytes, in which the reduced production thereof is linked to zinc deficiency; and 3) the reduced risk of pneumonia and other various infections especially in children and elderly.
15 mg of zinc is the recommended DV or Daily Value. Usually, foods are considered high sources of a certain nutrient when they give 20% or more of the DV. The most notable example for zinc is oysters. You can also consume beef, crab, cereals, lobster, pork, and baked beans to help increase the low white blood cell count. Just be careful not to do so in excess since 75 mg or more can actually inhibit the function of the immune system.
Another natural antioxidant essential in increasing your low blood count is selenium, particularly in the production of your lymphocytes and neutrophils. Some research illustrated that taking selenium, particularly among the elderly, got their immune system responding to the flu vaccine better than those with placebo. Even parasitic infections and allergic asthma are addressed with selenium, solidifying its worth in this list of increasing your low white blood cells. 70 microgram of selenium for adults and even children aged 4 and above is the recommendation. You can meet this selenium requirement on a daily basis via consumption of Brazil nuts, tuna, sardines, shrimp, ham, beef steak and beef liver among others. Selenium Deficiency? Top 10 Selenium Foods You Have to Try Before Supplements
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
This gives us all the more reason to never miss out mackerel, salmon, and sardines, along with other omega-3 rich foods like walnuts and avocados, in our diet. A daily dose of 250 to 500 milligrams specifically of EPA and DHA is recommended, though there isn’t really a given prescribed amount for omega-3. Being an immunomodulatory property—a substance which affects immune functions—omega-3 helps improve low white blood cell count by boosting phagocytes, a cell that engulfs bacteria and viruses. In addition, an interesting study at the San Diego School of Medicine in the University of California revealed how omega-3 fatty acids lessen chronic inflammation and curtail the cells’ insulin resistance. This process has something to do with the overwork of macrophages which causes inflammation. This discovery suggests that even a simple dietary supplement can help manage inflammation in diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and obesity. Omega 3 Deficiency? Top 10 Omega 3 Foods You Have to Try Before Supplements
Perhaps everybody knows how rich of a source green tea is for antioxidants. Being a great immune system booster, it’s also effective in stimulating the production of low white blood cells with its rich flavonoid content, decreasing the risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases as a result. Also noteworthy is L-theanine contained in teas. This amino acid augments immune function by prompting disease-fighting T-cells during a bacterial infection. A research put out in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed tea’s ability to prime the immune system by instructing the immune cells to identify alkylamines, a chemical produced by bacteria and other disease-causing invaders, which are also present in tea.
A Balanced Diet
The significance of a proper diet cannot be overstated, even in the discussion of the increasing low white blood cell count. Specifically, these foods should be included in your daily intake:
- Besides fiber, essential minerals like copper and fiber, almonds provide vitamin E, a vital nutrient we have discussed already. Almond skins were also found out to be effective in enhancing leukocytes’ ability to detect foreign invaders and thereby improving the system’s ability to stop them from replicating and spreading out. A handful of almonds a day will do.
- Citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges, tangerines, and grapefruits, as stated above, contain vitamin C, making this group of food highly vital in warding off infections. Papaya too is brimming with vitamin C and folic acid. It also has anti-inflammatory qualities with its digestive enzymes that are beneficial to the body’s well-being as a whole. Lastly, the kiwi is packed with vitamin C, K, and folic acid. By increasing your low white blood cells, it can protect you from a common cold and other flu complications.
- Vegetables like broccoli are potent sources of vitamins and minerals, vital for the increasing low white blood cell count. It’s recommended to cook them as little as it can, or eat them raw, to get the most of its vitamin A, C, and E content. Red bell pepper chopped raw can double the DV of vitamin C. Spinach, on one hand, is teeming with beta-carotene which does not only increase natural killer cells but also lower the risk of acquiring a heart attack and stroke. Cook them light to reduce oxalic acid which can get toxic in big doses. Last in this group of low blood count booster is garlic which has always been proven to not only enhance the immune system as a whole but also aid in cutting back free radicals.
Leading a healthy lifestyle is also of prime importance not just in increasing your low white blood cell count but enhancing your immune system overall. That would include maintaining a regular exercise, limiting your alcohol consumption, cutting off harmful habits like smoking, managing stress, and even practicing proper hygiene.