Home Remedies

Low White Blood Cell Count: Types, Causes + 15 Home Remedies To Increase The WBC Count

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Low White Blood Cell Count: Types, Causes + 15 Home Remedies To Increase The WBC Count Hyderabd040-395603080 January 21, 2020

Why do you develop a fever after a bout of cold and flu? Well, the fever is a result of the effort of the white blood cells (WBCs), also known as leukocytes, in fighting infectious microbes.

White blood cells are cellular components of blood that lack hemoglobin but possess a nucleus. White blood cells are also motile, and their main function is to protect the body from infections and disease.

What happens when there is a significant drop in your white blood cell count? Infection alert! Your body becomes vulnerable to even the smallest of infections. But worry not – we are here to tell you how to deal with that. Keep reading to know more!

Did You Know?

The number of leukocytes in the blood is an indicator of a disease. Hence, the white blood cell count is an important component of the complete blood count.

 

What Are The White Blood Cell Counts?

  • Average Normal Range Of WBCs 3,500-10,500 white blood cells per microliter of blood.
  • Low WBC Count Less than 4,500 white blood cells per microliter of blood.
  • High WBC CountMore than 11,000 white blood cells per microliter of blood.

WBCs are of different types.

Types Of White Blood Cells

  • Neutrophils: Fight infections by ingesting microbes like bacteria and fungi.
  • Eosinophils: Fight large parasites like intestinal worms. These cells also secrete IgE antibodies to combat allergens.
  • Basophils: Secrete histamine during allergic reactions.
  • Lymphocytes: Lymphocytes consist of three cells – B cells, T cells, and natural killer (NK) cells. B cells recognize viruses and release antibodies against them, while T cells and NK cells fight cells infected by viruses and cancer.
  • Monocytes: Monocytes convert into macrophages and ingest cell debris.

Let us now understand how white blood cells protect the body from foreign body invasion.

How Do White Blood Cells Help Us?

White blood cells protect our body from infections by ingesting foreign particles and cellular debris. These cells also facilitate the production of antibodies and help destroy infectious agents as well as cancer cells.

Fluctuations in the number of white blood cells can occur due to several reasons. You may notice an increase in your white blood cell count during exercise, while the count may drop while you are resting.

However, in some cases, the count might drop abnormally. There could be various factors at play, which we have discussed below.

What Causes Low White Blood Cell Count?

White blood cells are produced in the bone marrow, the spongy tissue inside some of your larger bones. A drop in the WBC count could be a result of the following:

  • Viral infections
  • Congenital disorders
  • Cancer
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Severe infections that require a lot of white blood cells
  • Medications like antibiotics
  • Poor nutrition
  • Alcohol abuse

A low WBC count that is ineffective in fighting infections results in a condition called leukopenia. What are its signs?

Signs And Symptoms Of Low White Blood Cell Count

These include:

  • High fever
  • Chills
  • Sweating

If your WBC count has dropped because of an infection, you may notice the following symptoms:

A low WBC count is not always critical unless it drops so low that the cells cannot protect your body anymore from infections. In such a situation, certain home remedies can help.

How To Increase White Blood Cell Count Naturally

1. Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender oil is often used to treat stress and anxiety and promote sleep  (1). It also boosts the WBC count, thus enhancing your overall immunity.

Essential oils like sweet almond oil, tea tree oil, and cypress oil also have similar effects in improving the production of white blood cells (1).

You Will Need

  • 20 drops of lavender oil
  • 60 mL of any carrier oil (sweet almond or jojoba oil)

What You Have To Do

  1. Add 20 drops of lavender oil to 60 mL of any carrier oil.
  2. Mix well and use it to massage your body.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this once daily.

2. Garlic

Garlic possesses immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties (thanks to the presence of allicin) that boost your immunity by stimulating the production of various white blood cells, which include lymphocytes, eosinophils, and macrophages (2).

You Will Need

1-2 teaspoons of crushed or minced garlic

What You Have To Do

  1. Add crushed garlic to your favorite dish and consume it daily.
  2. If you can handle the strong flavor of garlic, you can have it raw.

How Often You Should Do This

Consume garlic regularly.

3. Spinach

Spinach is a rich source of vitamins and minerals. It also exhibits antioxidant properties (3). These properties can help in increasing the number of white blood cells.

You Will Need

A portion of cooked spinach

What You Have To Do

  1. Add a portion of cooked spinach to your daily diet.
  2. You can consume spinach directly or add it to your favorite salad or pasta.

How Often You Should Do This

Consume spinach daily.

4. Papaya Leaves

Papaya leaves contain acetogenins, which are important compounds that boost your immunity by increasing WBC count. Papaya leaf juice serves as an excellent remedy for dengue fever (4).

You Will Need

  • A bunch of papaya leaves
  • Water (as required)

What You Have To Do

  1. Take a bunch of washed papaya leaves and blend them.
  2. Add a little water to the mixture and blend again.
  3. Strain the mixture and consume one tablespoon of the juice.
  4. You can add some honey to the mixture if the juice is too bitter.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this 1 to 2 times daily.

5. Vitamins

Vitamins A, C, E, and B9 play a major role in improving your white blood cell count. Vitamin A plays a special role in increasing lymphocytes, whereas vitamin C is known to boost your overall immunity (5), (6). Vitamin B9 is necessary for the production of neutrophils, and vitamin E promotes the production of natural killer cells (7), (8).

Consume foods, like spinach, carrots, cheese, meat, eggs, fish, sweet potato, and citrus fruits. You can also take vitamin supplements after consulting your doctor.

6. Yogurt

The probiotics in yogurt boost immunity. They also have stimulating properties that help increase WBC count (9), (10).

You Will Need

1 bowl of probiotic yogurt

What You Have To Do

Consume a bowl of probiotic-rich yogurt.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this at least once daily.

7. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 supplements have immunomodulatory properties that boost your immunity by increasing WBC count (11).

You Will Need

1000 mg of omega-3 supplements

What You Have To Do

  1. Consume 1000 mg of omega-3 after consulting your doctor.
  2. You can also consume fish, like mackerel, sardines, salmon, and other foods, like walnuts and avocados, to increase your intake of omega-3s.

How Often You Should Do This

Take these supplements only once daily.

8. Zinc

Zinc can help restore the normal functioning of white blood cells, thereby boosting immunity (12).

You Will Need

8-11 mg of zinc supplements

What You Have To Do

  1. Consume 8 to 11 mg of zinc supplements after consulting your doctor.
  2. You can also consume foods rich in zinc like oysters, red meat, beans, and nuts.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this daily.

9. Broccoli

The sulforaphane (SFN) in broccoli can help regulate your white blood cell count and boost your immune system (13).

You Will Need

1 cup of cooked broccoli

What You Have To Do

  1. Consume a cup of cooked broccoli.
  2. You can sprinkle some salt and consume it directly or add it to your favorite salad.

How Often You Should Do This

Do this daily.

10. Selenium

Dietary intake of selenium has a positive effect on the production of white blood cells, especially lymphocytes and neutrophils. Selenium also enhances your immunity against infections and diseases (14).

You Will Need

200 mcg of selenium supplement

What You Have To Do

  1. Take 200 mcg of selenium supplements daily after consulting your physician.
  2. You can also meet your daily selenium requirement by consuming more of tuna, sardines, chicken, and turkey.

How Often You Should Do This

Consume the selenium supplement once daily.

11. Kiwi

Kiwis contain powerful antioxidants and are also rich sources of potassium and vitamins C and E. All these nutrients play an important role in enhancing your immunity and increasing the number of white blood cells (15).

You Will Need

1-2 kiwis

What You Have To Do

  1. Peel the kiwis.
  2. Cut them into pieces and eat immediately.

How Often You Should Do This

Have 2 to 3 kiwis daily for maximum benefits.

12. Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits are rich sources of antioxidants and vitamin C, both of which enhance immune function (16). They also help increase WBC count. Some citrus fruits that are easily available are oranges, kiwis, strawberries, lemons, and grapefruits.

13. Noni Fruit

One of the major nutrients in noni fruit is vitamin C, which is why this fruit works well in enhancing immunity. It exhibits stimulating properties that help increase the count of T and B lymphocytes (17).

You Will Need

30-60 mL of unsweetened noni juice

What You Have To Do

  1. Consume 30 to 60 mL of unsweetened noni juice.
  2. You can either drink store-bought organic juice or extract the juice directly from the fruit and consume it.

How Often You Should Do This

Have noni juice every day.

14. Red Bell Peppers

Red bell peppers are rich in vitamin C and have immunity modulation properties (18). Hence, they may help boost your immune system.

You Will Need

1 red bell pepper

What You Have To Do

Cut it into small slices and toss them raw in your salad. Enjoy the crunch!

How Often You Should Do This

You can eat them on a daily basis.

15. Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds contain phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin E, and vitamin B 6. These nutrients and antioxidants boost white blood cells to fight infection and keep your body functioning properly (19).

You Will Need

A handful of raw or salted sunflower seeds

What You Have To Do

Toss them in your salad, or sprinkle on sautéed vegetables or munch on them.

How Often You Should Do This

You can do this daily.

We strongly recommend you begin treatment and also use the above remedies if you happen to notice a fall in your WBC count. Not restoring a low WBC count to its optimum levels can lead to complications.

Complications Of Insufficient White Blood Cells

  • You become more prone to microbial and parasitic infections.
  • If you have cancer, your treatment may be delayed because of your weak immune system.
  • In severe cases, the condition may result in the death of the individual.

In the case of white blood cells, time is of prime importance. The sooner you work on resolving the issue, the better.

Eating right in the right portions is a great start to increase your WBC count and protect yourself from the flu and other illnesses. Along with following these tips, check with a healthcare provider to get treated at the earliest.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

How long does it take to increase white blood cells?

It can take anywhere from a few days to weeks to increase white blood cells with proper treatment and remedies.

How many white blood cells are there in the human body?

In normal adult bodies, there should be about 4,000-10,000 white blood cells per microliter of blood. Any variation in this count is a sign of an underlying infection in your body.

19 sources

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Pooja Karkala

Pooja is a Mass Communications and Psychology graduate. Her education has helped her develop the perfect balance between what the reader wants to know and what the reader has to know. As a classical dancer, she has long, black hair, and she knows the struggle that goes into maintaining it. She believes in home remedies and grandma’s secrets for achieving beautiful, luscious hair. When she is not writing, she learns Kuchipudi, practices yoga, and creates doodles.