What Would Make Your White Blood Cells High – White blood cells play an important role in your body’s immune system, searching the blood for infecting viruses, bacteria, and fungi. When a foreign virus or bacteria enters your bloodstream, a white blood cell (aka leukocyte) recognizes and destroys the invading particle before it causes disease. There are several types of white blood cells, each of which has its own function. Some directly destroy foreign bacteria, while others attack the virus’s own cells. Other types of white blood cells can even play a role in allergic reactions! What happens when white blood cells are elevated? Because white blood cells fight infection, people think that high levels are actually beneficial. This is optional! A high white blood cell count is not a disease in itself, but it can indicate an underlying problem such as infection, stress, inflammation, injury, allergies, or certain diseases. Therefore, an elevated white blood cell count usually requires further investigation. The InsideTrackerblood test measures your white blood cell count and tells you if it’s in the optimal range for you. If the number of leukocytes increases, you should consult a doctor. In addition to your total white blood cell count, InsideTracker measures different types of white blood cells, providing clues as to what may be causing your white blood cell count to rise. Types of white blood cells include: neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, and basophils. Neutrophils, which make up about 70% of white blood cells, can increase in response to bacterial infections as well as physical or emotional stress. A high lymphocyte count may occur when there is a viral or bacterial infection. Elevated monocytes may indicate chronic inflammation. An increase in the level of basophils and eosinophils can occur when there is an allergic reaction or in the case of a parasitic infection. What are the symptoms of an increase in the number of leukocytes in the blood? The only way to really know if your levels are too high is to have your blood tested at your doctor’s office or with InsideTracker. People with a high (higher than normal) white blood cell count, known as leukocytosis, usually have no specific symptoms, but may have a medical condition responsible for the elevated white blood cell count. The exact number of an elevated (higher than normal) white blood cell count varies from one laboratory to another, but as a general rule of thumb, a white blood cell count of more than 10,500 per microliter of blood is usually counted in adults. should be higher, and 4,500-10,500 is considered a normal range. Because a high (higher than normal) white blood cell count can be a symptom of another underlying problem, you may experience symptoms associated with this condition. However, people with leukocytosis may also experience a combination of these symptoms: fever, fainting, bleeding, bruising, weight loss, and general pain. What are the reasons for an increase in the number of leukocytes in the blood? There are several reasons why you may have a high (higher than normal) white blood cell count: Infection — As bacteria or viruses that cause an infection multiply in the blood, the bone marrow produces more white blood cells to fight the infection. Infection can also lead to inflammation, which in turn can lead to an increase in the white blood cell count. Smokers’ Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) – Basically, COPD means you have a lung or airway disease like emphysema or chronic bronchitis that blocks proper airflow. It is usually caused by smoking, which causes inflammation in the lungs and airways. As more inflammation occurs in your lungs and airways, your body produces more white blood cells to fight it. Leukemia – Leukemia is a type of cancer that dramatically increases the number of white blood cells. Leukemic leukocytes are often dysfunctional, which can increase the risk of infection in cancer patients. Immune system disorders – Certain autoimmune disorders, such as Crohn’s disease or Graves’ disease, can cause elevated white blood cell levels. If you have one of these conditions, your doctor should monitor your white blood cell count. Stress – Finally, emotional or physical stress can cause an increase in white blood cells. The good news is that once the stress is gone, white blood cell levels return to normal. How does exercise affect white blood cell count? If you get your blood tested right after your workout, don’t worry—your body actually increases your white blood cell count during exercise! In fact, this increase in white blood cell activity allows your body to identify disease-causing organisms faster than normal, another benefit of exercise. Immediately after exercise, white blood cell levels increase in proportion to the intensity and duration of exercise. One study found that white blood cell levels tripled in runners during a marathon. Because white blood cell counts drop to normal levels after exercise, you should wait until the day after heavy exercise to test your blood. What foods help reduce white blood cell count? What you eat also affects your white blood cell count. To keep your levels under control, avoid foods high in fat, calories, sugar and salt (such as fast food). Aim for foods rich in antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, fiber, calcium, fish oils, monounsaturated fats, and low glycemic index. YourInsideTrackerPlan provides you with recommendations for a variety of foods that satisfy your cravings and provide you with the nutrients you need. Some foods that have anti-inflammatory effects include garlic, grapes, herbs and spices, soy protein, nuts, olive oil, black and green teas, and vinegar. Aim to eat at least six servings of fruit and vegetables a day, which will do much more for your white blood cell levels. Other specific nutrients to increase in your diet include: Omega-3 fatty acids – Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat (or PUFA) known to improve heart health and increase the activity of phagocytes, a type of white blood. cells that protect against foreign bacteria. Omega-3 PUFAs are found primarily in fatty fish such as trout, herring, and salmon, but also in walnuts and flaxseeds. Studies have shown that PUFAs significantly increase white blood cell counts in women on a controlled diet. Antioxidants Antioxidants are a type of molecule that protect our cells from harmful molecules called free radicals, which damage cells, protein, and DNA (for example, free radicals cause a peeled apple to turn brown). Eating more phytochemicals can help protect against such damage. Phytochemicals with antioxidant properties include allyl sulfides (found in onions, leeks, and garlic), carotenoids (in fruits and carrots), flavonoids (in fruits and vegetables), and polyphenols (in tea and grapes). Although they don’t work specifically to increase your white blood cell count, they do help support a healthy immune system. Vitamin C – Vitamin C helps the body make more white blood cells, which in turn helps the body fight infections. All citrus fruits, including oranges, lemons, and limes, contain vitamin C. You can also get vitamin C from other fruits like berries, papayas, pineapples and guavas and vegetables like carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts. and bell peppers. In addition to these nutrients, you may want to invest in non-alcoholic beer! Believe it or not, one study found that drinking 1-1.5 liters of non-alcoholic beer 3 weeks before a marathon and 2 weeks after the run can help reduce both inflammation and white blood cell counts! Whether you’re an athlete or not, use InsideTracker to track your white blood cell levels so you can optimize your performance and overall well-being by taking appropriate action if you find they’re too high! Be sure to check out the free InsideTracker demo here!
Michelle Darian, MS, MPH, RD April 21, 2021
What Would Make Your White Blood Cells High
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Slowing down to speed up: Olympian Tianna Bartoletta’s sleep routine for improved performance. Tianna Bartoletta April 5, 2021 Leukocytes, or white blood cells, are produced in the bone marrow and are responsible for fighting infectious agents. Every day, the human body creates more than a million white blood cells that detect and fight various pathogens. If you develop any kind of inflammation, it means that your body’s white blood cells are working hard to get rid of the infection. When you experience frequent colds, it may be an indication of low white blood cell count in the body. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we will look at the different types of white blood cells in your body and