White blood cells are important for fighting infections. Your body depends on vitamins to produce sufficient amounts white blood cells. Deficiencies of vitamins C, A, D and folic acid can contribute to low whit blood cell count.
White blood cells, also called leukocytes, are a type of blood cell that help fight infections 4. There are five types of white blood cells, and each is produced in your bone marrow. When you are exposed to an infection, white blood cells leave your bone marrow and travel to your bloodstream, where they attempt to destroy the cause of infection. The production of white blood cells is largely dependent on the presence of vitamins in your body.
Although low white blood cell vitamin deficiency is one factor to consider, low blood count can also be caused by serious medical conditions, including autoimmune disorders, cancer, lupus and a variety of infectious diseases. See a doctor to determine the cause of your low white blood cell count to ensure accurate treatment.
Role of Vitamin C
Commonly associated with immune health, it may be no surprise that vitamin C enables your body to synthesize white blood cells 4. To reap the benefits of vitamin C, you must consume enough of it on a daily basis. Men should consume 90 milligrams of vitamin C, whereas women should consume 75 milligrams. Sources of vitamin C include:
- orange juice
- grapefruit juice
Vitamin A Benefits
Vitamin A also helps your body create white blood cells, specifically the type of white blood cell called a lymphocyte. Lymphocytes attack foreign invaders and cancer cells and help produce proteins called antibodies, which also help fight off infections. To ensure that the body can successfully create white blood cells, women should consume 700 micrograms of vitamin A per day, and men should consume 900 micrograms daily.
Folic Acid Recommendations
Your body also needs folic acid, also referred to as folate, to create the white blood cells called neutrophils 4. It is important to consume enough folic acid on a daily basis to allow your body to create white blood cells. If you do not consume adequate amounts of folate, your production of white blood cells decreases and you may develop a condition called neutropenia. This condition is characterized by an abnormally low level of neutrophils and an increased susceptibility to infection. To properly create white blood cells, adults should consume 400 micrograms of folate every day.
Role of Vitamin D
Vitamin D does not aid in the synthesis of white blood cells, but it can help increase white blood cell count by decreasing the rate at which they are destroyed and removed from the body, according to a study published by American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Adults should consume 15 to 20 micrograms of vitamin D daily. The best sources of vitamin D include fortified milk, fatty fish, yogurt and enriched breakfast cereals.