CLL Support Association
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What are some of the holistic things we can do to increase our neutrophil count?

What are some of the holistic things you can do to get your neutrophil count to go up? I just got back five different tests and my white blood cells and ALC were great. Better than they had been in awhile. But my Absolute neutrophil count went down dramatically. So are there any non-medical or complementary things that you can do to increase neutrophils? Barring that, are there any medical methods that offer little or no side effects that might work. My ALC stayed exactly where it was in December at 15 and my WBC count dropped from 19.3 to 16.6. But my neutrophils went from 2.3 in December 2016 to 1.16 in March,2017. Just for a reference stand point, about 14 months ago upon diagnosis, my WBC count was 15.4 and my ALC was around 11. (today 14 months later the ALC is 15.4) My ABSOLUTE neutrophils back in January 2016 were 2.6 ,14 months later they are at 1.16 ,this March,2017. DOES THE ANC tend to bounce around or change drastically if you were fighting a bug. I haven't discussed my test results with my specialist. I'd like to see if they might bounce up. Thanks. i am just puzzled as to how my WBCs have remained so stable and my (AN#) absolute neutrophils appear to be all over the place? I currently am W&W.

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Yes the ANC does tend to bounce around and can change drastically when we're fighting infections - going up or down.

The general rule for the ANC (from Dr Susan Leclair) is:

1. Greater than 2.0. -- You probably have enough neutrophils to ward off most infectious agents.

2. Between 1.0 and 2.0. -- You are at some risk for infections that would be difficult to fight off. Start more hand washing, stay away from anyone with a cough, recent immunization with live virus, children, large crowds, etc.

3. Less than 1.0. -- You are serious at risk. You can eat nothing that cannot be cooked to 165F or 75C. No crowds of any sort. Use of a mask if necessary. This is called a neutropenic lifestyle.

You can boost your neutrophil count by intense exercise. That triggers a defensive process to mobilise them from your spleen and the lining of your blood vessels into the blood stream, so that they can rapidly respond to an injury. I wouldn't recommend this because that doesn't actually boost production - you are still reliant on your bone marrow for that.

From personal experience, I would avoid supplements/herbal remedies with broad claims to boost your immune system. When I've investigated these further, I've found that where there's evidence backing the claimed improvement, it shows that it's the lymphocytes that are boosted - and with CLL, we have more than enough as it is...


(I've been living a neutropenic lifestyle for many years)


Thanks Neil. It's interesting about the exercise. i had been jogging and the AN stayed at 2.3. I haven't been jogging lately. Maybe that was the problem. Also I had had an ear infection three days before the test. I have had maybe 3 infections that lasted two or three days in the last 14 months. I guess I have to look for a pattern before I draw any conclusions.


Thanks Aussie Neil. You always post great information and insights. I appreciate it.


When you say "You can eat nothing that cannot be cooked to 165F or 75C." do you mean that just for meat? I'm a vegetarian so I don't eat meat, chicken, or fish.


With a neutrophil count below 1 to .5 everything needs to be cooked, including fruits and vegetables... no probiotics, no unpasteurized anything, no raw nuts, etc... There are lists available... here's one

There is a lot of information about lifestyle changes need with neutropenia....


Thanks. I hope I never need it.


Further to Chris's excellent reply, just think back to recent national food poisoning incidents which have resulted in the withdrawal of vegetables - salad mixes and orange juice come to my mind. If bacteria can grow well on/in food, then you can be at risk...


Good point. I always wash the outside of a cantaloupe before cutting it.

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