VO2 max Vs Lymphocytes : Hi. Im reading things... - CLL Support

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VO2 max Vs Lymphocytes


Hi. Im reading things about VO2 and VO2 max. I do understand its a way of measuring your fitness as such. But has there been any evidence that a good VO2 max value has any correlation to reducing the number (value) of lymphocytes ? Or am i barking up the wrong tree.


13 Replies

If by VO2 you mean the rate of oxygen with aerobic exercise, I would say no, it would have zero impact on how cancerous lymphocytes divide and multiply.

Now if VO means venetoclax and obinutuzumab, absolutely, that combo is kicking Cll butt.

I’m no expert, it’s just my general understanding that while we with Cll benefit from exercise, exercise doesn’t slow the division of cancer cells.

JigFettlerVolunteer in reply to cajunjeff

Exercise does affect the immune population. Ig drop after triathlon. I can find the reference. The mechanism eludes me.

The effects of fitness on B cell numbers may not be direct, but through metabolic fitness.

Exercise stresses our bodies. On a cellular level that means it makes demands on biochemical reactions, eg Krebs Cycle, and like all enzyme activity demand enhances performance. Mitochondria produce more energy. ATP to ADP gets more efficient, CO2 gets transported more efficiently, degradation products of exercise likewise. Glucose metabolism, fat protein too, its all interlinked.

VO2 max ... it would stand to reason is a good marker for "health".

Whether B Cells are bothered... a question for the Professors.

Hoping you have tranquility in your weather Jeff!


cajunjeff in reply to JigFettler

I think exercise is of great benefit to us with Cll. VO2 is but one measuring stick for aerobic fitness.

I worked out almost every day after my Cll diagnosis. My wbc went from 50k to 200k in a relatively short time frame.

If I had worked out harder and improved my VO2 would my wbc have been less? I can’t say, but I seriously doubt it.

I do think exercise has a beneficial effect on our immune system. And I also think healthy diets can lessen our chances of some cancers.

But I was just responding to a specific question, would an improved VO 2 impact our lymphocyte counts. I don’t think it would do so in any appreciable amount.

Now let’s suppose you did a study and took 1000 Cll patients with a good VO 2 score and compared them with 1000 Cll patients with a poor VO 2 score. Would the mortality rate with the good VO 2 score be less than those with a poor score? I would think most certainly so. All things being equal, those in good physical shape live longer than those in poor shape

It’s a very natural thing for people diagnosed with all sorts of cancers to go on a health kick, and that will spawn all sorts of books and testimonials how they beat cancer with some healthy living regimen. It would be great if all we had to do to beat cancer is run more laps and stop eating sugar.

All that said, I have zero science background and try to keep an open mind. I would love to read that some team of respected Cll doctors said I can slow my cancer by running more laps or fasting or whatever.

avzuclav in reply to cajunjeff

They're working on it at Duke:



JigFettlerVolunteer in reply to avzuclav


JigFettlerVolunteer in reply to cajunjeff


Getting folk fit for their cancer journey. Impressive setup, I visited them.


Big_Dee in reply to JigFettler

Hello JigFettler

I agree. I feel moderate exercise and healthy balanced diet is best way to get ready for any treatment coming down the road. Hopefully getting your body in shape will lessen any side effect. Blessings.

I can measure it using my Garmin watch and doing a measured running workout so it’s very tied into your fitness but also your skill at running efficiently

I can also measure it on a bicycle IF it has a power meter and again it’s definitely a combo of fitness and skill

That being said I finished my last long trail running race of 44 miles at 61 years old in 2017 and shortly thereafter was diagnosed with CLL

During my MBL period which stated in 2013 I was aware a problem was developing and was watched by my GP and she did a great job of not unnecessary alarming me until things hit the 15,000 mark and really required looking at by and expert

I would say I was pretty fit and in my case it did not seem to matter and again in my case that level of activity just stated leaving me exhausted and I was constantly getting sick and I just have to live a low stress low activity lifestyle to stay healthy now

But I would recommend that anyone be as active as possible in there individual situation as i still walk as much as I can without creating a fatigued state

High VO2 max means you are very fit and your hemoglobin can transport more oxygen than that of an untrained person. In a roundabout way it can be beneficial for your CLL. Less hemoglobin can transport more oxygen so you won't get as tired as someone else when your hemoglobin falls. And being very trained helps with life quality. Who knows what mechanisms exist in the body we don't even know about yet. Therefore I wouldn't exclude a positive effect on ALC in a yet unknown way. That's my simplistic understanding of this, but I'm no doctor and could be wrong.


Maybe worth a a search... VO2 max effect on cancer... I might check when I get to my PC. Jig

I think VO2 max is a measurement in search of a purpose in the consumer world. Some cell phones and fitness watches that can measure O2 using their camera and LED light claim to be able to calculate it. They focus on cardio-vascular training effects of an exercise program.



With consumer devices, it strikes me as the sort of measurement that may not match well when done on different devices, but logging changes on the single device may show the benefit of an exercise program over time. I experimented with it on my cell phone while doing several months of rehab 3 times a week assigned by my oncologist. I did not notice a difference.

I don't see any reason why VO2 Max would be related to lymphocyte count. It might be useful in monitoring the slow changes over time in red blood cells or hemoglobin. But I don't think it's the sort of thing that anyone has researched.

The closest thing I could find with a quick search on PubMed was an in-vitro (test tube) calculation of mitochondrial function of CLL cells based on oxygen consumption. It would not be possible to extrapolate those in vitro CLL cell results to a blood oxygen level, since there are so many confounding variables, such as general fitness level, blood pressure, pulse rate, and O2 demand from muscle and nerve cells, among others.



There is no credible argument to the fact that exercise is beneficial to every aspect of improved health including the bodies response to CLL.

However no matter how much I read or contemplate the benefit of exercise, first what comes to mind with me is when my diagnosing hematologist told me that the reason I could not get out of the chair during my bouts with debilitating fatigue and arthralgia was that I was not exercising enough and needed to do more, when in reality I was having trouble dressing myself.

Now that I am recovering after treatment there is no doubt but only because I am once again able to, I can exercise more and measure the benefit realistically.

After just a month of treatment I went from not being able to walk to the mailbox without getting exhausted to being able to ride my bike 30 miles a day with ease. During the following 10 months I was able to accumulate over 1500 miles and my overall health improved greatly.

Again no argument to the benefit of exercise, however, If exercise provides either curative or anti disease progression influence, I question why athlete's such as Jud Logan would develop aggressive leukemia?

My thought is that - A race car does not need to be told that it was built to go fast. It just needs new gaskets when they're blown out before being put back on the track.

Everything I read says exercise is good. Run it hard if you are able.


I would focus on good health to prevent other health problems that can complicate treatment.

I think it is wasted energy thinking you can control the cancer itself before treatment. If we had that power we would have prevented getting it in the first place. Bad luck. Who knows whether some intervention not studied actually selects out meaner cell clones?

If you are in good shape and never need treatment fantastic. Hopefully your ticker and organs will last forever.

If you are in good shape and need treatment then fantastic. You might have prevented some complications.

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