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What Vitamins Are Needed to Increase White Blood Cells?

author image Lindsay Boyers
Lindsay Boyers has a Bachelor of Science in nutrition from Framingham State College and a certificate in holistic nutrition from the American College of Healthcare Sciences. She is also a licensed aesthetician with advanced training in skincare and makeup. She plans to continue on with her education, complete a master's degree program in nutrition and, ultimately, become a registered dietitian.
What Vitamins Are Needed to Increase White Blood Cells?
The vitamin C in oranges can help increase white blood cells. Photo Credit: Visage/Stockbyte/Getty Images

White blood cells, also called leukocytes, are a type of blood cell that help fight infections. 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.

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Vitamin C

Tomatoes are a good source of vitamin c.
Tomatoes are a good source of vitamin c. Photo Credit: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images

Commonly associated with immune health, it may be no surprise that vitamin C enables your body to synthesize white blood cells. 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 oranges, grapefruit, orange juice, grapefruit juice, tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, cantaloupe and peppers.

Vitamin A

Milk and cheese are good sources of vitamin A.
Milk and cheese are good sources of vitamin A. Photo Credit: Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images

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. Milk, eggs, cheese, fortified cereal, sweet potatoes, spinach and carrots are sources of vitamin A.

Folic Acid

Leafy green vegetables are a good source of folic acid.
Leafy green vegetables are a good source of folic acid. Photo Credit: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

Your body also needs folic acid, also referred to as folate, to create the white blood cells called neutrophils. 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. Neutropenia 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. The best sources of folate include rice, legumes, leafy green vegetables, broccoli, asparagus and enriched pasta, breads and cereals.

Vitamin D

Fatty fish like salmon are a good source of vitamin D.
Fatty fish like salmon are a good source of vitamin D. Photo Credit: Jupiterimages/ Images

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 the "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.

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