B12 Deficiency & Low White Blood Cell Count

Getting enough vitamin B-12 is key to maintaining your body's ability to produce enough blood. While a B-12 deficiency can lead to a type of anemia, a blood disease that affects your red blood cells, the vitamin is not generally associated with white blood cell production. Talk to a doctor if you need medical advice about vitamin B-12 and a low white blood cell count.

Beef liver is high in vitamin B-12.
Credit: Lyashik/iStock/Getty Images

Vitamin B-12

Vitamin B-12 is commonly found in meet, fortified cereals, fish, dairy products and some other foods that contain protein, but it's also available as both a dietary supplement and a prescription medication. The vitamin is vital to your body's ability to create red blood cells, as well as for other body functions. The recommended daily intake of vitamin B-12, according to the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, is 2.4 micrograms for adults.

White Blood Cells

There are four main components of blood: red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma. White blood cells protect your body from infections and foreign bodies. A low white blood cells count means your body has a harder time fighting viruses, bacteria and other foreign bodies. In general, your body doesn't use vitamin B-12 to create white blood cells, and having a low B-12 level won't affect your ability to create white blood cells, though it can affect other cells in your blood.

Megaloblastic Anemia

Megaloblastic anemia is a medical condition caused by low vitamin B-12 levels, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. The condition reduces your body's ability to create red blood cells, and the red blood cells you do have are larger than normal. Because red blood cells transport oxygen through your blood, having megaloblastic anemia can leave you feeling fatigues and lethargic, amongst other symptoms. However, it doesn't generally affect your immune system or your white blood cell count.

Low White Blood Cell Count

A low white blood cell count can be caused by a range of different conditions, from diseases to bone marrow failure, according to the National Institutes of Health. It can also be caused by a vitamin deficiency, though not generally as a result of a B-12 deficiency. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, your body uses vitamin B-6 to promote white blood cell growth, and a B-12 deficiency can lead to a low white blood cell count.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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