Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Wisdom Wednesday: The CBC (continued)
The white blood cells (WBCs) defend against infection and foreign substances through phagocytosis. They comprise about 1% of the healthy adult blood and have a life span of 13-20 days. Then they are destroyed by the lymphatic system. The number of WBCs in the blood are regulated by the endocrine system.
WBCs are also found in the lymphatic system. A majority of the cells are created in the bone marrow, then trained in the thymus. However, the spleen, liver and thymus can also produce WBCs if the bone marrow is unable to keep up with the demand.
An increase in WBCs is found in acute viral or bacterial infection, stress, intestinal parasites, a diet high in refined foods, or certain cancers.
A decrease can occur in chronic viral or bacterial infection, pancreatic insufficiency, bone marrow insufficiency, anemias due to folic acid, vitamin B6, or B12 deficiency, nutritional deficiencies, or chronic intestinal parasites.
Clinically, I use Andrographis Complex, colloidal silver, Neutrophil Plus, and Ultra Vir-x for infection fighting. Echinacea is best used as a preventative but it does provide a little support during acute infections. Think of Echinacea as “duct tape” for the immune system.
A chronic low WBC count responds really well to Ultra Vir-x and Neutrophil Plus, but variable doses of vitamin A and vitamin C can also raise a low WBC count over time.
The various types of WBCs are generally listed by the percentage of the total WBC count they represent. Neutrophils are the most common WBC, normally over 50%. They have a life span of 8 days and are usually the first responders to infections. They increase with acute infection, high stress, intestinal parasites, inflammation and Leaky Gut. They can decrease with chronic viral infection, food allergies, digestive insufficiency, bone marrow insufficiency, and anemia.
Lymphocytes are the second most common WBC. The functional range is 24-44%. They react to toxic by-products of protein metabolism and are able to recognize hundreds of millions of different molecules. The various types of lymphocytes provide a more specific immune response to offenders.
They increase in acute viral infections, parasites, inflammation and detoxification issues. Lymphocytes decrease in chronic infection, bone marrow insufficiency, and oxidative stress. A common finding on the CBC is an “inversion of the differential.” That is when the lymphocyte percentage is higher than that of the neutrophils. This is very common in chronic viral infections.
Eosinophils have a laboratory range of 0-7%, but the functional range is below 3%. Most eosinophils are found in tissues rather than the blood. If the blood levels are high, then something is going on the tissues. They contain histamine, serotonin, and heparin which affect the immune system. Eosinophils are a strong indicator of food allergies and intestinal parasites. They can destroy both antigens and antibodies.
Basophils are generally less than 3% of WBCs. They promote inflammation and blood flow to affected areas and secrete anti-coagulant substances. This are increased with intestinal parasites, non-specific inflammation and in hypothyroidism.
The Bottom Line:
The WBC count and differential can provide a wealth of information about your immune system status. Now take that old CBC test out and review the WBCs. Many of you will find indicators for chronic infections, food allergies, and potential parasites.
Read Part One of The CBC Article