How to Manage a Low White Blood Cell Count

White blood cells are part of your immune system and help fight off infections. Discover what causes a low cell count and which actions will help elevate it.

Anju Mobin
By Anju Mobin
Head and Shoulders Photo of Michelle Meyer
Edited by Michelle Meyer

Published August 25, 2022.

Your bone marrow produces white blood cells (WBC), also known as leukocytes. They are part of your immune system and fight off bacterial and viral infections. As per the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the normal WBC count ranges between 4,500 to 11,000 cells per microliter of blood (1).

A fall from this range is leukopenia, a low white blood cell count. There are different types of leukopenia depending on which kind of WBC is low.

Causes of Low White Blood Cell Count

Low WBC count can be because either fewer WBC are being produced or more WBC are being used and destroyed. It can be both as well (2).

Infections, malignancy, malnutrition, stress, and cancer treatment can cause low WBC count. Any condition that affects your bone marrow can also be directly responsible. This includes aplastic anemia, leukemia, lymphoma, myelofibrosis, and myeloproliferative syndrome.

Congenital disorders such as Kostmann syndrome and autoimmune disorders like lupus can lower your WBC levels.

Elevating Your Low White Blood Cell Count

You can definitely increase your WBC count by treating the underlying medical condition that is causing it.

Below are suggestions you can action to raise your WBC count:

  • Reduce stress Stress can lower your WBC count and weaken your immune system. Calming your mind with breathing techniques, yoga, and even essential oils are known to improve the situation.
  • Immune-boosting food Healthy foods that are high in selenium, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, C, E, D, and B9 can stimulate the production and the function of WBC.
  • Vegetables and fruits Cruciferous vegetables, green leafy vegetables such as spinach, fatty fish, citrus fruits, and berries are some examples. Garlic possesses immunomodulatory and inflammatory properties that stimulate the production of WBC. Omega-3 supplements have immunomodulatory properties that help increase your WBC count.
  • Yoghurt Another food that is a great immune booster and increases WBC is yogurt. It's high in vitamin D which triggers WBC production. The beneficial bacteria in yogurt also play a crucial role.
  • Elderberry syrup Elderberry syrup has been known to naturally increase WBC count and support the immune system.
  • Papaya leaves Papaya leaves contain acetogenin, an important compound to boost your immunity by increasing your WBC count.


Maintaining a healthy WBC count is important to keep your immune system optimal. There are various factors that can cause your WBC count to decrease, but this article contains several actionable suggestions you can implement to combat this. However, be aware that high white blood cell count (above 11,000 cells per microliter of blood) can also be a warning sign and should be investigated.