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How To Increase Lymphocytes? Natural and Medical Methods

how to increase lymphocytes

Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell that help your body fight off infections and diseases. They are divided into three main types: B cells, T cells, and natural killer cells. Having a low number of lymphocytes can make you more prone to infections and weaken your immune system.

In this article, we will explore natural and other ways to boost your lymphocyte levels, as well as main causes, symptoms, and treatments of lymphocytopenia.

What is the Best Method?

Drink Green Tea

One of the best ways to increase your lymphocyte levels is to adopt a healthy lifestyle that supports your immune system. Here are some of the natural methods:

  • Eat a balanced diet: It should include lean protein, omega-3 fatty acids, beta carotene, vitamin C, and zinc. Some of the foods that are rich in these nutrients are fish, eggs, chicken, nuts, seeds, carrots, oranges, and spinach.
  • Get enough sleep and avoid stress: Sleep deprivation and chronic stress can lower the levels and impair your immune function. Aim for at least seven to eight hours of quality sleep every night and practice relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing.
  • Exercise regularly but moderately: Physical activity can stimulate your lymphatic system. However, overexercising can have the opposite effect and suppress your immune system. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, cycling, or swimming, three to five times a week.
  • Quit smoking and limit alcohol consumption: Smoking and drinking can damage your lymphatic system. Smoking can also increase your risk of infections and cancers, while alcohol can interfere with your body’s ability to fight off pathogens. If you smoke, try to quit or reduce your intake. If you drink, limit yourself to no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.
  • Drink green tea: Green tea contains antioxidants and polyphenols that can enhance your immune system. Green tea can also help you prevent infections and inflammation. Try to drink at least three cups of green tea per day.

Medication is Sometimes Necessary

Antibiotics

If your lymphocyte levels are too low due to an underlying condition or medication, you may need medical treatment to increase them. The type of treatment depends on the cause, the severity, and the duration of your lymphocytopenia. Some of the possible treatments are:

  • Antibiotics or antivirals: If your lymphocyte levels are low due to an infection, such as HIV, hepatitis, or tuberculosis, you may need to take antibiotics or antivirals to treat the infection.
  • Immunosuppressants or immunoglobulins: If your lymphocyte levels are low due to an autoimmune disorder, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or multiple sclerosis, you may need to take immunosuppressants to reduce the inflammation and prevent your immune system from attacking your own tissues. 
  • Stem cell transplant: If the levels are low due to cancer, such as leukemia, lymphoma, or myeloma, the patient may need to undergo a stem cell transplant to replace damaged bone marrow with healthy stem cells that can produce new lymphocytes. This is a complex and risky procedure that requires a compatible donor and a high dose of chemotherapy or radiation to prepare the body for the transplant.
Method Advantage Disadvantage Effectiveness
Natural methods Safe, easy, and inexpensive May not be enough for severe cases Moderate to high
Antibiotics or antivirals Can treat the infection and restore lymphocyte levels May have side effects or resistance High
Immunosuppressants or immunoglobulins Can reduce inflammation or boost immunity May have side effects or complications Moderate to high
Stem cell transplant Can replace damaged bone marrow with healthy stem cells May have serious risks or rejection High

What Causes Low Lymphocyte Levels?

Low lymphocyte levels, also known as lymphocytopenia, can have various causes that affect the production, function, or survival of these cells. Learning more about the main cause will also make the treatment easier. 

  • Infections: Certain viral, bacterial, fungal, or parasitic infections can reduce your lymphocyte levels by destroying them or impairing their function. For example, HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, infects and kills T cells, leading to a severe immunodeficiency. Other infections that can cause lymphocytopenia include hepatitis, tuberculosis, malaria, and measles.
  • Autoimmune disorders: These are conditions where your immune system mistakenly attacks your own tissues, causing inflammation and damage. Some autoimmune disorders can affect your bone marrow, which is the site of lymphocyte production, or your lymphatic system, which is the network of vessels and organs that transport and store lymphocytes. For example, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis can cause lymphocytopenia by affecting your bone marrow or lymph nodes.
  • Cancer: Certain types of cancer can result in the same symptoms by invading your bone marrow, lymphatic system, or blood. For example, leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma are cancers that originate from blood cells, including lymphocytes, and can crowd out normal cells in your bone marrow or lymph nodes. Other cancers that can cause lymphocytopenia include lung, breast, and colon cancer.
  • Medications: Some drugs can cause this issue by suppressing your immune system or interfering with your lymphocyte production or function. For example, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, which are used to treat cancer, can kill both cancerous and healthy cells in your bone marrow or blood, leading to a temporary or permanent lymphocytopenia. Other medications that can cause lymphocytopenia include corticosteroids, anticonvulsants, and immunosuppressants.

What are the Symptoms and Complications of Low Lymphocyte Levels?

Complete Blood Count

One of the main risks of low lymphocyte levels is the increased susceptibility to infections and diseases, especially viral, fungal, and parasitic ones. These types of pathogens can evade or overcome your immune system more easily when your lymphocyte levels are low.

For example, viral infections such as HIV, hepatitis, and influenza can cause or worsen lymphocytopenia by infecting and destroying your lymphocytes. Fungal infections such as candidiasis, aspergillosis, and cryptococcosis can cause or worsen lymphocytopenia by invading your tissues and organs.

Parasitic infections such as malaria, toxoplasmosis, and leishmaniasis can cause or worsen lymphocytopenia by suppressing or consuming your lymphocytes. When it comes to the signs, they are similar to those of infections and diseases, such as fever, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, and frequent or recurrent infections.

Pain in Abdomen

However, some people with it may not have any noticeable symptoms until they develop a serious infection or disease. Therefore, it is important to monitor the levels regularly and seek medical attention if you experience any of the following:

  • Fever of 38°C (100.4°F) or higher that lasts for more than a few days or recurs frequently
  • Unexplained weight loss or loss of appetite
  • Night sweats or chills
  • Persistent or severe cough, sore throat, or difficulty breathing
  • Skin rashes, sores, or ulcers that do not heal
  • Diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting that lasts for more than a few days or recurs frequently
  • Headache, confusion, or seizures
  • Vision problems or eye infections
  • Mouth or genital infections or ulcers
  • Swelling or pain in your abdomen, chest, or joints
  • Bleeding or bruising easily
  • Anemia or low platelet count

How are Low Lymphocyte Levels Diagnosed?

One of the most common tests is a complete blood count (CBC). A CBC is a common blood test that counts the number of different types of blood cells, including red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.

It can show if you have a low number of white blood cells in general, which is called leukopenia, or a low number of lymphocytes in particular, which is called lymphocytopenia. A normal range of lymphocytes in adults is between 1,000 and 4,800 cells per microliter of blood.

Another solution is a lymphocyte subset panel. It represents a more specific blood test that counts the number of different types of lymphocytes, such as B cells, T cells, and natural killer cells.

A lymphocyte subset panel can show if you have a low number of a certain type of lymphocyte, which can indicate the cause and severity of your condition. For example, a low number of T cells can indicate an HIV infection, while a low number of B cells can indicate a bone marrow disorder.

FAQs

What are the symptoms and complications of low lymphocyte levels?

Low lymphocyte levels can increase the risk of infections and diseases, especially viral, fungal, and parasitic ones. Some of the signs and symptoms of low lymphocyte levels are fever, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, and frequent or recurrent infections.

How are low lymphocyte levels diagnosed and treated?

Low lymphocyte levels are diagnosed by a blood test that measures the number and type of lymphocytes, such as a complete blood count (CBC) or a lymphocyte subset panel. The treatment of low lymphocyte levels depends on the cause, the severity, and the duration of the condition. 

What are some of the natural ways to increase lymphocyte levels?

Some of the natural ways to increase lymphocyte levels are to eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep, avoid stress, exercise regularly, quit smoking, limit alcohol consumption, and drink green tea. These methods can help your body produce and maintain lymphocytes and support your immune system.

What are some of the medical treatments for low lymphocyte levels?

Some of the medical treatments for low lymphocyte levels are antibiotics, antivirals, immunosuppressants, immunoglobulins, and stem cell transplants. These treatments can treat the infection, reduce the inflammation, or boost the immunity that causes or worsens the low lymphocyte levels.

Summary

Lymphocytes are a vital part of your immune system, as they help your body fight off infections and diseases. They come in three main types: B cells, T cells, and natural killer cells. However, sometimes your lymphocyte levels can be low, which can make you more vulnerable to various pathogens and cancer cells. This condition is called lymphocytopenia, and it can have various causes, symptoms, and treatments.

You can also try some natural ways to increase your lymphocyte levels, such as eating a healthy diet, sleeping well, avoiding stress, exercising moderately, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol, and drinking green tea. By following these tips, you can improve your lymphocyte levels and your overall health.

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