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best things to eat to boost WBC?

Posts: 5
Joined: Nov 2013


 I posted before about hair and ABVD trreatment, I have since shaved the rest of my hair that was left. I have stage 3A Hodgkins Lymphoma and I have had lots of complications from side effects of my ABVD treatment, ended up in hospital etc. I had pneumonia heading into this as well so my lungs are damaged anyways and they removed the bleomycin from the cocktail as well. My lungs and liver are slowly getting worse each chemo and in hospital I was nutrepenic and they gave me shots of neupagin each day to boost WBC. The following treatment I had nuelasta. The 3rd treatment they removed neulasta as it being a controversial shot across the country, especially for hodgkins patients. I went today for my chemo and my WBC were only at 1.8- (so they never came up after last treatment at all) They decided to do my treatment anyways and give me a nuelasta shot again in 24 hrs. I still have 8 treatments left. I have read things and try to eat protein rich foods etc. What else can I do? And what are some of the best foods that people recommend? I am very postive, but getting a little frustrated. I am a very active person especially with my 3 kids and I just want to be better! Or at least maintain while I am getting cured! Thank you!

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 2657
Joined: May 2012


Sorry you are having a rough time of it with your treatment. I got some lung toxicity from Bleomycin during my infusions, but the doctor never deleted it -- I got it at all 12 infusions.  Your doctor was however no doubt wise to cut it off for you early-on.

I have never heard of neulasta described as "controversial." I know it can cause a lot of orthpedic pain, because it caused the arthritis in my back in the area where I have two collapsed disks to hurt so badly that from my second treatment on, I got only a half-dose.  That dramatically reduced the pain, and my WBC levels stayed normal throughout my entire six months of treatment.  My overall pain from abvd was so bad that I had to take Loritab the whole time, and the type Loritab I had contained Tylenol, which can affect the liver enzymes (you mentioned liver issues).  My oncologist told me that abvd routinely would spike liver values, but they would return to normal afterward.  He recommended that I take whatever pains meds were necessary to get through treatment, which is what I did.  My liver enzymes did normalize after chemo ended.  Motrin and asprin did nothing for my pain, and trying to limp through treatment on only those pain meds would not have worked in my case.

To repeat: I have never heard of any controversy with the drug neulasta (other than obscene costs).  I also am unaware of WBC boosting foods, but several writers here are very knowledgable of nutrition and good diet.  I hope they will share with you what they know on this subject.

I hope you feel better very soon !



allmost60's picture
Posts: 3184
Joined: Jul 2010


 I found this information at Livestrong.com that might be some help for you. Sorry you are having such a hard time and I'll keep you in my prayers.

Best wishes...Sue  (Follicular NHL-stg3-grd2-typ3-Dx 6/10-age 63)


According to the Mayo Clinic, a low white blood cell count can be caused by anything from a congenital disorder to cancer. As a low white blood cell count can leave a person dangerously susceptible to illness, it is important to take precautions to lower exposures to infection, as well as incorporate changes to your diet to help boost immune system and blood count. Certain types of foods can be eaten to help restore a low white blood cell count, making proper diet an important part of the recovery process.
Fish oil is an essential nutrient for a healthy immune system, reports iVillage.com. Consume as much cooked fish as possible, especially those high in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring and albacore tuna. Omega-3 fatty acids can also be consumed through use of omega-3 fish oil nutritional supplements. Talk to your doctor about supplementation if you feel your diet isn’t rich enough in fish oil.
Green Tea:
Replace your normal cup of coffee or tea with a cup of green tea. I Love India’s Lifestyle section recommends green tea as it contains catechin, a type of antioxidant that is known to boost the immune system and can help boost white blood cell count by boosting the production of these cells.
Stop Getting Sick recommends garlic for immunity and to help boost white blood cell count in the body. They also report that garlic can help protect against disease as it is a powerful antioxidant. Not only can garlic boost the immune system by raising the white blood cell count, but it can attack and destroy the free radicals that can contribute to disease, as well.
Cooked Vegetables:
Consume more vegetables to boost white blood cell count, but avoid uncooked vegetables. Natural News recommends leafy greens, carrots and broccoli as they contain beta carotene and other carotenoids that can boost the production of white blood cells.

Anonymous user (not verified)

Is not always a good thing, especially if you have immune related conditions like lupus, RA, osteo, gout or lymphoma. Immune stimulation can have unintended effects.

Anonymous user (not verified)

I am getting confused about WBC. My therapy has killed all my mature b-cells to where they are undetectable, even in my bone marrow. Why should my WBC not be low?  It is in fact hanging in there at low normal where it was before therapy. Anyone understand why?

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 2657
Joined: May 2012


No, I do not understand the mechanics of WBC levels, but will note that my WBC, even with advanced disease, and throughout chemo, was always normal, although, of course, I was getting neulasta after chemo started.   I asked my oncologist a few times about "Weakened Immune system," and he replied:

 "If your WBC count is normal, your immune system is as strong as anyone else's. You are no more at risk for infection than a person without lymphoma, with your current WBC levels."  It seemed so counter-intuitive, but he always repeated that.  It may be that my WBC history is atypical for a person with lymphoma, and I pray the best for people who are having trouble staying in normal range.

 My oncologist has five (5) Board Certifications, including Hematology, Medical Oncology, Internal Medicine, Pallative Care, and another that is not oncology-related.

Therefore, I do not worry about a "weakened system," since I don't have one !  Like Sue mentioned above , he did encourage me to drink green tea, which I have developed a love of. I guzzled it the whole time I was in treatment, per his recommendation.  One of the strongest sources for antioxidants .  Coffee is another great source or antioxidants, plus there is repeated evidence that coffee can ward off or at least significantly delay Parkinson's Disease.


Posts: 5
Joined: Nov 2013

Thank you all for the information! I will definitely try all of them. Happy Thanksgiving!


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