We are on week 5 of the latest live blood analysis online training course and studying white blood cell (WBC’s) and WBC anomalies.

WBC’s in general relate to the state of the immune system, possible infections, allergies and a few other conditions, such as autoimmune diseases.

The video above is a speeded up video of a WBC chasing and eventually swallowing up a bacterial form – ingesting it by phagocytosis. WBC’s are also known as Leukocytes, they originate in the thymus, bone marrow and lymph tissue.

They are immune cells actively engaged in the destruction or neutralization of invading microorganisms. They are transported to sites of infection and inflammation. For this reason their lifespan in the blood in usually very short (around 14 days).

When infection is present they increase in number and they also become more mobile and move back and forth between the blood, lymph and the tissues. Neutrophil viability is one of the most important assessments used to determine the state of the immune system. The main criteria used for determining the viability of a neutrophil include size, condition and activity.

A neutrophil should be approximately twice as big as a RBC (approximately 14 microns in diameter). The main determinants in assessing the condition of a neutrophil are the condition of the cell’s border and segmentation. The border should be fairly smooth and regular and the neutrophil should not be hypersegmented nor macrocytic (oversized).

The most important factor to observe when assessing neutrophil viability is activity. Here we look at the granules within the cell’s cytoplasm. Ideally, there should be many of them actively streaming within the cell. The cell itself should also be stretching out its membrane in irregular shapes to move around actively in the plasma. Typically, neutrophil viability should be at least 75{0ad5881c2192913025db5bf2180b2e0b17ede26560c7c351a451156c0b06bc98}.

Non-viable neutrophils are often round, symmetrical and immobile.   


Poor neutrophil viability may be caused by many factors and is indicative of an underactive immune system.

This may be caused by mineral deficiencies, ongoing infections, chronic fatigue, smoking, alcohol and sugar intake and digestive weakness.  Poor oxygenation, stress, lack of exercise, poor sleeping patterns and yeast overgrowth can also contribute.  


Immune supporting herbals and nutritionals (e.g.: Olive leaf, Echinacea, Cats Claw, Goldenseal, Calcium ascorbate 2g 2xdaily, Zinc, N-Acetyl-Cysteine, proanthocyanidins).

Probiotic supplement. Trace minerals.

Improving the patient’s lifestyle, dietary habits and overall health is important here to ensure the correction of the terrain. 

Copyright Dr Okker R. Botha, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2009