Les Carr of Milton asks :-

What can an elderly male do to build up white blood cells?

Jim Faed, a haematologist at Otago University's Medical School, responded.

My answer may not seem very specific, but I can suggest two things. Firstly, eat a good balanced diet. This should follow the recognised best diet recommendations of groups such as the Heart Foundation and professional dietitians. A balanced diet will provide the minerals and vitamins that are essential for normal cell production and function, including white blood cells. Binges of food, or fad diets with very restricted foods, often have poor levels of some important nutrients. Excessive dieting, especially if occurring in binges, is also likely to result in poor intake of some nutrients if not well planned and managed. Dietitians can give advise on how to go about dieting.

The second point to deal with is avoid excessive stress, such as too many late nights with too little sleep, etc. We are all familiar with the old-fashioned expression 'being too run down'. Excessively stressed living may result in impaired defences of the body in many different ways and can sometimes result in serious infections and other health issues.

There is no 'magic bullet' to build up our white cells and have 'super' defences but we can take good care of ourselves and avoid the risk of having impaired 'run down' white cell function.