VITAMINS & MINERALS MARKERS
White blood cells (WBC), also known as leucocytes, belong to the immune system and help to protect the body from infectious disease and invading pathogens. They are made in the bone marrow and can be found throughout the body. White blood cells can be classified into different groups, granulocytes, lymphocytes and monocytes.
Why take a WBC blood test?
A white blood cell count determines how many white blood cells are present in a sample of blood. The count is a good marker for the presence of illness or infection. When an infection is present, the white blood count will rise, a process called leucocytosis which usually arises from inflammation, bacterial infections and leukaemia.
What function do White Blood Cells have in the body?
The main function of white blood cells is to defend the body against infectious disease. The make up a significant part of the immune system. White blood cells can be split into different categories. White blood cells are all different shapes and sizes, some have multiple-lobed nuclei, others have a large round nucleus and some have granules within their cytoplasm to fight infection. However, they all have different roles within the immune system.
Neutrophils: Neutrophils are the most common white blood cells in circulation. They help to protect the body bacterial and fungi infection. Neutrophils are a type of phagocyte which means they can engulf and digest an invading pathogen.
Lymphocytes: There are two major forms of lymphocytes, B and T cells. These cells are the most important cells in the adaptive immune response where they are responsible for destroying invading pathogens.
Monocytes: Monocytes develop into one of two cell types, macrophages and dendritic cells. Macrophages are phagocytes while dendritic cells flag foreign cells for destruction by lymphocytes, making them antigen-presenting cells.
Eosinophils: Eosinophils are a type of granulocyte. Their roles include presentation of antigens, release of mediators for acute and chronic inflammation. Degranulation upon the presentation of helminth worms or parasites
Basophils: Basophils are also a type of granulocyte, releasing disease-fighting granules when they meet an infectious agent. The substances contained in granules include: Histamine, Heparin, Peroxidase, Platelet-activating factor.
You can check your level of white blood cells with Forth’s Vitality and Ultimate blood tests. For those who lead active lifestyles Forth also offers a home finger-prick blood test called Body Fit which includes analysis of white blood cells as well as 17 other biomarkers.