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Cyclic Neutropenia


I have been diagnosed with "Cyclic Neutropenia". I say diagnosed, but the doctors really shrug their shoulders and say "who knows why" your white blood cell count drops to 500 every month or so, and then mysteriously starts back up again after a few weeks. After two premature births, the doctors thought it was due to pregnancy... but, at the age of 43, my doctor was alarmed to find the condition still current. I had an oncologist thoroughly examine me, and a hematologist do a thorough investigative panel...and they have no idea what's happening. I started your type O blood diet only four days ago, and feel like a new woman. I am going to get my blood tested after about a month of being on your diet...and then we'll see who's shrugging their shoulders! Do you have any ideas as to what my body is doing or what the scientific reasons are for my blood count to drop so low? I also have trouble with anemia at times. Thank you so much for your discoveries. It would be so nice to have an answer when so many just don't know


The neutrophils are the types of white blood cells that are primarily responsible for gobbling up invading bacteria and other infectious organisms. Cyclic neutropenia is a disorder in which the number of these special cells drops dramatically in a cyclical pattern -- usually about every 21 days.

The disorder is typically seen in childrenm ywho will have a normal number of these cells, then they will drop to extremely low levels lasting for about a week, and then rise again. During the time of a low neutrophil count, children can experience symptoms which include fever without an obvious cause, ulcers of the mouth, sore throat, enlarged lymph nodes, skin infections, and even more serious infections due to this important part of the immune system being limited.

How this disease arises is not entirely understood, but between 25 to 34 percent can be shown to due to inheritance. The remainder more than likely have some inherited basis for their disease, but it is often difficult to determine this. The diagnosis of cyclic neutropenia is often quite difficult because the symptoms may be quite variable in different children ranging from the rather mild in those whose numbers drop only moderately to the very severe in those whose neutrophil numbers drop to zero. This, coupled with the fact that these symptoms occur only during the low phase, makes cyclical neutropenia a difficult diagnosis to make. While it is apparently widespread to associate this disorder with a higher risk of leukemia (especially in children) in reality there is no evidence to suggest that cyclic neutropenia are at any greater risk for leukemia.

Although there appears to be no correlation with blood type, there is some evidence that variation in neutrophil levels may be related to variations in prostaglandin levels and certain mineral defficiencies, including copper. In addition to the blood group O program, I would also recommend taking a mineral supplement that included both zinc and copper, and perhaps an essential fatty acid supplement like black current seed oil capsules. Finally, I would also advocate 400mcg of folic acid twice daily. Keep me updated on your followup.

The Ask Dr. D'Adamo internet advice column ran from 1996 to 2009, at which time Dr. D'Adamo's teaching and programming responsibilities no longer allowed him to devote time and resources to directly answering visitor questions. However we've recently reorganized this treasure-trove of material and made it again available to his readership. He occasionally posts new entries. These are marked with a NEW tag.

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