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Updated: Mar 27

What are Leukocytes?

White blood cells, also known as leukocytes, are a type of blood cell produced in the bone marrow and present in the bloodstream and in the body's tissues. They play a crucial role in the immune system, helping to protect the body against infection and disease. White blood cells can be found in urine during physical activity.

How can the levels be affected?

The presence of urinary leucocytes in the urine can be influenced by various factors linked to physical activity:

  1. Muscle damage: Intense physical exercise, particularly high-intensity or resistance exercise, can cause muscle micro-lesions and trigger an inflammatory response in the body. This inflammation can lead to an increased release of leukocytes into the bloodstream, which can then be detected in urine.

  2. Physical stress: During intensive training, the body undergoes significant physical stress, which can lead to an increase in the production of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress. High levels of cortisol can affect the immune system and lead to an increase in the number of white blood cells in urine.

  3. Dehydration: Physical exercise can lead to dehydration, especially if you don't drink enough water before, during and after physical activity. Dehydration can concentrate the urine and lead to an increase in the levels of certain components, including leucocytes.

  4. Oxidative stress: Intense physical exercise can increase the production of free radicals (reactive molecules capable of reacting with proteins and lipids) in the body, leading to oxidative stress. Leukocytes are involved in combating oxidative damage by neutralising free radicals. Consequently, an increase in the production of free radicals during exercise can lead to an increased release of leucocytes in urine.

In summary, the presence of leukocytes in the urine during or after exercise can be attributed to the body's normal responses to physical exertion, as well as to factors such as dehydration and oxidative stress.

How can I maintain an optimal rate?

It is important to point out that the presence of leukocytes is not a parameter that can be optimised or controlled in the same way as performance measures in sport. However, it is possible to implement various strategies to help manage leucocyte levels in the urine:

  • Adequate hydration: Make sure you stay well hydrated before, during and after physical effort. Drinking enough water can help dilute urine and eliminate excess substances, including leukocytes.

  • Warm-up and active recovery: Before starting your workout, make sure you warm up properly to prepare your body for the effort. After training, carry out active recovery exercises such as gentle stretching or a short walk to promote blood circulation and help eliminate metabolic waste products, including white blood cells.

  • Balanced diet: Eat a balanced, nutrient-rich diet to support your overall health and promote optimal recovery after exercise. Make sure you include foods rich in antioxidants (berries, citrus fruit, green leafy and coloured vegetables, etc.), proteins (meat, fish, vegetable proteins, etc.), complex carbohydrates and healthy fats in your diet to promote muscle recovery.

Proteins :

Animal proteins

Plant proteins

- Salmon

- Mackerel

- Tuna

- Poultry

- Chicken

- Turkey

- ...

- Pulses (beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.)

- Tofu and tempeh

- Seitan,

- Seeds and nuts (chia, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, almonds, etc.)

- Wholegrain cereals (quinoa, brown rice, oats, etc.)

Antioxidants :

Fruits and vegetables

Dried fruits

Nuts and seeds


-      Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, ...)

-      Citrus fruits (lemons, oranges, grapefruits, ...)

-      Green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, broccoli, ...)

-      Colorful vegetables (carrots, bell peppers, tomatoes, ...)


-      Raisins

-      Prunes

-      Dates

-      Figs

-      …

-      Nuts

-      Almonds

-      Hazelnuts

-      Sunflower seeds

-      Pumpkin seeds

-      Flax seeds

-      ...


-      Beans,

-      Chickpeas

-      Lentils

-      …


Complex Carbohydrates:

Whole grains

Starchy vegetables


-      Oats,

-      Whole wheat,

-      Brown rice,

-      Quinoa

-      Barley

-      ...


-      Potatoes

-      Sweet potatoes

-      Carrots

-      Squashes

-      ...


-      Bananas,

-      Apples,

-      Pears

-      Berries

-      ...


  • Avoid training overloads: Make sure you plan adequate rest periods between intensive training sessions to allow your body to recover and regenerate. Overtraining can weaken the body and increase the risk of exertion-related fatigue, which is explained by high levels of white blood cells in urine.

Although it is not possible to actively control the quantity of leucocytes in urine, adopting healthy lifestyle habits can help athletes maintain their sporting performance.

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