Vitalize your immune system against Stress

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Understanding Your Immune System: How Stress, nutrition & exercise affect your health.

STRESS is virtually always a factor in developing cancer and treating stress is an important factor in eradicating this disease. The significance of stress is that it shuts down the immune system, which we know by now, is the body's main system for fighting cancer.

Dr. Richard Shulze, Cure Zone and other sites, declares that stress is always a factor in the cancer patients that he treats. Dr. Linus Pauling stated that stress uses up the bodies vitamin C supply, which is needed for the immune system to operate.

Remember, it is the immune system that fights cancer and stress is devastating to our immune system. This may be the most difficult area of managing our lives in order to get well. We can be loyal to our relationships at the expense of our health. I have seen it over and over again. People have trouble convincing themselves that certain drastic changes may be in order for them to manage their recovery well.

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The immune system is responsible for protecting the body against infection. Its major components include lymph nodes, bone marrow, spleen, thymus gland, and tonsils. The immune system creates antibodies, which react to specific infectious agents. In most cases, an antibody is created the first time that the body encounters a germ. The antibody then remains in the body, preventing a second infection by the same germ.

Some diseases, including HIV and Lupus, weaken the immune system. Antibodies do not form normally, and infections easily overtake the body. In some cases, medications can help counteract weakened immune systems.

Only in the last ten to twenty years has there been any real understanding of the complexity and importance of the immune system. Scientists have come to realize that stress and improper nutrition can lead to a breakdown in the immune system. The best way to form a strong immune system is through maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Evidence Against Stress

There is clear evidence that stress will slow wound healing in healthy students. The study by Phillip Marucha, in 1998 revealed that examination stress in dental students delayed wound healing times by 40% compared to healing during the summer vacation. This study also demonstrated a reduction in levels of Interleukin-1 (IL-1) of 2/3 at the same time compared to unstressed levels.

Interleukin-1 is an important cytokine that plays several major roles in wound healing, including mediation of the keratinocyte response and wound contraction.

A second study by Ronald Glaser, using healthy women volunteers. The volunteers were assessed for stress using questionnaires prior to receiving minor skin damage. Test conducted at 5 hrs & 24 hrs post injury revealed reductions in levels 2 cytokines, IL-1 & IL-8 at the wound sites and an increase in levels of cortisol in the saliva in women with higher stress scores.

Cortisol suppresses the immune response and is important in curtailing wound healing either by reducing the population of neutrophils at the wound site or by controlling the concentration of cytokines.

The investigators found it worth noting that none of the patients in the trial were experiencing abnormal levels of stress, certainly less than would be expected in patients anticipating surgery.

Marucha, Phillip T; Kiecolt-Glaser, Janice K; Favagehi, Mehrdad: "Mucosal Wound Healing Is Impaired by Examination Stress," Psychosomatic Medicine, 60:362

Glaser, Ronald; Kiecolt-Glaser, Janice K; Arch Gen Psych, 1999

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A new study of dental students found that stress can lengthen the time wounds take to heal by as much as 40 percent and reduce by two-thirds the production of one cytokine -- interleukin-1 -- that is integral for the healing process.

The study, published in the current issue of the journal, Psychosomatic Medicine, is the latest advance in nearly two decades of research here into the effects even common stress has on the human immune system.

The study also showed that this stress-induced slow-down of the healing process seems to occur in the first few days after injury. Researchers believe this suggests that additional supportive therapies applied soon after injuries might counteract the slowing effects caused by stress.

Stress slows the ability of the body to repair wounds by changing the response of the immune system to injury, scientists have found.
U.S. researchers set out to test the chemicals produced when 36 female volunteers were given minor blisters.

Doctors had also noticed that patients helped to relax before an operation recovered more quickly, often being kept in hospital one or two fewer days.

"Medical science searches high and low for the causes of cancer, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, and a host of other conditions. Yet it often ignores one of the most pervasive factors leading to illness: the hidden stresses embedded in our daily lives. In his important book, Dr. Gabor Mat© combines a passionate examination of his patients© life histories with lucid explanations of the science behind mind-body unity. He makes a compelling argument for the importance of understanding stress both in the causation of disease and in the restoration of health."

©© Richard Earle, Ph.D.
Director of the Canadian Institute of Stress/ Hans Selye Foundation

Becoming Aware of Stress in Your Life

Very often a primary cause of many health problems relates to stress. Dr. Hans Selye, a Hungarian doctor, documented the many negative effects of stress on the human body. Excess stress is often the pathway to disease and can come from many sources such as toxicity, trauma, allergies, harmful habits, mental states, pathogens, etc. As stress continues disease often progresses. Therefore it is of outmost importance to identify and stop stresses early to avoid diseases. Remember the saying, "An ounce of prevention is worth ..."

Controlled weight, healthy diet, and regular exercise can keep the body in the best shape possible to fight infections. Cleanliness, especially regular hand washing, can also help keep germs from invading the system. Read about more methods to manage stress.

Some foods appear to interfere with the body's immune function. Sugars inhibit white blood cells in their attempts to destroy bacteria. Excess Liquor (alcoholism) and high dietary fat (HDL's and saturated fats) also interfere with immune function.

Allergies can also weaken the immune system. Many ear infections are caused by allergic reactions, especially to dairy. In these cases, antibiotics may treat the infection, but it will recur almost immediately. When allergies are affecting immunity, it may be necessary to discover which food or environmental agent is causing the problem, and avoid it as much as possible.

Key Nutrients Facts and Recommendations:

Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) with Biotin - A powerful "universal antioxidant" that regenerates free radicals back to their protective antioxidant state. ALA has proven benefits for the nervous system including the potential to protect and repair neurons.

Lipoic acid - the drug of the future?
by Bilska, A. and Wlodek, L.
Institute of Medical Biochemistry, Medical College,
Jagiellonian University,
Kopernika 7, PL 31-034 Krakow, Poland.
mbwlodek @

Numerous experimental and clinical studies proved efficiency of treatment with lipoic acid-containing drugs in diseases, in which pro- and antioxidant balance is disrupted (diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, acquired immune deficiency syndrom (AIDS), tumors, etc.). Efficiency of lipoate has been attributed to unique antioxidant properties of lipoate/dihydrolipoate system, its reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenging ability and significant effect on the tissue concentrations of reduced forms of other antioxidants, including one of the most powerful, glutathione (thus lipoate is called an antioxidant of antioxidants). Moreover, analysis of literature data suggests participation of lipoic acid in processes of cell growth and differentiation. This fact can be crucial to clinical practice, however, this problem requires further studies.

Acidophilus which is found both as a supplement and in foods such as yogurt, helps the body to fight both bacterial infections and yeast infection.

Vitamin A helps to strengthen skin and mucous membranes, preventing germs from penetrating these. Supplementation may help prevent infection and speed recovery from certain illnesses, such as measles and diarrhea.

Vitamin C acts as an antiviral agent, elevating the body's interferon levels. Even taken in small amounts, it appears to reduce the duration and severity of illnesses. In some studies, Vitamin C has helped reduce the risk of hepatitis infection as well.

Zinc supplements appear to increase immune response. Taking Zinc lozenges when a cold starts often shortens the duration and severity of the infection. It is unclear whether Zinc also acts to prevent infection.

Ashwagandha works to stimulate the immune system overall, with many components that promote general wellness.

Astragalus reduces autoimmune response such as that caused by rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

Some of the components of Cat's Claw stimulate the immune system.

Echinacea supports immune function. It works both as a preventive measure and to treat infection once it has set in. Echinacea works by increasing the number of "killer white cells", which fight disease. It works well both by itself and as an enhancer of traditional medical treatments.

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Green Tea has antibacterial properties and stimulates the production of immune cells.

Licorice has long been used in Chinese medicine to enhance the effects of other herbal remedies. This enhancing behavior may be the reason for Licorice's effectiveness at improving immunity. It stimulates immunity in several ways, including encouraging the growth of T-cells and interferon.

Ligustrum fruit has many immune-enhancing effects, including cancer inhibition. It appears to increase white blood cell counts.

Maitake mushrooms enhance immunity, and appear especially effective in helping the body to inhibit cancer growth.

Shiitake mushrooms stimulate white blood cells to produce interferon. They appear to help increase immunity in laboratory studies.

(Is it any wonder that Asians suffer from less chronic ailments and age slower than their western counterparts? Anglo-saxon westerners tend to be shocked at how slowly asians turn grey while asians are just as surprised at how westerners age so rapidly - then they become westernized and figure out why.)

MGN-3 is a natural product isolated from rice bran. It has been shown to improve the natural killer cell function of the immune system response. This may be beneficial in patients with cancer, AIDS, and other immune system deficiencies, although the published studies are limited. Read the Manufacturer`s Information: Arming the Immune System with MGN-3.

*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the multi-national pharmaceutical industry's personal Gestapo, book-burning branch of government known as the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication.

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