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    Categories: Cancer ResearchPrevention

Chronic Stress and Immune Suppression

There is no greater cancer control agent than your own immune system. In fact, if the system is functioning perfectly, it’s actually impossible for cancer to proliferate and develop into tumors. Among its many different cells with different tasks – monocytes, macrophages, dendritic cells, T cells, B cells, are natural killer (NK) cells, antitumor effectors that can destroy cancer cells long before tumor markers can detect them. One clinical study concluded that people with long-term stress and anxiety had lower blood natural killer (NK) activity.

A University of Kentucky study provided an ecological model to help explain the relationship between immunity and stress. Measurements were taken in a group of adults to determine how the body matches it’s biological resources with behavior to manage exogenous (from outside) stressors and protect itself. The researcher, Suzanne Sagerstrom, found that the body manages its finite energy by redistributing to where it’s most needed for any given situation. For example, if sensing an infection, the body may produce a fever as a defense. The cost to heat the body will take away physiological resources necessary to perform other functions. For Example: the muscles receive fewer resources, like peptides, resulting in less strength in common aches. Dr. Sagerstrom just so found,

  • Chronic stress perturbs homeostatic mechanisms in the body and results in poorer immune functions in the cellular arm, the humoral arm or both. When the fight or flight response, which was designed to meet short-term energetic demands, is prolonged, undesirable consequences ensue.

If you can learn how to manage a response to stress you will allow your immune system to improve and help you win the fight against cancer.

 

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