Have you ever noticed that you tend to get sick or catch a cold during times of stress? Most people underestimate the significance of that. The reason you get sick is because chronic stress lowers the body’s production of natural killer (NK) cells. These are the immune cells that kill viruses – and they are also one of the body’s primary defenses against cancer cells.
The effects of stress on immune function are well known by psychologists. Just browse through the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine, for example, and you’ll find plenty of proof that stress not only reduces the number of NK cells that you produce, it can hamper the ones you have. It has other effects on immunity, too – none of them good.
Researchers at the Pittsburgh Cancer Institute studied a group of adult men who performed a high-stress task for 30 minutes. Not only did the men report increased feelings of tension, but their blood pressure and heart rate increased… and the effectiveness of their NK cells markedly decreased!
Some people think they thrive on stress, but they’d better think again.
One of the most effective things you can do for cancer prevention is to implement a stress management plan. Of course, it’s not really possible to eliminate everything that causes stress in your life – and that’s where adaptogenic herbs come in.
Adaptogenic herbs have traditionally been used to help prevent the physical imbalances that can result from stress. Some of my favorites are Astragalus, Holy Basil, Rhodiola, and ReloraO (a patented extract of two herbs that have long been used in Chinese medicine for their calming and health balancing effects). Astragalus and Rhodiola, in particular, have been found to increase NK cells. These herbs are not difficult to find. Just about every health food store and pharmacy sells them.
If you find yourself feeling stressed out day after day, don’t underestimate the long-term impact that can have on your health. Take action today, even if it is simply to pick up a good adaptogenic herb.