How Stress Affects Your Health And What You Can Do About It!

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stress affects immune system

Have you ever noticed that “when it rains, it pours”? When life overloads you with worries, you seem more often to get sick. When there is illness, you feel stressed. With doctor visits and medication expenses added into your already busy life, you get more stressed. And then you get more sick!

Stress is a threat to a person’s well-being. Acute illness such as trauma, infection, inflammation, burns, surgery, as well as chronic disease such as diabetes and heart disease all cause stress on the body. So does smoking. The body handles stress by means of an elaborate system involving enzymes and dietary compounds including antioxidant vitamins and minerals. The body’s attempt to handle stress, physical or emotional, also causes a rapid decline in certain vitamins and minerals, as we shall see below.

You’re not imagining this phenomenon. Simply put, stress weakens your immune system. As Scientific American pointed out in a recent article, researchers have known since the 1980’s that your immune system and brain are directly interconnected. Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) is the field that studies this interconnectedness, and it has exploded in recent years.

I have often talked about how stress harms the body. Here you will learn how it specifically affects your immune system, and what you can do about it.

 

Stress Lowers Immune Response

When you encounter stress, your body reacts as if to physical danger. Your hypothalamus sets off a series of reactions. Your adrenal glands release adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline increases your heart rate and elevates your blood pressure. Cortisol increases blood glucose. When the perceived threat passes, your body returns to normal functioning… ideally.

However, the Mayo Clinic reports, “when stressors are always present and you constantly feel under attack, that fight-or-flight reaction stays turned on. The long-term activation of the stress-response system — and the subsequent overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones — can disrupt almost all your body’s processes. This puts you at increased risk of numerous health problems…”

Chronic stress does two major things to wreak havoc on your immune system: causes inflammation and lowers defense against infection. Of the former, the University of Maryland Medical Center reports, “Some evidence suggests that chronic stress triggers an overproduction of certain immune factors called cytokines.” Cytokines tell cells to move towards sites of inflammation, infection and trauma.

They also say, “Several studies claim that people who are under chronic stress have low white blood cell counts and are more vulnerable to colds. Once a person catches a cold or flu, stress can make symptoms worse.” Stress not only lowers T cell production but can stop it altogether!

Furthermore, chronic stress can lead to a condition called adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue occurs when your adrenal glands overproduce fight-or-flight hormones like epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol. These necessary hormones can eventually become depleted.

 

Fight Stress & Boost Your Immune System

Laughter can lower stress and, in turn, boost your immune system. So can exercise, which benefits your health in a myriad of ways. So make room in life for exercise and laughter, especially ways to combine the two, like playing with your children more or taking up laughter yoga.

exercise lowers stress

Medical evidence points to meditation and mindfulness, too. Johns Hopkins University selected 47 meditation studies, from among thousands, that met their criteria for well-designed studies. Their findings, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, suggest that mindful meditation can help ease psychological stress.

I recommend you take a good look at your diet and remove as many toxins from your diet as possible. These toxins are stressors on your immune system as well. Whenever possible, choose organic products. Avoid processed/fast food as much as possible.

Here’s a short video which you may find helpful…

 

What Are The Best Natural Supplements To Boost Your Immune System?

Here’s my 2-part plan I have used in my practice for many years with much success:

1.) Diamond Nutritionals’ Immune Cell Support Formula contains a blend of high-grade nutrients designed to work in harmony to boost your immune system. This special formulation has helped many of my patients over the years.  

2.) Diamond Nutritionals’ Foundation Vitamin Formula. Stress, both physical and emotional, also lowers blood and tissue levels of zinc, magnesium, calcium, chromium, and B-complex vitamins.. As a result of observing this through laboratory testing in many who have come to see me over many years, I have long recommended taking Immune Cell Support Formula with Foundation Vitamin Formula as part of my 2-part plan to boost the immune system. Foundation Vitamin Formula rapidly replaces the vitamins and minerals which have been depleted by stress.

Just as one negative effect on your health seems to lead to another, so can the positive ones. Take the first step now toward lowering your stress and reap the benefits of an improved immune system, too. The healthier you feel, the more likely you will be to engage in stress-lowering activities, and you’ll be on the road to a better life.

Photo credits:

  • Cordeschi / Bigstock.com
  • Eldar Nurkovic / Bigstock.com

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