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Stress and Immune Function Part 3

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January 16, 2012 | Published by


Keeping Immune Balance Under Stress

Stress creates such an intricate web of interactions with the immune system that managing your stress and supporting your stress response system, especially your adrenal glands, can significantly enhance immunity and help you stay well.

Lifestyle and Dietary Tips

• Make a point of getting 7 or more hours of sleep each night – sleep deprivation and restriction disrupt immunity
• Wash your hands to prevent the spread of disease
• Reduce your consumption of sugar (including drinks like soda and your favorite Starbucks coffee) – sugar suppresses immune function
• Eat sufficient high quality protein – amino acids are the building blocks of your immune cells
• Practice yoga, meditation, and moderate exercise, each of which has been shown to help normalize cortisol levels and positively impact immune function
• Laugh! It has been shown to help modulate cortisol and boost immune function

Supplements Can Help

Certain nutritional supplements and herbs have a long history of successful use and/or scientific support for inhibiting pathogenic activity in the body, enhancing immune function and promoting stress hardiness.
Defense against Pathogens
• L-lysine, an amino acid, helps inhibit the replication of certain viruses and has been shown to reduce viral outbreaks that tend to increase with stress
• Herbs such as grapefruit seed extract, cat’s claw, oregano, pau d’arco, thyme, and cayenne pepper have been shown to promote reduction of pathogens
• Cell wall fractions from probiotic Lactobacillus bulgaricus have been shown to support immune system destruction of toxic bacteria
• Lomatium, an herb, has been shown to help mitigate the effects of rotavirus (one of the causes of the common cold)

Immune Function Enhancement

• Probiotics for Immune Enhancement:
– Lactobacillus bulgaricus, a probiotic, beneficially modulates the immune system by increasing front line immune cells in the lungs and intestines and stimulating innate immunity
– Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus salivarius, and Lactobacillus plantarum promote healthy intestinal microbial balance necessary for optimal frontline immune defenses in the digestive tract, and have been shown to reduce the incidence of diarrhea

• Vitamins and Minerals for Immune Enhancement:
– Vitamin C has been shown to stimulate the production and healthy function of white blood cells
– Vitamin A is required for immune cell activation and survival
– Zinc is helpful in reducing both the duration and severity of the common cold

• Herbs for Immune Enhancement:
– Echinacea and thuja have been shown to help decrease duration of cold viruses in human subjects and to help increase survival rate in mice with influenza
– Ashwagandha has been shown to enhance macrophage and natural killer cell functions, and increase production of lymphocytes
– Cayenne has been shown to increase numbers of B cells and antibodies, and increase lymphocyte response
– Thuja has been shown to stimulate cell-mediated immunity

Adrenal Support

• Vitamins and Minerals for Adrenal Support
– Vitamins A, C & E help modulate brain/adrenal gland interaction and related stress responses
– Copper, zinc, manganese, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin E and bioflavonoids are important as antioxidants that help neutralize damaging free radicals that form during stress
– B vitamins and vitamin C are rapidly depleted under stress and must be replenished for the body to continue to handle stress

• Herbs for Adrenal Support
– Eleutherococcus is anti-inflammatory and helps curb excessive physiologic reactions to stress
– Eleutherococcus, maca and ashwagandha have been shown to help normalize brain and adrenal function under stress

Stress and Immune Function Part 1

Stress and Immune Function Part 2


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4 Comments

  • Cynthia Watson says:

    I was recently started on a bio identical hormone. I am high on estrogen. I started breaking out in a cold sweat again. Could this bio identical hormone be causing this?
    Thank you-Cindy Watson

    • adrenalfatigue says:

      Hi Cynthia,

      That is a good question, but something we would not be able to answer. The best way to know for sure would be to ask the practitioner who put you on the hormone treatment. Hope this helps!

      Dr. Wilson’s Adrenal Fatigue Team

  • Laura says:

    I was diagnosed last month with adrenal fatique, extremely low zinc and D. As well as high homeocysteine levels. Went to a conference this weekend, had a fun time and more energy than I have had in a while but today I have had three severe vertigo episodes as well as headaches and nausea. Unfortunately, I had to sit by some folks who sounded sick. Is my immune system that put of whack that it has left me in bed all day today?!

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