Posts Tagged With "Stress"
As a child who suffered with headaches from birth trauma, it is my personal mission to help all people feel their best! This includes newborns and children because they are afflicted with many types of conditions, need support for growth and optimal brain health, and thrive with improved quality of life! The best part is, the entire family can benefit from NCR! Please join me as Dr Hillary has a one hour webinar on this unique structural therapy that the newborn and child in your life could benefit from!
March 26, 2013 6:00-7:00 pm PST
Boosting Your Immune System Naturally
When I see the word Immunity, my brain automatically hears I am Unity. I am Unity could mean so many things, but when it comes to the immune system, I see all the little cells holding hands and singing Kumbaya, united together for one mission: To protect and defend. This is the time of year where illness travels around school, work, and home and the flu becomes a household "experience". Building immunity is a life long endeavor, different with each stage of life, but creating a robust immune system includes the basics for everyone, young or old. Below is my simple list- believe me the list could go on, and on, and on.....but lets start here.
1) Combat emotional stress. “Stress-related disease emerges, predominantly, out of the fact that we so often activate a physiological system that has evolved for responding to acute physical emergencies, but we turn it on for months on end, worrying about mortgages, relationships, and promotions.” - Why Zebra’s Don’t Get Ulcers.
Reducing stresses such as fear, worry, and conflict, while increasing love, pleasure, and laughter can increase biochemicals such as oxytocin, natural killer cells, and Immunoglobulin A,( all increase immunity), while decreasing cortisol and adrenaline (which increase blood pressure, elevate blood sugars, and suppress the thyroid). Adopting stress reducing habits, removing negativity, and processing traumatic events, can overtime add years to your life, improve your outlook, and strengthen your immune system.
2) Let food be your medicine. Over 70% of the immune system resides in the digestive system, thus what you choose to eat (or drink), directly affects your immunity.
Many illnesses can be avoided or lessened by eating nutrient dense foods such as lean protein, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and legumes, all year round. Stay away from processed foods, sugars, trans fats, excessive alcohol, and foods that are not organic.
Organic foods are important because they are not sprayed with herbicides/pesticides, are hormone and antibiotic free, and are not derived from GMO products. These harmful compounds can alter hormone and immune function and even damage DNA.
Moderation is the key to success, and “cheating” a few times a week is fine, but cheating all day long every day of the year is going to decrease immunity, period.
3) Add Superfoods to your diet. SUPER DUPER foods (SDfoods) as I like to call them are a great example of high nutrient, low calorie foods, that are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids that strengthen immunity. Look for high Vitamin C SDfoods such as Camu Camu (YouthH2O), acai, and goji berries. Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin that squelches free radicals and helps fight infection, thus boosting immunity. I will be posting my favorite SDfoods in the next few blogs, so stay tuned.
4)Exercise. Just like healthy nutrition, exercise is at the core of having a strong immune system. Exercise improves circulation aiding the body in elimination of toxins, decreases insulin levels and reduces the harmful inflammatory chemicals created by stress. This means you need to lift something heavy at least 2-3 times per week and increase your heart rate at least 4 times per week. Stress reducing activities such as yoga, Tai Ji, Qi Gong, and meditation are also immune stimulating. Besides, losing those excess pounds can't hurt. Yippee!
5) Sleep. Many studies show that sleep deprivation decreases T cells, inflammatory cytokines increase, and thus you are more succeptable to colds and flus. Millions also suffer from sleep related disorders such as sleep apnea, which recents studies have shown increased cancer diagnosis with severity of sleep apnea. Bottom line: Your immune system needs adequate restful sleep.
6) Get your head on straight and your body aligned. As many of you know I specialize in a powerful cranial, spinal, and neurological treatment, NeuroCranial Restructuring, and I can tell you from thousands of clinical examples that being pain free and standing tall has a direct impact on the immune system. Pain itself causes cascades of chemicals to be released into the system and chronic pain just plain wears everything out including your immunity. Other treatments I like: Reiki, Manual Ligament Therapy, Reflexology, Acupunture, and Hydrotherapy.
7) Vitamin D. Living in the rainy Northwest, I can tell you most everyone here and in any other dark climate during the winter, is deficient. Vitamin D is not really a vitamin, it’s more like a super hormone, and some studies show it as or more effective than the flu vaccine. Taking Vit K2 with the D is important too, so consider this when beginning to supplement.
8) Probiotics. Since the digestive system holds most of your immunity, you need to support the good bacteria and help them thrive. Probiotics assist the body in a multitude of ways and are the true champions of our inner ecology.
9) Lastly, turn off your phone, your computer, your iPad, your X-box, your TV, your alarm clock, your WiFi.... and look others in the eye and have a real conversation, make love to your partner, hug your chidren and get outside and put your feet on the earth more. Electromagnetics are making us sick in more ways than one, but this is a topic for another blog. Connect with people, nature, and not just your devices, your immune system will thank you.
Dr Robert Sapolsky is a professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University and has done research on Primates in Kenya. Growing up in NYC he dreamed of living with apes, and later did just that, living with baboons in Africa. There he began to study the stress responses of the baboons and thus its correlation to us humans. He wrote the first version of this book in 1994, a second in 1998, and now this version in 2004. (Science is constantly changing, and what we think we know is constantly changing).
I read it back in med school, but lately it has come back into my life as I've been researching the nervous system. The title is interesting and at first glance makes you wonder, what do zebra's have to do with this book? And why don't they get ulcers? Well it all boils done to stress, and how stress can save and/or kill us.
There are different types of stress, and they affect the body differently, whether you are a human or any other animal living on the planet. Most animals, the zebra for example, live in a peaceful state of wandering, eating, drinking etc without much worry. Once in a while though the zebra experiences moments of acute stress, like running from a hungry lion, where split second hormonal and neurological activities are essential for their ultimate survival. These nervous system functions are the same in humans, and under acute stress, we do what it called the "flight or fight" reaction. It used to be that people worried about dying from diseases such as Cholera, Polio, the Flu ( hmmm I guess they still are, but not to the extent that we used to see) However, in this day and age of tests, bills, deadlines, traffic, the list could go on, more people are living with CHRONIC stress and dying from stress related diseases, and thus the ulcers begin.
This book wraps up the many ways in which good and bad stress can affect our lives and bodies, but it also looks at the personality and HOW the mind can influence our perceptions and ultimately who CHRONIC stress will kill first. Did you know that if your mother was malnourished during her first trimester you have a higher risk of heart disease or obesity, and in the 2nd or 3rd trimester a greater chance of diabetes? Did you know that more people living in NYC die of heart attacks than anywhere else in America, or that high levels of stress hormone secretion is what kills salmon after their long journey to the spawning grounds? (of course taking away the nets, fisherman, eagles, bears) This book is FULL of interesting science, facts, and some fiction, and the author has a great sense of humor! (Definitely read the notations at the bottom of the marked pages, they can usually give you a good laugh!) The author endlessly refers to research but also gives some of his own experiential theories. (pg 200 his idea about Fibromyalgia and its potential correlation to high Substance P and some low stress hormones- interesting?) as well as some of his fellow scientists (pg 33, Dr Shelley Taylor of UCLA suggesting that "fight or flight" only applies to males, and that the female stress response is "tend and befriend" because of their higher oxytocin release during stress, a theory that could explain why women tend to be more social beings.)
This book is a great reference, as the author has it nicely divided into chapters like Pain and Stress, Depression and Stress, Personality, Temperance, and their Stress Related Consequences etc etc so it is easy to flip to the chapter that one is needing in any given moment. However I recommend reading the first 6 chapters, as they give a good rundown for those "laymen" who aren't up to speed on the neurophysiology (big word), biology, endocrinology (other big word) and so on- background it always good when learning about a new subject. It not only gives the lowdown on stress, but actually some things we can do to make the picture not so bleak- action vs reaction!
I highly recommend this book and any of Dr Sapolsky's other writings, refer to http://www.barclayagency.com/sapolsky_corporate.html for more info about this interesting man!