How Stress Reduces Immune System Strength
Worried about staying healthy? Want to improve your immune system strength? I’m about to reveal the one thing in particular you can do to keep your defenses strong…
Stress undermines your immune system in multiple ways, making it hard for your internal defense force to protect you adequately from the threats to your health all around you.
The American Medical Association reports that 80-85% of doctor visits can be traced back to stress.
You may think viruses and other microbes make you sick.
But that’s not necessarily the case. Sure, germs lead to an infection. But only if they outsmart your immune system, get inside of you and establish a foothold in your body.
And stress – more often than not – opens the door and lets them in. Here’s how…
How Stress Slows Your Immune System Down
In 2004, researchers Suzanne Segerstrom and Gregory Miller, analyzed close to 300 studies examining stress’ impact on the immune system. They found that small bouts of stress – like an exam or giving a speech – increased immune activity and sometimes shifted immune activity from one part of your immune system to another.
But chronic stress did something very different.
Chronic stress unequivocally drags your defenses down. 
See, your immune system is primed to respond to stress. On every immune cell lie specialized receptors for the stress hormones norpenephrine, epinephrine and cortisol.
When you’re exposed to a short bout of stress, your body’s fight or flight reaction kicks in. As part of getting ready for a fight, your body gets prepared for wounds and exposure to infections. So your immune system goes on high alert.
This immune response exposed short-lived stressful moments can be good. Some research indicates it may even help you fend off cancer.
But when stress is ongoing, things change.
As Dr. Yufang Shi, a researcher at the National Space Biomedical Research Institute explains, “Following periods of prolonged physical stress… white blood cells that fight disease, called lymphocytes, die at an increased rate and immune system organs like the thymus and spleen lose mass and begin to atrophy.”
Your immune system dwindles in both numbers and strength. In fact, stress is so potent, doctors use the stress hormone, cortisol, to tamp down an overactive immune system.
But stress doesn’t just take out immune cells – it slows your immune response in another profound way…
Stress Handicaps Your Immune Response At The Genetic Level
Your immune system depends heavily on communication to be effective.
Too much stress may limit how effectively your immune system cells respond to immune signals by altering immune cells at the genetic level.
So while the signals may be there… and you may have immune cells roving around patrolling… the immune cells may not be listening to the signals and responding appropriately.
In one study published in Biological Psychiatry in 2007, researchers compared the immune reactions of people who were caregivers to family members with chronic illness to people who didn’t have these responsibilities. The immune cells of people who were caregivers barely responded to signals that would ordinarily trigger a response.
When researchers looked a little deeper, they found something very disturbing.
The caregiver’s immune cells had changed at the genetic level from those of non-caregivers. This research indicated that the stress caregivers were experiencing may be changing how their immune system functioned at the genetic level, hampering their immune cells ability to respond to immune signals.
Reducing Stress Is A Powerful Immune Booster
Reduce the immune-destroyer stress and you give your body a fighting chance.
Stress destroys your best defense against illness – your immune system. Without this to protect you, anything can get you.
There are plenty of natural and effective immune allies out there. But if you don’t tackle stress, you’re losing half the battle no matter what you take.
By managing your life and making choices, you can reduce stress as well as relax and recharge. And by doing this, you give your body a powerful reinforcement against one of the biggest threats to your health.