What is exactly is my immune system?
The immune system is your body's “defense force.” It protects your body against foreign invaders (e.g., viruses, parasites and bacteria) or aberrant cells already present in your body (e.g., cancer cells). The immune system is fascinatingly complicated. For our purposes today, we will examine behaviors that you can control plus a particular aspect of your immune system that is involved in combating cancer: Natural Killer (NK) cells.
What causes my immune system to be weakened?
There are plenty of causes, but our "top five" behavioral-based culprits are:
- Poor dietary habits
- Lack of exercise
- Allergies, both airborne and food-based
- Lack of sleep
- Poor stress management
Poor dietary habits include ingesting simple carbohydrates such as sugar and flour, plus things such as trans-fats, dairy, and alcohol.
A sedentary lifestyle leads to an increase in body fat and an impaired ability to metabolize sugars.
Allergies tax the immune system by preoccupying your "defense force."
Lack of sleep prevents you from enjoying the REM phase, which is when your body naturally recharges your immune system.
Stress is an unavoidable aspect of life, but not effectively managing your stress levels taxes your immune system, can trigger insomnia, and lead to self-defeating behaviors such as binge eating or drinking.
Why are prostate cancer patients particularly vulnerable?
As a prostate cancer patient, your immune system already "has its hands full" fighting aberrant cell growth. Any behaviors that further tax your immune system make you more susceptible to illness and to the further progression of cancer. NK cells are recognized as your immune system's front-line defense against cancer. Significantly depressed NK cell levels and activity has been reported in numerous cancers, including prostate cancer.
Knowing this, let's now discuss what you can start doing right now to recharge, boost, and trigger your immune system.
What can I do today to strengthen my immune system?
Make smart choices. For example, here are 5 things you can start doing right now:
- Stop eating crap. Processed foods frequently contain sugar, simple carbs, trans-fats, and additives that you would never choose to eat on their own. Also try to reduce your consumption of dairy products. As an experiment, for the next week, eliminate all sugar and other simple carbs from you diet, and see how you feel. Let us know.
- Start eating smartly. Eat fresh, organic foods that are thoughtfully prepared. Lean protein, vegetables, and fruit are the foundation to a healthy, immune system boosting diet.
- Think before you drink. Do your best to avoid drinking anything that includes sugar. That said, enjoy a nice glass of red wine when you can.
- Get moving.It is not just dogs and children that need exercise! We are not suggesting a triathlon or a marathon race, but a sensible routine of 30-45 minutes, 4-6 times per week. Alternate cardio and resistance training for the best results.
- Avoid the avoidable. Welcome stress as part of life and a reminder that you are fully alive. Try meditation. Most important is the attitude with which you engage your life: do not get stress over things you cannot change or matters that you will not even remember next week.
What supplements might I consider?
In addition to the above, here are 3 supplements that you may want to consider adding to your daily regimen:
Advanced Prostate Support includes a variety of anti-oxidants and natural anti-inflammatory compounds, such as green tea extract, curcumin, DIM, resveratrol, clove, rosemary, and medicinal mushrooms. It also boosts your immune system with an array of NK cell activators including Astragalus. Andrographis, Shiitake, Maitake and Reishi mushrooms and Larch Arabinogalactan. *
OmegAvail Ultra combines the highest quality, anti-inflammatory fish oil with vitamins D, K1 and K2.The Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils have shown to increase the levels of T cells in patients with cancers of all types, and is an excellent anti-inflammatory nutrient. Vitamin D3 is a major immune stimulating nutrient shown to be at low levels in men diagnosed with prostate cancer. *
AHCC contains pure Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC), one of the world’s most researched natural immunomodulators. It is developed in Japan and used in over 1000 clinics worldwide. *
A weakened immune system poses a material risk to your health and to your ability to combat disease. You can recharge, boost, and activate your immune system by making smart dietary and lifestyle choices. You can elect to add further support by including one or more supplements to your daily regimen. As always, it comes down to making smart choices and to committing yourself to doing what is necessary. You can do this! Let us know how we can help.