Stress has dangerous and dramatic impacts on your health. Researchers and doctors have been studying the effects of stress on health for decades, and there is more proof now than ever before that stress can damage your health in irreversible ways. Early aging, heart problems, difficulty controlling your emotions, diseases such as cancer and lung disease, obesity, and other health problems all can be attributed to stress.
But, how can stress have so much control over your body? The answer lies in how stress weakens your immune system. Stress is so demanding on your body that your immune system suffers, which makes you more susceptible to colds, infections, and diseases. Your immune systems protects you from infection and disease and helps you stay healthy. In fact, your immune system plays a critical role in maintaining proper health. Strong immune systems fight against the trillions of germs you come into contact with everyday, while weakened immune systems cannot protect you and leave you vulnerable to diseases.
Managing your stress is not an easy feat. Between work, home, finances, family, and the day-to-day grind, it is nearly impossible to keep stress at bay. But, there are steps you can take to boost your immune system, such as starting a probiotic-derived supplement, relying on natural and herbal remedies, and starting yoga and mediation practices. You also can educate yourself about the dangers of stress and its effect on your immune system. To get you started, we have rounded up some top resources on stress and the immune system. We have found scholarly papers, white papers, expert answers, eBooks, infographics, videos, webcast, webinars, presentations, articles, and reports on stress and the immune system from health experts, medical doctors, and other experts in the field.
While we have listed our top stress and the immune system resources here in no particular order, we have included a table of contents to make it easier for you to jump to the resource categories that most interest you.
- Scholarly Papers, White Papers, Expert Answers, and eBooks
- Videos, Webcasts, Webinars, and Presentations
- Articles and Reports
Assistant Professor of the School of Management and Social Sciences at Thapar University, Dilwar Hussain wrote this scholarly paper on stress and the immune system. Published in the International Journal of Psychosocial Rehabilitation, the paper explores the research linking stress, immunity, and health and addresses the pathways through which stress impacts the immune system and health.
Three key ideas we like from Stress, Immunity, and Health: Research Findings and Implications:
- The relationship between stress and immune function is very complex and many mechanisms are yet to be discovered
- The majority of research on stress and immunity revealed a negative impact of stress on immune responses
- Both objective and perceived stress may negatively impact immune functions, and the nature of the stressor may have significant impact on its functioning
Published in the Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science, this scholarly paper on stress and the immune system discusses stress, the chemistry and physiology underlying it at the cellular level, and the micro and macro level consequences of it. The paper points out that while some stress can be beneficial, chronic stress results in weight gain, development impairment, and compromised immune function.
Three key ideas we like from The Physiology of Stress: Cortisol and the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis:
- Proper stress management is important because of the wide range of bodily systems impacted by stress hormones
- Cortisol is a stress hormone that affects ion transport, memory, and the immune response
- Cortisol’s weakening effects on the immune system include blocking T-cells “from proliferating by preventing some T-cells from recognizing interleukin signals” and stifling inflammation due to inhibition of histamine secretion, leaving those who suffer from chronic stress highly vulnerable to infection
ValueOptions is the nation’s largest independent behavioral health and wellness company. Their white paper, Stress and Your Immune System, explains that the emotional problems caused by stress may be obvious, but the immune system effects are potentially life threatening even if they are less visible.
Three key ideas we like from Stress and Your Immune System:
- While stress is a highly personal, researchers have found that certain circumstances, such as marital problems or becoming a caregiver for a sick love one, make people more susceptible to immune system-impairing stress
- Stress depletes cells that fight illness
- Negative impacts of stress on the immune system include decreased response to vaccination against influenza and other conditions; accelerated risk of various age-related diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, frailty, and certain cancers; increased risk of obesity; and others
Shareware was created by Dr. Oz and WebMD fonder Jeff Arnold as a health and wellness engagement platform to connect people with tools to help them life a healthy life. In this series of expert answers regarding stress and the immune system, various medical experts and medical doctors weigh in on the ways in which stress harms the immune system.
Three key expert answers we like from How Does Stress Weaken the Immune System?:
- Stress directly suppresses your immune cells so they don’t respond well to an invading virus or bacteria
- A recent study shows that psychological stress causes almost immediate changes to the gut bacterial population, and some of these affected sub-populations strongly influence the effect that stress has on immunity
- Chronic stress an aggravate arthritis, increase abdominal fat, accelerate aging on a cellular level, and ultimately undermine your immune system
Fawne Hansen, a holistic wellness expert specializing in the treatment of chronic stress and adrenal fatigue, is the author of this stress and the immune system eBook, along with Dr. Eric Wood. Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome results from chronic stress and leads to symptoms such as fatigue, food cravings, and a weakened immune system, among others.
Three key ideas we like from The Adrenal Fatigue Solution:
- Combining conventional and alternative medicine is ideal for treating Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome
- Vitamins, minerals, glandular extracts, and other supplements are supportive for your adrenal glands
- Reducing your stress restores your emotional balance and Asian meditative practices can support your endocrine system
What Everyone Ought To Know About Stress is a stress and immune system eBook that is suited for individuals, trainers, and therapists. An easy to read and educational 43-page stress and immune system resource, this eBook explains the ways in which stress has physical and psychological consequences and how high and prolonged levels of stress damage health.
Three key we topics like from eBook: What Everyone Ought To Know About Stress:
- The physiology of stress
- The physical dangers of stress
- The cycle of stress
Healthline offers this infographic detailing the effects of stress on the body. A visual representation of how stress has an immediate effect on the body, the infographic clearly shows how chronic stress puts your health at risk.
Three key facts we like from The Effects of Stress On the Body:
- People under chronic stress are more susceptible to viral illnesses like influenza and the common cold
- Stress increases risk of opportunistic diseases and infections
- Stress increases the time it takes to recover from illness or injury
Laura Schocker’s article and infographic on the bodily effects of stress for Huffpost Healthy Living helps people understand exactly what happens inside your body when you are under stress. She refers to the expertise of Dr. David Spiegel, director of the Center on Stress and Health at Stanford School of Medicine, and Dr. Amit Sood, associate director of Complementary and Integrative Medicine and chair of Mayo Mind Body Initiative at Mayo Clinic, who break down exactly what happens to you when you are stressed out.
Three key facts we like from This Is Your Body On Stress (INFOGRAPHIC):
- Stress can aggravate certain skin conditions, such as psoriasis or rashes, acne, and hives
- In acute moments of stress, gastrointestinal functioning decreases so that the body’s energy goes toward fighting or fleeing instead of digesting food, which can affect the motility of the gastrointestinal system and lead to constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, reflux, or bloating
- Because the body diverts resources to the systems required for immediate survival when under stress, the immune system can become suppressed, leaving you susceptible to new viruses or the activation of existing infections and viruses
Lindsay Holmes is a Healthy Living Editor at The Huffington Post. Her article on anxiety and the immune system features an infographic by Alissa Scheller, which visualizes the initial symptoms of anxiety as well as the long-term effects of anxiety on the body.
Three key facts we like from How Anxiety Influences Your Health (INFOGRAPHIC):
- One long-term effect of anxiety is a weakened immune system
- Exposure to stress takes a negative toll on the immune system, causing its functions to become suppressed due to the body’s flight or fight reaction
- When you are stressed, you are more likely to catch a cold and more susceptible to infections and inflammation
Well Wisdom’s blog post, Stress and the Immune System, features the infographic 17 Reasons to Avoid Stress. It offers a visual representation of the 17 health problems that researchers have linked to stress, including hair loss, headaches, insomnia, heart attacks, blood pressure, and the immune system, among others.
Three key facts we like from 17 Reasons To Avoid Stress:
- Stress weakens immunity
- Studies show that the duration of the stress, rather than its severity, is the most important factor in the impact on the immune system
- Stress can disturb the balance of microorganisms in our guts, leading to digestive problems
Videos, Webcasts, Webinars, and Presentations
With over 20,200 views, this stress and the immune system video from HealinGaia reveals what living under chronic stress does to the body. In one minute, How Stress Affects Our Immune System shows exactly why putting yourself under high levels of stress greatly effects the immune system.
Three key ideas we like from How Stress Affects Our Immune System:
- Ongoing stress puts too much pressure on your system and dramatically lowers immune system function, leading to imbalance and disease
- There is a complex biochemical link between stress, the immune system, and illness
- Stress causes the body to release cortisol, which is released into the bloodstream and suppresses the activity of the immune system, leaving you open to illness and disease
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi offers this Public Service Announcement as a stress and the immune system resource. While it is geared as a PSA for college students, the message has universal importance because of the ways in which stress affects everyone’s immune system.
Three key ideas we like from PSA: Stress and the Immune System:
- Stress has negative effects on the immune system
- Cortisol inhibits immune cell signaling
- The humoral response of the immune system is greatly inhibited by constant stress, resulting in individuals contracting more illnesses and diseases
Dr. Tom Roselle, an integrative health and wellness expert, broadcasts programs to provide his patients and listeners with natural health and wellness care methods. This forty-two minute live stress and the immune system video features Dr. Roselle defining stress patterns and explaining how stress affects your immune system.
Three key facts we like from Stress Patterns & The Immune System:
- Stress patterns have a profound effect on your immune system
- About 75%-90% of all visits to primary care doctors are related to stress
- Your stress load can harm your immune system to the point that it suppresses it and its responses
A new study shows that naps help reduce the stress levels and boost the immune systems of sleep-deprived adults. These studies suggest that naps may have a protective or reparative effect on the body and its systems.
Three key ideas we like from Naps Help Reduce Stress and Boost Immune System, Study Finds:
- 30-minute naps are the appropriate length of time to reap the benefits for your immune system when you are extremely sleep deprived
- Teens are the most at risk group for sleep deprivation and its negative effects
- After extreme sleep deprivation, your stress hormone elevates and your immunity protein decreases
This Daily Mail article includes a video from the University of Nebraska, which details exactly why stress is bad for you. The video also explains how too much stress weakens your immune system and makes your bones fragile.
Three key ideas we like from The Science of STRESS: Expert reveals why it’s so unhealthy to be tense all the time:
- When you are stressed, your body releases cortisol, which inhibits immune responses and makes you more likely to get sick, plus results in longer periods of time for wounds to heal
- Cortisol slows bone growth, meaning sustained stress levels can lead to weaker, more fragile bones
- Chronic stress is very dangerous to your health because your body sustains its high cortisol levels
Khan Academy strives “to make a free, world-class education available for anyone, anywhere.” Their stress and the immune system video, Physical effects of stress, offers an in-depth look at how stress affects the heart, reproductive organs, metabolism, and immune system.
Three key facts we like from Physical Effects of Stress:
- Your heart and blood vessels respond to stress by kicking into overdrive, which has damaging consequences such as hypertension and vascular disease
- High stress levels produce extra levels of glucose, which exacerbates metabolic conditions such as diabetes
- Chronic stress can lead to increased inflammation, such as arthritis
Miss Maduka teaches sociology and psychology in South East London. Her stress and the immune system video features her second lecture on stress, stress-related illness, and the immune system. She explains concepts in an easy-to-understand way and includes illustrations to deepen viewers’ understanding.
Three key facts we like from Lecture 2 – Stress Related Illness and the Immune System:
- The immune system is made up mainly of white blood cells that fight intruders, or antigens, and stress can reduce the immune system’s ability to deal with those antigens
- Stress releases cortisol, which affects production of B-cells and T-cells, which are responsible for terminating bacteria, viruses, and other invaders
- Chronic stress has been linked to suppression of the immune system
Researchers first started exploring the theory of stress affecting the immune system in the 1970s and 1980s. This YouTube video explores the power of meditation to overcome stress and help fight infection and disease. It is helpful to hear the early theories and see how far research and medicine has come in learning how stress impacts the immune system.
Three key facts we like from Stress and the Immune System:
- It took scientists many years to accept the fact that the mind affects the way in which the body works, including how the mind impacts the immune system
- Psychoneuroimmunology considers how the brain affects the immune system
- Controlled experiments involving college students facing exams helped to show that immediately after the exam, students had fewer white blood cells; this showed that academic stress suppressed the immune system
Published in January 2014, this stress and the immune system video shows the complex interaction between stress and the immune system. It reminds psychiatrists that they should be mindful of autoimmune presentations in psychiatric presentation, since the interaction of stress and the immune system “can transfer across Blood Brain Barrier causing neuronal injury and neurotransmitter dysfunction giving rise to psychiatric symptoms.”
Three key facts we like from Stress, Immune System and the Brain – Autoimmunity and Psychiatry:
- Actue stress or trauma increases the body’s susceptibility to pathogens
- Chronic stress or trauma results in a prolong cortisol release, which can reduce anti-inflammatory activity
- Physicians need to keep in mind that the body and the mind cannot be separated when treating patients
Rutgers University is a leading public research university. In this stress and the immune system video, Dr. Dipak Sarkar discusses the influence of stress on the immune system and the ways in which stress affects the body.
Three key facts we like from Influence of Stress on the Immune System with Dr. Dipak Sarkar:
- The body tries to cope with stress, but its responses can result in obesity and cardiovascular problems
- The immune system can become less functional or even shut down as a result of stress
- People with chronic stress get more infections and are more susceptible to chronic diseases such as cancer
The National Psoriasis Foundation’s mission is “to drive efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected.” This webcast, presented by Dr. Julie Negillan, explores how stress has a greater impact on people with autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis.
Three key facts we like from Stress: Don’t Let It Get the Best of You:
- Uncontrolled stress can lead to depression
- Chronic stress can weaken your immune system and bring on other physical ailments
- There are techniques for reducing stress as well as options for treating and maintaining emotional health
In this stress and the immune system video, Dr. Daniel Neides discusses how stress impacts the immune system. He explains how chronic stress releases too much adrenaline on a chronic basis, which hampers the cardiovascular system and other body systems.
Three key facts we like from Dr. Daniel Neides On the Impact of Stress:
- Heart rate elevation and elevated blood pressure negatively impact people’s wellbeing
- Cortisol converts protein into carbohydrates, which the body stores as fat, increasing the body’s overall inflammation and leading to diabetes, cancer, and other health issues
- Exercising increases the amount of oxygen in the body and also releases endorphins, reducing stress and helping us to feel healthier
The American Association for Cancer Research strives to prevent and cure cancer through research, education, communication, and collaboration. They hosted a stress and the immune system webcast with Dr. Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, a leading psychoneuroimmunologist, which details how psychological stress affects immune and endocrine function and increases cancer risk.
Three key facts we like from Psychological Stress, Immune Function, and Cancer Risk:
- Stress gets translated to the immune response through a number of different cell types
- Stress drives inflammation in lots of important ways
- Stress contributes to a greater risk of infection, prolonged infectious episodes, and delayed wound healing, all processes that fuel sustained pro inflammatory cytokine production
Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition (SCAN) is the largest dietetic practice group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Their webinar, Nutrition For a Stressed Out World, features speaker Dr. John C. Blocher, Vice President of Healthcare Research and Development for Biothea. Dr. Blocher explains how chronic stress suppresses immunity and explains how dietary changes can boost immunity to protect against the negative effects of stress.
Three key topics we like from Nutrition For a Stressed Out World:
- There are four key activities of the immune system
- There are two common nutritional interventions that can moderate the effects of stress
- Research shows that certain dietary changes can boost immunity in times of stress
Presented by Dr. Margaret Kemeny, Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, The Immune System: The Body Mind Connection is a PowerPoint presentation that serves as a stress and the immune system resource. The presentation explores psychoneuroimmunology, the functions of the immune system, and the ways in which stress affects the immune system.
Three key ideas we like from The Immune System: The Mind Body Connection:
- Psychological events affect the immune system in various ways, including classical conditioning, activation of the HPA axis for cortisol secretion, and activation of the sympathetic nervous system
- If stress causes high cortisol levels, the number of lymphocytes in the blood decreases
- High cortisol levels also impair immune function by decreasing IL-2, killing white blood cells, decreasing the tumor necrosis factor, and decreasing the inflammation response
This SlideShare presentation details the relationship between stress and the immune system. It clearly demonstrates how stress results in the immune system’s inability to properly function, putting the boy at risk of infection
Three key facts we like from Stress and the Immune System:
- Stress has a general impact on the immune system in the form of immunosuppression,
- Stress also affects the natural or specific immunity or even the balance between cellular and humoral immunity
- Wound healing takes significantly longer in individuals suffering from chronic stress
Articles and Reports
About.com Health offers tips for living a healthy, happy life. This stress and the immune system resource is a compilation of articles relating to stress and its effects on the immune system and its functions.
Three key articles we like from Stress and Your Immune System:
- Health and Wellness: Stress Management As a Cure for the Common Cold?
- Physical, Emotional and Lifestyle Effects of Stress
- Stress Intensifies Cold and Flu Symptoms
Health Day offers health news, videos, and tips from a team of experienced medical journalists. This stress and the immune system article explores how stress from the mind affects the immune system.
Three key facts we like from The Immune System and Stress:
- Stress that lasts a number of days changes the immune system and is more harmful the longer it lasts
- Chronic stress is associated with many age-related conditions, including cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, Type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and mental decline
- Wound healing rates decrease by as much as 40% when people are under stress
Simply Psychoogy is a site designed by Saul McLeod, a graduate teaching assistant at The University of Manchester, who has a degree in psychology and a masters in research. This article on stress and the immune system explores various studies on the ways in which stress affects bodily systems, including the immune system, and impacts illness.
Three key facts we like from Stress, Illness and the Immune System:
- Stress impairs the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens, making people more susceptible to infections
- Stress indirectly affects the immune system when people attempt to cope with it in unhealthy ways such as drinking and smoking
- Stress is linked to headaches, infections illnesses, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, asthma, and gastric ulcers
The American Psychological Association advances psychological science with the goal of promoting health, education, and human welfare. Their stress and the immune system article, Stress Weakens the Immune System, shows how the research of Dr. Janice Kiecolt-Glaser and Dr. Ronald Glaser of the Ohio State University College of Medicine led to psychologists in the field of psychoneuroimmunology determining how the state of mind affects people’s health.
Three key facts we like from Stress Weakens the Immune System:
- Emergine evidence traces the pathways of the mind-body interaction to show how stress and depression harm immunity
- Stress management and interpersonal relationships benefit day-to-day health
- New findings on social stress underscore the value of good friends and reveal how social ties indirectly strengthen immunity because friends encourage healthy behaviors like eating, sleeping, and exercising well and buffer the stress of negative events
The Mayo Clinic is an integrated clinical practice, education, and research institution that specializes in treating patients. Their stress management article, Chronic Stress Puts Your Health At Risk, explains how chronic stress wreaks havoc on the mind and body and why people need to take steps to control their stress levels.
Three key ideas we like from Chronic Stress Puts Your Health At Risk:
- The body’s stress-response system gets out of whack when stressors are always present and people feel as though they are constantly under attack
- The long-term activation of the stress-response system disrupts the body’s processes and puts people at risk for anxiety, depression, digestive problems, heart disease, sleep problems, weight gain, and memory and concentration impairment
- Stress management strategies include eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise and plenty of sleep, practicing relaxation techniques or learning to meditate, fostering healthy friendships, having a sense of humor and seeking professional counseling when needed
It is important to know the facts about the ways in which your immune system functions so that you know how to help boost those functions. This article from WebMD explores the myths and facts about the immune system so that you can take a proactive, educated approach to your health and wellbeing.
Three key facts we like from Myths and Facts About Your Immune System:
- Ongoing stress takes a toll on the immune system
- Chronic stress makes you more vulnerable to illnesses, such as colds and flu, and diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease
- Managing stress through meditation, yoga, and other types of exercise can help boost the immune system
Stress has become a common health problem, as this stress and the immune system article points out. Stress becomes harmful to the immune system when it reaches chronic levels, raises the amount of cortisol being secreted, and affects the “natural killer cells” in the immune system.
Three key facts we like from Stress Problems & the Immune System:
- Excessive stress, either physical or mental, has a detrimental effect on the function of the immune system
- A large stress event can topple the immune system, and then small causes of stress can be too much for a weakened immune system
- Stress has been referred to as the number one universal health factor contributing to major disease
Fiona Macrae’s stress and the immune system article for the Daily Mail examines a study that shows how long-term stress damages the immune system and raises a person’s odds of catching a cold. The article also explains how traumatic and stressful events result in raised odds of getting a number of illnesses, from heart disease to depression.
Three key ideas we like from Why Being Stressed Can Wreak Havoc With Your Immune System and Make You Physically Ill:
- People who are under stress are twice as likely to develop a cold
- Inflammatory responses feed off of stress
- Research has linked stress, anxiety, and low self-esteem in pregnant women with an increased risk of stillbirth and with stunting a child’s intelligence
The University of Maryland Medical Center offers this in-depth report on stress. It covers the causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of stress, including the way the immune system responds to stress.
Three key ideas we like from Stress:
- Health care costs are much higher in workers who are stressed or depressed than in others who are not stressed
- Several studies suggest that job-related stress is as great a threat to health as smoking or not exercising
- Chronic stress makes people more susceptible to infections and triggers an inflammatory response that is associated with heart disease and asthma
This report from the Stanford Medicine News Center highlights a study led by a Stanford University School of Medicine scientist who tracked the trajectories of key immune cells in response to shorter stressed and traced how hormones triggered by this type of stress enhances immune readiness. The study adds to the body of evidence showing that immune responsiveness is heightened by short-term stress.
Three key ideas we like from Study Explains How Stress Can Boost Immune System:
- Doctors may be able to manipulate stress hormones to improve patients’ recovery from surgery or wounds or responses to vaccines
- Chronic stress does suppress the immune response
- Short-term stress stimulates immune activity, which is a good thing for wound healing and preventing or fighting infection
This Yahoo Health article by freelance writer Jenna Birch explains exactly why too much stress is bad for you. In fact, acute stress and chronic stress have serious effects on the body and can cause physical illness.
Three key facts we like from From the Brain To the Immune System, How Stress Pirates Your Whole Body:
- When you are under chronic stress, non-essential processes are continually shutdown, from digestion to immune function
- Chronic stress can lead to real, worsening, and even lasting changes in immune function
- Autoimmune conditions can develop after periods of chronic stress, including Crohn’s disease and shingles
Written by Traci Joy, a certified nutritionist who majored in health, fitness, and nutrition, this LIVESTRONG.com article details how stress affects the immune system. Joy cites scientists and researchers and the work they have done to show the connection between stress and the immune system.
Three key facts we like from How Does Stress Affect the Immune System?:
- Stress suppresses the immune system function and over time the immune system does not adapt but continues to wear away
- Chronic stress puts the immune system in low gear, leaving the body vulnerable to infection and disease
- Cardiovascular disease, digestive problems, skin conditions, and poor memory function are brought on or worsened by stress
Published by Dr. Andrew Goliszek, associate professor at North Carolina A&T State University and author of How the Mind Heals the Body, How Stress Affects the Immune System explains how using mind-body therapies can keep stress from making us sick. People can react to stress and the general health of our immune systems in beneficial ways.
Three key points we like from How Stress Affects the Immune System:
- We need to be able to change our response to stressors in order to avoid serious health issues such as hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease
- The constant communication between the brain and the immune system is a delicate balance that both physical and emotional stress disrupt
- Some experts claim that stress is responsible for 905 of all illnesses and diseases, including cancer and heart disease
CalmClinic offers help for anxiety and panic sufferers. Their article on anxiety and the immune system explains how the immune system is a powerful defense mechanism that our bodies use to keep us safe from bacteria and viruses. Yet, the immune system can be weakened by too much anxiety.
Three key points we like from Anxiety and the Immune System:
- You can strengthen your immune system by controlling stress and anxiety
- The main problem with stress is that once it begins to weaken your immune system, your body has a harder time recovering once you get sick
- Some evidence shows that people with allergies may be more prone to having anxiety, which in turn weakens the immune system and can lead to more allergies
Headspace is “meditation made simple.” Their Meditation for Wellbeing article shows how meditation can help reduce the effects of stress on the immune system and explains the importance of the immune system, as well as the ways in which mindfulness help to strengthen the immune system against the effects of stress.
Three key ideas we like from Meditation for Wellbeing:
- Estimates show that up to 90% of doctor visits are stress related, because chronic stress affects the immune system
- Mindfulness meditation for wellbeing can boost the immune system
- Various studies show that mindfulness meditation participants have a stronger immune system than those who do not participate
This article form the National Sleep Foundation reports on a study that looked at white blood cell counts following 29 hours of continual wakefulness. The results show that long-term sleep loss is on par with stress in terms of causing harm to the immune system.
Three key facts we like from Sleep Deprivation Effect On the Immune System Mirrors Physical Stress:
- Sleep restriction and sleep deprivation are associated with the development of diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension
- Other studies have shown that sleep helps sustain the immune system functions
- Chronic sleep loss, like chronic stress, is a risk factor for immune system impairment
The fight or flight response and chronic stress are linked, as prolong stress suppresses immunity and makes people vulnerable to illness and disease. As this StressAffect.com article shows, stress sufferers are more susceptible to headaches and nausea, as well as long-term immune system disorders, diseases, and illnesses. The article also includes a video on the long-term effects of chronic stress, for more information.
Three key facts we like from How Does Stress Affect the Immune System?:
- When stress is chronic and prolonged, people end up with a weakened or compromised immune system, and possible get one of many immune system disorders
- The quality, intensity, and length of stress all determine the effects of stress on the body
- Dealing with stress helps you stave off illness, disease, and autoimmune diseases
Stress is not just an issue facing adults; children are especially vulnerable to the negative effects of chronic stress, which impairs their immune systems and brain development. Lecia Bushak, Medical Daily reporter, explains that stress in children is linked to an increased likelihood of obesity and other problems in adulthood. In fact, a recent study presented at the American Psychosomatic Society in San Francisco details the ways in which stress impacts children in a more far-reaching and immediate way than previously thought.
Three key points we like from Chronic Stress Worsens Kids’ Immune Systems, Ability To Fight Off Disease:
- Kids with the highest number of adverse experiences have the highest likelihood of having multiple conditions; rather than one poor health outcome, it is a slew of poor outcomes across the board
- Kids who had been through difficulties, including economic difficulties and parental divorce, were far more likely to have a disorder in every category than kids who hadn’t experienced such stressful events
- Intensive and prolonged stress in kids can disrupt early brain development and compromise functioning of the nervous and immune systems, leading to health problems later in life such as alcoholism, depression, eating disorders, heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases
Lizette Borelli’s Medical Daily article explains how stress weakens the immune system and makes people more susceptible to infectious diseases and other ailments. There are other surprising stress-induced health issues that you should be aware of, as well, as Borelli describes.
Three key ideas we like from Effects of Stress: 5 Surprising Stress-Related Health Problems That May Shorten Your Lifespan:
- Stress can have a significant toll on your mental health, as chronic stress can reduce the amount of tissue in the brain that regulate emotions and self-control
- If you have ongoing stress, your susceptibility to catching a cold significantly increases
- Acute or severe stress interferes with the brain’s ability to recollect and form new memories
Live in the Now features health and wellness enthusiasts who want to educate readers on the importance of natural living, organic foods, and Earth-friendly lifestyles. Their stress and the immune system article, This Is Your Body On Stress – Still Think It’s No Big Deal?, includes an infographic that explains just how stress affects various body systems.
Three key facts we like from This Is Your Body On Stress – Still Think It’s No Big Deal?:
- Stress is recognized as “the #1 proxy killer disease today”
- According to the American Medical Association, “stress is the basic cause of more than 60% of all human illness and disease”
- Stress is responsible for headaches, dizziness, anxiety, irritability, anger, panic disorders, strokes, heart disease, digestive disorders, immune system disfunction, and a myriad of other health issues
ScienceNordic.com is an online news magazine on science from the Nordic countries. This article on stress and the immune system explains how high levels of stress in a family undermines a child’s immune system and makes it easier for viruses and bacteria to do their worst.
Three key points we like from Acute Family Stress Can Impact a Child’s Immune System:
- The family stress concerning researchers is the kind that develops when a child’s close family member dies or when adults are in tough, unmanageable situations
- Children in high-stress groups also are linked to autoimmune issues
- Chronic stress may lead to diseases such as type 1 diabetes in small children
Dr. Joseph Mercola is a New York Times best-selling author, an osteopathic physician, health activist, and founder of Mercola.com. His stress and the immune system article, How Stress Affects Your Heart and Gut Health, details the ways in which stress wreaks havoc on a person’s physical health, even if she is doing everything else correctly.
Three key points we like from How Stress Affects Your Heart and Gut Health:
- All positive and negative feelings create physiological changes
- Stress plays a major role in the immune system, which can impact blood pressure, cholesterol levels, brain chemistry, blood sugar levels, and hormonal balance
- Women are more vulnerable to sadness and anxiety than men, ant why feel the pressures of stress more than their male peers at work and at home
Shawn Radcliffe, a yoga instructor who writes about science, health, and medicine, explains that the immune system is altered in similar ways by lack of sleep and physical stress in this Men’s Fitness article. Sleep depression, like stress, may be linked to chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes.
Three key points we like from Sleep Deprivation Affects Immune System Like Stress:
- Researchers found that during periods of sleep deprivation, men lose white blood cells that play a role in the body’s immune response, much in the same way that they do when stressed
- Adequate amounts of sleep are linked to healthy immune systems
- White blood cells react immediately to the physical stress of sleep loss, which directly mirrors the body’s stress response
In this Ohio State Research report, Earle Holland reports on new research that suggests stress can wreak havoc on the trillions of bacteria that work and thrive inside the digestive system. This is significant because those bacteria play a crucial part in triggering the innate immune system to stay slightly active. Michael Bailey, an assistant professor of dentistry and member of the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research at Ohio State University, has been studying how stress affects that bacteria naturally in the body and conducted the research project with Jeff Galley, Amy Hufnagle, and Rebecca Allen of Ohio State, Scott Dowd of the Medical Biofilm Research Institute, and Mark Lyte from Texas Tech University.
Three key ideas we like from Stress Wrecks Intestinal Bacteria, Could Keep Immune System On Idle:
- Stress can send the immune system into overdrive and wreak havoc on the bacteria in our digestive system
- The natural bacteria inside the gut may be suppressed by stress
- “The bacteria are involved in the ability of stress to prime the innate immune system”