Are you extremely susceptible to infections? Do your wounds take too long to heal? In the absence of any physical problem, which might explain your vulnerability to infection or wound healing, your mental stress might be responsible for your problems. According to several studies, prolonged mental stress weakens our immune system, reducing the body’s ability to combat bacteria and viruses. Stress damages our immune system through several ways.
Vaccination becomes less effective
We take vaccines to prevent infectious diseases. However, studies have shown that effectiveness of vaccines significantly reduces owing to stress. Given the rise in the incidence of deadly viral and bacterial attacks, increase in number of individuals overwhelmed by stress could spell disaster to our public health care system.
Rise in inflammation-related disorders
Inflammation is the natural response of our immune system to mend damages. Damaged tissues in our body are repaired with the help of certain chemicals, such as interleukin-6, which are known as proinflammatory cytokines. These proinflammatory cytokines cause inflammation. However, overproduction of this chemical is often a part of the natural aging process. Certain age related ailments, such as arthritis, type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease is caused by inflammation due to abnormal response of the body’s immune system. According to an Ohio State University College of Medicine study, secretion of proinflammatory cytokines increases with rise in stress. Moreover, prolonged stress escalates aging of the immune system.
Accelerates toxin related damage of immune system
Exposure to environmental toxins is harmful for our immune system. Stress accelerates the harmful action of toxins on the immune system. Risk of allergies and asthma is higher in individuals suffering from prolonged stress.
Protecting immune system
To have a healthy life, we need a healthy immune system. Stress should be reduced to build a strong immune system. Regular meditation is perhaps the best method of reducing stress. There are several methods of meditation. Meditation process can involve deep breathing exercises, concentrating on an object for several minutes or practicing self-hypnosis. Omega-3 fatty acid rich foods could save your immune system from stress related damage by inhibiting secretion of proinflammatory cytokines.