Oftentimes, stressful conditions can lead to transformed measures of immune function & amplified vulnerability to a diversity of diseases such as cancer. Stress hormones, along with subluxation tend to hinder the immune system, and the Sympathetic nervous system is enacted, mobilizing your body’s energy in stressful situations.
Our immune system is the most important part of our body when it comes to protecting us against harmful bacteria and viruses. Not only is it necessary to maintain a strong immune system to fight off contagious illnesses like the cold and the flu, our immune system plays a vital role in preventing life-threatening conditions such as strokes and cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately, there is one infamous disease that our body cannot fight off alone – cancer.
This is why scientists are constantly researching ways to help the immune system recognize cancerous cells which often go undetected by our own immune systems. So far, we have developed treatments called “checkpoint inhibitors.”
These drugs prevent cancer cells from looking invisible, almost pointing them out to our immune system and saying “attack!” These medications have shown promise in trials, allowing patients to avoid traditional chemotherapy, which can have serious and debilitating side effects, including a weakened immune system.
Let’s take things down to a cellular level. Immune system T cells patrol our bodies constantly on the search for signs of infection or disease. When they encounter other cells, they check for certain proteins on the surface that serve as signs of the cell’s identity. If the proteins indicate the cell is healthy, the T cell leaves it alone, but if the proteins indicate infection or cancer, the T cells attack! The immune system summons additional molecules to prevent any collateral damage.
Tumor cells often have proteins that signal that cells are cancerous. But they sometimes commit “identity theft” masking themselves in normal cell proteins. This way they can prevent an immune system attack. Checkpoint inhibitors block these normal proteins on cancer cells, essentially removing the blinders that prevented T cells from recognizing the cells as cancerous.
If these checkpoint inhibitors are the future of cancer treatment, then more focus will shift towards the immune system. An effective way to keep the immune system healthy (in addition to getting proper minerals, vitamins and sleep) is regular chiropractic adjustments. As vertebrae that are misaligned are put back into place, this relieves pressure on nerves, allowing blood and nutrients to flow freely, in turn, boosting the immune system. Many cancer patients visit chiropractors in order to protect themselves from contagious or common illness. In the future, the visits may serve to treat the cancer itself.