What you need to know about stress and cancer

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Stress and Cancer(NaturalHealth365) Do you believe there is a connection between stress and cancer? Science has shown that chronic stress can accelerate the growth of cancer cells and promotes angiogenesis – the formation of new blood vessels. Thankfully, with simple changes in the diet, anyone can dramatically lower their risk for cancer or other degenerative diseases caused by stress.

Did you know that breast cancer patients who suffered from stress or depression – following primary treatment – have shorter survival times? Studies reported in PLoS Biology, demonstrated that the “fight-or-flight” response to stress primes the body’s environment for metastasis.

How does chronic (emotional) stress feed cancer cell growth?

Let’s take a closer look at “stress hormones”…

A study, published in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity links the stress hormone norepinephrine to the growth of the blood vessels that feed tumors.

In a series of studies linking stress hormones and cancer, medical researchers at Ohio State University found that stress amplifies the progression of malignant melanoma, breast cancer, pancreatic, prostate and lung cancer.

It has been shown, in laboratory studies, that beta-blockers for high blood pressure work against cancer because beta-blocker drugs bind to a specific receptor to prevent the stress hormones norepinephrine and epinephrine from reaching their targeted cancer cells. This is not to promote the use of pharmaceutical drugs – but it does illustrate a point. Chronically elevated stress hormones can damage (even kill) the body.

Can chronic stress really damage our DNA?

Researchers from Duke University Medical Center found that chronic stress is associated with chromosomal damage. The hallmark of chronic stress eventually causes detectable DNA damage.

The p53 tumor suppressor protein, which plays a major role in cellular response to DNA damage and is known as the “guardian of the genome,” prevents genomic abnormalities. Studies show that chronic stress leads to a prolonged lowering of p53 levels.

It explains why stress is a double whammy; it damages the DNA, while knocking out the protein than can repair it. DNA is the genetic instruction manual found in all cells, when it becomes damaged the cell can get the wrong instructions and multiply out of control.

The connection between chronic stress and blood sugar

Stress itself causes a rise in blood sugar levels by depleting the adrenal glands. One of the purposes of adrenalin is to remove and convert glucose from cells for energy, and when the adrenaline reserves are depleted, glucose (sugar) levels increase sharply within the cells, cutting down the room for oxygen.

Many studies, including one published in the online issue of The Oncologists, – a study that was so large it included half of all type 2 diabetics in Sweden – found that the risk for cancer increased as the glucose levels edged up.

How to avoid the danger of chronic stress

Let’s keep in mind, chronic stress does terrible things to our immunity. There is plenty of compelling scientific data to suggest that stress can lower our defense against disease. Remember, the answer to cancer is a strong immune system.

Naturally, a healthy diet has multiple ways to alleviate stress. We can’t always avoid stress in our life – but, we can live a lifestyle that minimizes the aftermath of stress.

Some to the most important stress-fighting nutrients are the B vitamins which are found in wheat germ, dried fruits, beans, broccoli, sunflower seeds, lentils and nuts.

B vitamins protect the nervous system and help calm the mind – by helping the brain produce serotonin, the “feel good” hormone, which combats anxiety, irritability, tension and insomnia.

Vitamin C rich foods are extremely important. Did you know that vitamin C stores decrease when you are stressed? The best sources are organic fruits and vegetables including, citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes, and red peppers.

Calcium, along with magnesium, helps to regulate our nerves and promote a healthy mental state. These minerals are found in many whole foods including, grass-fed dairy, sardines, sesame seeds, nuts and dark leafy greens.

And, of course, don’t forget to exercise – you’re worth it! For most people, physical activity should be relatively easy to do and enjoyable. Naturally, athletes are another story – in terms of intensity. Exercise, good food and plenty of fresh, clean water will make your body and mind feel great!

About the author: Blanche Levine has been a student of natural healing modalities for the last 25 years. She has the privilege of working with some of the greatest minds in natural healing including Naturopaths, scientist and energy healers. Having seen people miraculously heal from all kinds of dis-ease through non-invasive methods, her passion now is to help people become aware of what it takes to be healthy.

Sources:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21317458
http://www.dukehealth.org/health_library/news/at-last-a-reason-why-stress-causes-dna-damage
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110821141135.htm
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100326101104.htm

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