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NK cells and your immune system

 

It is said that somewhere around 5,000 cancer cells are formed in the body every day. It is the role of the immune cells to attack and destroy these cancerous cells. Cells are regenerated throughout the day, but this process is not always flawless, and sometimes mistakes are made. For example, hair falls out every day, but sometimes it grows back white. Sometimes the cells fail to regenerate altogether – for example, keloidal scars occur when the skin cells can no longer be regenerated – which means the normal cell has become a failed cell. Though it takes a long time to recognize the effects of failed cells, if the failed cells continue to grow, it is said that immune cells can no longer kill them and they develop into cancer.

Among the immune cells, only Natural Killer cells can directly attack cancer. Specialized medical treatments that energize or enhance the Natural Killer cells is called immunotherapy. Immunotherapy entails energizing cells that are already existing in the body, so patients generally do not experience side effects. Additionally, because raised immunities are stronger, and do not weaken easily, patients can more readily fight cancer.

This is why energizing Natural Killer cells is extremely important, even for people who have not been diagnosed with cancer. Natural Killer cells are one of the most powerful cancer prevention methods in the immune system.

For instance, it said that when your body heat lowers by just 1 degree, your immunity weakens by about 30%. Low body temperature is a major inhibitor of maintaining or raising immunity. It is essential to properly introduce ginger into your meals because it will help to raise your body temperature. Adding ginger to your soups and other dishes is an easy way to incorporate this nutrient into your diet.

In addition, foods high in Lactobacillus, such as yogurt, are highly effective at controlling the balance of bacteria in the intestines. It is said that half of the immune cells exist in the intestines, thus intestinal bacteria flora is closely related to immunity. To increase the amount of good bacteria, it is important to help your body regulate the balance by incorporating these “friendly” bacteria into your diet.

It has been shown that light exercise, engaged in regularly, enhances the activity of your Natural Killer cells. On the contrary, excessive exercise will lower the immunity. Results from a study showed that marathon participants experienced a 30% decrease in the activity of the Natural Killer cells upon finishing the race. It is recommended that you avoid excessive exercise, and instead participate regularly in light exercise resulting in mild perspiration rather than overexertion.

About the author:

Dr. Abe acquired his medical degree from Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University. He studied abroad at Paris-Est Créteil Val-de-Marne University, and Henri Mondor Hospital. Dr. Abe also worked in the Cardiac Surgery Department of Kanazawa National Hospital and spent 8 years working for the Foreign Counsellor of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japanese Embassies, located in Pakistan, Turkey, and Myanmar. He has 25 years of experience as a Medical Specialist in Thoracic Surgery and has performed numerous surgeries related to lung and esophageal cancers. Since 2007, he has been the president of Shonan Medical Clinic in Shinjuku and administrative director at Shonan Medical Memorial Hospital. His book, Immunotherapy for Cancer, was published in 2015.

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1 comment

  • Thank you for a well written article in layman’s terms!

    Sheila Daniel

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