Watch Out for These Dreadful Consequences
As its name implies, your immune system is supposed to keep you “immune” from illness. And one of its main tasks in keeping illness away is to prevent cancer from developing and spreading in the body.
Obviously, the immune system isn’t always able to carry out its mission. Otherwise, no one would ever get cancer. Plus, our immune systems go downhill as we get older, and this is one reason the incidence of cancer goes up with age.
But at least you don’t have to voluntarily do things that run down your immune system. Today I’m going to talk about one of the worst. . .
Why are these doctors
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Your immune system has a lot on its “mind”
It’s important to remember that your immune system has a complicated job. Immune cells have to recognize infectious viruses, dangerous bacteria and cancer cells and then tag these dangers with messenger molecules that allow other immune cells to destroy the threat.
But a lot can go wrong in this process. Miscommunications can take place. Immune cells can release the wrong chemical messages and mistake a threatening cell for a friendly one. Or the messenger cells can erroneously order their fellow immune cells to attack healthy tissue.
Our daily habits don’t make things any easier for the immune system. The nutrition-poor food many of us eat and our lack of restful sleep — along with a couch-potato, sedentary lifestyle — are all making it harder for these cells to do their jobs correctly.
When it comes to cancer, these lifestyle habits can not only curtail immune cell efforts to destroy cancerous cells, they can actually send a large number of immune cells to the dark side of immunity: In this scenario, immune cells become the allies of tumors in your body. Instead of preventing cancerous growths, they can help them survive and spread.
But you don’t have to let that happen.
Immune cells on patrol
A study at the Chicago Medical Center shows that what the researchers call “fragmented” sleep – going to bed too late or having your sleep interrupted during the night, can cause changes in the behavior of macrophages (roaming immune cells) that not only allow cancer cells to proliferate but actually help the cancer cells evade attacks from the immune system and empower them to be more invasive as they grow in the body.1
Quite a price to pay for a bad night’s sleep!
In analyzing tumors that grow quickly and dangerously, researcher David Gozal, an M.D. with the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital, finds: “It’s not the tumor, it’s the immune system. Fragmented sleep changes how the immune system deals with cancer in ways that make the disease more aggressive.”
Dr. Gozal and his colleagues began their research after learning of studies that showed sleep apnea – the problematic sleep disorder that disrupts sleep by causing breathing to be interrupted and labored – sharply increases your risk of dying from cancer.
In their lab studies, they discovered that tumors growing in animals that experienced poor sleep were twice as big as tumors in animals that slept normally. In addition, their research showed that fragmented sleep made the tumors much more aggressive and able to rapidly spread from their original site into other tissues.
When Dr. Gozal and his colleagues examined tumors in thigh muscles, which should be contained by the body in small capsules that keep the cancer cells away from normal cells, they found instead that disrupted sleep eliminates the barrier that fences in the tumors.
“The tumors were much more invasive. They pushed through the capsule. They went into the muscle, into the bone. It was a mess,” says Dr. Gozal.
He adds that an analysis of what was going on in the immune system reaction to these tumors showed that macrophages called “tumor-associated macrophages” (TAMs) behaved differently depending on what kind of sleep each animal was getting.
Dr. Gozal explains that TAMS called M1 act like scouts that call in other immune cells to destroy and remove the cells that make up tumors. But the M2 macrophages do just the opposite – they not only tell other immune cells to stand down, they also stimulate the production of new blood vessels that bring nutrients to the cancer and accelerate its growth. This process of tumor blood vessel formation is called angiogenesis.
However, the research at the Chicago Medical Center showed that getting plenty of sleep resulted in the gathering of anti-cancer M1 TAMS at tumors instead of the M2 cancer-promoting cells that were summoned by fragmented sleep.
Dr. Gozal warns that this analysis helps pinpoint why people who do not get regular, good-quality sleep are at heightened risk for fatal cancers: “The take-home message is to take care of your sleep quality and quantity like you take care of your bank account.”
Exercise also boosts immunity
There’s another way to help your immune cells do their anti-cancer job correctly – add exercise to your daily routine.
Research shows that exercise can help macrophages maintain their anti-tumor bias and reduce the risk that they will become cancer’s helpers instead of their nemesis.
The key, say researchers at the University of Washington, is to work “some type of regular and repetitive exercise training” into your life.2
They point out that as we age, changes in our macrophages that make them less combative against cancer form a basic reason we become more susceptible to cancer with the passing years. But these “responses in the aging immune system can be targeted with exercise.”
Warning sign: wounds that fail to heal
In reviewing studies on both people and animals, the Washington researchers note that how well your body heals cuts and wounds also reflects how well it responds to cancers growing in your body.
Thus when a study of older men and women showed that exercisers healed more quickly after a “punch biopsy” of their muscle tissue compared to non-exercisers (30% faster), the research demonstrated that their immune systems were more properly balanced in a way that probably also protects against cancer.
Most of the exercise and immune system research, they say, has been performed on the effects of aerobic exercise – activities like jogging, swimming and bicycling. Less well understood are the immune benefits of strength training.
But they conclude that exercise changes macrophages “back to a ‘young’ phenotype,” that provides better healing and cancer protection.
Although the researchers don’t say it, I think these studies also show there’s probably a synergistic anti-cancer immune benefit to combining daily exercise and plenty of nightly sleep. And it doesn’t hurt that exercising also helps you sleep better – leading to a macro effect on your macrophages.
Speaking of habits, good and bad, our last issue took a look at “vaping” – the new, supposedly safe alternative to smoking tobacco. How safe is it? If you missed our answer, we’re running it again just below. . .
Are “Vaping” and E-Cigarettes a
Healthy Alternative to Smoking Tobacco?
Smoking tobacco is a known health risk that kills an estimated six million people a year worldwide. The nicotine in tobacco is also incredibly addictive, as anyone who has tried to quit knows all too well.
Around 2007, a “safer” alternative hit the U.S. market, in which nicotine, water, a humectant (moisturizer) and liquid flavors are heated to release vapors that the user inhales.
“Vaping,” as it’s called, produces a shot of nicotine, simulates smoking cigarettes and has added flavors that make it more appealing to some users.
Manufacturers of “e-juice” and e-cigarettes claim there are few or no health risks associated with these products … plus, you can indulge indoors because the only by-product is water vapor. What’s not to love?
But is it all too good to be true? Is this actually safer than traditional ways to use tobacco?
Or are you better off going completely vapor-, smoke- and tobacco-free? Read on to find out…
Avoid Needless Joint Pain
Are you thinking that aching, creaky joints are just part of life as you grow older? Well, think again…
It’s true that so many people suffer from joint problems as they age that we have all come to think it is somehow normal. But it isn’t. And if you’ve been told that you just have to live with joint pain and stiffness, then you’ve been lied to.
Truth is, there are natural solutions that get to the real cause of joint discomfort and treat it at the source. Solutions you may never have heard of because they are not promoted by mainstream medicine and the pharmaceutical monopolies.
Why? Because natural remedies cannot be patented and sold as drugs. So big business sweeps them under the rug and hopes you never find out about them.
But that doesn’t mean they don’t exist – and that they don’t work.
You might be interested to know that the strangest and possibly the most powerful joint relief nutrient found turned out to be lying all over a beach! When the locals started using it – the results were astounding.
Now just imagine the freedom of having your joints function without worrying about nagging aches and pains. It shouldn’t hurt to get out of bed in the morning. It shouldn’t be an ordeal to tie your shoes or take the lid off the coffee can. It shouldn’t cause you pain to carry in the groceries.
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“Vaping” has been touted as a safer alternative to smoking tobacco mainly because these products don’t expose the user to the 7,000 chemicals present in tobacco smoke, including 69 carcinogens and toxins.1
But while there’s not a lot of research yet available on the long-term use of e-cigarettes, initial studies suggest these products are not altogether harmless.
Carcinogens still lurk in e-cigarettes
While the levels of toxic chemicals in e-cigarettes are much lower than tobacco, chemicals are still present, so inhaling still exposes your delicate tissues, organs, cells and immune system to toxic damage.2
One of these chemicals is formaldehyde, known to cause cancer in humans.3
A study published in 2015 in the New England Journal of Medicine reports that, when the humectants (a substance meant to keep things moist, like propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin or a combination of the two), are heated they degrade into formaldehyde-releasing agents.
The study found that more than 2% of the solvent had converted to these chemicals, bringing the concentration higher than the amount of nicotine in the vaporizer.
At this rate, they concluded the exposure to formaldehyde from long-term use of e-cigarettes created a cancer risk 5 to 15 times as high as long-term cigarette smoking.4
The e-cigarette industry refutes this claim, saying the study was faulty and the results “hyped up” because the researchers burned the liquid at a higher level than normal.5
The average voltage of an e-cigarette battery is 3.7 volts. The study found the formaldehyde-releasing agents at 5 volts. Variable voltage batteries are available for e-cigarettes up to 6 volts, so it’s not impossible that people are burning the liquid hotter than “normal.”
Regardless, formaldehyde isn’t the only toxic chemical lurking in e-cigarettes.
Other studies have shown that the artificial flavoring agents can cause health problems as well.
A 2014 study tested 51 flavors of e-cigarettes, including sweet flavors like fruit, candy and alcohol or “cocktail” flavors. The researchers found diacetyl in quantities up to 239 micrograms per e-cigarette in 39 flavors.
Diacetyl was used in butter flavoring agents in microwave popcorn until about ten years ago when it was discovered that inhaling this chemical causes bronchiolitis obliterans, an irreversible lung disease characterized by inflammation and obstruction in the lung’s smallest airways, causing symptoms similar to tobacco-related chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).6
I just hate irreversible lung diseases, especially ones named “obliterans.”
This deadly condition is also known as “popcorn lung,” named for the microwave popcorn factory workers that were first diagnosed with it.
The same study that found diacetyl in most of the flavoring agents tested also found acetyl propionyl in 23 of the flavors and acetoin, one of the additives in conventional cigarettes, in 46 flavors.7
Inhalation of acetyl propionyl has been shown to cause scarring on the tissue (fibrosis) of the esophagus in rats, and researchers believe it may also cause “popcorn lung” in humans.8
And yet another study found particles of metals such as tin, nickel, silver, iron and silicate in e-cigarette vapor in quantities greater than those found in conventional tobacco cigarettes.
Our sources say that inhaling these metal particles is known to cause respiratory distress and disease.9
Vaping weakens your immune system, causes cell damage
Not only can the chemicals and other unregulated junk in e-cigs cause respiratory diseases, but these alternative nicotine products have also been shown in animal studies to weaken immune systems, and to increase oxidative stress in cells as well as damage cells in ways that could lead to cancer.
A 2015 study looked at mice exposed to e-cig vapor in amounts relative to human smokers, determined by the comparable amount of cotinine concentrations, a biomarker for tobacco exposure, in their blood.
- E-cigarette vapor contains 700 billion free radicals per puff.
- Only two weeks of exposure to e-cigs produced a significant increase in oxidative stress and moderate macrophage-mediated inflammation (inflammation caused as the body’s reaction to infection).
- Mice exposed to e-cig vapor had decreased immune response, especially in their ability to clear bacteria and viruses from their lungs, thereby increasing risk of death from such infections.10
I think even these preliminary results make it clear: Vaping isn’t doing you any favors.
It invites cell damage and inflammation, which can lead to respiratory disease and quite possibly cancer. With that being said, some smokers may see vaping as a way to “ease out of” smoking.
Here’s what one study showed …
E-cigarettes as a (risky) way to quit smoking
Vaping may be helpful in weaning off cigarettes as a nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).
A 2014 study in England did find that, among smokers trying to quit, those who used an e-cigarette reported continued abstinence from tobacco more than those who either used a prescribed NRT or no aid at all.11
However, this study doesn’t indicate if the participants used the e-cigarettes as a bridge to a non-smoking, tobacco-free lifestyle, or if they simply traded one bad habit for another.
Though if the exploding growth of the industry is any indication — $2.87 billion in 2015, up from $1.7 billion in 2014 and just $20 million in 2008 — I’d put my money on “trading one bad habit for another.”12
Though a direct link between e-cigarettes and cancer has yet to be established, we know that cell damage and inflammation create an environment that cancer thrives in.
I think it’s safe to say quitting all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, is the best way to go.
If you’ve tried without success to quit nicotine, don’t give up! A life free of smoking (or vaping) is worth fighting for.