Overcoming stress is the first step in getting your immune system back in balance while none of us can completely eliminate stress from our lives there are lots of ways to minimize its impact on our mind and body. The stress hormone corticosteroid can suppress the effectiveness of the immune system eg lowers the number of lymphocytes stress can also have an indirect effect on the immune system as a person may use unhealthy behavioral coping strategies to reduce their stress such as drinking and smoking. Other chapters concentrate on autonomic regulation of immune functions the effects of pituitary hormones prolactin and growth hormone and the last two chapters review work on the effect of behavioural stress on immune functions in animals and humans. We have also shown that stress through the action of these stress hormones has detrimental effects on immune function including reduced nk cell activity lymphocyte populations lymphocyte proliferation antibody production and reactivation of latent viral infections. A new ucla study suggests the decline in an individuals immune system after facing chronic stress is due to the stress hormone cortisol scientists found that cortisol suppresses immune cells
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