What I’m going to talk about now is the effects of the stress hormone cortisol, particularly on your immune system, and how cortisol affects white blood cell integrity and activity.
One of your most powerful white blood cells is called lymphocytes, so lymphocytes are what I would call the “commander” of the immune system. There are many different types of lymphocytes, but lymphocytes also have an effect on activity of many other kinds of white blood cells and also inflammatory mediators or chemicals that they produce themselves. So cortisol influences these what we call the “generals of the army,” has a very powerful effect. And the generals, of course, are in command of various other soldiers underneath them that are subordinate to the general, and cortisol being the “admiral” controls the “general.”
So when you think about it, stress has an amazing effect on your immune system, an incredible effect. Let’s forget about sugar for the moment. Let’s forget what you’re eating. Let’s look at the stresses that are effecting you right now in your life and how they could basically affect your Candida or continuation of Candida. Very important concept that’s never spoken about and never written about, but I’m going to bring it to your attention because you may not be aware of the situation.
The stresses affecting your life right now, high mortgage, relationship problems, libido issues, problems with your partner, problems with your children, problems with your mother-in-law, problems with your boss, problems with your employees, whatever kind of problems you’ve got; these things affect us on a stress level, but we’re not even talking about the other stresses that affect us. Things like cell phones, using mobile phones, nutritional deficiencies, heavy metal toxicities, all sorts of other kind of stresses that affect us. These things affect the chemical that our adrenal glands produce.
Adrenals are the master glands of stress. They’re very powerful glands and the adrenal glands sitting above your kidneys produce cortisol and adrenaline, very powerful stress hormones. Now cortisol, as I mentioned, helps to regulate lymphocytes or the very powerful white blood cells, so a very high level of cortisol, which is produced in the initiating stages of stress, can have a very powerful suppressing effect on your immune system. Because when you’re under high stress, you hate your job or you don’t like your relationship or whatever is going on in your life, cortisol will be elevated in the alarm phase of stress. The first stage of stress response.
As cortisol elevates, what happens is the lymphocytes, in fact, their activity gets suppressed. They get pushed down. What you’re going to find is with very high cortisol, in fact, you can have an almost complete disappearance of lymphocytes from the body. When that occurs, you’re going to have a very poor immune function. This is why a lot of people get sick after they get stressed. They have the stress response. A few days later or a week later, they get sick. It’s very common to occur in people.
How many people out there with Candida know about this kind of effect about stress, a bit of a washout period, and then an exacerbation of their Candida? It’s important to make sure that you’ve got good cortisol levels so they’re well balanced. Cortisol not only affects your lymphocytes in terms of suppressing their effect, but when cortisol is high, as we said, it suppresses it; but when it’s very low, the white cells, in fact, increase in numbers and this can cause increased inflammation, pain and redness and swelling of the area. So with this regulation of cortisol, we get an inappropriate wound healing response, inflammatory response, an inability to counter Candida, plus also the inability to counter the cellular products as a result of Candida death. When Candida dies, the cell walls break up, and these little proteins called mannan are released into the circulation system. Now mannan will normally get attacked by particular inflammatory compounds that the immune system produces. If there’s not enough inflammatory compounds there, you get a lot of mannan being produced. And then eventually as cortisol rises, the person ends up getting what we call a Herxheimer reaction or a die off.
When we get stressed or an inappropriate stress response, we get massive die off. The die off can also be caused as a result of inappropriate cortisol regulation. If you send me emails that say, Erik, I’m getting die off. Why am I getting die off? Think about the kind of stresses that are involved in your life. And maybe think about salivary cortisol testing because that can have a good – that will teach you really how stress is affecting you, and whether stress or not is a factor in your recovery from Candida. Very important concept.
Catch up with me on Candida and Stress number three, and I’m going to go into a bit more detail, so I hope to catch you there. Thanks for tuning in.