No one likes feeling stressed. It’s uncomfortable. And it’s exhausting.
But chronic stress is SO much worse than just unpleasant. It’s a killer.
Chronic stress can act like a fast-forward button. It accelerates dangerous diseases which target your brain, heart, and gut.
And perhaps most frightening of all, studies have found a link between chronic stress and cancer.
Up until now, scientists were pretty clueless about HOW it worked.
But now a new animal study has changed everything. Because researchers believe they’ve uncovered how long-term stress accelerates the growth of cancer stem cells.
And just as exciting, a natural cancer solution you may have read about before here in Healthier Talk is taking center stage as a result. More on that in a bit.
Chronic stress triggers hormones
You’ve probably heard of the fight or flight response before.
When you’re stressed, your body releases a few different hormones designed to help you get ready to fight off the threat that’s causing you stress or fight it.
Adrenaline is the primary fight or flight hormone. When your brain sends out the message “DANGER!” your adrenal glands pump out adrenaline. Your heart rate goes up and you get a quick burst of energy.
Cortisol, on the other hand, kicks in after a few minutes. It’s released during the survival mode phase of your stress response.
It does things like help you maintain blood pressure and fluid balance. Plus, it sends extra glucose into your bloodstream and increases substances your body needs to make repairs.
And at the same time, it slows or temporarily shuts down some non-essential functions such as digestion.
The epinephrine link to cancer growth
The third stress hormone, which most folks are less familiar with, is epinephrine (or norepinephrine). It’s a kissing cousin of adrenaline.
Like adrenaline, it’s part of your main fight or flight response. It helps you become more focused and awake when you need it the most.
Plus, it temporarily redirects blood flow to your muscles in case you need to use them in a hurry.
And according to researchers, it’s epinephrine which appears to be linked to cancer growth.
Cancer tumors grew larger AND faster
Researchers wanted to figure out how stress is linked to accelerated cancer cell growth. So they put a group of lab mice into small and restrictive enclosures.
After a week they split them into two smaller groups.
The lucky critters in the first group got moved into the luxury condo version of mouse accommodations. Their new enclosures were comfortable and roomy so they wouldn’t feel any stress.
The second group was kept in their too-small enclosures for another 30 days. And, as expected, they showed signs of being depressed and anxious.
But that wasn’t all. When compared to group one they also had…
- significantly LARGER cancer tumors
- FASTER growing tumors
- a GREATER number of cancer stem cells
And that’s when the researchers zeroed in on epinephrine.
The stressed-out mice had MUCH higher levels of the fight or flight hormone than the control group. While a subgroup which had received an epinephrine-blocking drug had smaller tumors and fewer cancer stem cells.
And the real clincher was when the researchers studied the blood of 83 women with breast cancer they spotted the SAME pattern.
Epinephrine provides food for cancer cells
Now WHY this happens gets a bit complicated. But it boils down to the actions of a specific enzyme that’s triggered by the epinephrine.
Your body uses it to energize your muscles so you can beat back the threat or skedaddle. And the byproduct that’s left behind is lactate
But it turns out cancer stem cells have a taste for lactate. They gobble the stuff up and get the energy THEY need to grow. Which, of course, means when you’re chronically stressed your basically super-charging your cancer.
But it turns out a therapy I’ve told you about before, could be the key to short-circuiting this deadly cycle.
Studies have already shown intravenous vitamin C (IVC) therapy can suppress human cancer cell growth. And when the researchers injected mice in the stress group with vitamin C, their tumors shrank.
Of course, it may be YEARS before mainstream medicine adopts vitamin C therapy. But if you don’t want to wait that long you can learn more about using vitamin C to enhance your cancer treatment plan by talking with a naturopathic or integrative medicine doctor today.