Natural killer cells, or NK cells, are primary fighters against cancer in our body. They're powerful little things, but they just don't get nearly the attention of antibodies. Still, they may be more critical, as they are continuously fighting an ever-growing fight within your own body, one that fixes DNA mistakes and unchecked cellular growth.
Let's Take A Look
NK Cells are a type of lymphocyte, an I Innate Lymphocyte (ILCs), that control tumors and specific microbial infections. Their primary task is limiting the spread of growth and tissue damage. They work together with other antibodies, T cells, and growth factors to help keep unchecked growth controlled. This is one of the primary tools against inflammatory and autoimmune conditions that researchers are looking into.
What attracts researchers to this line of defense is the natural cytotoxicity they have against the cancer cells. They work very well against the specific growth patterns found in most types of cancers. NK Cells tend to recognize growth inside our own bodies more than outside infections. They're able to distinguish between healthy growth and unhealthy growth.
So, how can we keep these tiny NK cells working exactly as they're supposed to?
We're not talking about the little, white button muscles you find in the grocery store, we're talking about the traditional medical mushrooms. Lion's mane, turkey tail, shiitake, maitake, reishi, Cordyceps, and many more have been traditionally used in Chinese medicine to help stimulate the immune system and fight off infection. We now know that something called activated hexose correlated compounds are responsible for some of this action.
In fermented mushroom compounds, the mixture of polysaccharides, amino acids, and minerals helps maintain immune-homeostasis and enhance NK cell activity. Because they're so high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, they fight free radicals in the body that could cause cancer.
In the study by Barry W. Ritz, PhD, results showed "In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, subjects were administered AHCC (3 g/day) or placebo concomitant with the seasonal influenza vaccine and for 2 weeks post-vaccination. Blood analyses at 2 weeks post-vaccination demonstrated increases in the total T cell, CD8+ T cell, and NK cell populations. The effects of AHCC on immune cell phenotypes were most pronounced following vaccination in those subjects over 60 years of age."
In some studies, mushrooms helped people shorten their hospital stay from infections like COVID by one full day.
Once part of every meal up until about a hundred years ago, the slowly simmering stew of connective tissues and bones contains a tremendous amount of 19 essential amino acids, collagen, and many vitamins and minerals.
Particular to this are the amino acids arginine, glutamine, and glycine. These three amino acids are absolutely critical for immune function. It also produces a substance called alkylglycerols, which increases the production of white blood cells. Some research shows that they can help control the growth of cancer cells.
Then, there's collagen, which helps our bodies at so many levels. Between our bones, muscles, energy, and cancer risk, collagen can help reduce two potential conditions that increase cancer risk: autoimmune disease and leaky gut. With 70 to 80% of our immune system residing in our guts, bone broth helping to heal the gut is absolutely critical.
Enzymatically Modified Rice Bran
This derivative of rice bran helps promote NK cellular function. Although many of the mechanisms are still investigated, some studies put this modified rice bran as boosting MK cellular activity 84%.
If you get this as a supplement, be sure to choose a high-quality one. Some companies are simply putting rice bran into their supplement and mislabeling it. Enzymatically modified rice bran has been exposed to an enzyme from the shiitake mushroom, liberating many of the nutrients found in the bran. Your body can use these nutrients to enhance its own systems.
We recommend trying these if you're interested in helping your immune system fight off cancer. You can make bone broth from home and consume it on a regular basis. The medical mushrooms can be purchased as a whole food ingredient or dried and powdered from many health food stores.
And remember that supporting your body also means keeping good nutrition. Filling your diet with lots of healthy fruits and vegetables will give you the best protection against cancer, cold and flu, early aging, and many lifestyle diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease. Combine that with drinking plenty of water and getting exercise, and you're already giving yourself a huge boost up. Adding these couple of things takes it to a whole other level.