Natural killer cells are white blood cells (lymphocytes) that seek out and kill cancerous or otherwise mutating cells that can harm the body. Also known as NK cells or just K cells, these natural killer cells are a natural part of our immune systems. Considering that 1/3 of the population is expected to get cancer in their lifetime, it would behoove us to boost our body’s natural ability to reduce cancerous tumors and virally infected cells. Below you will learn how to boost natural killer cells naturally.
Killer cells are cytotoxic – that means that they are bad for a cancer cell, and good for us. Small granules in a killer cell cytoplasm contain proteins called perforin and protease (granzymes) that help to kill unwanted, or diseased cells.
“New findings show that natural killer (NK) cell activity is modulated by exogenous (including dietary) and endogenous ligands for the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR). AHR was found to be mainly expressed by conventional splenic NK cells following cytokine stimulation.”
Numerous studies point out how various foods or substances can naturally activate our immune system’s natural killer cells to assault cancer cells. One example is how sea cucumber, found to kill 95% of various cancer cells, can activate NK cells. Other research points to turkey tail mushroom for increasing the number of natural killer cells and their function activity after ingestion. (Takeaway: utilize sea cucumber or turkey tail mushroom to boost NK cells. Those are ways 1 and 2).
3 More Ways to Boost NK Cells
Here are a few easy ways to boost our naturally occurring killer cells so that we can fight one of the biggest diseases of all time:
- 3. Take More Vitamin C – This vitamin is not only good for fighting colds and flu, but it boosts the activation of both T-cells and NK cells so that your immune system has extra armor to protect you against a host of diseases, including cancer. The Journal of Immunology confirms that ridiculously high doses aren’t required. Just 1000 mg a day can help boost the immune system.
- 4. Get Your Daily E – In addition to boosting the production of killer cells, vitamin E also supports the making of B cells – also utilized by our immune systems to produce antibodies and kill bacteria. You can get the recommended 60 mg a day from nuts, grains, seeds and vegetable oils. Further, vitamin E intake lowers the risk of heart disease.
- 5. Eat Your Beta Carotene – As the name suggests, this important vitamin found in carrots can help boost killer cells as well as helper T-cells so that your immune system can fight a number of diseases. Foods full of beta carotene include sweet potatoes, kale, turnip greens, spinach, dried herbs, and mustard greens, just to name a few.
Preventing cancer may be as simple as eating whole, natural foods. Who knew?
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.