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How Can Cold Shock Proteins Support a Healthy Immune System?

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Shock Proteins and your Immune System

Functional medicine concentrates on addressing the root causes of ill-health. It seeks to restore optimal health by correcting imbalances in the body’s organs and systems.

In practice this means maximising the conditions needed for the body’s natural healing processes to operate unhindered. Altering aspects of the body’s internal and external environment can naturally restore balance and health.

One way of achieving this is by encouraging cold shock protein formation within the body. In this blog you’ll discover what they are and how cold shock proteins can support immune health.

What do Cold Shock Proteins Do?

Shock proteins are a fascinating group of proteins that play a role in your body’s response to stress. Your body’s cell produce these proteins when you are exposed to stress, in this case changes in temperature. Low temperatures are a specific type and very common type of stressor. Cold shock proteins or CSPs are released in response to cold. This article will concentrate on cold shock proteins, but your body also produces shock proteins when it experiences heat.

Cold shock proteins help your body cells adapt to and survive stressful conditions, in this case cold temperatures. Effectively, they help to protect cells from the damage caused by the stress. Their activity helps to maintain the proper functioning of cellular processes following the stress. They do this by acting as molecular chaperones, helping to stabilise other proteins and alter their structure. They seem to enhance antioxidant status, so protecting cells from the damage which might otherwise be caused by the stressful event 1.

How do Cold Shock Proteins Improve Health?

Cold shock proteins have only been studied for a few years, but scientists have noted they have several exciting effects on health.

Firstly, they appear to play a role in the ageing process. As people age, the body’s ability to respond to stress and to maintain cellular health tends to decline in tandem with a decrease in the production of cold shock proteins. Intriguing research suggests supporting the production of cold shock proteins in older individuals may reduce the risk of developing age-related diseases, particularly those involving cognitive health 2.

Some researchers discovered a cold shock protein present in the blood of regular cold-water swimmers in London. Cold shock proteins are thought to help restore and regulate the connections between brain cells while helping the body’s cleanup process.

Scientists have also discovered that cold shock proteins can improve cardiovascular health 3. They are believed to do this by regulating uncontrolled inflammation. In turn, this is linked to the role cold shock proteins play in maintaining healthy immune function. Let’s explore this topic now.

How do Cold Shock Proteins Support Immunity?

Cold shock proteins help regulate the production of the immune cells boosting inflammation, known as cytokines 4. When your body experiences stress or infection, inflammation rises as a natural protective response. However, when inflammation is excessive or becomes chronic it can contribute to a range of health issues not restricted to cardiovascular disease. For example, chronic stress is connected with digestive issues, joint and skin problems, neurodegenerative conditions, allergies and autoimmune diseases like MS, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

By regulating the production of inflammatory cytokines, cold shock proteins help reduce inflammation and support a healthy balanced immune system function.

In addition, cold shock proteins can assist both the activation of and the functioning of immune system cells 5. They seem to help protect immune cells from the damage caused by stress. They may also enhance the survival and multiplication of immune cells. All this can improve the ability of immune cells to respond to pathogens and other harmful substances.

Therefore, maximising the production of cold shock proteins can support the functioning of your immune system. In so doing your body’s ability to fight off infection is improved. A healthy immune system can also easily distinguish between invaders and innocuous substances like pollen, food, and innocent body cells, making allergies less likely.

How to Boost Cold Shock Proteins

You may look forward to your exhilarating dip in the sea or the final ice-cold 30 seconds of your shower, but bear in mind initial research on cold shock proteins suggests certain nutrients are needed to help them do their job properly 6. This would suggest cold shock protein production may be enhanced by dietary factors. These include chemicals known as polyphenols found in plant foods. Especially important seems to be resveratrol, found in the skins of fruits such as grapes, and quercetin, found in a range of red, yellow and green plants foods. Garlic and dietary fibre also appear to support cold shock protein production.

Using Functional Medicine to Support a Healthy Immune System

Maximising cold shock proteins is only one natural way to support healthy immune function. Immune cells need a good supply of specific nutrients to function optimally, while they are adversely affected by too little quality sleep and too much ongoing stress.

If you are interested in naturally supporting your immune system, contact us today for a free discovery call to learn more. We will treat you as an individual, as no two people are the same. We will provide you with a personalised plan to optimise the production and function of cold shock proteins in your body through a combination of lifestyle interventions, dietary changes and nutritional and herbal supplements.

References

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