Apr 13 2016

Natural born killer cells


Do you run? Or exercise regularly? Why do you like to exercise? Do you do it for your health? Stress relief? To maintain or lose weight? Maybe all of these?

I can still remember the first time I decided to go for a run. It was the most difficult 15 minutes…but I stuck with it. I had never been a runner, but as a university student it was an easy, and cheap, way to get some exercise. I had always been active, swimming and cycling for transportation, but never a runner. Soon after my first attempt at running I got talked into running with a group. People I really had no business running with, they were “running” I was surviving. But, they never asked why I kept turning up, always waited and seemed to not be bothered by the fact that I was much, much slower. So I kept at it. It changed my life.


I have used running for weight loss, my sanity, adventure, to socialize, for meditation, to explore, to blow off steam. I can remember the day running felt fun, actual fun, while I was doing it, not fun because I felt so good after I had done it. It wasn’t that long ago. I have run regularly and semi regularly for longer then I haven’t run. I have been very dedicated while training for events or training other people for an event. Lately I have been less dedicated, for various reasons, but I know as long as I can, I will run. It may be saving my life.

My family has a long relationship with cancer and heart disease.

New research shows that exercise is an effective protector against cancer. We are well aware of the benefits that exercise has for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and many other conditions. We also know that having extra body fat increases the likelihood of some types of cancer, but exercise offers a different protection, one not realized by weight loss.

The release of adrenaline that is a component of our “fight or flight” response is also stimulated by exercise and we now know that this mobilizes a type of immune cell called Natural Killer cells. These cells are recruited by proteins in active muscle cells that slow or prevent cancer cell growth.


When researchers injected the cells with adrenaline, or natural killer cells, they were not as effective as when stimulated by exercise and did not stop or slow cancer growth. So whatever your reason is to exercise, and they are all good ones, you can add stimulating your natural born killer cells as a reason to get out and get moving.

Change your mind, change your health,