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Beyond Antidepressants: Natural Solutions for Immune System Anxiety

By Dr. Nicole Cain ND, MA

Heal your gut, calm your nerves, and balance your immune system – discover powerful natural remedies to tame anxiety and regain control.

Millions struggle with anxiety, often resorting to medications.  But what if the root cause lies in your immune system? Dr. Nicole Cain introduces the concept of Immune System Anxiety and unveils powerful natural solutions. Discover how gut health, targeted probiotics, and adaptogenic herbs like cordyceps can work wonders for balancing your immune system and calming your anxieties – without the side effects of medication.

How to treat Immune System Anxiety.

A question that I felt myself asking about immune system anxiety is: Okay, so if it is immune system anxiety, then what do we do about it?

And so you experience anxiety.

You feel nauseated before you go somewhere or you find yourself laying up at night questioning like every single element of the conversation. You’re getting Thought Anxiety and you’re just over analyzing and you feel insecure. Maybe you’re hard on yourself.

Conventional Medical Approaches to Anxiety

So the doctors will often recommend that you do cognitive behavioral therapy. So they’ll say, go see a counselor, do some. They call it CBT, and maybe they’ll even give you anxiety medication.

Oftentimes the first line [medication] would be an antidepressant. Specifically they start with an SSRI like Zoloft or Prozac or Lexapro or Celexa or something like that.

But they don’t target the immune system because they don’t know that the immune system is involved.

An Integrative Approach to Anxiety

If you’re experiencing immune system anxiety, yes, of course, treat the anxiety. But then also work with the immune system.

And so when I say work with the immune system, there’s a lot of ways that we can do that.

And the first may be getting your gut-brain-axis back on track. And I know, Megan, you teach a ton on the gut.

We know the immune system is regulated by the gut. Your immune system cells mature in the gut. And so if you identify with Immune System Anxiety, one of the first places I would go is to look at the gut.

And my favorite tools in my tool kit for immune system anxiety would for sure be gut like psychobiotics probiotics. Those are specific types of probiotics that are good for gut health, gut inflammation.

Megan: Which ones are your favorites for those?

Probiotics and Psychobiotics for Immune System Anxiety

Dr. Nicole: Lactobacillus rhamnosus is really good. The Bifido family, there’s a product that I really like, it’s called a Stress Release by OmniBiotic.

And that is nice because it has strains of bacteria for immune system health and relieving anxiety. It has strains that are good for your immune system, but it also has strains that have been specifically studied to be good for your nervous system, in and your mood in particular.

Can I take a side car about psychobiotics here for a moment?

Megan: I love this.

Dr. Nicole: I’m curious if anyone’s actually ever heard of a Psychobiotic. If you have, maybe you can like hit the like thumbs up button. I see a shaking head.

Okay, psychobiotics. I didn’t know what they were until after I graduated from medical school. And so what this psychobiotic company did is they’re out of Germany, and they actually studied the strains in human subjects, and they did MRI studies. So what’s really interesting is let’s say you have a really well behaved dog.

Right. And then this dog is super friendly. It loves people. And then your bestie over here, she also has a really well behaved dog. This dog is chilling. They’ve been friends forever. And then you bring them together. You’re like dog besties. Let’s go to the dog park.

But then they have a dog fight. And you’re like these perfectly amiable creatures but when you put them together, something not good happens.

Psychobiotic strains: Synergy or Adversity?

And so that’s the same kind of analogy that we see with probiotics and psychobiotics is that if you have a strain and the strain has been studied to have a specific effect, we then need to study what it does when it’s introduced to another strain or a group of strains.

This is called synergy.

And so when you go to the grocery store and you’re looking at all these probiotic blends, the question is: Are they picking and choosing? Kind of cherry-picking like… “Oh this one does this, so I’m going to introduce it to the milieu,” and “I want that effect from that one, so I’ll introduce it to the milieu.”

But have they studied these critters when they’re all mixed together in community? A lot of companies have not.

Omni has. They were looking at the immune system, the nervous system, and then people’s behaviors and the way that they lived their life in the world.

So they were looking at test performance. They were looking at job performance in addition to how they felt. And this particular strain is that they found that on functional MRI studies, that there were positive changes in the brain that were associated with increased subjective units of happiness, and they performed better.

So all of that being said, if you have Immune System Anxiety, work with the gut. It’s a really good place to start.

Quality of probiotics matters.

But if you’ve worked with probiotics before and you’re like, “Oh, Dr. Cain, these probiotics, they haven’t helped me. I already tried that.” It may be that the tool was intended to be used in the right way, and that you’re on the right track, but maybe the specific tool that you were given or that you use might not have been optimal.

So that’s my first favorite thing.

Herbs for Immune System Anxiety

Dr. Nicole: And my second favorite thing: herbs. Herbs are the best, especially for immune system anxiety. And I could talk for days on herbs.

Megan: I love herbs and I use I used to be slightly skeptical of herbs, and I get a lot of skepticism of herbs from people. Um, men in particular. They tend to be hyper herbs, but I see probably more symptom improvement with herbs than I do from so many other things. So yes, I love herbs.

Herbal Actions: Immunostimulation, Immunosuppression and Immunomodulation

Dr. Nicole: And there’s a language in herbs that I feel like isn’t maybe a part of the common conversation. In medicine we have immunostimulants and we have immunosuppressants.

And so it’s like, do you want to stimulate the immune system or do you want to suppress the immune system? In immune system anxiety it could go either way.

Sometimes you want to stimulate the immune system, and other times you absolutely do not because it’s already over stimulated. The latter of which is seen in mast cell activation syndrome or histamine intolerance.

How to use herbs (and mushrooms) to balance the immune system in Immune System anxiety

And so herbs will bring to the conversation a total third action. And that’s immunomodulation. And so I have this whole spreadsheet on Immunomodulators. And so maybe we can talk about a particular herb that might be kind of fun for anxiety and immunomodulation.

Has anyone here heard of cordyceps?

Cordyceps mushroom effects on the immune system and mental health

Cordyceps mushroom. It’s a really great mushroom plant. And so this is so good if you have chronic immune system imbalances, if you have allergic symptoms, if you have autoimmune disease. Whether it’s rheumatoid arthritis or lupus or psoriasis cordyceps is an immunomodulator.

Cordyceps can up or down regulate your immune system

What the research shows us is that this particular agent can up or down regulate a specific type of immune system cell called a T lymphocyte. It can also do the same thing with a B killer cell and macrophages. And it [cordyceps] can bring up inflammatory cytokines or it can bring them down depending on what your body needs.

And so an immunomodulator, it balances the immune system. And it’s also incredibly good for our anxiety.

If you have anxiety where you feel really burned out, that kind of wired and tired feeling like I feel so agitated, you’ve been burning the candle at both ends… Maybe you can’t sleep. It’s just like this kind of wired feeling.

But then at the same time, you’re so exhausted, you’re like, “I just can’t even… I can’t function. I’m so at the end of my rope,” cordyceps mushroom is really good for that.

The research shows that cordyceps can enhance performance

A study that was done on Cordyceps years ago because Chinese track and field athletes and they were breaking world records. They were performing really well.

So there’s this study, this investigation that was done because researchers were like, “Are these just naturally amazing athletes? Or are they using substances that are not legal? Are they using performance enhancers?”

The research showed that they weren’t [using any illegal substances]. They were using cordyceps.

They were using it as a nonsteroidal supplement. And it can improve stamina, athletic performance. It’s so good if you have chronic stress.

Cordyceps mushroom tends to be well tolerated by most people

If you have Immune System Anxiety, it’s really good for that root cause of the immune system being out of balance, and it’s really well tolerated. People tend to do great on this/ fungus.

Some people like the Matricaria family like chamomilla. Some people have allergic reactions to that [chamomilla].

And this one [cordyceps] tends to be really well tolerated. People will take it in the morning. It works better over time. Well it’s beautiful. So that’s an example of an immune system anxiety and the plant substance that I like to use to address it.

Megan: I love it, and we use a lot of blends in, like our adrenal stuff that we’re doing a lot of blends that modulate and not necessarily stimulate or suppress. It does more of that modulation, which is amazing. So then you’re not as worried about suppressing something that doesn’t. I need to be suppressed. So I love it, I love it, and yes, cordyceps, I love it to!

End of part 2.

Concluding remarks

In the next part of this series, Dr. Nicole Cain will discuss how mushrooms may help Immune System Anxiety.. She will introduce you to EGCG and it’s amazing abilities to calm the nervous system and heal the brain. You will learn about BDNF and why it’s a must have for your anxiety-healing toolkit.

You can access the entire recorded version of this powerful conversation, and much more inside the exclusive Holistic Wellness Collective Membership. Get access today by clicking HERE.

This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Whenever considering changing your protocol whether it includes a change of medications, supplements, diet or lifestyle, always speak with your primary care physician first.

Dr. Nicole Cain is an advocate for empowering people around the world to help themselves via her educational free resources, online courses, and membership group. You can receive the tools you need to find the root cause of your symptoms and feel healthy again.