Dr. med. Heinz Lüscher
Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) deals with the mutual interactions of the psyche, the nervous system and the immune system and is therefore a more holistic view of the human being. People who feel loved become less ill. Conversely, an alert immune system supports the psyche and nerves. We can make use of these connections, also in the targeted selection of vital substances!
Psychoneuroimmunology was founded by the American psychologist Robert Ader, who proved in 1974 that the immune system works together with the central nervous system and is capable of learning. To do this, he administered a saccharin solution paired with the immunosuppressant cyclophosphamide to rats. After a while, he gave the rats only the sweetened water. As a result, in addition to a conditioned taste aversion to the saccharin solution, reduced antibody production and increased mortality were observed in the conditioned experimental animals. This means that the sweetener, which originally had no effect on immune function, triggered comparable immunosuppressive* effects after conditioning learning. Thus, Ader was able to show that our immune system is capable of learning. Since then, psychoneuroimmunology has developed into an important field of modern scientific research.
A still relatively young field of science
*Immunosuppression: suppression of the immune system, the immunological activity of the humoral and/or cellular immune system is suppressed.
Close connection of psyche and nervous and immune system
Psychoneuroimmunology links the soul (psycho), the nervous system (neuro) and the body’s own defences (immunology). Its research findings impressively document that these three systems are in close information exchange with each other. The fact that the psyche and the nervous system are connected is intuitively obvious. The close connection with the immune system is surprising at first glance. But it turns out that messenger substances of the nervous system have an effect on the immune system and, vice versa, messenger substances of the immune system have an effect on the nervous system. There are therefore bidirectional relationships between the central nervous system, the endocrine system (hormone system) and the immune system. Interfaces of these control circuits are, for example, the brain with the pituitary gland (hypophysis), the adrenal glands and the immune cells. Due to the interaction of hormones, PNI is closely related to psychoneuroendocrinology, which studies these interactions in more detail.
Psyche has a direct impact on the immune system
PNI focuses on the effect of the psyche on the immune system, e.g. why chronic stress can negatively influence immune factors. Other negative psychological influencing factors are anxiety, worry or depression. It should be noted that there are concrete links between these stress factors and an increased risk of infection. A current example: Stoking fear of a viral disease directly increases susceptibility to infection with the corresponding virus! The partly stressful measures also generate stress and have a direct effect on the psyche, nerves and immune system. Against this background, it is an interesting statement which the responsible persons of the science program “Monitor” of the ARD made about the swine flu on November 19, 2009: “The real pandemic is the fear of it”. (Link to the Video, quoted statement comes at the very end). Conversely, and this is the good news, there are psychological factors that positively influence the immune system. These include optimism, positive thinking, self-worth, social ties and positive feelings in general. For example, if you get into the habit of looking at a half-empty glass instead of a half-full one, if you cultivate gratitude and enjoy life, you will have a positive influence on your immune system! On this basis, a positive spiral can be set in motion with pleasant results for the whole person.
Chronic stress: emerging immune deficits and clinical consequences (some examples).
- Decreased immunological memory:
Decreased production of T cells (belong to the lymphocytes and play an important role in the human immune system; recognize antigens).
Decreased reaction of natural killer cells (NK), (also belong to the lymphocytes and can recognise and kill abnormal cells, e.g. cancer cells or virus-infected cells).
- Evidence for reactivation of latent herpesvirus infections (e.g., Epstein-Barr virus).
- Decreased vaccination success (antibodies, T-cell response) after influenza vaccination.
- Increased infections after vaccinations
- Increased respiratory infections, increased sick days
Pressing the “feel good button” in people
Of course, PNI is closely linked to psychotherapeutic interventions, such as meditation, stress management, etc. To do PNI without a psychotherapeutic approach or psychological intervention is to forget the “P” in PNI! Relaxation exercises, cognitive training or exercise are also part of it. All these measures have one thing in common: they are meant to flip a lever in the mind, to trigger a “feel-good button”, to positively change the attitude towards life in general and towards illness or health. Certainly, a placebo effect also plays a role, but in this case it is absolutely desirable and we can take advantage of it.
People who feel loved become less ill.Unknown
Holistic view of the human being
Psychoneuroimmunology by its very nature is interdisciplinary and borrows from psychology, neurology, immunology, endocrinology (deals with hormones), sociology, sports and nutritional sciences, religious studies and theology. Its areas of application include susceptibility to infections, menopausal complaints, age-related complaints, psychological instability or convalescence. It can be used prophylactically or in acute cases. The WHO defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. In summary, PNI is an innovative, young and modern discipline that follows this ancient, proven and holistically beneficial principle.
Support the body holistically after vaccinations
We are currently receiving many enquiries as to whether and how the various vaccines against Covid can be eliminated. We are sceptical about this. Once a vaccine is in the body, it is difficult to “get it out”. What we can do, however, is to strengthen those systems that could be affected by possible side effects of the vaccine. Again, the psyche, nervous and immune systems are in the foreground. The spike protein, for example, is membrantoxic and thus always neurotoxic as well. However, if we can strengthen and support the psyche, nervous and immune systems in a targeted manner and make use of the connections between these systems established by PNI, we can decisively mitigate and alleviate the negative consequences of vaccination, strengthen the immune system at the same time, become more resistant and in turn set the above-mentioned positive spiral in motion. Accordingly, it is so important that we look to the future with hope and confidence.
Possible active substances as a food supplement
PNI-relevant products must therefore have a simultaneous effect on the psyche, nerves and immune system. Simultaneity is important because only then can the necessary and desired synergies be achieved. First of all, a good basic supply of vitamins, minerals and trace elements can be considered, e.g. through a vitalising multipreparation that is as close to nature as possible. Its active ingredients strengthen the psyche, nerves and immune system, have an antioxidant effect, give energy and thus contribute to quality of life and joie de vivre.
Furthermore, a good anti-inflammatory is helpful to prevent the immune system from overshooting and to protect nerves that are under attack. Turmeric, for example, can be used as a “protect boost”, as its ingredients have very good anti-inflammatory effects. Some green tea, preferably matcha powder, enhances the anti-inflammatory effect.entzündungshemmende Wirkungen zeigen. Etwas Grüntee, vorzugsweise Matcha-Pulver, verstärkt die anti-inflammatorische Wirkung.
Finally, a mixture of other ingredients is conceivable to further increase the quality of life (“quality boost”) and thus trigger a positive spiral with regard to the psyche, nerves and immune system as described. Examples include dandelion extract (anti-inflammatory, inhibits interleukin-6), grape seed extract (vasoprotective, antioxidant), reishi spore powder (nerve-protective), quercetin (e.g. from the Japanese cord tree, antioxidant), brown algae extract (detoxifying, immune-strengthening, heart-protective) or rose root extract (mood-lifting, stress-reducing). With this colourful bouquet of possibilities, we can additionally support the psyche, nervous and immune systems!
Fields of application of the mentioned active substances and PNI
In principle, prophylactic as well as acute application is possible:
- Susceptibility to infections
- Menopausal symptoms
- Age-related problems
- Psychological instability
- After medical interventions, medications, vaccinations, injuries, etc.
Duration of ingestion
As long as necessary or e.g. for three months after vaccination
Positive, holistic effects
All in all, PNI products are intended to have a simultaneous effect on the psyche, nerves and immune system. They pursue a holistic and integrative approach. The aim is to hit a real “feel-good button” in people with positive effects on robustness against infections, neurological health, psychological and emotional stability, resilience and faster and more complete convalescence. It is good to know that immune activity can be specifically supported by psychological interventions and that an alert immune system simultaneously supports the psyche and the nerves.