With the recent global health challenges, we have all been facing, I was very curious to look at the scientific research supporting the role of chiropractic and immune function. I was happy to discover there is highly credible scientific evidence indicating there is a clinical link between the chiropractic adjustment and immune function.
Researchers from New Zealand searched the literature for studies that looked at how chiropractic adjustments or spinal manipulation affected important markers in your blood or saliva that are known to be part of immune response. They discovered there is moderate quality evidence that suggests that adjustments increase levels of chemicals such as substance-p, neurotensin, oxytocin and interleukin levels in your body that are associated with a healthy immune response, as well as, modify cortisol, which is a potent anti-inflammatory hormone. There is a clear bidirectional communication link between the Central Nervous System and the Immune System via the vagus nerve and circulating cytokines through the circulatory system to create an appropriate immune response and assist in maintaining homeostasis. However, much more research needs to be done because we don’t yet know whether these chemical changes have an important impact on improving immunity in general or recovery from illness or prevention of illness.
Fifteen years of research reflects that chiropractic care influences the central nervous system and particularly the prefrontal cortex. A part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex is critically involved in regulating the autonomic nervous system, the endocrine system and the immune system. The prefrontal cortex is vital for proper immune system function, as it modulates immune response via the Hypothalamus-Pituitary Axis and autonomic nervous system by releasing catecholamines (dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine) which regulate immune cell function.
We now have a biologically plausible model that is backed by much basic science research and it does suggest that chiropractic adjustments should improve how our nervous system functions which should have a positive impact on how our immune system functions.
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