PEP 42: Vitamin N Deficiency, Shinrin-yoku & NK Cells

One of the unfortunate consequences of living in our modern, fast-paced society is that we have lost touch with mother nature. Perhaps there is no greater deficiency to the modern American than Vitamin N (nature). We wake up in our comfortable beds, drive to our office jobs and then drive back home and settle in for the night. Heck, if we are feeling dangerous, we might even drive to the gym for a workout somewhere in there. However, losing daily connection to nature does not come without consequences.

In episode 42 of The Primal Example Podcast, Joe and John discuss research published in the Environmental Health Perspectives and Preventative Medicine journal detailing the health benefits of forest bathing. The benefits include reduced cortisol and blood pressure, activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, and increased NK-cell activity.

What is the Parasympathetic Nervous System?

The parasympathetic nervous system, known as"rest and digest" mode, is the antithesis of the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight mode). The stressors of modern society have caused many of us to live in a state of constant sympathetic nervous system activity. When we are constantly in a state of sympathetic nervous system activity, we are releasing various stress hormones. These stress hormones (when chronically elevated) can lead to elevated blood sugar, weight gain, insulin resistance and many other issues that modern Americans struggle with. It's vital that we find ways to activate our parasympathetic nervous system on a daily basis, allowing our bodies to heal and repair from the daily physical, emotional and spiritual stresses of the day.

As you'll learn in this episode, forest bathing can increase parasympathetic nervous system activity by an astonishing 102%! What's even more interesting is that simply viewing a nature landscape can boost parasympathetic nervous system by 56%!

What are NK-cells?

NK-cells (Natural Killer Cells) are the surveillance cells of our immune system. They are responsible for recognizing a threat (cancer cells, infections, etc) and formulating and offense/defense against that attack to keep us safe and healthy. In other words, NK-cells act as the security guard to our immune system, protecting our bodies from unwanted guests. NK-cells are especially talented at targeting cancerous and virully infected cells, making them of the utmost importance in today's toxic environment.

In the "What's new in research? portion of the show, you'll learn how forest bathing can increase NK-cell activity by as much as 50% and how the boost in NK-cell activity may last as long as 30 days after one forest bathing session.

In the Q&A portion of the episode, Joe and John hop on Facebook Live to answer some listener questions.

In this episode, you'll learn:

  • What forest bathing is

  • The origins of forest bathing

  • The benefits of forest bathing including decreased cortisol, blood pressure and heart rate

  • The importance of activating the parasympathetic nervous system

  • What NK-cells are

  • How stress is linked to leaky gut, autoimmunity, fibromyalgia and many more disses

  • How cordyceps mushroom can increase athletic performance

  • Beet root's ability to boost nitric oxide

  • Our thoughts on "What the health"

  • Our opinions on probiotics

  • Our thoughts on "natural" pre-workout supplements

  • Good exercises for beginners to get back on the horse

Links to topics discussed:


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