What is Inflammation?
You may have been hearing a lot about inflammation lately but not understand why. So let's do a deep dive on inflammation. We have all experienced acute inflammation at some point in our lives. Inflammation is the body’s normal immune response to injury or infection and is the beginning of the healing process. What you may not know is there are two types of inflammation: acute and chronic.
Acute inflammation occurs after a cut, sprained knee, sunburn or strep throat. It usually only lasts a few days. Common signs are: redness, warmth, swelling, pain, and limited function( like limping). It may also be accompanied by fever, general malaise, or a change in blood pressure or pulse. Acute inflammation is good because it causes your immune system to kick in and take care of the problem.
Chronic inflammation occurs when your body is no longer capable of turning off the inflammatory response resulting in damage to normal healthy tissue and ultimately cellular destruction. Chronic inflammation can last several months to years and lead to diseases and medical conditions such as:
- HEART DISEASE
- RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS
- CROHN’S DISEASE AND ULCERATIVE COLITIS
- CHRONIC PERIODONTITIS
- ALL OTHER AUTO-IMMUNE DISEASES
- SKIN CONDITIONS
CAUSES OF CHRONIC INFLAMMATION:
1. CANDIDA ALBICANS OVERGROWTH:
Candida Albicans is a yeast (fungus) that lives in the human GI tract. When there is Candida overgrowth it can cause infection leading to Leaky Gut Syndrome. Leaky Gut Syndrome occurs when tiny holes appear in the intestinal lining. This allows harmful microorganisms to pass through the intestinal wall into the circulatory system, causing the body to activate the immune system and systemic inflammation begins. Food allergies are linked to leaky gut and candida overgrowth.
2. NUTRTIONAL DEFICIENCIES:
Vitamin B especially 6 and 12, zinc, Magnesium.
People who are obese are more likely to have high levels of white blood cells, a marker for inflammation. Inflammation is also higher in obese people increasing their risk of cancer.
4. CHRONIC ANXIETY AND STRESS:
Persistant stress/anxiety causes high cortisol levels which is implicated in chronic inflammation.
5. EXPOSURE TO TOXINS:
Air pollution, exposure to cigarette smoke, heavy metals like mercury and lead, pesticides in food, chemicals in consumer goods, polluted water.
6. FOOD ALLERGIES:
This can be actual food allergies but also food sensitivity. Food allergies can also manifest in skin problems.
7. LACK OF EXERCISE:
Moderate exercise lowers inflammation.
SYMPTOMS OF CHRONIC INFLAMMATION:
- CHRONIC PAIN
- CONSTANT FATIGUE
- BLOOD SUGAR ISSUES
- CHRONIC STOMACH PROBLEMS
Not everyone who has chronic inflammation will have all these symptoms. However, if you have ANY of these symptoms OR an auto-immune disease, you probably have chronic inflammation so it might be beneficial to talk to your doctor.
- BLOOD FERRITIN
- BLOOD GLUCOSE
- WHITE BLOOD CELLS
- SED RATE
- HIGH SENSITIVITY C-REACTIVE PROTEIN ( HS-CRP)
These tests can help your doctor determine if you have chronic inflammation.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HEAL YOUR BODY AND/OR PREVENT CHRONIC INFLAMMATION:
FIND HEALTHY WAYS TO DEAL WITH YOUR STRESS
DECREASE CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL, CAFFEINE, NICOTINE
CONSIDER ANTI-INFLAMMATORY HERBS AND SUPPLEMENTS:
BOSWELLIA (FRANKINCENSE), GINGER, TURMERIC, DEVIL’S CLAW, CAT’S CLAW, VITAMIN B COMPLEX, MANGOSTEEN, MILK THISTLE, ZINC, MAGNESIUM, SPIRULINA
CLEAN UP YOUR PERSONAL ENVIRONMENT:
Get rid of toxic cleaners and try green cleaning products or make your own, switch to personal care products and foods that don’t contain irritants. Consider getting a water filter for your home.
AVOID OR LIMIT INFLAMMATION CAUSING FOODS:
- BEEF (ESPECIALLY GRAIN FED BEEF)
- OMEGA 6 VEGETABLE OIL
- ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS
- SAT FATS
- TRANS FATS
- ARTIFICIAL ADDITIVES/PRESERVATIVES
ADD THESE INFLAMMATION FIGHTING FOODS TO YOUR DIET:
- FLAX AND CHIA SEEDS
- GREEN TEA
- BERRIES AND CHERRIES
- GREENS: SPINACH, KALE, LEAFY LETTUCE
- GARLIC, TURMERIC, GINGER
Whether you have one symptom of chronic inflammation or full blown disease, it’s never too late to make changes to decrease the inflammation in your body. I would love to hear from you.If you deal with chronic inflammation please share your thoughts and experiences.
Be well friends,