Inflammation can be a good defensive action of the body. It is a process in which the body’s white blood cells and chemicals provide protection from injury, infection, and foreign substances. The body is attempting to remove any injurious substance and to initiate the healing process for the tissue.
Inflammation is part of the regenerative process and, without it, wounds and infections would never heal. A well-controlled acute inflammatory response has several protective roles:
- It prevents the spread of infectious agents and damage to nearby tissues
- It helps to remove damaged tissue and pathogens
- It assists the body’s repair processes
However, when healing is complete, the process should shut down. But sometimes it doesn’t. Then chronic inflammation becomes like an unattended fire that can slowly spread and lead to serious illness or even death!
The body’s immune system can even trigger an inflammatory response when there are no foreign substances to fight off! In these autoimmune situations the body’s normally protective immune system can actually cause damage to its own tissues. The ability of the immune system to actually damage tissue, instead of helping it heal, is why the inflammation process must be tightly regulated by the body.
Five Cardinal Signs: characterize the classic manifestation of acute inflammation:
1. Redness and heat – result from the increased blood flow to the site of injury.
2. Swelling – results from the accumulation of fluid at the injury site, a consequence of the increased blood flow. Swelling can compress nerve endings near the injury, causing the characteristic pain associated with inflammation.
3. Pain – is also important to make the organism aware of the tissue damage.
4. Impairment – in a joint usually results in a fifth sign (impairment of function), which has the effect of limiting movement and forcing rest of the injured joint to aid in healing.
5. Life-threatening – chronic inflammation can also result in increased biomarkers of inflammation, which are also associated with increased morbidity and mortality.
Even the common media is becoming aware of inflammation danger. This is an excerpt from US News:
But the (inflammation) process also has a quiet, dark side. Chronic “hidden” inflammation occurs throughout the body when something kick-starts the immune system and disengages the shut-off button. What ignites the fire differs from person to person but the end result is the same: An endless trickle of immune cells interferes with the body’s healthy tissues, triggering genetic mutations that can lead to cancer or the bursting of plaque in an artery wall. Scarier still:
Most People Don’t Even Know They’re Inflamed!
There’s not a reliable blood test yet to screen for inflammation. What is clearly established is that the latest science suggests that we can take action.
“In recent years, we’ve come to accept that inflammation plays a role in many chronic diseases, but it’s about an imbalance—too many pro-inflammatory chemicals and not enough anti-inflammatory ones,” explains Moise Desvarieux, an inflammation researcher at Columbia University.
Thus, staying well means having both systems in working order. Even the American Medical Association found that colon cancer patients who took a daily dose of anti-inflammatories reduced their risk of dying from the disease by nearly a third.
An Imbalanced Immune System
The root of chronic inflammation is an imbalanced immune system. Your immunity is comprised of two major systems:
1. The innate immune system is what we were all born with. It deals with the general threats to our bodies.
2. The acquired immune system is what we develop. When we are exposed to allergens, bugs, viruses, etc., our acquired immune system grows in complexity.
These two branches of the immune system constantly communicate with each other to maintain balance in the body. They can communicate an inflammatory call-to-action or, more critically, a call to turn off when they aren’t needed anymore.
Chronic, low-level inflammation contributes to at least seven of the ten leading causes of death in the United States. These include heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and nephritis (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2011; Bastard et al. 2006; Cao 2011, Jha et al. 2009; Ferrucci et al. 2010; Glorieux et al. 2009; Kundu et al. 2008; Murphy 2012; Singh et al. 2011).
Inflammation has classically been viewed as an acute (short term) response to tissue injury that produces characteristic symptoms and usually resolves spontaneously. More contemporary revelations show chronic inflammation to be a major factor in the development of degenerative disease and loss of youthful functions. The danger of chronic, low-level inflammation is that…
Inflammation’s Silent Nature
Hides Its Destructive Power!
In fact, stress-induced inflammation, once triggered, can persist undetected for years, or even decades, propagating cell death throughout the body. Due to the fact that it contributes so greatly to deterioration associated with the aging process, this silent state of chronic inflammation has been coined “inflammaging”.
Even conventional medicine is now recognizing how pivotal inflammation can in determining the course of human health. The now-popular test for C-Reactive Proteins (CRP) is essentially a test of inflammation factors in the blood. So are PSA tests used in the detection of prostate cancer. The more conventional medicine learns about inflammation, the more it realizes that inflammation is the precursor to dozens of other serious diseases.
Some of the Conditions Inflammation Causes
By halting the inflammation and eliminating its root cause, you can halt the progression of degenerative diseases and begin healing from the inside out. Chronic inflammation has now been connected to a host of modern diseases. There are many researchers now looking at chronic and degenerative illnesses, including biological aging, as rooted in chronic inflammation. When these excess immune cells circulate in our systems, they begin to attack and damage healthy areas in our bodies, such as:
Blood vessel linings (as in atherosclerosis)
Pancreatic tissue (in diabetes)
Joint tissue (in arthritis)
Gut mucosa (in lactose and gluten intolerance)
And many more body parts. This leads to diseases most of you will recognize. Here are some of them:
Allergies and hay fever
Arthritis and joint pain
Glutathione / histamine
Inflammatory bowel disease
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Lung pulmonary inflammation
Postsurgical pain and swelling
Sinus and nasal inflammation
Skin disorders like eczema
Type-I & II diabetes
As we said, in a perfect world, the body then turns them off with anti-inflammatory compounds when the threat is gone. Chronic inflammation arises when this response is not completely turned off. It acts like a slow-burning fire, continuing to stimulate pro-inflammatory immune cells when they may not be needed.
Let’s look at the GI tract system as an example. A person can be sensitive to some nutrient – but not enough to cause them to eliminate the nutrient from their diet. So, each time they eat the nutrient, their body mounts a small immune response in the gut. This might give them some gas and discomfort, but not enough to send off any alarms. Over time, the immune cells inflammation activated began to disrupt the mucosal lining of their bowels. This can lead to what is commonly called “leaky gut syndrome” where the digestive tract leaks into the bloodstream through ‘holes’ in the gut. This can cause the immune system to be on alert to increase inflammation, thus leading to more symptoms.
Unfortunately, many people with chronic inflammation have increased levels inflammation – even when there is no reason for inflammation! Some of the signs include C-reactive protein, IFN-gamma, IL-1, IL-6, and TNF-alpha. These become even more elevated in an acute reaction, when needed, but can start to destroy the body if the acute phase is turned off when the job is done.
If your body is constantly on the defensive with inflammation, your overall health is compromised.
First, inflammation takes a lot of your body’s energy and resources.
Second, our inflammatory cells are powerful (to get rid of harmful invaders).
However, a constant flow of powerful inflammatory markers in the bloodstream can cause damage with time. To make matters worse, once the balance is disrupted, inflammation can self-perpetuate and quickly spiral into diseases.
Recent research at Harvard Medical School supports the connection between an imbalanced immune system and metabolic disorders, like type 2 diabetes. The good news is that if we deal with it, we can have nearly a 100% recovery!
NSAID’s (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs)
Many pharmaceutical drugs have been developed to override the inflammatory cascade, and many more are coming. NSAID’s, like Motrin and Aleve, corticosteroids like prednisone, COX-2 inhibitors like Vioxx and Celebrex, and antihistamines each shut down a different inflammatory mechanism. Unfortunately, this can lead to further long-term risks in the body.
Routinely taking aspirin or other NSAID’s runs counter to the functional medicine approach to inflammation. This is to strive to support the body’s natural healing mechanisms. We urge people and doctors to look closely at their diets, and to supplement with omega-3’s and other natural anti-inflammatories before turning to aspirin or other non-aspirin NSAIDs.
Five Things You Can Do To Reduce Inflammation
The good news is that there are many things you can do to cool your inflammation – even if you have an elevated CRP and have been diagnosed with an inflammatory condition. It is never too late to do something about it and regain vitality and strength. So, let’s take a closer look at some things you can do.
Remember, the goal is not to stop inflammation, but to restore normal inflammatory processes. It’s sad to say that we are living in a toxic world, where fuel for inflammation is present at every turn. We’re unintentionally exposed to changing conditions like:
- Toxins (like lead and mercury) in our environment
- Industrialized foods replacing many of the natural anti-inflammatory foods once prevalent in our diets
- Stress and lack of sleep as everyday events for many of us
However, it is encouraging that we still have a lot of choices. There are so many things you can do to reduce inflammation naturally.
Five Simple Steps (that you can take right away)
1. Revise your omega-3 diet. Start by adding omega-3’s, especially fish oil.
2. Get a good night’s sleep! A good night’s sleep is one of the best anti-inflammatories out there!
3. Take a multivitamin/mineral/nutrient complex of a high-quality like our Multi-Nutrient formula.
4. Probiotics can help rebalance your immune system. The beneficial flora in your body work hard to rebalance your immune system; they are included in our Multi-Nutrient formula.
5. The Biggie: Our – Infla-Mazing Plus – relief formula!
The easiest and most effective step, for a serious situation or occasional maintenance, is our Infla-Mazing Plus formula. It is the best natural supplement a person can take to reduce inflammation. Even better, the herbs in it have abundant clinical studies behind them.
It’s certainly disturbing that chronic inflammation is at the root of many modern diseases on the rise today. Simply being aware of inflammation is a great start. And the more we learn about the human body, the more we appreciate that we’ve evolved with all the natural tools needed to maintain healthful balance in our systems. Start reducing chronic inflammation now, so you can improve your health for the rest of your life!
Link to our recommended nutrients: Infla-Mazing Plus relief formula.