Inflammation In Your Body.
Inflammation is the root cause to many chronic diseases and conditions. Although it might not be the direct cause of illness it can play a significant role in indicating a disease. Given the nickname, “Silent Killer”, inflammation is not something to joke about. It can have a detrimental impact on our body’s longevity and quality of life.
Now for the good news, there are ways to reduce inflammation and ultimately, prevent disease. But let’s start with the basics….What is inflammation? How do you know if you have it? In learning the role inflammation plays on the body, physicians have found ways to combat the silent killer for good.
What is Inflammation?
Inflammation (Latin, inflammare, to set on fire) is part of the complex biological response of vascular tissues to harmful stimuli, such as infection, pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants. Inflammation is a protective attempt by the organism to remove the injurious stimuli and to initiate the healing process. It is characterized by an influx of white blood cells, redness, heat, swelling, pain, and dysfunction of the organs involved. Although, inflammation is a beneficial first response, if it persists it leads to chronic disease. Chronic iinflammation has been linked to conditions like: adrenal disruption, allergies, arthritis, fibromyalgia, eczema, cancers, IBS, and Chron’s disease.
How Do You know if You Have Inflammation?
Anyone who shows signs or symptoms of or has been diagnosed with any of the conditions listed above has chronic inflammation. For some, it may be detected only in blood tests such as CRPhs, HgbA1C, triglycerides, white cell count and anti-oxidant function on tests such as SPECTROX from Spectracell.
How to Decrease Inflammation?
Whether you have been diagnosed with a condition linked to inflammation or simply want to decrease your risk of developing an inflammatory condition, you can lower inflammation levels through:
- Hormone restorative therapy especially with anti-inflammatory hormones (i.e. DHEA, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol)
- Optimizing nutritional status
- Removing toxins (reducing intestinal inflammation)
- Reducing body stressors and mental stressors
Let’s take a deeper dive into the ways you can reduce inflammation and optimize your quality of life.
1.) Measure and optimize your hormones.
It is well known that as hormones decline, inflammation and disease increase. The main anti-inflammatory hormones in the body are DHEA, cortisol, progesterone and testosterone which all decline naturally over time. When stress is high, the decline is more rapid. Hormone levels may be in the “normal range” and yet far from optimal levels that maintain the organs and prevent disease. By restoring optimal levels of hormones, our body’s anti-inflammation ability increases.
2.) Anti-inflammatory Diet
Optimizing nutrient status is the most powerful method to control and reduce inflammation. As all inflammation begins in the intestines, anti-inflammatory food choices are a great place to start. The food you eat is the most important part of reducing inflammation. Anti-inflammatory diets emphasize plant-based, organic proteins and super-foods (i.e. aloe, coconut, acai, bee pollen, hemp) as described in the “China Study”, by T. Colin Campbell and “Superfoods” by David Wolfe.
3.) Consider taking daily supplements
Take a few carefully selected supplements (usually a multivitamin with minerals and fish oil) without preservatives (i.e.) Mg Stearate and dyes. A study published by The Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition demonstrates the promising benefits in probiotic supplements as a tool to reduce inflammation in the body. Probiotics, has been shown to decrease the production of zonulin, a maker that indicating enhanced intestinal permeability.
4.) Get a blood test
Measure nutritional status to determine adequacy of your program, absorption and utilization possibly by serum Spectracell or NutraEval. These blood test measure specific vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other essential micronutrients within your white blood cells (lymphocytes).
5.) Reduce toxic exposures
Toxins are a major contributor to inflammation. There are two main approaches to reducing the body’s burden of toxins. Reduce exposure to gases, paints, glues, preservatives, dyes, heavy metals, plastics, phthalates, bisphenol-A, electromagnetic radiation, etc. Limit direct contact with toxins from cleaning and aerosol products, insecticides, chemicals, and additives.
6.) Cleanse your bowel and liver
Enhance elimination of toxins from your body by optimizing the function of bowel, liver, lymphatics, kidney and skin. The liver plays a key role in the detoxification process, eliminating toxins from the blood and filter them through the bowel. Eat mostly vegetables, and a high fiber diet, while removing alcohol and processed/greasy foods is a great step towards detoxing the liver.
7.) Stay hydrated
Maintain hydration by drinking 1⁄2 of your body weight in ounces of pure water per day, as this is critical to elimination of toxins. BONUS: Add a dash of pink salt and a splash of organic lemon juice to your water to replenish minerals and aid in digestion.
8.) Manage mind/body stressors
When we are under mental stress or body pain over prolonged periods of time, the sympathetic nervous system fires and utilizes hormones (i.e. cortisol, DHEA, progesterone) and nutrients (i.e. B vitamins, Magnesium, Vitamin C) much faster than usual.Breathe deeply and consciously to increase oxygenation, increase pH and reduce inflammation. When we are aware of the breathe, oxygenation increases. Exercise in the aerobic range where you can breathe and talk easily. In this range your body is oxygenated and anti-inflammatory.
9.) Rest up
Get 8 hours of deep uninterrupted of sleep. Researchers have found that the more sleep we get the less inflammation and disease we have. Sleep is the time when our bodies repair its muscles, organs and cells. When asleep, there is less demand on the the body, causing blood pressure to slow down and cortisol levels decrease, encouraging tissue to grow and restore damaged muscles or blood vessels.
10.) Simplify your life
Simplify your life by reducing commitments, news, activities. De-cluttering your life of the non essentials can instantly lift a huge burden off your shoulders. This might involve materialistic things or it could reflect work-life balance, in taking on too many responsibilities.
It can be done!
A little diligent work and you can discover the healing benefits to an anti-inflammatory lifestyle. It might take some preparation and scheduling to get it done. But start small, implementing 2 of the 10 healthy tips we have listed each week. The “silent killer” will no longer be a threat but a ghost of your past. It can be done!
Manfred L, Simon B, et al. Probiotic supplementation affects markers of intestinal barrier, oxidation, and inflammation in trained men. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2012; 9(45).