There is better than a good chance that a chronic inflammation could be making us ill. Cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer’s, autism and many other diseases on the rise today have one common denominator – inflammation.
What is Inflammation?
Under normal circumstances it is our body’s response to injury, infection or pretty much anything that irritates your body. Well it is a bit more complex than that, but it is important to recognize there are two types of inflammation – acute and chronic.
When you cut yourself or fall and hurt your knee within seconds blood, white cells and host of other compounds rush to the specific area to isolate it from healthy tissues and start the healing process. This type of localized swelling can last several days. Acute inflammation is desired and a very important process otherwise even a small cut would become a major emergency. Weight bearing exercises, also produce a mild inflammation that helps to repair tears in muscle and connective tissues and strengthening these in process. When you remove the cause of acute inflammation, your body will heal in a few days.
The second type of inflammation is chronic, where the entire body becomes inflamed. This type of inflammation is a major detriment to our health and is to be prevented and avoided. It simply wrecks our bodies and our brains.
Causes of chronic inflammation
- Cause (injurious agent) of acute inflammation remains present.
- Increased intestinal permeability, also known as a leaky gut. The name may sound funny, but it is anything but. This is a serious condition very often overlooked by medical practitioners. We will be spending a lot of time looking at the gut as it is the center of your immune, endocrine systems with a number of neurons larger that your brain! It deserves a lot of attention as we are just starting to understand the extent of this amazing system.
- Diet – Gluten, too much sugar, bad fats, processed foods that are foreign to your body and cause irritation in your digestive track.
- Exposure to toxins, including molds.
- Chronic stress.
- Autoimmune reactions, which are your body’s response to foreign invaders. These are often misidentified and body attacks own tissues.
How do I know if I’m chronically inflamed?
There is a good chance that you don’t know. Chronic inflammation can develop slowly over time without you noticing it. However, at some point you will reach a threshold where your body will tell you that you are very much inflamed. Inflammation is typically associated with physical pain and discomfort. You will also feel impact on your energy levels and diminished feeling of well being. The inflammation impacts your entire biochemistry, including mitochondrial health and neurotransmitters. The first organ affected by chronic inflammation is typically your brain. You may not feel as sharp as usual, experience brain fog, ability to learn and remember things diminish. Depression is very much related to inflammation of brain. In my case I didn’t even notice the decline. It was almost as if I woke up one day and realized I was dumb, depressed and damaged. When I fixed the chronic inflammation, the depression and brain fog went away. Another case in point, some studies indicate that Alzheimer disease is good 30 years in making.
You can get some inflammation related tests done.
These tests are not typically requested by your family physician as they are trained to treat symptoms and only very seldom will look for a root cause. You have to ask for these specific tests and explain to your doctor that you believe these results are absolutely necessary in order to get better. Results of the following tests are the first step in gaining understanding as to what is happening in your body before you can go on identifying what are causing it.
- C-reactive protein (CRP) is a key inflammation marker produced by liver and released into blood stream after an injury, infection or autoimmune disorder. Standard CRP test maybe not be sensitive enough, ask for high sensitivity hs-CRP test. If you result is above 0.9 mg/dL you need to investigate as to what is causing elevated levels of this protein.
- Blood Albumin to Globulin ratio (A/G or AGR) > 1.8
- Interleukin-6 (IL-6) < 3 pg/ml
- TNFa (Tumor necrosis factor alpha) < 6 pg/ml
Preventing and extinguishing chronic inflammation
Chronic inflammation is seemingly a never ending fire burning inside your body. You either want to extinguish the fire fastest way possible or better yet, take steps to make sure you don’t have to deal with it in your future.
Here is a list to get you started:
- Avoid processed foods that are highly inflammatory, full of preservatives, colouring some being downright toxic.
- Stop drinking Juices loaded with sugar and have been pasteurized killing any beneficial enzymes naturally present in the fruit to guide digestion. Drink plenty of filtered water and on occasion make juice from fresh vegetables and some fruit.
- Empty your cupboards dump cereals, cereal bars, crackers, chips, flour and sugar. Refined carbs and alcohol turn in your body into sugars. Sugar is a neurotoxin and a dementogen.
- Heal leaky gut. This is a very important step that we will address in IHU blog real soon.
- Eliminate autoimmune triggers, which are foods and substances that will throw your immune system into a spin with terrifying results. Some of these may sound familiar: arthritis, vitilago, psoriasis, type 1 diabetes, lupus and the list goes on. Get 300 or 400 food sensitivity blood panel completed that helps to identify most common food triggers.
- Start eating anti-inflammatory foods. Buy organic produce, mostly vegetables and berries. Go easy on fruit as it is loaded with sugar. Eat only wild caught fish, pasture raised beef, lamb and chickens. See good fats blog. Go for minimum processing and as few ingredients as possible. Depending on what it is, If the food has more than 3-5 ingredients I don’t buy it.
For a more comprehensive list of things you do want to know about, refer to article “My Daily Sanity Checklist” that serves as my master index. It will help you identify and eliminate many irritants as well as to provide your body with what is needed to restore its natural balance and harmony.