Contributing Writer for Wake Up World
One of the most common physical symptoms people suffer is inflammation. It is a sign that the body has initiated self-healing, but when inflammation is prolonged, it can result in an excessive free radical activity and tissue damage.
There are numerous mechanisms in the body which can cause inflammation and it can show up in various forms, but most of the time it directly involves a dysfunction of the digestive system – like most ailments.
The immune response is one of the main mechanisms to initiate inflammatory processes. Citokines are one of the most well-studied molecules involved in the immune response, and are responsible for cellular apoptosis (cell death) and cascades of inflammatory processes. An excessive level of citokines in the body is associated with insulin resistance, diabetes and many other health problems.
Insulin, Cholesterol, C-reactive Protein
One of the main markers of inflammation is hyperinsulinism. In medical literature this is a main factor associated with cardiovascular diseases. A high level of insulin (above 5) determines high levels of pro-inflammatory mediators and is also associated with a high level of C reactive protein, a main marker for inflammation. Studies showed that the high level of C reactive protein is also associated with high consumption of the trans fats found in processed foods.
Cholesterol has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect and a critical importance in regulating inflammation and free radical activity. A low level of cholesterol is associated with many auto-immune inflammatory conditions. (For more information, please read my previous articles:Debunking Cholesterol Myths and Cholesterol Behind The Numbers: Facts Your Doctors Don’t Tell You.)
As with a high cholesterol level, C reactive protein is a response to inflammation, not the cause of it. Causes are multiple and they are mainly generated by nutritional deficiencies, glucose metabolism malfunction, hyperinsulinism, toxicity and the body’s response to stress.
A level higher than 3 for this marker indicates a higher inflammation level. Analyzing C reactive protein in association with homocysteine and insulin levels is essential to properly monitor inflammation in the body.
Medical research showed that inflammation often involves digestive function. Autoimmune diseases, for example, mostly always involve intestinal dysbiosis and other multiple chronic infections, which are often not considered in allopathic, conventional treatments. That’s why it’s essential to follow a strategy which focuses on re-establishing the digestive function and immunity, in order to normalize the inflammatory response.
Reactive foods, pathogen infections, heavy metal toxicity are also directly responsible for mucosal barrier damage and inflammation.
Processed Foods and Incorrectly Prepared Food
With the advent of the Industrial Revolution and the processing of omega 6-rich vegetable oils such as corn, soybean, canola and safflower oils – which are so abundant in our collective diet today – the balanced ratio of omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids on which our human genome thrived for hundreds of thousands of years changed drastically in our diets.
These days, it is estimated that we eat one-tenth of the amount of omega 3 fatty acids required for normal functioning. This is one of the reasons why a high percentage of our modern population is susceptible to food-related health conditions like heart disease, cancer, insulin resistance and diabetes, obesity, arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. The elimination of toxic trans fatty acids alone could avert tens of thousands of coronary events each year, in the United States and around the world!
Disease is frequently caused by the consumption of processed foods which contain toxic and even carcinogenic substances, commercially-grown produce containing dangerous herbicides, pesticides, fungicides and rodenticides (2 billion pounds of such chemicals are used annually in the US alone!) and commercially farmed animals that are raised on steroids, antibiotics, food laden with mycotoxins (very poisonous toxins from mold and fungus) – and other toxic additives.
Cooking foods at high temperatures, crust formation when barbecuing foods, frying, etc. can generate high inflammation in the body and carcinogenic compounds named advanced glycation end products – AGEs.
Neurological inflammation occurs when an inflammatory cascade releases inflammatory mediators. Neurological inflammation can be a result of the overexcitation of neurons, nerve pathways in the nervous system and brain, leading to misfiring, exhaustion, and ultimately the death of these nerves.
When neurons die, chronic inflammation results, leading to poor nerve signaling and health imbalances. For example, the red swelling that surrounds a bug bite is actually the body’s inflammatory process at work. A very similar process can occur in the areas surrounding our nerves, even if we can’t see that internal process as clearly as we can the red bite on our skin’s surface. (Dr. Amy Yasko, Ph.D – Neurological Research Institute)
The causes which determine the process of “neurological inflammation” resulting in autism and autistic-like behaviors including ADD and ADHD is multifactorial. Without a particular combination of genetic mutations, heavy metal toxicities, chronic viral infections, underlying bacterial and fungal infections, and excitotoxin damage leading to a negative cascade of neurological events, autism, ADD/ADHD and other neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s Disease may not manifest. And the same underlying factors may also be responsible for the increase in chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia as well as the increase in mitochondrial disease.
For example, excitoxins are stimulating chemicals present now in many common foods, that overstimulate brain chemistry via the neurotransmitters and nerve receptors. This over-stimulation can trigger nerve cell death, which results in poor signaling, contributing to “stims”, and language difficulties. Add to this all the other mentioned factors and it’s no wonder such conditions are on the rise in our society!
Dangers of Using Anti-Inflammatory Drugs: Aspirin, Ibuprofen
Commonly used anti-inflammatory medications can cause ulcers, stomach bleeding, and other gastrointestinal complications. Research shows that 80% of deaths caused by ulcers occur in patients who take anti-inflammatories, and people who follow anti-inflammatory drug therapy have a 5-10 times higher risk of developing ulcers. Moreover, these drugs can also affect the kidney and liver function, especially when used over a long period of time. (For more information, please see the article: 9 Natural Alternatives to Ibuprofen/NSAIDs Without the Side Effects.)
Natural Alternatives to Eliminate Inflammation Long Term
The best long-term strategy to eliminate inflammation is to ensure you provide your body with the necessary nutritional support to maintain normal biological functions. This means to first follow a clean organic diet that fits your unique metabolism. A wrong diet, even if “organic”, can quickly become a stressor for the body if it doesn’t fit to your unique genetic and biochemical requirements. It is also essential to eliminate inflammatory foods (frying, sugar, processed foods, the above mentioned vegetable oils, reactive foods like gluten and dairy, additives and other toxic, industrial substances, etc.)
Proteolytic enzymes like bromelaine, pancreatin and serrapeptase contain powerful anti-inflammatory effects. These have been shown to be efficient at inhibiting fibroids formation, fibrinogen and excessive coagulation. Serrapeptase has very beneficial effects in joint inflammation, arthritis, fibroids, excessive blood coagulation, respiratory conditions, mucus excess, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibrocystic breast disease.
A large variety of plants have an anti-inflammatory effect, plus other health benefits; some of these are boswellia, willow bark, turmeric, ginger, cloves, rosemary, holy basil, arnica, yarrow.
About the author:
Long-time contributor Raluca Schachter is a passionate Nutritionist, Metabolic Typing Advisor, and a Weston A. Price Chapter Leader. She believes in the benefits of traditional unaltered food, ancestral wisdom, sustainable farming and simple living.
Raluca was able to naturally reverse chronic health conditions she was struggling with most of her life, and now uses her knowledge to help as many people as possible do the same. Her unique Metabolic Typing® Ecological Lifestyle Programs for Optimal Health offer a very unique and comprehensive approach to health, where individual nutritional and biochemical requirements are firstly met using specific nutrients and foods that each metabolism thrives on.
- Mucosal Immunol. 2008 Sep;1(5):364-71. Epub 2008 Jul 9. Joint expedition: linking gut inflammation to arthritis.Jacques P, Elewaut D. Department of Rheumatology, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium.