How Inflammation Affects Your Health and What to Do

Inflammation is a word you hear a lot and probably think of with a negative connotation. At its best, inflammation is actually just the body’s immune system response to infections, stress, toxicity, allergens, or injury. This type of inflammation triggers proteins in the body designed to protect the cells and tissues. But as the director of the Center for Inflammation and Mucosal Immunology at the University of Florida, Mansour Mohamadzadeh, PhD, explains when these immune cells get out of control, chronic inflammation can kick in where the body virtually starts attacking itself. This type of inflammation can start from viruses, bacteria, autoimmune disease, eating foods high in sugar and fat or stress. Chronic conditions can result when the body responds to inflammation by the C-reactive proteins getting into the bloodstream, going into other parts of the body and raising the level of those proteins too high. 

Inflammation and the Gut
Timothy Denning, PhD, associate professor and immunology researcher at Georgia State University, explains that sometimes immune cells start reacting to the beneficial bacteria in the intestines and this can lead to chronic inflammation. Immune cells can then attack the digestive tract, damage the lining of the intestines which can lead to chronic digestive conditions like leaky gut syndrome and Crohn’s disease. All this serves to disrupt digestion and the body being able to absorb nutrients from food. Many problems with inflammation stem from the intestines and produce symptoms elsewhere. This means the digestive tract is often overlooked as being at the root of the problem.

Inflammation and Obesity
Being overweight can add to chronic inflammation. Along with that, a diet poor in nutrition which can lead to obesity is also a culprit for inflammation. The simple solution to this is of course to lose weight, but this type of inflammation causes metabolism to work slower and interferes with the body’s hunger signals. That usually leads to more eating and less calories being burned.

Solutions to Inflammation
As you can see chronic inflammation can adversely affect just about everywhere in the body. Even skin doesn’t escape as for example psoriasis. It also ages cells causing wrinkles and other signs of aging. Add in pain, dental problems, cancers, diabetes, respiratory problems, thyroid problems, migraines and heart conditions resulting from inflammation and you’ll definitely want to find a way to deal with it. The approach most medical personnel take to dealing with inflammation is steroids or immune suppressive agents. These may offer you some relief from pain and other symptoms, but they don’t address the underlying cause or fix damage that has been done. Finding the cause of your inflammation can be tricky and require some medical tests such as blood tests that measure your C-reactive protein level, cytokine levels and SED rate, journaling, and trial and error observation. A good place to start is to look at your diet and try removing processed foods, refined foods, fast foods, sugary foods, foods with trans and saturated fats, and alcohol. You may also need to avoid foods with gluten and casein if you still don’t see a reduction in symptoms. Instead opt for high nutrient, low calorie whole foods with lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats like omega-3’s and other polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats that reduce inflammation, and lean protein sources. This type of diet combined with regular exercise will also help in weight reduction in case obesity is at the root of the problem. Add fermented foods such as nonfat or low fat yogurt or kefir to your diet if you can tolerate dairy. Whether you can or cannot tolerate it, adding high quality probiotic supplements can help support the beneficial bacteria in your intestines. Also take a look at the types of medications you are taking. Antibiotics, antacids and various other types of medicines can destroy the probiotics in your gut, allow for free radical damage of cells and increase inflammation. Definitely include finding a way to deal with stress in your plan as stress increases the release of cortisol in the body and can result in inflammation. Take up a hobby, a sport, moderate exercise, or meditate. Whatever works for you to regularly get some relaxation time. Also look at your lifestyle for clues as to what could be causing inflammation. Do you physically overdo or over exercise? Do you not get enough sleep? Do you have problems keeping your blood sugar levels stable? Answering questions such as these may help point you in the right direction.

Adding herbs such as turmeric, boswellia, ginger, and rosemary to meals have also been found to help reduce inflammation. Enzymes like bromelain found in pineapple has also been found to be effective at reducing inflammation. An easy way to get not only bromelain, but also the enzymes papain, protease, lipase, and serratiopeptidase, and some wild AFA bluegreen algae is with this algae and enzyme supplement. To help with repairing the damage from free radicals and inflammation, there’s also this antioxidant and algae supplement that provides the antioxidant nutrition stem cells need to flourish and be able to replace cell damage. And if you’ve got creaky, painful joints due to inflammation, consider this supplement with vegetable-based glucosamine, chondroitin, UC-II® undenatured collagen and bluegreen algae.

Don’t let inflammation get you down. Take steps to understand and find out what is causing your painful symptoms caused by inflammation. Then employ some dietary and lifestyle changes to see which give you relief. Working with your healthcare provider or a skilled naturopath can help you get to the bottom of your inflammation and get real relief instead of just covering up the symptoms.

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