What do these deadly and devastating chronic conditions have in common? Can they be prevented? There is something you can do that will minimize your susceptibility to premature ageing, chronic disease and the suffering that goes along with it?
In the past decade a tremendous amount of research at top medical facilities has been done on inflammation and the effect it has on the body. What has been discovered is the major role inflammation, and more specifically, chronic inflammation, has on many if not all chronic diseases. Research has proven that inflammation is not just a result of dis-ease processes, but a cause of them. However, and not surprisingly, the cure for chronic inflammation has been known and used for centuries in many cultures as part of their traditional diets and healing arts.
So, what is INFLAMMATION? Inflammation is part of the body’s immune system’s natural response to acute trauma, injury and infection. It is the initial, localized response of the body to harmful agents. The inflammatory process helps the body get vital nutrients to the site of the wound, fight off foreign invaders, and flush out harmful byproducts of the The problem with inflammation comes when the body does not or cannot turn off this natural process, leading to Chronic Inflammation.
Why are some people vital, healthy, energetic, optimistic and youthful at 70 years old, and some are tired, worn out, depressed, in pain, and “old” at 45. Chronic Inflammation is a major factor in the negative aspects we attribute to ageing.
Here are some of the conditions that chronic inflammation has been proven to play a major role in causing and prolonging:
- Arthritis (painful joint wear and tear and degeneration)
- Heart Disease, High Blood Pressure, and Stroke
- Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia
- Asthma, Allergies, Sinusitis
- Stomach, gut and bowel conditions like IBS, leaky gut, colitis, Crohn’s, and celiac
- Liver Disease
- Auto-Immune Diseases such as Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid arthritis, and Multiple Sclerosis.
- ADD and ADHD
- Gingivitis and Gum disease
- Cancer, and many, many other conditions
These are the 12 major causes of Chronic Inflammation.
- Scientifically, a major cause is NF-Kappa Beta, known as the Master Switch, a protein that turns on the Inflammatory process in your body. When NF-Kappa Beta does not turn off, inflammation becomes chronic and harmful.
When the body is overrun with foreign chemicals, rancid oils, processed foods, sugars, pesticides, and other pollutants, the body tries to combat these toxins with its natural inflammatory process but cannot win the battle. The body becomes overwhelmed, the Master Switch (NF_Kappa Beta) stays “on”, and chronic inflammation ensues.
- Long lasting, even if they are low-level, infections will keep the inflammatory switch turned on. (Many people have high viral loads where sickness is just waiting to happen, especially when they are under higher stress levels.A common example are cold sore outbreaks.)
- High levels of long-term stress. (doesn’t this include just about everyone today?)
- Smoking and high levels/ long term alcohol consumption.
- Low levels of exercise / sedentary lifestyle.
- Over-exercising. (yes, this too is not good for you)
- Long term obesity, including excessive belly fat.
- Improper insulin levels from uncontrolled diabetes. Many people have low grade, undiagnosed diabetes which will cause chronic inflammation. (see a naturopathic physician and have your blood sugar tested)
- Eating a poor diet: fast food, processed foods, fried foods, and hollow carbs.
- Inadequate sleep, insomnia, sleep apnea.
- Chronic dehydration.
Steps to Remedy Chronic Inflammation through lifestyle changes and supplementation
Reverse the Lifestyle Causes of Chronic Inflammation
-Stop smoking and excessive drinking,
-Get proper exercise, especially yoga, pilates, swimming, hiking or walking etc., (it is recommended that most people not use running after the age of 40 as their primary form of exercise due to the damage to the weight bearing joints. Running excessive distances for extended periods of time will also be detrimental and raise inflammation in the body, regardless of your age)
-Stop eating junk food, processed food, and refined foods,
- Lower or eliminate hollow carbs: processed white flour products including pasta, pastries, white bread, high sugar foods. Among a long list of detrimental effects, theses foods lead to high insulin levels which promote chronic inflammation. Not surprisingly, high insulin levels are present in most chronic disease processes.
-Stop eating foods you know your body does not respond well to. Do certain foods you like make you feel sluggish, make your sinuses run or clog up? Do you find you crave certain foods that you know are not especially healthy?
-Eliminate gluten if you are sensitive or allergic to it.
-AVOID cooking with polyunsaturated vegetable oils such as corn oil and safflower oil as these oils will break down with heat and produce free radicals that damage body tissues and cause inflammation. Fried foods from most restaurants are especially bad as the oils are very overheated, used over and over again,and usually laden with chemicals.
-Cook with coconut oil, butter or other animal based saturated fats that withstand heat. You can also use olive oil (a monounsaturated fat) at lower heat.
-Get proper sleep, for most adults this is 7-8 hours per night. Unfortunately, sleeping longer hours one night to make up for nights of too few hours does not work for the body. If insomnia or waking at 2:00 or 3:00 am and having trouble falling back to sleep is an issue, often we need to address the adrenals and stress to normalize our sleep patterns.
-Eat REAL food, organic vegetables and fruits, pasture raised meats and pasture raised eggs. Eat raw, unpasteurized, pasture raised dairy. Most if not ALL of the negative effects of conventional dairy products are eliminated when consuming dairy raw with its natural enzymes intact. You may still need to eliminate dairy if you have a true dairy allergy. Reduce or eliminate dairy if it is not RAW. Don’t be fooled by “organic” dairy products that do not say “pasture -raised” as they are as bad as conventional dairy because they are still factory raised cows and live their entire lives chained up in a barn.
-Rid the body of bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic overloads that stress our immune system using herbal medicine such as echinacea, goldenseal, myrrh, black walnut, and many other herbs for this purpose. See a healthcare practitioner such as Naturopathic Physician if you suspect you may have an infection overload.
-Keep the body hydrated with clean water! Sodas, coffee, black tea and juice are NOT substitutes for clean water! Most herbal teas and green tea will hydrate.
-AVOID NSAIDS, Non Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs. Heavy or long-term use of some of these medicines, such as ibuprofen, Advil, naproxen, Aleve, and higher dose aspirin, can cause chronic kidney disease according to the National Kidney Foundation, as well as increasing the risk of heart disease, not to mention actually make the joints wear out faster! Natural herbal anti-inflammatory have secondary effects that are beneficial like anti-cancer, benefits for mental acuity, immune boosting, and many others.
Decrease Chronic Inflammation with Herbal Anti-Inflammatories, Enzymatic Anti-Inflammatories with free radical scavengers, and other important supplements.
-Turmeric, Curcumin and Tulsi (Holy Basil) modulate the Master Switch, NF-Kappa Beta, that turns inflammation on. Potential side effects are anti-cancer, immune-stimulation, increased mental acuity and inhibiting age related dementia. Turmeric and curcucmin supplements should be combined with black pepper or black pepper extract (Bioperine) to increase absorption by up to 2000%. Turmeric and curcumin should also be taken with fat, such as whole milk, a bite of cheese, yogurt, kefir etc.
-Boswellia (Frankincense) is a very healing herb with a potent anti-inflammatory constituent called boswellic acid. Secondary effects are anti-stress, anti- anxiety, anti-cancer, pain relief, wound healing, and immune stimulation.
-Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory especially good for gut issues. One can use the fresh root grated and steeped to make a ginger tea, add in turmeric powder for a powerful anti-inflammatory tea. Also effective in herbal supplements as a tincture or capsule.
-Japanese knotweed and organic cocoa have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant (free-radical fighting) properties. They are rich in resveratrol, are excellent for many ailments, and Japanese knotweed is an effective anti-Lyme disease herb.
-Other effective herbs with anti-inflammatory properties are chili peppers with capsaicin, cat’s claw with COX inhibitors, white willow bark from which aspirin is derived and garlic.
- Grapeseed, Quercetin, and Bromelain are powerful antioxidants, antihistamines, anti-inflammatories, as well as having anti-tumor enzymes and flavonoids. Taken in combination, especially with the bioflavonoid Acerola, will increase absorption of these powerful anti-inflammatories
-Animal sourced Omega-3 fatty acids like fish oil supplements or cod liver oil have profound anti-inflammatory properties. If you are a strict vegetarian, you may also use flaxseed oil, however, it is a rather poor substitute for animal based Omega-3’s, due to the low conversion rate of ALA found in flaxseed oil to EPA and DHA.
- The plant based Omega-6 oils high in GLA such as Evening Primrose oil, Borage oil, and Black currant oil do have anti-inflammatory actions.
-Vitamin D is essential for the body to modulate inflammation, and a 2011 study showed that in the US 41% of the adult population is deficient!