Many medical studies show that inflammation lies at the core of different medical conditions – not only conditions with an obvious or visible inflammatory basis, but even conditions as diverse as Alzheimer’s, depression, insulin resistance and obesity.
It’s important to stress that it is chronic inflammation that causes long term problems in the body. Acute inflammation, such as one sees with a cut or injury, is beneficial and necessary in the healing process. But ongoing, low grade inflammation can result in constantly elevated stress hormones which leads to all kinds of problems including insulin resistance, lowered immunity, higher propensity to repeat or chronic infections, and early ageing.
Low grade, chronic inflammation can occur on a cellular level well before inflammatory markers in the blood (eg C-Reactive Protein or CRP) start to rise. Detecting chronic inflammation and removing its cause is critical if one wants to address the root cause of a chronic disease.
Different people can tolerate different levels of chronic inflammation. How much chronic inflammation your body can tolerate without developing a chronic condition or disease, depends on the duration and severity of the inflammation and how well your body is equipped to deal with it, for example whether your cells have access to a good supply of anti-oxidants. Your tolerance to chronic inflammation depends on both genetic factors and lifestyle, especially your diet.
Inflammation can occur anywhere in the body – sometimes, the source is obvious and can be treated easily, for example a urinary tract infection or a tooth abscess. But often the source of chronic, low grade inflammation is not clear. In that case, there may be ‘hidden’ factors involved, such as heavy metal toxicity, or a chronic viral infection, or imbalanced gut flora. These can be identified with Functional Medicine testing and addressed appropriately using a Functional and Integrative Medicine approach.
Lifestyle is very important in helping to limit chronic inflammation, and there is one lifestyle factor that is critical in maintaining good health, but it is all too often ignored in Conventional Medicine – nutrition.
“Let food be thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food.”
The foods we eat can contribute to inflammation in the body, or they can fight inflammation.
There are two broad ways in which foods can be pro-inflammatory (cause inflammation) in the body:
Some foods such as refined cooking oils and processed foods directly fuel inflammation in the body. Other foods produce a substance called arachidonic acid which triggers the body’s inflammatory pathways. If inflammation is already present, arachidonic acid will make it worse.
If the individual has a high blood sugar level and insulin resistance, the inflammation is amplified further. Other foods contributing to inflammation include any foods containing trans fats, and alcohol.
Fruits and vegetables are anti-inflammatory powerhouses, packed with fibre, healthy protein, antioxidants and phytonutrients, all of which fight inflammation. Fibre is only found in plant foods.
“The absorption and organization of sunlight, the essence of life, is derived almost exclusively through plants. Since light is the driving force of every cell in our bodies, that is why we need green plants.”
The importance of the bacterial diversity in our gut is not to be underestimated in the prevention of inflammatory conditions – an imbalanced gut flora can predispose us to certain diseases. Click here for more information on the importance of a healthy gut flora.
We really do need to understand the critical importance of the food we eat and how it impacts on our physical and emotional health. Even our psychological well being is affected by the number of fruits and vegetables we eat in one day!
At Quantum Clinic, reducing chronic inflammation in your system is one of our primary aims, and we do it through a number of interventions including food sensitivity testing, comprehensive nutritional profile, Nutritional Therapy, Low Level Laser Therapy and Physical Vascular Therapy.
Our treatments work by aiding your body in its own reparative processes to achieve inflammation-free, optimum cellular health and function.
Inflammation in Alzheimer Disease—A Brief Review of the Basic Science and Clinical Literature. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2012 Jan;2(1):a006346.
Review: the role of inflammation in depression. Psychiatr Danub. 2013 Sep;25 Suppl 2:S216-23.
The role of inflammation in depression: from evolutionary imperative to modern treatment target. Nature Reviews Immunology16,22–34(2016)doi:10.1038/nri.2015.5
Metabolic endotoxemia initiates obesity and insulin resistance. Diabetes. 2007 Jul;56(7):1761-72. Epub2007 Apr 24
“Seeking an inflammatory factor causative of the onset of insulin resistance, obesity, and diabetes, we have identified bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) as a triggering factor.”
“Is Psychological Well-Being Linked to the Consumption of Fruit and Vegetables?” Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 114(3), pages 785-801, December.