This response is your defense system coming “to the rescue” — fighting against the offender and trying to keep the acute injury and inflammatory response localized and under control.
The tissue affected gets warm, reddens, and swells; depending on where the inflammation is, you may feel pain or the inflammation may be “silent.”
The cause of the inflammation might be something noticeable to you, like a splinter, twisted ankle, bruise, surgical operation or bacterial or viral infection.
Or it might go unnoticed or undiagnosed and lead to results like deposits of atherosclerotic plaque in the arteries, reactions to foods to which you are intolerant, deposits of immune complexes in the body tissues, or compromised insulin receptor sites which may lead to diabetes.
After an initial inflammatory response, there’s a “clean-up” phase — the removal of the waste materials, like impurities and toxins. And finally, there’s the “restorative” phase, when the damaged site gets repaired and heals.
What happens when the inflammatory process is “broken”?
If the initial local response and healing are not fully successful, a secondary inflammatory reaction takes place which affects the whole body. Mediators in the body stimulate heat/create a fever and the body begins a systemic inflammatory response, bringing in more resources, including enzymes to resolve the injury.
The body may get “confused” and start to recognize its own tissues as foreign, which it will try to defend against. This auto-immunity may result in a self-attack on joints, skin, connective tissue, blood cells or other areas.
Immune complexes may deposit in tissues throughout your body which promote a chronic inflammatory state. The inflammatory process becomes uncontrolled and destroys tissues in the body. A vicious cycle is set into motion while the original cause of the inflammation goes unresolved!
Many of our modern chronic western diseases — such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, even Alzheimers and possibly depression and obesity — are conditions where the human inflammatory response has gone awry and is not held within certain limits.
Food and Inflammation
The “typical” American diet is inflammatory. These foods, which comprise a large proportion of the average American diet, promote an inflammatory response — highly processed foods, red meat, high fat dairy, white grains, sugar, white potatoes, corn oil, corn fed livestock.
However, you can begin to reduce inflammation by shifting to eating more foods that are anti-inflammatory!
An anti-inflammatory diet has a high proportion of fresh salads (lots of green leafy vegetables), all kinds of vegetables and fruit, whole grains, nuts, seeds, lentils, beans, herbs and spices, fresh fish, and low fat dairy.
An anti-inflammatory diet also has a low proportion of red meat (especially corn fed), eggs, and high fat dairy products. It contains little or no processed, “white” or sugar-laden foods or foods that contain trans fatty acids, artificial sweeteners and additives like food coloring.
Eating foods grown without pesticides (from a local farm that doesn’t use pesticides or foods labeled organic) and prepared foods without additives is better for the body as well.
Anti-inflammatory Nutrition Supplements
Several nutrition supplements for everyday living can also be very effective in reducing inflammation in your body. I use each of these supplements every day. If feel they have made a big difference — fewer aches and pains and much improved joint mobility.
- Curcumin, which comes from the spice Turmeric, can offer natural pain relief by decreasing inflammation and swelling by working on the COX-2 enzymes (as do aspirin and ibuprofen) as well as modulating other inflammatory pathways.
- Boswellia, also known as Frankincense, has an anti-inflammatory action on mucosal linings in the gut and upper and lower respiratory tracts (sinuses, lung and bronchi). Boswellia helps modulate the activity of the inflammatory enzyme 5-LOX (lipoxygenase).
- Research studies suggest that proteolytic enzymes (such as nattokinase and serratiopeptidase) support healthy circulation and speed healing. Certain proteases digest the protein coating of harmful microorganisms like viruses, yeast, bacteria and parasites as well as the coating of harmful immune complexes. Proteases may also contribute to the expulsion of harmful particles by stimulating phagocytes (cells that ingest foreign particles and debris) and accelerating elimination by way of the lymphatic system. Some systemic enzyme supplements can reduce inflammation and support a balanced inflammatory response.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- The very high ratio of Omega 6′s in most Americans’ diets as compared with Omega 3′s promotes inflammation. Taking a dietary supplement of Omega-3 fatty acids every day can help balance that ratio and reduce inflammation.
Double Helix Water
- Double Helix Water, stable water clusters, may help reduce inflammation by bypassing blocked or misaligned meridians, working in a way similar to acupuncture. Thermal imaging (before and after taking DHW) demonstrates that Double Helix Water can reduce the body’s inflammation.
Reducing Inflammation with Lifestyle Changes
Lifestyle changes are also fundamental to calming inflammation.
Here are some suggestions:
Chronic inflammation has often taken years to develop and it may take time to get back into balance.
However, with modifications in diet and lifestyle as well as incorporating certain nutrition supplements, inflammation and pain can subside. This is the foundation to achieving wellness and maintaining good health.