Chronic inflammation is completely preventable. It can kill you, and you may not even know you have it.
Do you know what chronic inflammation really means?
Do you know there are simple things you can do now to prevent it?
Inflammation is not classified as a “disease” by the Center for Disease Control in the U.S., but it is involved in the development of a number of diseases. It has been called the “silent killer” by the media. Medical conferences have been held on how to treat and prevent it. But, chronic inflammation is difficult to define in simple terms because it’s caused by various sources and is only recognized as a profound health problem when it establishes itself as a full-fledged disease in the form of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, or related illnesses.
Here’s what we know about inflammation:
• The body has a natural inflammatory response when exposed to germs or when tissue is injured. Redness, swelling, and fever are all physical symptoms of the acute inflammatory response that comes when the body revs up the immune system. In a healthy body, they will be quickly resolved.
• With poor diet, high levels of toxicity or heavy metals, lack of physical activity, or persistent high stress, acute inflammation will become chronic. Chronic inflammation leads to the destruction of tissue and a buildup of biomarkers that produce more inflammation.
• Chronic inflammation is more of a problem now than ever before because of our daily exposure to petrochemicals and heavy metals. The prevalence of omega-6 fats, hydrogenated fats, and trans fats in our diets are another primary contributor.
• Chronic inflammation causes cell and tissue degeneration. Over time, it contributes to the initiation and progression of all diseases.
• If overused, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and the more powerful prescription drugs, will cause chronic inflammation and damage the liver and gastrointestinal tract. These drugs also have a significant negative effect on cartilage and joint health, leading to chronic inflammation in the joints.
A recent conference on Chronic Disease and Inflammation in Bellevue, Washington that was hosted by Dr. Mark Schauss brought together some of the brightest minds working to prevent chronic inflammation. Common themes that were repeatedly presented by multiple experts are worth sharing. Here are ten insights into this silent killer:
Most of the diseases that affect us in the 21st century are completely reversible with diet and lifestyle change.
The five essential supplements for fighting chronic inflammation are omega-3 fish oils, vitamin D, magnesium, zinc, and curcumin.
Get at least half of your fat intake from omega-3 fish oils
because they are anti-inflammatory and support the production of enzymes that are involved in the detoxification process.
Maintain your vitamin D
at 50 ng/ml year round because it is involved in p53 gene function, which checks for errors when a cell replicates, fixing or killing it so as to prevent cancer.
Magnesium and zinc
are the two most common and severe nutrient deficiencies in the U.S. For magnesium, this is partly because the soil is no longer rich in magnesium, making dietary sources of magnesium nearly unavailable. Processed foods rarely contain magnesium, and cheap magnesium supplements like magnesium oxide are not absorbable by the body.
Additionally, phthalates (toxins found in personal care products among other things) have a chelating effect on zinc and magnesium. These toxins bind or “chelate” the mineral, meaning that they will pull the body’s levels of usable magnesium and zinc down. The RDA is abysmally low for both of these nutrients so people are not aware of their importance.
a nutrient found in the spice turmeric, may be the most powerful anti-inflammatory herb available. It counters inflammation, helps detoxify excess estrogen, and supports the body’s natural antioxidant system. It has also been shown to prevent colds and flu.
“Eat it seasonally, not chronically.”
When it comes to fruits and vegetables for their antioxidant benefits, eat them when they are in season locally rather than all year round. You’ll get the best health benefits from eating foods that are in season, and you’ll avoid developing an intolerance or resistance to those foods.
Take the right amount of a supplement for the correct duration. Mix your supplements up to treat chronic inflammation. Too high a dose of some nutrients will cause toxicity and serious health problems. At the same time, too low of a dose will not be effective, especially when people have high levels of environmental toxins in their body and a significant amount of chronic inflammation.
In addition, due to different genetic make up, everyone reacts to supplements differently. For example, people respond to mercury exposure differently and detoxify it at different rates. There is a classic bell curve to the speed with which people detox mercury, but then there is large population (over 10 percent) that detoxify mercury very slowly. These people must limit their exposure and need additional nutrients to help remove mercury from building up in the body.
The key to diabetes prevention is a strong and receptive cell lipid layer. You need sufficient amino acids to build the protein structure of each cell. Additionally, you need adequate omega-3 fats to build the lipid layer of the cell.
For cells that are becoming resistant to insulin, you have to eat adequate protein and cholesterol to restore tissues. The cell membrane has been damaged and has “holes” in it when you are insulin resistant. To remake a cell membrane, you’ve got to encase it in protein.
The body has a natural antioxidant system that supports the removal of free radicals that damage tissue and allows for complete detoxification of pollutants. These antioxidants are produced within the body and include the enzymes that facilitate the detox process as well as natural antioxidants, such as glutathione. This endogenous system—endogenous means it’s produced in the body—has been called the “Detoxification Super System.”
The plant-based antioxidants such as strawberries or cherries are stimulants of enzyme activity, which trigger the Super System. But, overreliance on taking antioxidants is not a good thing because you want your body to be able to regulate its own antioxidant levels. The key is to support enzyme function with plant-based antioxidants, but don’t rely on plant-based antioxidants to save you. Boost the whole detoxification system by making your body more resistant to the metal load, with adequate protein, fats, antioxidants, and nutrients.
Aging slows the detoxification process and makes you much more susceptible to the build up chronic inflammation. Aging leads to decreased expression of the enzymes involved in the Detoxification Super System (see #6).
Aging also makes it harder to activate protein synthesis pathways that are needed for tissue rebuilding, the maintenance of cell structure, and muscle development. Supplementing with adequate protein, omega-3 fats, and plant-based antioxidants is that much more important as we age because studies show these protein synthesis and detox pathways can be upregulated in older folks.
You can’t minimize inflammation if you have an unhealthy gut. Gut parasites cause tremendous food allergies and chronic inflammation. Start opening up the detoxification pathway by fixing the gut. A high-quality, potent probiotic is the best place to start.
Go to the Environmental Working Group website (EWG.org) and find products that are safe. Personal care products and consumer goods that do not have petrochemicals and other toxins such as phthalates are absolutely essential if you want to prevent or cure chronic inflammation.
To prevent chronic inflammation through diet, do the following:
Eat organic as much as possible—especially avoid the conventional foods that contain the highest pesticide levels, such as strawberries.
Avoid grain-fed and non-organic meats completely.
Take action to minimize your environmental toxin exposure from your food. Avoid the use of plastic bottles, plastic containers, and plastic bags. Opt for glass bottles and containers. Only buy canned food in BPA-free cans, such as Eden Beans or EcoFish canned seafood.
Take omega-3 fish oils that contain DHA and EPA from a high-quality source. Quality is also important with curcumin—go for an organic, non-radiated curcumin. Quality is also important with magnesium—avoid magnesium oxide.
Eat sufficient protein from a non-grain fed, non-casein source. Avoid foods with high protein that are fat-free or low-fat because the makeup of the food molecules has been altered, leading to greater inflammation and cancer development.
Manage your blood sugar by eating entirely low-glycemic foods. At the very least, minimize the glycemic index of carbs and other foods that raise blood sugar very rapidly by combining any high-carb food you eat with a low-glycemic food. For example, eat nut butter (almonds or walnuts are ideal) with fenugreek bread, or eat blueberries or raspberries with oatmeal.