Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Inflammation as The Root of Much Evil

I am sharing some important information about inflammation with you. It is from my new book, "Herbal ABC's" with a few changes since it is taken out of context from the rest of the book. Inflammation underlies most of the chronic diseases people are expressing in their bodies today. I am going to share some some of the basic concepts regarding chronic inflammation, and causes of inflammation. We will examine changes you can implement to decrease inflammation. This information will be broken up into 2 or 3 blogs to keep it easier to assimilate.

Inflammation is involved with health issues in all bodily organ systems and is involved with many chronic disease processes and may well be the root of most disease. The topic of inflammation and anti-inflammatories is extremely important.

What is Inflammation
Inflammation is the body’s process of protecting and  healing and is a natural defense response to irritation such as an injury or noxious stimuli like pathogens (such as viruses, bacteria or parasites) or toxins. Inflammation comes about as part of the immune system’s activity. It is vital for clearing infectious pathogens from the body and helps wounds to heal. Inflammation in small amounts comes and goes as a  necessary part of healing. However, excessive or chronic inflammation is not healthy and usually indicates your body is either under continued assault in some manner or that your body is not able to react in a normal manner to remedy the inflammatory reaction. If the process does not resolve on its own, it is necessary to evaluate the reason for the inflammation and remove or treat the underlying cause. In cases where inflammation is life threatening, it must be addressed immediately. Chronic inflammation that is not attended to can turn into atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, obesity, autoimmune disease, cancer and neurodegenerative disorders to name a few diseases associated with inflammation.

Chronic Inflammation
In chronic inflammation, there is either constant input inducing inflammation, or your body’s reaction to protect and heal may not be working well, or both can be taking place at the same time.

The constant input can be from a continuous viral, bacterial or parasite infection. The infection might be low level and you might not even realize you have it. Chronic inflammation could also be a reaction to heavy metals such as mercury or from the continuous bombardment of volatile organic compounds in a new building, herbicides in the park or one of many other environmental toxins. When an overabundance of pathogens and toxins continue to drain our reserves, eventually the body simply runs out of supplies to protect itself. A continual state of toxicity from one or more causes is often the source of chronic inflammation.

There are various reasons the body might not be able to respond appropriately. There may not be enough of the appropriate dietary nutrients to support production of enzymes that are necessary for the biotransformational (detox) system to remove toxins. The body needs nutrients to make anti-inflammatory cytokines (the body makes both pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines) as well as antioxidants to protect the body from the reactive oxygen/nitrogen species. There may be a genetic alteration that decreases the ability to biotransform toxins to a lesser or greater degree, or individual genetics might alter the immune system to make a person more susceptible to certain pathogens and  toxins. A lack of antioxidants can also stress this system as it will result in an increase in reactive oxygen /nitrogen species that add to inflammation. Although, this is a simplistic view, you can get an idea of how chronic inflammation can take hold. In chronic inflammation the mechanisms to shut down inflammation are not working well, there is disrupted homeostasis and chronic disease ensues.

Inflammatory cytokines can increase production of reactive oxygen species and reactive oxygen species can increase the production of inflammatory cytokines. So you can get a vicious circle going on here. Luckily there are anti-inflammatory cytokines that kick in to decrease inflammation if everything is working correctly.

When oxidative stress starts to accumulate, inflammation in the tissue is increased, which can overwhelm the antioxidant system.

Chronic damage to cells leads to constant repair and replacement of cells. When there is constant, excessive inflammation and creation of reactive oxygen species over a long period of time, the ability to repair and replace cells can become compromised. In chronic inflammation the immune system and  reactive oxygen species overwhelm the antioxidant system.

In chronic inflammation, a person may  feel inflamed all over. There may be joint pain that comes and goes or a person may feel tired, and lack strength. Cytokines can affect the brain and cause a person to be forgetful, have trouble finding words, or trouble paying attention. (If not remedied this can become the beginning of a variety of various disease processes.)

Inflammation effects our mitochondria. Mitochondria are called the power-house of our cells as they supply energy for the cells of the body. Chronic inflammation damages mitochondria. This leads to a lack of energy and lowers the bodies ability to heal.

In my next post we will look at some causes of chronic inflammation.

This post is an excerpt from "Herbal ABC's" with slight changes since it is taken out of context of the book. You can purchase this book from my website or at Amazon.com.  (Amazon link below)

Look for my special super-duper holiday sale on these wonderful books, as they make great gifts for friends and family with an interest in herbs and health. I will send out an email with the discount link in a few weeks. Look for it to arrive in your email box.








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