Inflammation is a normal immune system mechanism that the body turns on during the healing process. Inflammation is initiated after the body undergoes some kind of physical trauma such as a cut, burn, toxic overload, infection, exposure to poison or damage to any organ or tissue. The inflammatory process opens a highway for the immune system to mobilize through the capillaries and tissues so that it can reach the areas that have been hurt. This is done so that the immune system can dismantle and remove dead cells, kill pathogens and help the body to remove any toxins present. During this process the immune system also kills cells that are unable to repair themselves or that appear to be cancerous. The precursor to the inflammation mechanism are healthy cells sending signals to neighboring cells, immune cells and to the brain to report damage and any chemical changes in their microenvironment.
Although inflammation often has a negative connotation associated with it, it does serve several important functions. It helps heal and detoxify the affected area while also keeping foreign microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses away. Inflammation is in fact necessary for healing. If it becomes chronic however, it can become out of control and create a serious problem for the entire body. If chronic inflammation is present, the body will give signs to help us understand if the healing process is not working.
There are two kinds of inflammation: acute inflammation and chronic inflammation. Inflammation should be acute, which means that it should come as an immediate response when we suffer any sort of injury or infection. Symptoms such as swelling, fever or pain are all manifestations of increasing blood flow, a higher volume of connective tissues and swelling. During this process damaged cells are removed and replaced by new ones. During this time pus is often produced to jump start the healing process. Acute inflammation has a short life span since damage is typically repaired after a few days, causing the symptoms to disappear. The body completes this cycle on its own with no conscious effort on our part.
Chronic inflammation however is completely different. Chronic inflammation occurs when this immune system function continues to turn on nonstop due to an ongoing problem in the body. The problems are typically silent without any obvious symptoms, which is why people will often feel fine. If however a person takes a blood test, laboratories can pick up a very low grade of inflammation. Results show levels so low that often times, doctors and technicians don’t pay attention to them. This however can often be the beginning of many degenerative diseases.
What causes chronic inflammation?
We have to remember that the immune system is designed to detect, attack and defend in order to remove any living molecule or organism that the body sees as a threat. This includes any of our own cells that can’t self repair. Some of the things that the immune system sees as a threat include microbial infection, chemicals (cleaners, pesticides, colorants, food additives, etc), surgery/operations, high blood pressure, synthetic products (often used in treatments to produce estrogen treatments), tobacco, alcohol, drugs, excess fat, excess sugar, pharmaceutical drugs, chronic stress, excess exercise, malnutrition, lack of water or minerals, undigested food, etc. With the immune system, key players in our body include the bone marrow, spleen, thymus gland and lymph nodes. These parts of the body produce T cells, B cells, antibodies and proteins that the immune system uses to eliminate foreign material or organisms within our body. These same weapons are also used to kill sick cells.
The presence of the many threats mentioned earlier puts the immune system in an overwhelmed and weakened state. This makes us susceptible to infections and degenerative diseases (cancers, tumors). Unhealthy cells can also go unchecked, representing a large threat to our body. Autoimmune diseases can also develop such as arthritis, lupus, etc. When autoimmune diseases develop, the immune system is unable to recognize healthy tissue and begins to attack it. In other cases of constant inflammation – such as often occurs with people that are overweight or in cases where the body is unable to repair itself – a high sense of alarm is created within the body and the immune system is sent to attack the entire area, including healthy cells and tissue.
2 Important Factors
Chronic inflammation doesn’t suddenly happen, but is the result of a sequence of events that occur inside our body. These events are caused by a series of factors that are often created by our own hands. Let’s talk about two basic factors: nutrition and chronic stress.
Nutrition. Nutrition cannot be replaced by any sort of magic pill or supplement. Lack of a full, adequate and diverse amount of micronutrients is a free ticket that will lead anyone directly to illness. Just as important as what we don’t consume, is what we actually do end up putting in our mouths. Additives, synthetic flavoring and chemical synthetics added to the pre packaged foods that come in the form of cans, boxes, frozen meals or foods in liquid presentations are all things the body considers foreign since they create harm. This creates inflammation and damage to tissues. Whenever these foods are consumed the immune system turn on the inflammatory mechanism to defend the body and remove anything the body recognizes as foreign. When consuming these sorts of foods is part of a lifestyle, the inflammatory trigger is constant. While we’re on the topic of food I should also mention that the synthetic hormones and antibiotics used to treat cows, chickens and pigs are also extremely harmful and creates damage to the digestive system, affecting metabolic function.
Chronic Stress. This is a real problem since our brain is connected to every single cell in our body. Through the nervous system, neurons in our brain produce a specialized chemical that transmits information. This chemical, known as neurotransmitters, needs to be in balance in order to have proper messages sent back and forth from the brain to other parts of the body. Hormones also send very specific messages. The brain initiates all hormone communication to the entire body using different stations known as glands as well as certain kinds of cells. Any change in the production, balance or quality of hormones produced harms our body. Continuous stress increases the amount of a very specific kind of hormone called cortisol. The overproduction of cortisol that occurs when we are under chronic stress damages tissues in the thymus gland, a very important gland that is in charge of monitoring immune order.
What happens with chronic inflammation?
When chronic inflammation is present excess histamines (which are hormones created by the connective tissue surrounding the affected area), kinins and other biochemicals such as cytokines, prostaglandins and leukotrienes are emitted. The emission of these chemicals produces increased levels of adrenaline, calcium and phosphorus while at the same time reducing magnesium levels. All of these excess biochemicals create a problem for the liver as it becomes overwhelmed trying to get rid of them. This causes problems in other areas as more immune cells mobilize to try and stop the damage. Unfortunately this triggers a cascade of damage that leads to multiple symptoms and damage.
In a combined effort with all the 60 trillion cells that make us up, the body will try to bring order by activating other mechanisms if it ever feels damage occurring. These changes can include tweaks to our internal temperature, pH levels, hormonal and neurotransmitter misbalance, etc. Any disharmony on these tweaks damages our health. Under the circumstances outlined above however, the ability to carry a normal homeostasis is annulled by all the changes. Some of the effects include weakened organs and a problematic digestive system. As explained, the brain is the home of hormone production. Healthy hormone production is necessary for homeostasis. If chronic stress is present this mechanism can fail. Other hormones regulate minerals, vitamins, glucose, cholesterol and nutrients. When this hormone isn’t produced at correct levels, or if our diet is poor, it is impossible for the body to reach homeostasis.
Every single area of our body can detect harmful chemicals, germs or contaminants immediately. The mouth, skin, eyes, nose, all of our internal organs and even our sex organs have the ability to initiate the mechanism of reparation and invite the rest of our body to assist in order to maintain health. However, our eating habits and the way in which we view the world around us also have a tremendous impact as it affects brain activities and initiates the stress mechanism. This will always supersede the body’s ability to heal from the biochemical changes and inflammatory states that comes from the result of illness. How we think has a profound physiological effect.
Diseases caused by inflammation include diabetes, Alzheimer’s, permeability of the intestines, hypoglycemia, metabolic syndrome, cancer, chronic infection, cystic fibrosis, epilepsy, sugar addiction, obesity, allergies, eating disorders, migraines, high blood pressure, celiac disease, kidney disease, Parkinson’s, gum disease, arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, psoriasis, candidiasis, asthma, bronchitis, heart disease, sinus headaches and food allergies.
Tips on dealing with chronic inflammation
Just because you have chronic inflammation or have diseases that have been caused by it doesn’t mean that you can’t be healthy again. Here are some tips to deal with chronic inflammation:
Sleep a full 8 hours.
Eat 5 times per day. Make sure they are filled with a diverse set of nutrients and don’t skip any meals.
Eat dinner no later than 7 pm.
Drink 8 glasses of pure water every day.
Use the Phytotherapi Stress protocol. Also use the Phytotherapi Inflammation protocol.
Where possible participate in physical activity. You can start slowly at 20 minutes per day, at least 4 times per week. From there you can gradually increase as you to go 45 minutes per day.
Avoid any food chemicals that are canned, frozen, boxed, or in liquid form. Eat fresh and naturally colorful foods.
Keep your life in balance, including the amount of time you spend at work and with family or friends. Spend time laughing, reading and learning. If married, connect with your spouse. If single, connect with a close friend or family member.
Our body can heal. In order to do so we need to change our lifestyle. Remember that every single part of our body is connected. If something goes wrong in one area of the body, other parts get affected. Similarly, as you improve health in certain areas of the body, other areas will also receive the benefit until you are able to provide your body the ability to heal itself from damage in areas where chronic disease has developed.