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Inflamm-aging & Immunity

Inflamm-aging specifically refers to the constant, chronic cascade of processes which result in low grade systemic inflammation called also silent inflammation. We “inflamm-age” from the time we are born. Our candles burn in different intensity and speed. That candle in us burns with the speed we can control and manage.
 

There are two types of Inflammation; Open & Acute Inflammation, and Silent Inflammation. The telltale signs of open & acute inflammation are: redness, elevated body temperature, swelling, pain and loss of function. There are sixteen common types of inflammation.

+ 16 types of Silent Inflammation

  1. Celiac Disease: Is a chronic autoimmune/inflammatory disease that affects 1%-2% of people in the U.S. Gluten is found in grains like wheat, barley and rye. When people with celiac disease eat gluten-containing foods, it causes inflammation and can damage tissues and organs throughout the body.
  2. Autism: Recent studies have shown inflammation may be a marker of autism. While there are many factors leading to autism, researchers reveal that brains affected by autism share a pattern of inflammation. Further research is needed.
  3. Cancer: Studies have established links between chronic low level inflammation and many types of cancer such as prostate, lung, ovarian lymphoma, and pancreatic.
  4. Asthma: Asthma is a disease that affects the airways that carry oxygen to your lungs. If you suffer from this chronic, long-lasting condition you are said to be asthmatic. An asthmatic’s airways are swollen or inflamed and are extremely sensitive to irritations.
  5. Rheumatoid Arthritis: Is an inflammatory disease that causes chronic inflammation in the joints. It results in pain and immobility, especially in fingers, wrists and ankles.
  6. Alzheimer’s: Studies have found that chronic inflammation is a trigger for this disease.
  7. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Compresses the median nerve that passes through your wrist. This compression results from swelling (inflammation) inside your wrist.
  8. Crohn’s Disease: Is an inflammatory bowel disease that damages the digestive tract.
  9. Gallbladder Disease: The majority of gallbladder diseases are caused by inflammation. This comes from irritation of the gallbladder wall.
  10. Fibromyalgia: The role of inflammation in fibromyalgia has been debated for decades. But recent research suggests that inflammation may be a core feature of this illness.
  11. Cardiovascular Disease: Inflammation plays a huge role in atherosclerosis, which is a disease that is characterized by deposits of fatty material on the inner walls
  12. Kidney Failure: Inflammation contributes to the progression of chronic kidney disease and a chronic pro-inflammatory state is known in patients with chronic kidney disease.
  13. Multiple Sclerosis: Is an inflammatory immune condition that causes problems throughout the body.
  14. Osteoporosis: According to recent studies, chronic inflammation can elevate your osteoporosis risk by increasing your levels of inflammatory cytokines – which can induce bone loss.
  15. Pancreatitis: Pancreatitis means inflammation of the pancreas. Symptoms include nausea, indigestion and pain on your left side that goes around to your back.
  16. Psoriasis: Is an inflammatory disease that causes inflammation mainly in your joints, but can affect other parts of your body as well.

And the crazy part about it is, there are plenty more than than the 16 listed here with inflammation at its root.

Silent inflammation is something we should spend time learning about and being proactive about preventing in our lives with diet, exercise, sleep and positive mental attitude. They are all huge topics, but well worth learning about.

 

Candles hold many different meanings and functions. They are ceremonial, ritualistic, symbolic and utilitarian all at the same time. They can shine bright or glow dull. They can flicker or synchronize movement with other candles, and they can blow out suddenly for no apparent reason. The way that a candle burns can hold hidden significance about other worlds, the energetics of a room, the direction a ritual is going, the presence of otherworldly ancestors or any number of spiritual occurrences.

For thousands of years, candles have been employed for spiritual insight. As a conduit for fire, the candle represents illumination in the dark, for both the material world and the spirit realm. The open flame is an avenue for communication to other realms of existence, making it useful for carrying prayers, transmitting chants and asking questions. One would light a candle to accompany them on journeys through darkness and unknown territory. The candle also symbolizes consumptive power, elemental magic and transformation. It is the ideal tool to have for conducting spells and practicing magic, positive or negative.

What are causes of Chronic Inflammation?

  1. Persistent exposure to pathogens/infection causing ongoing production of leukocytes. (white blood cells)

  2. Autoimmune reactions (whether by genetic potential or damaged cells) which cause immune cells to activate, increasing production of inflammatory cytokines.

  3. Weakened ability of the body to remove wastes and debris causing a subsequent increase in free radicals and an 'attack' signaling to the immune system.

  4. Increase in toxicity by way of compromised detoxification pathways in the liver, or the very common altered gut microbiota and leaky gut wall which causes the re-circulation of wastes back into the blood stream. These toxins and wastes again trigger the immune-inflammatory cascade of reactions.

  5. Infection and activation of viruses such as EBV that can be associated with accelerated aging and increased deterioration of the immune system, showing as a loss of immune/antigen memory, surveillance, and overactive innate immune responses.

+ How to keep the flame tame and still bright is the key to integral balance of our lifestyle..

Chronic Inflammation is ever present in cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases and psoriasis, infections, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, diabetes and metabolic imbalances, anaemia, and more, and is a major risk factor for both morbidity and mortality in the elderly. In fact, most if not all age related diseases are fuelled or instigated by inflammation. In addition, overwhelming evidence has shown that even a mild state of inflammation is associated with altered body composition, compromised energy production and utilisation (mitochondrial function), decreased metabolism, weakened immunity and degrading neuronal health.

+ Want to down regulate chronic inflammation in your body?

  • It is essential to identify any underlying causes/triggers.

  • Fish oils are backed by highly reputable evidence in this area.

  • Adopt an anti-inflammatory diet as opposed to a pro-inflammatory one. This will make a dramatic, long lasting and life changing difference.

  • Support and maintain a healthy digestive environment and gut function (addressing dysbiosis/leaky gut/IBS).

  • Embrace a truly holistic approach to condition management and healing.

  • Seek support with nutrient and herbal remedies that have proven efficacy in reducing chronic inflammation.

  • Need I say.....stress management.

Want to discuss further or have any questions? Contact me here anytime

+ How does inflammation start?

When a woman feels foggy, run-down, easily overwhelmed, and flat, we know that her hormones as messengers between her gut and brain are out of balance. From my perspective; however, hormone derailment is a downstream effect of cellular dysfunction from oxidative stress and inflammation. Inflammation stems from many sources, including, hallmarks of the modern American lifestyle:

  • Sugar. Sugar, particularly in the form of fructose and sucrose, spikes insulin and triggers release of inflammatory cytokines. It forms advanced glycation endproducts when it binds to proteins, and oxidizes lipids which form cell and mitochondrial membranes.
  • Chemicals. Pesticides, environmental pollution from industrial waste, hormonally-modulating plastics, fire retardants, and cosmetic additives all stimulate our immune systems to varying extents and disrupt optimal production of energy on a cellular level, particularly in vulnerable tissues like the thyroid.
  • Pathogens. The aforementioned culprits, and notably herbicides, gluten grains, and genetically modified foods, promote intestinal permeability, changes in our intestinal flora that facilitate growth of pathogenic bacteria, yeast, and fungus which keep our immune systems in a state of alarm,
  • Stress. This catch-all term, broadly defined, represents the ultimate link between hormones and inflammation, because stress, whether it’s psychological or physiologic, triggers the release of cortisol. Cortisol helps to mobilize blood sugar so that you can run effectively and efficiently from that tiger chasing you. It also acts as a systemic immune suppressant, lowering levels of secretory IgA, an important body guard of the gut mucosa.
  • Cortisol and insulin are like stress-response sisters, and high cortisol states will also contribute to insulin resistance, or high insulin and high sugar while the cells, themselves, are starving. Insulin protects fat storage (inhibits lypolisis), and fat cells secrete their own inflammatory signals in addition to aromatizing testosterone to estradiol contributing to states of estrogen dominance, while also increasing DHEA and androgens to fuel that process (as well as acne, hair growth, and agitation). Cortisol also inhibits the conversion of storage thyroid hormone to active hormone leading to states of hypothyroidism even with normal-looking labs.

+ What does Inflammation do?

Once inflammation is active, it is highly self-perpetuating. These inflammatory cytokines travel throughout the body causing oxidating stress to the fragile machinery of the tissues and mitochondria, specifically. In the brain, inflammation serves to shunt the use of tryptophan toward production of anxiety-provoking chemicals like quinolinate, instead of toward serotonin and melatonin. They produce a replicable collection of symptoms called “sickness syndrome”, noted for it’s overlap with “depressive” symptoms: lethargy, sleep disturbance, decreased social activity, mobility, libido, learning, anorexia, and andhedonia. Psychiatric researchers have observed that patients with higher levels of inflammatory markers (like CRP) are less likely to respond to antidepressants, and more likely to respond to anti-inflammatories.

+ Where do we begin to heal?

How is any of this good news? This approach to chronic illnesses like depression views it as a complex, non-specific symptom reflecting a state of bodily disharmony. It isn’t that you were born with bad genes or low serotonin. It is far more likely that you are experiencing an unhealthy inflammatory balance, driven by cortisol dysfunction, and stemming from a sick gut. We can come at modifying your system from many angles, but here is a basic starter kit:

  • Exercise – Burst exercise is my primary recommendation. It is the most bang for your buck in terms of cardiovascular benefit and specifically enhancing mitochondrial health because it puts a special kind of stress on the body when you move to your max for 30 seconds that then recover for 90. I recommend 8 intervals 1-3x/week.
  • Meditation – The effects of stimulating the relaxation nervous system, even through listening to a 20 minute guided meditation, can be far-reaching. Enhanced genomic expression of anti-inflammatory genes and suppression of inflammatory ones was demonstrated in this study.
  • Diet – I recommend a diet that controls for glycemic fluctuations through elimination of refined carbs and grains, and through high levels of natural fats to push the body to relearn how to use fats for fuel. This is the brain’s preferred source. I discuss some therapeutic foods here.
  • Strategic supplementation – Natural anti-inflammatories like polyunsaturated fats (evening primrose oil and fish oil), curcumin (the active component of turmeric), and probiotics to name a few, can help promote a synergy of beneficial effects from the above interventions.
  • In my practice, despite some suggestion that antidepressants may actually be having their effect through an anti-inflammatory mechanism, these medications have become obsolete. An appreciation of the role of inflammation and immunity in driving hormonal imbalance which directly impacts mood, energy, and wellness, is at the core of personalizing the definition of “depression”. Don’t be lured into the simplicity of a one disease-one drug model. There’s no room for you in that equation.

References

  • Inflammation and its discontents: the role of cytokines in the pathophysiology of major depression. Miller et al Biol Psychiatry. 2009 May 1; 65(9): 732–741.
  • Cytokines and cognition – The case for a head to toe inflammatory paradigm. Wilson et al. JAGS 50:2041–2056, 2002.
  • A randomized controlled trial of the tumor necrosis factor antagonist infliximab for treatment-resistant depression: the role of baseline inflammatory biomarkers. JAMA Psychiatry 70:31–41.