You hear the word inflammation for most health-related problems, but what is it?
Think of inflammation as the body’s natural response to protect itself against harm.
When your body encounters an offending agent (like viruses, bacteria or toxic chemicals) or suffers an injury, it activates your immune system, which then sends out its first responders: inflammatory cells and cytokines (substances that stimulate more inflammatory cells).
These cells begin an inflammatory response to trap bacteria and other offending agents or start healing injured tissue. The result can be pain, swelling, bruising or redness. But inflammation also affects body systems you can’t see. Inflammation does not mean that there is an infection, but an infection can cause inflammation.
Inflammation plays a vital role in healing, but chronic inflammation may increase the risk of various diseases. It can be either short-lived (acute) or long-lasting (chronic). Acute inflammation goes away within hours or days. Chronic inflammation can last months or years, even after the first trigger is gone. Conditions linked to chronic inflammation include arthritis, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, asthma, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Autoimmune diseases, like Rheumatoid arthritis your immune system triggers inflammation when there are no invaders to fight off. In these diseases your immune system acts as if regular tissues are infected or somehow unusual and attack causing chronic inflammation and damage.
Joint inflammation occurs when the immune system or damaged tissue releases chemicals that cause swelling, pain, and other symptoms in a joint. It can affect just one joint, such as an injury or multiple joints such as arthritis.
A study published titled The Biochemical Origin of Pain researchers concluded, “The origin of all pain is inflammation and the inflammatory response. The biochemical mediators of inflammation include cytokines, neuropeptides, growth factors and neurotransmitters. Irrespective of the type of pain whether it is acute or chronic pain, peripheral or central pain, nociceptive or neuropathic pain, the underlying origin is inflammation and the inflammatory response. Irrespective of the characteristic of the pain, whether it is sharp, dull, aching, burning, stabbing, numbing or tingling, all pain arises from inflammation and the inflammatory response.”
Inflammation inside arteries, has been shown to kick off atherosclerosis—the buildup of fatty plaque. Your body perceives this plaque as abnormal and foreign, so it attempts to wall off the plaque from the flowing blood which are responsible for most heart attacks and strokes. Certain blood tests can indicate inflammation, including C-reactive protein (CRP), which indicates infections or inflammation in the general body (like the joints), and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), which reflects inflammation of the heart. Harvard researchers, 25 years ago, found that men with high hsCRP levels, had three times the risk of heart attack and twice the risk of stroke as men with little or no chronic inflammation.
According to the Harvard Gazette, “In the general population, about 25 percent of heart attack survivors will have another cardiovascular event within five years, despite taking statins or other medications.”
Dr. Paul Ridker, director of the Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital has stated, “Even if you’re on a statin and your LDL cholesterol is quite low, you’re not home free. You may still have inflammatory risk. A blood test that detects C-reactive protein (CRP), a byproduct of inflammation, is just as good at predicting heart disease as an LDL measurement.”
Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs are the most utilized medications either prescribed or purchased over the counter for inflammation and pain. These include ibuprofen, naproxen, Motrin, celecoxib, aspirin and more.
A study published on long term care revealed an estimated 40% of people 65 years and older fill one or more prescriptions for a NSAID each year. Considering that NSAIDs are also available over the counter, an even larger numbers of older adults are exposed to NSAIDs in the United States.
Older adults commonly take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) chronically. Studies of older adults show that chronic NSAID use increases the risk of peptic ulcer disease, acute renal failure, and stroke/myocardial infarction. Moreover, chronic NSAID use can exacerbate several chronic diseases including heart failure, hypertension, and can interact with a number of drugs (eg, warfarin, corticosteroids). As a result, NSAID use causes an estimated 41,000 hospitalizations and 3300 deaths each year among older adults.
Many studies have shown nonselective NSAIDs’ major side effects include significant gastrointestinal upset, gastritis, ulceration, hemorrhage, and even death. Various studies have also shown that NSAIDs can delay muscle regeneration and may reduce ligament, tendon, and cartilage healing, damage the liver, kidneys and increase blood pressure.
Turmeric has become the herb of choice to reduce inflammation throughout the body.
Turmeric is a member of the ginger family. It is commonly used as a spice, but it is also known for its medicinal purposes. According to Mount Sinai Medical Turmeric (Curcuma longa) has been used for 4,000 years to treat a variety of conditions. Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric, and it has powerful biological properties. Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional Indian system of treatment, recommends turmeric for a variety of health conditions.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is “generally recognized as safe.”
Studies show that turmeric may help fight infections and some cancers, reduce inflammation, and treat digestive problems. The Arthritis Foundation cites numerous studies in which turmeric has been shown reduce inflammation and pain.
Curcumin, unlike some NSAIDs, has also been determined to be nontoxic.
Curcumin has also been suggested as a treatment for colitis, chronic neurodegenerative diseases, arthritis, and cancer. In addition, it regulates the activity of several enzymes and cytokines by inhibiting both COX-1 and COX-2.
There are many great Turmeric / Curcumin formulas available.
Liquid Turmeric Liposome Complex (Future Pharm) is a unique highly effective formula. Just two ½ dropperfuls 1 x day to help reduce inflammation and pain.
The bioavailability of tablet and capsule form of many supplements can be drastically reduced. Unfortunately, most traditional oral vitamins and micronutrients lose most of their potency through poor digestion, metabolism and excretion, prior to reaching the intended target cells in our body.
Liposomes are a protective lipid layer (very specific ‘vesicles’ or bubbles) modified to carry either fat-soluble or water soluble molecules. When the liposome merges with the lipid bi-layer of the cell membrane, it can deliver its contents directly to specific cells in the body.
Liposomal Technology is an innovative delivery system providing increased absorption and 8 times greater bio-availability for active ingredients. As a result, the turmeric/curcumin retains its quality and once the target cells are reached, they are ready to start their action. Thus, you can get higher potency benefits for less money because you don’t need to take numerous doses!
To order products recommended call The Tree of Life Center 508-336-4242
9:30 am-6pm EST Mon-Fri and Saturdays 10:30 am-3pm.
Always check with your health practitioner when adding in new supplements. For a telephone or in-office appointment at the Tree of Life Wellness Center call 508-336-4242
Jane Jansen Holistic Practitioner Tree of Life Wellness Center
Host Holistic Healthline Radio