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Posts for tag: inflammation

By Dr. Doug Williams
December 08, 2016
Category: Frailty
Tags: inflammation   frailty  

The word inflammation comes from the Latin "inflammo," meaning "I set alight, I ignite." Lots of things can be associated with inflammation - words, for example! Actions might be considered inflammatory as well. When considering inflammation with respect to health-wellness-disease and in our current series on Frailty, typically, it would refer to a reaction of the immune system. Inflammation in the body can be either acute (sudden, intense, often life-threatening, injury or infection) or chronic (persistent, long lasting, difficult to eradicate). For our purposes of building a framework on how to improve and reduce the impact frailty has on our lives, we will be considering the chronic state of inflammation.

The easiest way to quantify or track inflammation is usually by blood tests. There are different blood cells and other markers that indicate the presence or absence of inflammation in the body and that can even tell you if it is associated with a specific disease. Again, for our purposes, we are not looking for specific diseases, but how the general concept of inflammation can be impacting our health and weakening our systems. It has been found that several markers can be helpful in identifying the degree of chronic inflammation in the body and, in turn, the degree of frailty:

  • Cytokine IL-6

  • C-Reactive Protein

  • Increase in the total number of monocytes (a type of white blood cell) and the total white blood cell count

According to the article in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society that we have been discussing:

"Higher levels of these same inflammatory cytokines correlate with greater vulnerability to disability and mortality (death), further supporting a role for these biologically active molecules and system is the development of poor health outcomes."

Just a little further on, the authors indicate:

"Multiple lines of evidence demonstrate a biological link between elevated IL-6 and bone and muscle loss, anemia, insulin resistance (diabetes), and altered hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis stimulation (sex and other hormones) making it less likely that IL-6 is simply a benign marker." 

TRANSLATION: The presence of the above blood markers, even in the absence of a frank disease state, are correlated to loss of bone density, muscle tone, anemia, adult onset diabetes, lower sex hormones and an increased likely-hood of death!

Andrew Wiel, M.D. has a really nice article that outlines some ways you can improve these blood markers without drugs.  In short, it says to exercise more and lose weight!

It is not a big reach that what you eat, in addition to driving up your weight, could increase your blood markers for inflammation. The best explanation and recommendation packet I have ever come across is by Dr. David Seamen.  If you are serious about cleaning up your diet and reducing inflammation in you system, read this packet.

Finally, but I am sure not the last word on the subject, there was a real interesting article that came out of Carnegie Mellon University describing how mindful meditation reduced levels of IL-6 in a specific population. Though I am not big on general meditation (as a Christian, I think your mind needs to be engaged someplace specific), this article shows just how powerful your thoughts and mind can be. It is worth considering.

So, if you want to improve your health and decrease the impact and effects of frailty in your life: exercise, eat right and be mindful in your thoughts.

Until Next Week,

Dr. Doug

Doug Williams, D.C.
Care Chiropractic
Lafayette, Indiana

Last week, we talked about the devastating effects that chronic inflammation can wreak on your body. Today, we are going to discuss what foods you can add to your diet to help battle inflammation and help you feel better all around!

According to Harvard Health Publications, here are a few examples of anti-inflammatory foods to include in your diet:

  • Tomatoes
  • Fruits (strawberries, blueberries, oranges and cherries)
  • Nuts (almonds, walnuts)
  • Olive oil
  • Green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale and collards)
  • Fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines)

You can also add in herbs and spices to your food prep that pack an anti-inflammatory punch. Many of these herbs and spices contain a variety of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins that help maximize the nutrient density of your meals, according to Dr. Mercola.

Interestingly enough, in a recent study, researchers analyzed blood drawn from participants who consumed a small amount of a particular spice each day for how well the blood could dampen an induced inflammatory response in white blood cells, specifically ones damaged by oxidized cholesterol (commonly found in fried foods). These four spices were found to be significantly effective at suppressing the inflammatory response:

  • Cloves
  • Ginger
  • Rosemary
  • Turmeric

By adding anti-inflammatory foods to your diet, you are lowering your risk of chronic health problems associated with obesity, diabetes, heart disease and arthritis, to name a few. Focus on a balanced diet with whole, minimally processed foods and you are well on your way to better health!

Photo Sources: Harvard Health Publications

By Emily
March 30, 2016
Tags: diet   inflammation  

Inflammation plays a vital role in the human body's immune response - without it, we would not be able to heal. According to Medline Plus, the body's inflammatory response occurs when tissues are injured by bacteria, trauma, toxins, heat or any other cause. When your cells are in distress, they release chemicals to alert the immune system, which sends its first responders (inflammatory cells) to isolate the foreign substance or heal the tissue. As these events unfold, blood vessels leak fluid into the site of the injury, causing the telltale swelling, redness and pain.

However, when inflammation remains a constant physiological response, your body no longer has the ability to turn of the inflammatory response and it starts damaging healthy tissue in your body. Many major diseases that plague today's society - cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression and Alzheimer's - have been linked to chronic inflammation.

So, how can you stop this cascade of events before it even starts? It all begins with your gut health.

 

"Doctors are learning that one of the best ways to quell inflammation lies not in the medicine cabinet, but in the refrigerator." - Harvard Health Publications

One of the most powerful tools to combat inflammation may be foods or beverages that include anti-inflammatory effects. Consider including fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish and healthy oils in your diet. A more natural, less processed diet can have a noticeable effect on your physical and emotional health. Include the right foods in your diet and, not only are you reducing the risk of chronic diseases, but you are also improving your overall quality of life!

Stay tuned next week for what specific anti-inflammatory foods you can include in your diet for your best gut health!