PART 1: INFLAMMATION AND THE BODY
Sick of feeling sick? Can’t figure out what’s going on inside your body? Well, have you considered chronic inflammation?
Inflammation isn’t always obvious and the way your immune system responds is a tricky thing.
When our bodies function properly, inflammation is a quick response that actually helps the body to heal. However, when our bodies do NOT know how to down-regulate inflammation, it will simmer at a chronic level and begins to damage healthy cells, not heal damaged cells. Thus, contributing to an array of diseases.
Today I want to share with you my fav-5 organs and the conditions that inflammation can cause:
THE BRAIN: Proinflamatory cytokines cause autoimmune reactions in the brain, which can lead to poor memory, depression, and autism.
THE THYOID: Studies show that autoimmunity can be linked to inflammation and can disrupts thyroid hormone function.
THE SKIN: Chronic inflammation compromises the liver & kidneys (ie your cleansing organs), resulting in acne, rashes, dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis
GASTROINTESTINAL TRACT: Chronic inflammation damages our intestinal lining and can result in issues like GERD, Leaky Gut, Crohn’s, and Celiac.
THE HEART: Inflammation in the heart & arterial walls contributes to heart disease, strokes, and high blood sugar.
For more information on overcoming inflammation, follow me on social media as I guide you through diet, lifestyle, and mindset changes.
PART 2: WHAT CAUSES INFLAMMATION?
Now that we know what inflammation does to the body, lets review those pesky little inflammatory-culprits.
The typical Western diet consists of roughly 60% carbs, 30% protein, and 10% fat. That is a lot of excess glucose floating! Free floating excess glucose causes something calling “Glycation”. This occurs when insulin doesn’t metabolize sugars properly, destroys the collagen in blood vessels and ultimately causes it to become brittle and form plaque. Additionally, excess glucose causes “advanced glycation end products” or AGE’s”. AGE’s are non-enzymatic modifications of proteins or lipids after exposure to sugars.
A recent publication in September of 2017 by the Journal of Exercise Nutrition Biochem, shows the AGE’s form in hyperglycemic conditions and/or the natural process of aging. Numerous other publications have demonstrated the acceleration of the aging process by AGE’s. Exogenous AGE’s in dietary foods also trigger organ dysfunction and tissue aging.
ALCOHOL, BACTERIA, YEAST OVERGROWTH, & VIRUSES
When yeast, bacteria, and food toxins hit the blood stream they trigger widespread inflammatory reactions by either creating a pro-inflammatory reaction and releasing histamines or by attacking the bodies tissues and organs.
Yeast typically lives in the large intestines. However, when they run out of food, they migrate to the small intestine to override the organisms conformably resident in there. Once in the small intestines, the yeast poke holes in the intestinal lining. This is called “leaky gut”. Those holes eventually cause so much damage that the structural integrity of the internal lining is compromised and toxins begin to move out of the intestines and into the blood stream. Instead of absorbing nutrients through an intact intestinal wall, undigested food molecules, waste, bacterial toxins, and other chemicals cross into and around the body.
SIBO, which stands for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, is another condition that can cause chronic digestive issues from inflammation. Literature defines SIBO as more than 100,000 colony-forming units of bacteria per mL of proximal jejunal fluid, which just means a high concentration of bacteria in one specific section of the small intestines. These bugs produce gases, like methane and hydrogen, that contribute to the uncomfortable SIBO symptoms.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, additional risk factors for SIBO include an overuse of medications such as narcotics or antibiotics, structural abnormalities like those caused by gastric bypass surgery, diverticulitis, or scar tissue, a weakened immune system, and chronic diseases like lupus or diabetes.
Could exercise actually be causing damage to your body? It’s ironic, but it’s true. Exercise causes elevated aerobic metabolism, which in turn increases the production of harmful molecules known as free radicals. What is a free radical? Free radicals are molecule that are missing an electron in its outermost valence, causing it to be negatively charged. In an effort to achieve a neutral electrical balance, free radicals steal electrons from healthy cells in your body, thus leaving them unstable and inflamed.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I know that movement and exercise is OH. SO. IMPORTANT. Movement in excess however can damage our bodies and weaken our immune system. Exercise produces heat in the gut, relocating the blood flow from our core and sending it to our extremities (and away from the all-mighty brain).
High intensity interval training (HIIT), ultra-marathons and marathons, and other high impact exercise should be kept to a limit. Instead, try incorporating yoga, pilates, meditation, and/or Tai Chi. Go for a walk in the woods and connect with nature. Take time for self-care and reconnect with yourself.