CHRONIC INFLAMMATION – TIME FOR A TUNE UP

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The latest statistics tell that 1 in 5 Americans experience some kind of chronic pain.
Pain has many varieties and causes: injury, arthritis, joint tisue damage, auto-immune diseases like lupus ans multiple sclerosis, nerve related pain, etc.

As a pharmacist, I have seen in the last 5 years or so, a term for chronic pain and inflammation emerging on a daily basis, fibromyalgia.  I’ve also noticed that it is a diagnosis given to women at an alarming rate. This was confirmed recently at a lecture where the estimate is that 90 % of fibromyalgia patients happen to be women.

Something radical must be happening if pain has become so rampant. 
Pain is a word to describe what is felt when our body experiences inflammation. Inflammation is not bad when it is short term, because its function is to repair an injury or to flush out something that our immune system considers toxic.

When we have an injury or are exposed to a toxin (think of a wasp sting or an infection of any kind) our immune cells react. How does this happen?
A complex of our immune cells travel in the blood to the site of injury. Once they are there and see what is happening they send signals to other responders like histamine to dilate  blood vessels and swell the area. This makes room for more white blood cells, proteins, fatty acids, and other cellular matter to restore the tissues or flush a toxin out .
Other responders send a message to the brain reporting  pain by emitting substance  P. 

This is a healthy inflammatory response.

What is going on with chronic inflammation? Why is it happening?
I am going to use the analogy of a car engine to explain what is happening in long term inflammation.
If there is oxidation in the oil circulating the engine, then it gets dirty, gritty and corroded. The engine runs sluggish and the parts decay with exposure to oxidation. It takes more energy to keep the pistons lubricated moving and compressing in the crankshaft. The belts get stressed from wear and tear. The spark plugs give out.                                            
This chain reaction of imbalance is happening in different areas and repairing one part does not fix the whole.
Cleaning the engine regularly, supplying it with premium oil and fuel, clearing the air filter, and giving it good maintenance will keep it running well.

Our  cellular tissues and blood vessels are exposed to oxidative stress just like a rusty engine cylinder.

Can we repair chronic inflammation? What causes it?
This is an outcome of poor nutritional habits, toxin build up from what we eat, chemicals we are exposed to, a sluggish digestive tract, cortisol damage from stress, sugar imbalances, lack of physical activity, hormonal imbalances, etc.
In my last post Live (r) and  Let Live, I mention natural supplements to maintain liver health .This is the primary step to keep toxins from accumulating.
The liver is the first gate in keeping inflammation out.

Detoxifying the colon is essential. Use a colon cleanse formulation about 4 times a year.                                  

Colon cleanse formulations include:
– Cleanse Smart by Renew Life
– Colonix by Dr Natura
– Super Colon Cleanse by Health Plus Inc  
A high fiber diet, drinking at least 2 liters of water daily, and fiber supplements with psyllium husks help to stay regular. Make sure to read the label, it is best to buy psyllium products without aspartame; one of these is Ultimate Fiber made by Nature’s Secret. 

Another way to clear inflammation is by taking digestive proteolytic enzymes like bromelain and papain which break up and remove excess toxic residues.
Some great products with proteolytic enzymes:
– Digestive Enzymes by Garden of Life
– Digest by Enzymedica
– Jarrozymes by Jarrow Formulas

Probiotics (good bacteria) are also essential to keep the intestines healthy and clean.
You can get probiotics from yogurt and other fermented foods such as cottage cheese and kefir.
These supplements are excellent probiotic sources:
– Primal Defense by Garden of Life
– Probiotic All Flora by New Chapter
– Jarro- Dophilus  by Jarrow Formulas   

Oxidation in our cells and tissues is caused by  products of cellular reactions, and these are free oxygen molecules that sit on healthy tissue and oxidize it like a rusty pipe.
This is why antioxidants are so important but seem overlooked in chronic inflammation.
Antioxidants include vitamins A ,C, E, zinc , green tea, turmeric, ginger, acai, seleniun, magnesium, quertecin, etc.
Antioxidant product combinations:
.–  Antioxidant Optimizer by Jarrow Formulas
–   Supercritical Antioxidant by New Chapter
–   Raw Antioxidants by Garden of Life
VItamin B’s  are essential in  inflammation.They reduce homeocystine levels which damage blood vessels, B12 helps oxygenate the blood, niacin lowers LDL cholesterol and raises HDL ( good cholesterol ). B vitamins are precursors for neurotransmitters that fight fatigue and increase energy.
Good sources of B-vitamin complex:
– Coenzyme B Food Complex by New Chapter
– Vitamin Code Raw B – Complex by Garden of Life
– B- Complex Stress Formula by Solgar

Omega 3 essental fatty acids are key in reducing inflammation. Omega 3 fatty acids competewith a proinflammatory substance called arachidonic acid (AA). AA is a fatty acid which initiates the production of many inflammatory substances.  The higher the intake of Omega 3 the smaller the chance for AA to rise.
Excellent Omega 3 oil products:                                         
– Super Omega 3 by Carlson Labs
– Organic Oils Fresh Catch Fish by Barlean’s Organic Oils
– Fish Oil by Spectrum
– Supercritical Omega 7 by New Chapter

Exercising and deep breathing oxygenates the blood and helps to eliminate toxins

When our cells receive more oxygen then the rate of cellular digestion is improved.
Deep breathing  removes deoxygenated stale air, and the quality of blood and energy improves overall.

Change your diet to include more fruits and vegetables, preferably organic product choices, less refined sugar and cut back on red meat which increases AA.
Increased sugar consumption from refined carbohydrates makes insulin levels go up. High insulin levels cause AA levels to rise and the inflammatory cycle starts all over again.

Chronic stress causes cortisol levels from the adrenal glands to rise.This has its own domino effect because sugar and insulin go out of control  resulting in weight gain. This also disrupts the adrenal’s ability to make adrenaline (epinephrine, norepinephrine), and other substances that lift mood and energy.
Find time to take care of yourself every day.
In women the added component of hormonal changes can have a very compounded effect here because progesterone is needed to help fight stress and low energy. Many women after 35 can become estrogen dominant and lack sufficient natural progesterone. With the adrenal glands and cortisol levels out of control it is easy to see how inflammation in women is on the rise. 

A good place to start is by getting a saliva or blood hormonal test to see if your progesterone is low.
Consult with your doctor about NATURAL progesterone creams.

Adrenal gland suppport for men and women include a daily intake of anti-oxidants, B vitamins, and products combining turmeric, ginger, ginseng, rhodiola, licorice, etc

Adrenal support products include:
–  Stress Advantage by New Chapter
–  Adrenal Optimizer by Jarrow Formulas
Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!
Camille Medina, R.Ph.
The information provided here is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Suggestions and ideas presented in this document are for information only and should not be interpreted as medical advice, or for diagnosing  illness. Seek advice from a health care professional before administering any dietary supplements.
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