Are you a hotbed of inflammation?


Are you a hotbed of inflammation?

By Natasha Turner

Do this quick inflammation test to see if you’re a hotbed of inflammation. Check all that apply to you and total your score. Anything greater than 11 should be a warning to change some of your lifestyle.

Sagging, thinning skin or wrinkling 
Spider veins or varicose veins 
Eczema, skin rashes, hives or acne 
Menopause (women)/andropause (men) 
Heart disease 
Prostate enlargement (prostatitis) 
High cholesterol or blood pressure 
Loss of muscle tone in arms and legs; difficulty building or maintaining muscle 
Aches and pains 
Arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis or joint stiffness 
Water retention in hands or feet 
Alzheimer’s disease 
Parkinson’s disease 
Night eating syndrome (waking at night to binge eat) 
Increased pain or poor pain tolerance 
Headaches or migraines 
High alcohol consumption 
Bronchitis; allergies (food or environmental); hives or asthma have worsened or developed 
Autoimmune disease 
Fat gain around “love handles” or abdomen 
Loss of bone density or osteoporosis 
Generalized overweight/weight gain/obesity 
Fatty liver (diagnosed by your doctor) 
Diabetes (type 2) or pre-diabetes 
Sleep disruptions or deprivation 
Irritable bowel or inflammatory bowel disease 
Frequent gas and bloating 
Constipation, diarrhea or nausea 
Total (Warning score: > 11) 

The last time you suffered through a sinus infection, sprained an ankle or felt the irritating itch of a mosquito bite, you experienced the effects of inflammation firsthand. Infections or injuries trigger a chain of events called the inflammatory cascade. The normal, familiar signs of inflammation such as redness, pain, swelling and fever are the first signals that our immune systems are being called into combat mode. Behind the scenes, the body strives to maintain a critical balance between the signals that enable and sustain this protective response and those that announce the battle has been won. Eventually, the inflammatory response stands down as the body’s powerful, natural anti-inflammatory compounds move in to initiate the healing phase.

Within a well-balanced immune system, inflammation ebbs and flows as needed. Clearly, a certain degree of inflammation is a basic mechanism of a healthy immune system, just as the proper balance of cholesterol is vital to our cellular health. But in much the same way that surplus cholesterol can block an artery, excessive or persistent inflammation leads to tissue destruction and disease.

Chronic activation of our inflammatory response takes a heavy toll on the body and has recently become recognized as the root cause of most diseases associated with aging. Besides a typical inflammatory illness such as arthritis, the list of conditions spurred by inflammation includes cancer, heart disease, obesity, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, autoimmune disease, diabetes, stroke and even wrinkling of our skin.

Widespread inflammation triggers a cascade of problems that seriously weaken the very foundations of our health and well-being. Some of the main causes of chronic inflammation include:

Poor digestive health. A whopping 60 percent of the immune system is clustered around the digestive tract. Compromises to digestion, including food allergies, bacterial imbalance, deficiency of enzymes or acids, yeast overgrowth, parasites and stress negatively impact not only the process of digestion, but also the entire immune system. Painful conditions such as gas, bloating, heartburn, reflux, constipation, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are all related to inflammation in the digestive system.

An immune system gone awry. Many experts now view inflammation as a symptom of an immune system in constant overdrive. When the body is stuck in this state, even ordinarily mild stressors such as viral infections, emotional stress or exposure to household chemicals can cause the immune system to wildly overreact. Allergies, autoimmune disease and tissue destruction can result when our immune systems are working too hard to protect us.

Poor nutritional habits. Dr. Paresh Dandona, a professor of medicine at the State University of New York at Buffalo who specializes in the topic of metabolism and inflammatory stress, found that over-consumption of any macronutrient—protein, carbohydrate or fat—can contribute to inflammation. He and his team of researchers also identified immediate effects of specific foods on inflammation. Orange juice, for instance, was shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Red wine was found to be neutral, while cream promoted inflammation. The team also discovered that overweight test subjects experienced significant changes in free-radical stress indicators and inflammation just one week after starting a more nutritious diet. Considering the long-term health benefits of reducing inflammation, this rapid change is extremely encouraging.

Lack of exercise.

Abdominal obesity and insulin resistance. Pre-existing inflammation can also cause both conditions—a vicious circle indeed!

Estrogen decline. Menopause appears to be linked to an increase in inflammation, especially due to waning estrogen. Progesterone is also important for keeping the immune system in check. This is why frozen shoulder has been found to be linked to menopause as well as increased joint pain.

Environmental toxicity, liver toxicity and fatty liver.

Depression and stress. Depression in obese men is significantly associated with increased levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), an inflammatory marker in the blood, as shown by a 2003 German study published in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity. This research supports the strong connection between our emotions, our hormones and inflammation. In another study conducted in 2004 and published in Archives of Internal Medicine, a similar link was found between depression and higher levels of inflammation (as denoted by CRP) in both men and women. The association, however, was stronger in men. In fact, the men with the most recent bouts of depression showed the highest CRP values.

Inflammation is a health concern for everyone, but particularly for those who suffer from digestive disorders, allergies, autoimmune disease, arthritis, heart disease, asthma, eczema, acne, obesity, abdominal fat, headaches, joint stiffness, depression and sinus disorders. Blood tests for highly sensitive C-reactive protein and homocysteine are the simplest and quickest diagnostic tools to assess inflammation.

Treatment Options

Clear Relief. This formulation contains a blend of enzymes, turmeric, resveratrol, green tea and other ingredients to quell the fire of inflammation. It also just might help you shed a few pounds. One to three capsules once or twice a day away from food, usually 30 minutes before a meal or two hours after, such as on rising and before bed is the recommended dosage. Purchase here

CurcuminTurmeric has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-aging, immune-enhancing and hormone-balancing effects. It works as a natural COX-2 inhibitor to cut inflammation, pain and swelling. Turmeric also supports liver function and detoxification. The therapeutic dose is 500–1,500 milligrams per day away from food. Take it with food if digestive upset occurs. Purchase here

Proteolytic enzymes – Clear Inflasolve. This is a well-researched systemic anti-inflammatory enzyme formulation. These compounds are used by Olympic athletes, doctors and millions of Europeans to help normalize all types of inflammation, speed injury recovery, promote healthy aging, aid surgery recovery, relieve arthritis and tendinitis and improve circulation. Clear Inflasolve cuts inflammation by impacting cytokine and eicosanoid balance, promotes joint comfort and supports the body’s ability to maintain tissue integrity. Acid-resistant capsules in Clear Inflasolve facilitates systemic delivery of enzymes and bromelain as they pass through your digestive tract and enter your bloodstream. The enzymes are distributed throughout the body along with nutrients and oxygen to benefit all your tissues and organs by breaking down inflammatory proteins and to assist in the ability to heal. Proteolytic enzymes rid the blood of these harmful proteins that can damage joints, blood vessels and other tissues. For maintenance and long-term support of inflammation, one could try two pills two to three times a day, away from food. The dose could be increased to four to five pills twice daily during acute inflammatory conditions, after surgery or to reduce autoimmune antibodies (such as thyroid). Inflasolve also contains an additional enzyme called nattokinase, a by-product of the fermentation of soy. It tends to work like a charm for cutting inflammation and aiding circulation, and it can be used specifically for elevated hs-CRP and cardiovascular health. Try it for at least four to eight weeks, after which hs-CRP should be retested. Purchase here.

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