Inflammation Chronicles – Part 1
Dear Longevity Insider,
With many major diseases linked to chronic inflammation, persistent inflammation is our enemy. What is the answer? It is not found in our medicine cabinet or the pharmacy. The best way to reduce inflammation can be found in our refrigerator through proper nutrition. But what is inflammation? Could you benefit from promoting an anti-inflammatory diet?
What is Inflammation?
There are five cardinal signs of inflammation. One of the greatest medical writers, Aulus Cornelius Celsus, described the first four main signs of inflammation as redness, heat, swelling, and pain. The fifth sign was later identified by Galen, the famous Greek physician, as a disturbance of function.
Inflammation refers to the body’s immune system response to a foreign pathogen, injury, infection, etc. Our body’s inflammatory response is a remarkable protective part of our immune system. If you fall and scrape your skin, your immune system will release an army of white blood cells to immerse and protect the area, which results in the visible redness and swelling commonly seen after an injury. When you have a cold, the symptoms you experience such as a scratchy throat, sneezing, runny nose, are all byproducts of inflammation as our body's immune cells signal to destroy virus particles.
If you have ever experienced green mucus, that is caused by myeloperoxidase, a green-colored protein that is found in infection-fighting white blood cells. It becomes green due to the white blood cell numbers increasing while you are sick (white blood cells are low in the early stages of inflammation) and, therefore, the amount of green myeloperoxidase increases, ultimately changing the color of mucus. So how can inflammation be bad?
Acute vs. Chronic
Acute inflammation is obvious as it is a brief inflammatory response. Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is another story that can lead to adverse health consequences. Simply put, your body is not designed to live in a state of chronic inflammation.
When your body is in a chronic state of inflammation, your body is constantly under attack with your immune system on overdrive. This means that white blood cells that would go to an injured or infected area may end up attacking healthy tissues and organs.
How so? Let’s say you carry visceral fat, which is the type of fat that is stored within the abdominal cavity near vital organs like the liver, stomach, intestines. This type of fat is considered “active” fat because it can actively increase your individual risk of disease.
Visceral fat is a known link to metabolic disorders and inflammation. If you suffer from chronic inflammation, your white blood cells may perceive those visceral fat cells as a threat and begin to attack them...
But there's more. Read Part 2 of our Inflammation Chronicles this Thursday.
To your longevity, Anil Bajnath MD
CEO/Founder, Institute for Human Optimization
Chief Medical Officer, Longevity Insider HQ
P.S. The average person has completely misunderstood the concept of "fat" and how it relates to our body and the process of weight loss. If you want a hot summer body, go here.
To your longevity,
Anil Bajnath MD