Understanding inflammation and how it acts in the body is critically important to understanding overall health and wellness. The reason so many health and nutrition companies feel it is important to supplement with fish oil, MSM, anti-oxidant blends, and vitamin D is directly associated with how inflammation acts with our bodies. Below is an all encompassing explanation of how the inflammatory cascade effects our well being and how different lifestyle and dietary choices can tilt the scales in our favor.
I had the distinct pleasure of being able to study under one of leaders in the research field of the inflammatory response and dietary supplementation, Dr. David Seaman. He is truly a premier mind when it comes to this topic and has published numerous peer-reviewed articles on the matter.
To summarize Dr. Seaman's work he discusses how chronic inflammation is due to an over abundance of omega-6 (linoleic acid) in our bodies and leads to the biosynthesis of arachidonic acid from our cell membranes which causes inflammation within our bodies. The reason for this overabundance is our diet. The american/western diet is high in pastas, breads, processed foods, and refined sugars. This western diet has a ratio estimated at 20:1 to 30:1 of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids. This ratio is highly pro-inflammatory. The above mentioned foods are completely depletant of the important fatty acids called omega-3 that are anti-inflammatory and necessary to maintain the recommended healthy ratio of 1:1 of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. These more beneficial omgea-3 ratios are found in cold water fish, grass fed meats, nuts, and vegetables.
A pro-inflammatory state leads to chronic inflammation throughout the body. This continued inflammation damages the body and tissues within it. Over long periods of time this damage can result in and promote larger broad scale health problems such as aches and pains, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, osteoporosis, macular degeneration, acne, aging, metabolic syndrome X, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, stroke, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, and more.
In order to offset this western diet ratio Healthy US provides quality Fish Oil supplements. Although dietary and lifestyle changes are the most effective way to lower inflammation in the body we understand making these changes can be difficult. When these healthier choices cannot be made everyday we suggest supplementing your diet with anti-inflammatory nutritional supplements.
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- Simopoulos AP. The importance of the omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid ratio in cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases. Exp Biol Med. 2008;233(6):674-88.
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The article sections below are from Dr. Mercola's article on chronic inflammation and it's health ramifications as well as focusing on suggested lifestyle changes to control inflammation:
Inflammation is a normal and beneficial process that occurs when your body's white blood cells and chemicals protect you from foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses.
You actually need some level of inflammation in your body to stay healthy, however it's also possible, and increasingly common, for the inflammatory response to get out of hand. If your immune system mistakenly triggers an inflammatory response when no threat is present, it can lead to excess inflammation in your body, a condition linked to asthma, allergies, autoimmune disease, heart disease, cancer and other diseases, depending on which organs the inflammation is impacting.
Unfortunately, chronic inflammation typically will not produce symptoms until actual loss of function occurs somewhere. This is because chronic inflammation is low-grade and systemic, often silently damaging your tissues over an extended period of time. This process can go on for years without you noticing, until a disease suddenly sets in.
Diet accounts for about 80 percent of the health benefits you reap from a healthful lifestyle, and keeping inflammation in check is a major part of these benefits. It's important to realize that dietary components can either trigger or prevent inflammation from taking root in your body. For example, whereas trans fats and sugar, particularly fructose, will increase inflammation, eating healthy fats such as animal-based omega-3 fats found in fish oil, or the essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA) will help to reduce them.
Diet is not the only component that will have a profound impact on your health and longevity. It's really about addressing your total lifestyle.
Optimizing Your Insulin Levels is Paramount for a Long, Healthy Life
Having high insulin levels is a surefire way to speed up your aging process. According to Dr. Ron Rosedale, if there's a single marker for lifespan, it would be insulin, specifically insulin sensitivity. Insulin resistance is the basis of virtually ALL of chronic diseases of aging, and one of the primary reasons for this is because it promotes chronic inflammation throughout your body.
Unfortunately, many health care practitioners are still ignorant of the profound influence that insulin has on health. Please understand that a firm appreciation of insulin's role is one of the most important things you can do to optimize your health and outlive the naysayers. The two most important elements for normalizing your insulin levels and avoiding insulin resistance are:
- Avoiding sugar/fructose and grains (remember that beverages play a paramount role here, as high fructose corn syrup from soda is one of the primary sources of calories in the US)
- Regular exercise
Chronic Stress and Lack of Relaxation Takes a Heavy Toll on Your Health
The classic definition of stress is "any real or imagined threat, and your body's response to it." Celebrations and tragedies alike can cause a stress response in your body. Some stress is unavoidable. Some mild forms of stress can even be helpful in some situations. But a stressor becomes a problem when:
- Your response to it is negative.
- Your feelings and emotions are inappropriate for the circumstances.
- Your response lasts an excessively long time.
- You're feeling continuously overwhelmed, overpowered or overworked.
It's important to realize that all your feelings create physiological changes. Your skin, heart rate, digestion and assimilation of food, joints, muscle energy levels, the hair on your head, and countless cells and systems you don't even know about change with every emotion. For example, feeling chronically stressed:
- Dramatically decreases blood flow to your digestive system
- Decreases your metabolism
- Decreases enzymatic output in your gut by as much as 20,000-fold
- Causes excretion of nutrients, such as water-soluble vitamins, calcium, micro- and macrominerals
- Raises triglycerides
- Raises cholesterol
- Decreases beneficial gut flora populations, which can weaken your immune function
- Raises cortisol levels
- Raises insulin levels
While you cannot eliminate stress entirely, you can work to provide your body with tools to compensate for the bioelectrical short-circuiting caused by it. I prefer The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), but there are many other energy psychology tools out there to choose from. Other helpful strategies that can help you deal with stress and unwind each day, include:
- Exercise. Studies have shown that during exercise, tranquilizing chemicals (endorphins) are released in your brain. Exercise is a natural way to bring your body pleasurable relaxation and rejuvenation.
- Proper sleep
Normalize Your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is such a common health problem that one out of three of you reading this has it, and uncontrolled hypertension is a serious health concern that can cause heart disease and increase your risk of having a stroke. It's especially dangerous because it often has no warning signs or symptoms. The good news is that over 85 percent of those with hypertension can normalize their blood pressure through simple lifestyle modifications.
It's important to realize that drugs that treat hypertension will not change, modify, or in any way address the underlying cause of your high blood pressure. Additionally, statistics show that over half of people taking multiple medications for high blood pressure are stillnot able to manage their condition, so for many these drugs simply don't work as promised.
For the most part, high blood pressure is related to your body producing too much insulin. As your insulin levels rise, it causes your blood pressure to increase. This crucial connection between insulin resistance and hypertension is yet another example of how wide-ranging the debilitating effects of high insulin, leptin and blood glucose levels can have on your body. Hence the remedy is the same as that for normalizing your insulin levels: avoiding sugars and grains, and getting regular exercise. However, two additional factors can have a significant impact include:
- Normalizing your vitamin D levels – It has recently become clear that normalizing your vitamin D levels can have a powerful effect on normalizing your blood pressure. Lower vitamin D levels is also unquestionably associated with an increased risk for heart disease.
- Balancing your omega-6 to omega-3 fat ratio – Most Americans eating a standard American diet have a ratio of 25:1, which is highly unbalanced. The ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats is 1:1. Therefore, you'll want to lower the amount of vegetable oils in your diet, and make sure you have a high quality, animal-based source of omega-3s, such as krill oil.