Inflammation the mother of all diseases, the main driving force or mediator and connection amongst all ailments. Everyone heard the word, but what does it mean?
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is the normal response of our immune system to injury or harm of any sort, whereby our protective army, our white blood cells and the substances they communicate with launch an organised attack on invading microbes or our own faulty cells. This immune response then produces the well-known symptoms of swelling, redness, pain and even fever, where increased blood flow brings healing cells and nutrients to the damaged area and lets us know that there is something wrong.
This short-term burst of inflammation is crucial for our survival and well-being, it should not be suppressed otherwise the invaders can get deeper into our system and cause ongoing issues. Long-term chronic inflammation, on the other hand, can lead to chronic degenerative diseases and premature ageing. It is all down to the cause – what is the root of the inflammation someone is struggling with.
What influence our immune responses?
Most of our immune system (over 70%) resides in the gut, which is where it is regulated by the myriads of microbes that live there. Our immune cells are born in the bone marrow and matured partly in the Thymus (they are called T cells) or at the sight of the war that is the immune attack (these are the B cells). As we age the thymus is deteriorating and more and more T cells need to be matured in our gut lining – the Gut Associated Lymphoid Tissues. The T regulatory cells that keep our immune system in check are almost entirely matured here.
It is not surprising therefore that our gut health, the amount and diversity of our beneficial bacteria have a large effect in controlling inflammation and all diseases, whether it is obviously linked to the gut like gastritis or to the immune system like colds and flues, hay fever, autoimmune disorders – but even skin conditions, fibromyalgia, obesity and cardiovascular disease.
The integrity of our intestinal membranes also depend on these beneficial microbes – and weakened integrity, so-called leaky gut is fuelling the fire of low-grade inflammation and leads to loss of immune tolerance and sets the scene for chronic degenerative diseases: metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease and cancers just to name but a few.
What is the root of inflammation?
The initiating factor of inflammation can be bacterial, viral or yeast infections, food allergies, free radical damage or even high blood sugar levels, which is common in cardiovascular disease. Another molecule that can cause damage to our blood vessel is Homocysteine, a by-product that is the result of a faulty recycling system (called methylation). Cholesterol is the healing agent our bodies produce to patch up the damaged cells – increasing evidence show that lowering its levels will not sort the problem.
Most medications, even herbal remedies are made to target this main symptom of inflammation – turn off the visible fire – but they do not address the underlying cause, which can be very different to each individual. Genetic predispositions or our environment’s effect on genetic expression, oxidative stress, faulty detoxification processes and the aforementioned gut dysbiosis and methylation issues can all be the culprit. Finding and dealing with the root cause is, therefore, the only way to support our body to deal with any and every ailment in the world. Contact me to find Your ‘Root’ to better health!