Stressor Spotlight: Inflammation
Although the body’s inflammation response can be beneficial in the short-term, prolonged inflammation can lead to serious problems in the long run. And in fact, recent research points to chronic inflammation as an underlying cause of diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and many other diseases.1
What is inflammation?
Acute inflammation occurs when the body experiences an injury or battles some type of infection or irritant. In response to a stimulus that causes harm, the body increases blood flow and sends white blood cells to the injured area. This response, which is regulated by the immune system, helps to remove infection, heal damaged cells, and protect the body as it heals.
Physical signs manifest on the surface and within the body during the acute inflammatory response. These include swelling, redness, heat, pain, and loss of function (immobility). While swelling, redness, and heat are related to the increased blood flow, pain and loss of function occur to protect the body from further damage and encourage rest.2
The signaling molecules that attract white blood cells at the beginning of the inflammatory response are called inflammatory cytokines. The main white blood cells involved in the process are neutrophils, which remove pathogens and cellular debris. After the neutrophils do their job and healing progresses, more inflammatory cytokines are produced to turn off the inflammatory response when the body is healed.
What causes chronic inflammation?
The acute inflammatory response helps the body to successfully heal. However, chronic inflammation occurs when this response becomes faulty. With many types of chronic inflammation, the body’s inflammatory response is triggered when there is no injury to be healed. This results in white blood cells attacking healthy organs and tissues.
In addition to a faulty immune response, the inability of the body to remove an agent causing acute inflammation and recurrent episodes of acute inflammation can also cause chronic inflammation. Other factors that can contribute to chronic inflammation include excessive exposure to irritants and oxidative stress from inflammatory and biochemical inducers.3
Chronic inflammation symptoms
Chronic inflammation is consistent, low-grade inflammation and can last from several months to several years. The symptoms are often subtle and develop over a long period of time. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Constant fatigue
- Weight gain
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Body pain
If you are experiencing these symptoms, visit your doctor as soon as possible. Although chronic inflammation is difficult to diagnose, certain tests such as the IgA, SPE, fibrinogen, and hsCRP can be good markers of systematic inflammation.4
Chronic inflammatory diseases
Unfortunately, chronic inflammation is an underlying cause of many diseases, including:
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Neurodegenerative diseases
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Certain people are more prone to chronic inflammation and are therefore at greater risk of getting these diseases. This includes people who smoke, are overweight, have low sex hormones, or have stress disorders.
Medications for chronic inflammation
Common medications for chronic inflammation include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), and biological agents.
- NSAIDs are one of the most common medications used for chronic inflammation. This includes over-the-counter medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen. Though they can reduce pain and inflammation, NSAIDs raise the risk of getting heart attack and stroke, and can cause liver, kidney, and stomach problems.5
- Corticosteroids such as cortisone or prednisone are also used for treating chronic inflammation. These prescription medications work by mimicking hormones that suppress inflammation and the immune response. Infection, stomach ulcers, weight gain, and insomnia are all potential side effects of corticosteroid use.6
- Like corticosteroids, DMARDs work to suppress the body’s immune system and inflammatory response. These drugs are long-term treatments that take weeks or months to start working.7 Common side effects include liver problems, blood problems, fatigue, and increased risk of infection.
- Biological agents, or biologics, are another class of medications that work to disrupt the inflammation process. These biologically-derived agents are used to inhibit different aspects of the immune-driven inflammation response. Side effects of taking biologics include allergic reactions, increased risk of infection, insomnia, and dizziness.8
Diet and nutrition for inflammation
Medications can be an effective means of treating the symptoms associated with chronic inflammation. However, the potential side effects of these medications may not be worth the risk for some people.
Regardless of whether you choose to use a prescription medication or not, it’s important to realize that your diet has a direct impact on inflammation. A healthy diet can not only reduce chronic inflammation, but can also improve your body’s acute inflammation response. An unhealthy diet, on the other hand, can contribute to chronic inflammation and worsen inflammatory conditions.
If you want to reduce and even prevent inflammation, you should do your best to stay away from fried foods, processed foods, refined carbs, sugar, and red meat. Replacing unhealthy foods with anti-inflammatory foods may be the best thing you can do for your chronic inflammation. Some of the best anti-inflammatory foods are:
- Omega-3 foods – Cold-water fish, walnuts, flaxseeds
- Fruits – Grapes, blueberries, raspberries
- Vegetables – Spinach, broccoli, cabbage
- Herbs – Rosemary, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, green tea
- Whole grains – brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa
Supplements and oils for inflammation
In addition to eating anti-inflammatory foods, there are a variety of supplements and essential oils that can help reduce inflammation as well.
Omega-3s, glutathione, magnesium, and vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K can all assist in reducing inflammation. If you are not getting enough of these in your diet, consider supplementation.
A few of the best herbal supplements for inflammation include curcumin, white willow bark, cat’s claw, and berberine. Many herbs are also available in essential oil form, and you can see which ones are the best essential oils for inflammation here.
Lifestyle for inflammation
Just like your diet, your lifestyle also plays a large role in the inflammation response. Two things you will definitely want to avoid to reduce your risk of chronic inflammatory disease are smoking and alcohol, as these lifestyle factors are strongly linked with chronic inflammation.9 10
Getting the right amount of exercise is important for preventing and reducing inflammation as well. One study shows that just 20 minutes of moderate exercise can have significant anti-inflammatory effects.11 Working out 4 to 5 times a week, including 3 days of aerobic exercise, is recommended to reduce whole-body inflammation.12
Additionally, chronic stress contributes to inflammation in a major way. Exercise can be one effective way to manage your stress, but you should also consider stress-busting practices like meditation, deep breathing, yoga, and qigong. Having adequate social support and seeking psychological treatment when necessary is also important when it comes to managing your stress.
Inflammation stressor Virtual Item
Inflammation is one of the key lifestyle categories scanned in the ZYTO Balance biosurvey. By scanning the digital signature representing Inflammation, you can see whether the body had a normal response to this Virtual Item or an abnormal, or out-of-range, response. Additionally, you can also see how far out of range the response was.
Along with scanning Inflammation, the Balance software also scans specific items that fall under the Inflammation category. These Virtual Items include:
- Food Stressors Additives
- High-Fructose Corn Syrup
- Joints/Connective Tissue
- Partially Hydrogenated Oils
- Sugar, White Refined
With the more advanced ZYTO Select or Elite software, you can scan these and other items related to inflammation as well.
Balancer Virtual Items for Inflammation
Balancers that bring the Inflammation Virtual Item and the items within this category back into range may include supplements, essential oils, foods, and lifestyle choices.
In the Inflammation section of the ZYTO Balance Wellness Report, for example, you can see a list of products that best support the specific out-of-range items in this category. Additionally, the Biomarker Progress Chart in the Advanced Report shows which specific product brought Inflammation and any of its related items back into balance.
Available in the Select and Elite, the Lifestyle Add-on Biosurvey also scans general balancer Virtual Items for inflammation such as Omega-3, Turmeric, Blueberry, and Exercise. These items are listed in the Inflammation Balancers category.
A variety of different emotions are also associated with inflammation, including anger, frustration, guilt, and grief. The ZYTO EVOX provides an opportunity to work through these emotions through our patented perception reframing process.
Combined with top products, lifestyle changes, and wellness services recommended in a ZYTO bioscan, the EVOX helps to provide a more holistic solution for dealing with inflammation and the emotions associated with it.
1. Dubois, R.N. “The Jeremiah Metzger Lecture: Inflammation, Immune Modulators, and Chronic Disease.” Transactions of the American Clinical and Climatological Association 126 (2015): 230-236.
2. “Acute Inflammation.” TeachMe Series. Teachmephysiology.com.
3. Pahwa, Roma, Goyal Amandeep, et al. “Chronic Inflammation.” (Treasure Island, FL: StatPearls Publishing, 2020).
4. Karadag, F., S. Kirdar, et al. “The value of C-reactive protein as a marker of systemic inflammation in stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.” European Journal of Internal Medicine 19, no. 2 (2008): 104-108.
5. “What Are NSAIDs for Arthritis?” WebMD, LLC. Webmd.com.
6. “Steroid Side Effects: How to Reduce Drug Side Effects of Corticosteroids.” Hospital for Special Surgery. Hss.edu.
7. Cohen, S., & A. Cannella. “Patient education: Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDS) in rheumatoid arthritis (Beyond the Basics)” UpToDate, Inc. Uptodate.com.
8. Omudhome, O. “Biologics (Biologics Drug Class)” MedicineNet, Inc. Medicinenet.com.
9. Lee, J., V. Teneja, & R. Vassallo. “Cigarette Smoking and Inflammation.” Journal of Dental Research 91, no. 2 (2012): 142-149.
10. Wang, H.J., S. Zakhari, & M.K. Jung. “Alcohol, inflammation, and gut-liver-brain interactions in tissue damage and disease development.” World Journal of Gastroenterology 16, no. 11 (2010): 1304-1313.
11. Sandoiu, A. “Just 20 minutes of exercise enough to reduce inflammation, study finds.” Healthline Media UK Ltd. Medicalnewstoday.com.
12. “Anti Inflammatory Exercise.” Gene Smart. Genesmart.com.