Inflammation is often named as one of the underlying causes of many of today’s “plague” of chronic, degenerative and auto-immune diseases, so you might be surprised to learn that it’s actually a normal, healthy repair process. That is, when it’s working correctly.
In fact, right now inflammation is at work on a million or so spots on your skeleton. As part of the immune system response, inflammation ideally tears down old, worn-out segments and replaces them with new, healthy tissue.
But as is often the case, this normal bodily process can be upset by a multitude of contemporary lifestyle factors. When inflammation is disrupted, your immune system will still detect tissue in need of breakdown and recycling but it can’t complete its job because it lacks the resources to generate healthy, new replacement tissue. It’s as if the inflammation “turn off” switch is disabled and so the breakdown step in the inflammation process continues — over and over, without being able to rebuild.
Over time, chronic inflammation leads to destruction of tissues and organs, including precious bone. Today we recognize that this sort of “immune-mediated” bone breakdown is a primary cause of osteoporosis. The immune system–osteoporosis link is so clear and important that a whole new field of study called “osteoimmunology” has evolved because of it.
Here are some of the top factors that contribute to runaway inflammation…
• Dietary factors such as:
o Inadequate intakes of key anti-inflammatory antioxidants
o Imbalanced fatty acid intake, with low omega-3 fats
o Multiple vitamin and mineral inadequacies
o Excessive intake of sugar, beef, alcohol, and refined carbohydrates
o Excessive intake of calories leading to excess body fat
o Diet-related disorders related to sugar metabolism, high insulin and high blood sugar
• Free radical generation from toxic chemical exposures, smoking, and drug/medication use
• Weak digestion
• Food, chemical, and environmental intolerances, allergies and hypersensitivities
• Chronic low-grade metabolic acidosis
• Inadequate sleep
• Immune hypersensitivity and immune imbalances
• The aging process
In my next blog about inflammation, I’ll take a look at ways to control inflammation with diet, supplements and lifestyle choices changes.