The biology behind inflammation — pro-inflammatory hormones
For those who like to understand the biology underlying body processes like inflammation,
here’s a brief description of three major pro-inflammatory hormone groups
and their fundamental roles.
Prostaglandins are compounds found within most tissues and organs that
stimulate nerve cells, signalling pain to the brain and forcing you to stop what
you’re doing — “Drop the hot pan!” They swell the blood
vessels at the injured site, opening space in the capillary walls for the white
blood cells to enter. The blood and plasma rushing out of those enlarged vessels
causes the swelling, tenderness, and redness. Prostaglandins also cause constriction
as well as dilation of smooth muscle cells, and are responsible for the pain of
Cytokines are immune system modulators produced by cells throughout the
body. Cytokines communicate with your brain, sounding the alarm when they detect
an intruder. A subclass of cytokines called leukotrienes (or interleukins) ensures
that the immune response is checked before it destroys outlying healthy cells and
tissue. Importantly, they call off the inflammatory response. If you have overactive
leukotrienes, your body can lose control of the process — white blood cells
begin to digest healthy tissue, causing excessive damage and scarring, a common
symptom in many autoimmune disorders.
Histamines are the chemicals responsible for the itchy nose, watery eyes,
or rash that often accompany an allergic reaction. Their job is to help you rid
yourself of whatever toxin is causing the problem (by sneezing, coughing, crying,
and scratching). They bring more blood and lymphatic fluid to the site of the invasion,
which transport your white blood cells to the site and toxins away from it. The
amount of histamine that gets released determines how intense the allergy response
In many of us, this delicate interplay of hormones is easily disrupted, leading
to chronic inflammation that can wreak havoc on our health. For more about factors
that can interfere with your healthy immune response, see our article on the causes
of inflammation. To learn what you can do about it, read our article on
reducing inflammation — the natural approach.
Our Personal Program is a great place to start
The Personal Program promotes natural hormonal balance with nutritional supplements,
our exclusive endocrine support formula, dietary and lifestyle guidance, and optional
phone consultations with our Nurse–Educators. It is a convenient, at-home
version of what we recommend to all our patients at the clinic.
If you have questions, don't hesitate to call us toll-free at
1-800-798-7902. We're here to listen and help.
Last Modified Date: 04/20/2011