By Taylor Robbins, C.S.C.S
First of all, what the crap is inflammation? Does it really mean my insides are getting swollen and red like a fat pimple ready to be popped? Well…YES.
The real definition of inflammation as it relates to the body is having the immune system (and thus the immune cells) turned on at a higher rate. Immune cells are always on to some level, but when hyped up too high, trouble starts.
Additionally, there are two types of inflammation: acute and chronic.
Acute inflammation can come from systemic causes like from diet. If someone eats pizza while watching the football game on Sunday, the gluten in the crust will leave your gut inflamed temporarily. In fact, most processed sugars, grains, and other refined foods can cause acute inflammation.
Chronic inflammation can come from poor stress management and eating crappy foods for months or years on end.
Take the average American. Stress from work because your boss hates your guts, and your co-worker expects you to email her with every detail of how you are completing your projects, and someone spilled coffee all over your weekly reports. Then you come home and the kids are demanding chicken nuggets as boogers and poop seep out of their pores. On top of all this, you skipped breakfast, had some extra cheesy Cheetos and two Cokes at lunch to keep you caffeinated enough to stay awake at your desk.
Did I miss anything?
This situation creates chronic inflammation which can lead to ulcers, IBS, and even cancer.
Let’s come back to acute inflammation with food. When we eat bad food, our arteries actually get a response that causes them to create cholesterol. This newly created cholesterol reacts with white blood cells creating “foam cells.” These cells are dead cells and really do nothing but indicate plaque build-up and this leads to risk of stroke and heart-attack.
This is sounding very dreary and depressing, but it is true.
Acute inflammation happens with a hard workout as well. The cells swell and get inflamed thus signaling the immune system to work.
Now, when we have the immune system turned on and therefore immune cells working to combat crappy food at the gut and digestive system, there is less immune cells to help rebuild muscle cells and build muscle. So, building muscle becomes more difficult.
This is where the “if it fits your macros” diets fail. Crap food, even in the right amount, cannot lead to ultimate results.
Now, you may think, you don’t want any inflammation risk at all so you cut all grain and all carbs completely. This way there is no risk for refined sugars or processed starches.
This creates an issue also.
Our gut has specific bacteria that feed on a fiber called resistant starch (RS). If you cut out carbs completely like potatoes and white rice, there are no other foods which contain enough RS to feed that bacteria. This causes those bacteria to die and decrease the health of your gut. So please, at least eat these safe starches still (potato, yam, sweet potato, white rice, tapioca)
In talking a lot about the gut, you should know the gut lining (where most the bacteria live) is only the thickness of your eyelid. This is why swelling of the gut lining is so dangerous and can lead to leaky gut and ulcers is because it’s not that thick.
If you have any of these symptoms from food like: swelling, bloating, belly pain, etc. then you probably have some acute inflammation. This is a sign to NOT eat those foods anymore.
Now how can you heal from acute or chronic inflammation??
Well, all the cells in our body are constantly turning over and becoming new cells; however, this process takes about 18 months The intestine itself is losing 5-70 million cells a day. So, it can take a while to fully heal your inflamed gut and other cells.
First of all, do not take non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen and aspirin. These drugs, along with steroidal drugs, slow down the cell turnover process which turns immune cells off slightly. This is why you have temporary relief but for total restoration, you want those cells to turn over, so let them. Additionally, because cells are not turning over as quickly, you are losing more cells a day than you are creating, which thins the gut lining thus snowballing your issues.
Better treatment looks like this:
-Quality food and diet
-Prayer and meditation
Also, there are some supplements that are natural and can help the process.
Omega 3 is tried and proven to help with inflammation. For maintenance, shoot for 5g a day, or when you get really inflamed, we have seen as much as 60g a day work well, so gauge what you can do and ease into it.
Cortisol is our anti-inflammatory hormone. This is why athletes often times get cortisone shots to help bring inflammation down. Magnesium helps cortisols out in the body, so supplementing Mg can lead to more efficient effects of cortisol in your body. Shoot for 800mg-2g a day for maintenance and 5g a day for bad inflammation.
The real secret sauce of today is curcumin.
Curcumin is a compound found in turmeric and even in ginseng root.
A Study by Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research showed that the anti-inflammatory effects and antioxidant effects of curcumin helped improve insulin sensitivity and inflammation thus being a great treatment for diabetes and being overweight.
Without getting too sciency, COX 2 is the thing that causes cell turnover to decrease and raises inflammation in the body. Curcumin is basically reducing levels of COX 2 which helps decrease inflammation. For maintenance, use 1g a day, and for times of joint soreness, or gut inflammation, do 8-10g a day.
So there you have it. You now have a better understanding of inflammation in your body, what causes it, and how to treat it.
Let us know if you need specific help as we love coaching anyone we can who wants to improve their health and life.
By Taylor Robbins, C.S.C.S