Causes of chronic inflammation – An Alternative Point of View
Gut Flora Imbalance
An imbalance of gut flora with too many “bad guys” producing toxins can create quite a reaction in your immune system.
A large part of the immune system is in the gut lining. This is called the gastrointestinal associated lymphatic tissues (GALT). 80% of the antibodies in your body are made here. This makes sense as the outside world has somewhat easy access into the digestive tract by way of hitchhiking in, on food and drink.
Bacterial population patterns in the human gut predict occurrence of a variety of chronic inflammatory diseases, so the health of our commensal intestinal bacterial flora is very important if we want to decrease inflammation in the body. Intestinal inflammation may lead to leaky “tight junctions” between intestinal cells, which leads to bits of substances (antigens) getting past the tight junction barriers that should provide a protective barrier in the lumen of the gut. These antigens can cause antibody reactions and lead to inflammation in distant areas of the body and autoimmune disease.
Environmental Toxins –
Examples are heavy metals (mercury and lead), light metals (aluminum), herbicides, pesticides, volatile organic compounds, biotoxins (mycotoxins from mold, toxins from algae). Mercury is in our teeth and vaccinations, lead is in our water and some products, aluminum is everywhere as are herbicides and pesticides. Our homes are built with many toxic products and then we make these homes air-tight, which keeps all that bad air in. If we have a water leak in the house, we now have mold and bacteria growing in conjunction with the toxic building products soup. These toxins in our body can cause a tremendous amount of chronic inflammation.
Viral, bacterial, fungal or parasite infection – Examples are chronic Herpes or Cytomegalovirus infections, Candida, and Giardia. Many people have unfriendly guests taking up residence in their body and this adds to the inflammatory load when they get out of control.
Lack of Necessary Nutrients to Support the Body
Lack of necessary nutrients to support antioxidant and, or biotransformational systems. (due to inadequate diets or eating food grown in low nutrient conditions or grown, shipped, packaged or stored in manners that strip the food of their nutrients) Without adequate nutrients, our cells can not function. They are unable to build new healthy cells as needed or to operate normally including protecting the body from toxins from infections, or detoxing the body from the environmental toxins previously mentioned.
Poor Diets that Promote Inflammation
Diets high in sugar, bad fats, inadequate protein, eating low nutrient foods, chemical laden food (pesticides, herbicides, chemicals to keep food preserved or make it pretty). There are many toxins disguised as food in the standard American diet. This is a case where what should cure us and make us strong and healthy, actually adds to the chronic inflammation and malaise.
Food Allergens or Sensitivities
Eating foods you “react to” contributes to inflammation.
Lack of Sleep
Sleep is often neglected as being important. This is the time your body rests and is nourished back to health. This is when your cells rejuvenate themselves. This includes housekeeping for your brain. Sleep is of utmost importance.
Lack of movement
Considering that exercise has been linked to many chronic diseases, I think we all know how important it is. Now we just need to all act upon this knowledge. Too little and too strenuous movement can cause inflammation, so a happy medium is necessary.
Obesity goes hand and hand with inflammation and they appear to exacerbate each other. Any poundage you can loose when overweight will help decrease inflammation.
Smoking cigarettes, excessive drinking
They are both bad ideas and lead to inflammation and disease.
Chronic stress eventually leads to dampening of cortisol and ramps up the immune system, causing inflammation.
This post is an excerpt from “Herbal ABC’s” with slight changes since it has been taken out of context from the book. Herbal ABC’s The Foundation of Herbal Medicine was written by Dr. Sharol Tilgner and Deborah Frances N.D. R.N.
In this book you will learn the actions and applications that western herbal medicine is based on. Herbal ABCs is organized by body systems with a physiology review for each organ system. It has up-to-date information on uses, dosages, contraindications of the most commonly used herbs. There are over 1200 scientific citations to support the traditional and clinical information. Dr. Tilgner, one of America s best-known herbalists and naturopaths. She is also an organic/biodynamic farmer, physician, herbalist, & modern day Renaissance woman.