Inflammation can be, in a sense, a good thing for the body. Redness, swelling, pain and limited range of motion are important defense mechanisms that play a major role in the healing process.
All of these things are true, but newer and rapidly accumulating evidence now indicates that when inflammation continues for too long or is too intense, it can be very destructive, and even result in many disorders.
It turns out that two processes play a major role in inflammation: the immune system and the prostaglandin system. They interact with each other and either enhance inflammation or reduce it.
The cumulative toxic burden on the body – viruses, stress, heavy metals, bacteria, chemicals, plastics, pesticides, fluoride, etc. – along with injury and/or heredity, can trigger an IL-4 or IL-6 autoimmune response that sends out cytokines and auto-antibodies that are meant to use inflammation against these toxins to speed recovery or drive them out of the body.
The immune system gets stuck in this inflammation mode when cellular communication breaks down and the immune system can no longer differentiate between diseased and healthy tissue. Then these weapons of inflammation get directed towards healthy tissue.
In the case of Rheumatoid Arthritis, the joints are inflamed; in Fibromyalgia and Lupus, the connective tissue is inflamed; in Myasthenia Gravis, the neuromuscular junctions are attacked; in Interstitial Cystitis, the bladder lining is inflamed. And so on and so forth.
One characteristic of inflammation is the high level of free radicals, mostly generated by the immune system, that are released into the tissues and blood.
Studies have shown that low magnesium levels greatly increase inflammation, pain, and free radical damage. Correcting the deficiency can reverse inflammation and protect against damage from heart disease and kidney problems.
Scientists have also discovered that, as we age, we become more inflamed. Inflammation is a natural process caused by the aging of our immune system, the system normally designed to prevent it.
In many studies that looked at inflammation markers, the main benefit of any treatment was directly related to reducing inflammation.
The typical Western diet, high in Omega 6 fatty acids, sugar, refined carbohydrates, and low in fruits and vegetables, strongly promotes inflammation.
Diets high in red meat content are another problem.
The problem is not the saturated fats but rather the high iron content. Iron acts as a catalyst for free radical production as it oxidizes antioxidants in food and supplements. This, of course, increases inflammation.
The most powerful anti-inflammatory foods include vegetables, fruits and omega-3 oils.
A number of supplements (as listed below), including an assortment of vitamins and minerals, can reduce inflammation, especially when taken together.