The Hidden Cause of Disease and Aging
And How to Control It
Chronic Inflammation in the body that accelerates and contributes to age related conditions and diseases.
It is something you're going to hear a lot more about in the world of wellness and anti-aging. Let’s Say it’s new way of thinking about an old paradigm.
We know that inflammation is a natural and key process to fight infection or injury but hidden chronic inflammation can contribute to various age-related diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and even cognitive decline. It's like the stealthy villain that lurks in the background, contributing to the wear and tear on our bodies.
Menopause and Andropause can promote Inflamm-Aging (hormones have is a natural anti-inflammatory properties) and we are more at risk of insulin resistance. The good news is that healthy diet and lifestyle choices can help to manage and control it.
What is Inflamm-Aging?
Let’s say you’ve just accidentally cut yourself. Your immune system kicks in the inflammation response, rushing white blood cells, antibodies, and other immune molecules to the affected site where they isolate the injury and seal off the wound to slow blood loss and ward off infection. The area becomes inflamed (swollen, red and warm).
Over time, as the wound heals, the inflammation will start to subside. The immune cells will begin to release anti-inflammatory molecules that reduce swelling and promote tissue repair. Blood vessels in the area will start to grow back, and new tissue will begin to form – that’s your scar and eventually a layer of new skin.
Once the crisis is averted, a healthy immune system then goes back to normal and shuts off the alarm. But when your immune system isn’t at its best, it can keep the inflammation going, and if unchecked this can lead to chronic ‘hidden' inflammation that can lead to health conditions such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer.
On top of that your immune system can start to ‘misfire’, to attack things that are normally harmless. This can lead to Autoimmunity and promote more inflammation in the body.
Your body is a well-oiled machine, and over time, it's inevitable that a few nuts and bolts might start to rust. Inflamm-Aging adds a layer of “rust” (or oxidative stress) that makes the gears grind a bit less smoothly. Our bodies become less resilient, and things start to move slower, muscles get tighter, and joints develop arthritis.
How to Test for Inflamm-Aging?
The problem is that you can’t always see chronic inflammation from the outside. However, we can often see in laboratory testing that the signs of early or late inflammation are developing.
Although there are not specific tests for Inflamm-Aging, you can often see the signs of it in general blood markers including:
- C-reactive protein (or CRP). This test can tell you if there's an excess of inflammation in your body, but it can't pinpoint the exact source.
- ESR: Another test for general inflammation.
- Ferritin – high levels of iron stores can indicate inflammation.
- HbA1c – high levels are a risk factor for insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes, both indicators of high inflammation
- Vitamin D – low levels increase the risk of inflammation.
- Thyroid (TSH, T4, T3 and Antibodies) – low thyroid hormones and high antibodies can identify an autoimmune condition.
- ANA and RF; these are autoimmune markers that may show signs of autoimmunity.
Causes of Inflamm-Aging
As well as general wear and tear, there are many factors that could be increasing inflammation in your body including:
- Poor diet – sugar, refined carbs, unhealthy fats, food allergens, nutrient deficiencies, and ultra-processed foods can trigger inflammation. Spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels can activate inflammatory pathways in the body. And they can disrupt the balance of gut bacteria, leading to a cascade of inflammatory responses.
- Stress – cortisol can stimulate the release of inflammatory molecules in the body. Chronic stress can also weaken the immune system, making it less effective at managing inflammation.
- Sedentary lifestyle– lack of physical activity can contribute to chronic inflammation by impairing the body's ability to regulate insulin and blood sugar. Exercise helps reduce inflammation by promoting the release of anti-inflammatory molecules and improving circulation.
- Poor sleep– sleep deprivation disrupts the body's natural immune response and increases levels of inflammatory markers. It can also affect the balance of hormones that regulate inflammation, leading to a chronic state of low-grade inflammation.
- Environmental toxins– exposure to toxins such as air pollutants, plastics, heavy metals, and chemicals can trigger an immune response that results in inflammation. These substances can directly damage cells and tissues, leading to ongoing inflammation.
- Underlying infections and poor gut health– chronic infections, such as those caused by viruses or bacteria, can keep the immune system on high alert, leading to persistent inflammation. The immune response designed to fight off the infection can inadvertently contribute to tissue damage and inflammation. An imbalance of gut bacteria (dysbiosis) can lead to a leaky gut, where harmful substances escape into the bloodstream and trigger an immune response. This chronic immune activation can result in systemic inflammation.
- Menopause– our hormones have anti-inflammatory effects, and studies have found that the decline in estrogen and progesterone levels after menopause can lead to an increase in inflammatory markers in the body and autoimmunity.
- Injury and Wear and Tear-Accidents, Injuries and Structural wear and tear on our muscles, joints and bones can cause localized and general chronic inflammation.
Natural ways to Reduce Inflammation
The good news is that there are some simple steps we can take to manage inflammation naturally:
- Anti-inflammatory diet– load up on fruit & veg, oily fish, organic meat, legumes, ginger, garlic, herbs & spices, olive oil, coconuts, green tea, avocados, nuts, and seeds.
- Relax– manage your stress daily! Get that me-time in and make it non-negotiable. It might just be 15 minutes reading a book, listening to music, walking in nature, or meditating.
- Sleep – optimize your sleep by getting to bed early, blocking all light, relaxing before bed, and taking supplements if you need to extra support.
- Move – regular physical activity keeps those inflammation levels in check – mix up cardio (could just be a brisk walk), with strength training (muscle is anti-inflammatory!) and stretching.
- Detox – minimize your exposure to chemicals, especially in your household and personal products. Try the Detox Program 1-2 times per year.
- Support your Gut– get more diversity into your veggie intake to feed your gut bacteria! Probiotic foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, live yoghurt, and kefir are great ways to rebalance your microbiome.
- Checking for underlying infections is essential if you have ongoing digestive or Immune issues contact us for testing.
- Balance your Hormones– if you're not on HRT, make sure your diet is rich in phytoestrogens, and your environment is low in xeno-estrogens like pesticides, BPA and synthetic fragrances. Get your thyroid properly checked out too. Keep your blood sugar balanced to keep insulin in check.
- Overnight Fasting– time restricted eating has been shown to support your immune system. Leave 12-16 hours between dinner and breakfast.
- Stay connected– social interactions, particularly those involving close relationships, can trigger the release of oxytocin, which has anti-inflammatory properties and can help regulate the immune response.
- Supplement – anti-inflammatory supplements to consider include Omega 3 DHA/EPA, Vitamin D, Curcumin, Boswellia, Quercetin, Vitamin C.
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