Inflammation Triggers

Inflammation is necessary for healing but chronic inflammation does have harmful effects on our body including allergic reactions, increased blood pressure and decreased range of motion. Eating a proper diet and maintaining a healthy nervous system are ways to reduce inflammation.

What does it mean for your body to have inflammation and what are the symptoms?

Dr. Andrew Shepherd: Well, that’s a great question, Liz. Inflammation is not necessarily a bad thing, and in itself, it’s really not harmful. Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury, infection, or some kind of foreign invader that may cause an acute or a chronic reaction. The inflammatory response serves several important functions in our body. The body’s immune system is triggered to defend itself against what it perceives as some kind of foreign invader, such as a virus, a bacteria, a fungus, or being impaled by some kind of foreign-type object. Now the body will begin to detoxify itself in the presence of inflammation, and it will also facilitate a healing cascade in order to decrease that inflammation.

Now inflammation is necessary for healing. However, when this becomes chronic, it can and does lead to symptoms and disease processes. Symptoms can likely include fever, redness, pain, allergic reactions, coughing, watery eyes and noses, an increase in blood pressure, an increase in weight gain, shortness of breath, decreased range of motion and flexibility, and these are just really to name but a few.

What diseases are associated with inflammation?

Dr. Andrew Shepherd: Well, any disease ending in the term -itis, which is I-T-I-S, refers to an inflammatory condition, so things like arthritis, bursitis, neuritis, bronchitis are all inflammatory processes and diseases. However, chronic inflammation has been noted in all of the following disease processes, so it’s the common factor in every one of these, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, chronic fatigue, and fibromyalgia.

Can certain foods cause inflammation?

Dr. Andrew Shepherd: Absolutely. Much of what we consume on a daily basis creates inflammation in our bodies. A simple rule of thumb is, if man has processed a natural food to either increase its shelf life, increase its flavor and taste profile, to make them more convenient, then those foods will very likely cause inflammation in the body. Refined sugars and the high fructose corn syrups are extremely inflammatory in our body. When foods are overcooked or cooked using methods such as microwaving, they really become denatured. They lose their natural enzymes and they lose many of their vitamins and minerals. Then this turns what was once a perfectly healthy and good food into an inflammatory food. Certain people who have either an IgG or an IgE food allergy, they’re going to notice if they consume a particular food, their body will create inflammation as a result of that. This would happen in somebody who has absolutely no allergic reaction to the same food, which is a healthy food for them, but someone who is going to have an allergic reaction, it triggers an inflammation cascade.

Do environmental or other allergies cause inflammation?

Unfortunately, our environment is loaded with toxins. It’s in our air. It’s in the water we breathe. It’s in the food we consume. It’s in the products that we use on our hair, our nails, and our skin. All of these toxins from environmental factors will cause inflammation in the body.

Does muscle and joint overuse from sports activities cause inflammation?

Dr. Andrew Shepherd: Well, any type of exercise, whether it’s light or heavy, or whether it’s being done correctly or incorrectly, will create inflammation in the body. Now that being said, the benefits of sporting activities and exercise generally far outweigh the negative effects of inflammation. In a nervous system, in a body that is functioning properly with a healthy immune response and correct spinal and joint alignment, the inflammation that is created by exercise is easily and effectively processed.

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