Inflammation is a subject that is increasingly mentioned in medical and health journals – and for good reason. The more researchers learn about it, the more they have come to realize it is the source of a significant amount of the health concerns our society is facing today.
Minor issues like a lack of energy, inability to concentrate, weight gain, aches and pains, headaches, bloating, and acne breakouts to more serious issues like Type II Diabetes, auto-immune disorders, fibromyalgia, heart disease, depression, arthritis, and severe anxiety may be linked to long term, chronic inflammation. (Read supporting studies 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
Even if you feel healthy and aren’t experiencing any problems yet, chances are, inflammation is slowly taking a toll on your tissues, joints, and organs until it eventually rears its ugly head. When it comes to your health, its best to fight inflammation while the problems are indiscernible or minor – waiting until major health problems occur will make it harder to treat and the damage much harder to repair.
Inflammation, specifically acute inflammation, occurs as a response to injury or infection and is necessary to help us heal. During a normal, healthy inflammatory response, the body floods the wounded area with immune cells and nutrients that destroy bacteria and repair damaged tissues. Once the initial trauma is over, the inflammatory cells and molecules are supposed to retreat so the healing process can begin.
Chronic inflammation, however, happens when the original “emergency alarm” fails to shut off when it should. This could be a result of an injury that fails to heal, an immune system that is overstressed, or continuous exposure to elements that trigger the “alarm response” (stress, toxins, viruses, harmful bacteria, or a malfunctioning or “leaky” gut). When this happens, it acts like a slow-burning fire, continuing to trigger pro-inflammatory immune cells that attack healthy tissue - damaging blood vessel linings (in heart disease), pancreatic tissue (in diabetes), joint tissue (in arthritis) and others. (Study here)
The solution and its effectiveness depends on the severity of the damage. Any step you can take to reduce inflammation is a good one. But, if you are experiencing visible or ongoing health problems – chances are, you won’t see truly positive results unless deliberate steps are taken to get ahead of the problem.
I’m going to list this first for a couple of reasons. If you have severe inflammation, you will probably need to do this in addition to diet and lifestyle changes to achieve faster, visible results.
If you don’t have any health issues, then experience has taught us that most people do not have the motivation to undertake or stick to strict diets and regimes long term. A supplement will help to pick up the slack on days or weeks where you cheat on your diet or slack on your gym routine.
Anti-inflammatory supplements contain natural anti-inflammatory benefits. These are different than Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and Naproxen. In fact, those drugs should be avoided unless absolutely necessary because of the detrimental effect they have on the gut lining.
Helpful Hint: It is also important to mix it up or take smaller doses of multiple supplements since overconsumption of a single ingredient may cause issues
One of the single largest sources of chronic inflammation is a compromised gut. The gut also plays a huge role in our overall well being – having a direct impact on immune function as well as mental health. In an unhealthy gut, there are usually numerous factors at play – a lack of beneficial bacteria, an overgrowth of harmful bacteria and yeasts (such as Candida Albicans), and a weakened gut lining. (Supporting study here)
Contributors to poor gut health include:
Suggestions for Supporting a Healthy Gut
Chronic stress (things like worrying, stressing about stress, overtraining, and not getting enough sleep) can change the gene activity of immune cells to be pro-inflammatory – even when there is no infection or trauma to fight. It can also wreak havoc on your gut – affecting gastric secretions, barrier function, mucosal blood flow as well as reducing the diversity of your gut flora. (Related studies 1, 2, 3)
Ways to reduce stress, or reduce the impact of stress:
Fat cells secrete pro-inflammatory cytokines (study 1, 2) and histamines. The larger your fat cells – the more potential you have for increased inflammation. Fat cells also serve as storage for toxins such as pesticides, pollutants, preservatives, food additives and heavy metals when there is insufficient fiber n the diet (which absorbs bad fats that carry such toxins) or when the body is unable to eliminate them due to problems with the digestive system. Enlarged fat cells are able to carry more of these toxins where they will be secreted continuously into the bloodstream – causing issues such as inflammation, fatigue, headaches and other health issues.
Ways to help shed extra pounds
The Immune System is very busy and if it gets too stressed or overloaded, things can go horribly awry. Rather than helping to heal, it can actually start attacking healthy cells and tissues. Reducing inflammation will help reduce its workload, but it would be a good idea to add a few things to your program to help support healthy Immune function.
Top Immune Support Supplements
As helpful as these suggestions might be, it might all seem a bit overwhelming. The best way to start is to take things slowly or combine things wherever possible.
For starters, the supplement recommendations can all be found in the 3 products within the Juniper Life Transformation Program, which was designed to target and reduce inflammation from all angles.
For exercise, adding yoga and nature walks to your regular weekly routine provides excellent stress-reducing benefits that are low impact and easy for everyone to perform.
For diet, start by just making sure that at least two meals a day follow the above advice and just don’t go overboard on the third meal. Don’t allow snacking as this can encourage leptin resistance and is where most diet cheating occurs.
As you get more consistent with these small changes, it makes it easier to add another healthy habit to your routine until you eventually find that most of your habits are very healthy. Its improbable and very likely impossible to make perfect choices all the time – but always making an effort to get back on track and do a little better each day will make a huge difference in your future health.