How Inflammation Wreaks Havoc On Your Health + Exactly What To Do About It
In my telehealth functional medicine clinic, there is one thing I see in common with almost all of my patients: inflammation.
This insidious health problem is triggered by a variety of factors that ends up manifesting itself in a wide-range of symptoms unique to each individual. But if you didn’t know how inflammation plays a role in your health, it would be easy to dismiss this issue as none of your concern.
So let’s take a look at what exactly inflammation can do to your health and what you can do to overcome your symptoms to go from just surviving through it to thriving.
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1. Brain problems
Chronic inflammation causes so many problems with your brain that a whole area of medical research known as “the cytokine model of cognitive function” is dedicated to researching exactly how inflammation is correlated with brain problems.
What we do know from this research is that when inflammation is high, your microRNA-155 molecule is elevated and ends up creating gaps in the blood-brain barrier that lets bacteria and other toxins slip through. Since your brain’s immune system has to work in overdrive to fight off these invaders, it ends up creating even more inflammation in your brain in a last ditch effort to try to protect it.
This inflammatory oxidative stress in the hypothalamus of the brain is the underlying cause of brain fog, anxiety, depression, and other problems like dementia.
2. Gut dysfunction
Inflammation doesn’t just stop at affecting your brain. In fact, it also affects what science often refers to as your “second brain” - your gut. When your gut lining is damaged by years of unhealthy eating, food intolerances, stress, and toxins, it can allow undigested food particles and bacterial endotoxins called lipopolysaccharides (LPS) to pass out of the digestive tract and into the rest of the body where they don’t belong.
Sensing an “invader,” the body can react with systemic inflammation that can become chronic and lead to digestive problems like leaky gut syndrome and further perpetuate other problems like autoimmune disease.
3. Autoimmune disease
Since your immune system mainly resides in your gut, it is no surprise that a leaky gut syndrome and out-of-control inflammation are preconditions for autoimmunity. While we don’t know for certain what causes autoimmune conditions, the reigning theory is that a genetic weakness is triggered by an immune system response to toxins through a compromised gut lining or chronic viral, bacterial, yeast, or parasite infections that trigger chronic inflammation in the body.
This inflammatory-immune response can both cause and increase intestinal permeability or leaky gut syndrome, further perpetuating the inflammatory-immune cycle.
4. Hormone imbalance
Hormones are considered the messengers of your body. Each one is responsible for sending out specific instructions to every system of your body in order to fulfill its proper function. But if communication is blocked due to inflammation, your body won’t know how to move forward and chronic health problems will arise.
For example, in cases of leptin resistance, the hypothalamic cells in your brain stop recognizing leptin’s signals due to inflammation blocking your brain’s leptin receptor site. The brain doesn’t perceive that enough food has come in, and reads that as starvation. Everything you eat goes straight into fat storage, without being used for energy, making the problem even worse.
How to start lowering inflammation
When looking to heal chronic inflammation levels, there are many natural wellness tools on the market. However, I believe food is foundational when it comes to long-term, sustainable healing because no amount of trendy, quick-fixes can make up for what you eat on a daily basis. Afterall, the food you eat can either fuel inflammation or quell it.
One of my favorite, science-baked foods to focus on is turmeric. Inside this potent spice is the active compound known as curcumin which is responsible for giving turmeric its bright yellow shade.
But it is so much more than a flavorful addition to your next meal. In fact, curcumin has been shown time and time again in multiple studies to help decrease inflammation in brain, (1) gut, (2) and hormone problems (3) as well as autoimmune conditions. (4)
However, when trying to overcome inflammation, it’s difficult to cook with enough turmeric to win the battle. For this reason, a curcumin supplement formulated with black pepper - that helps increase curcumin’s bioavailability - can really take your healing to the next-level.
As we know though, not every supplement is created equally. In my telehealth functional medicine clinic, I was tired of seeing my patient’s spend hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars on supplements that didn’t work, only to be left with a cabinet full of half-empty supplement bottles.
That’s why I personally curated The Curcumin with pure turmeric extract including BCM-95® which has been extensively studied for its proven efficacy and enhanced bioavailability without additives.
One major problem that I saw with most conventional curcumin supplements, was its poor absorption in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, quick metabolism, and rapid elimination from the body.
Instead, we were able to harness the power of the curcuminoids and the sesquiterpenoids (essential oils) naturally present in turmeric to develop BCM-95—a 100% natural whole turmeric extract composed of 86% curcuminoids (curcumin, demethoxycurcuminoid, and bisdemethoxycurcuminoid) and 7%-9% essential oils that further enhance the absorption of curcuminoids.
By optimizing bioavailability, The Curcumin is able to help support inflammation levels from the inside out by providing antioxidant and cell-protective activity, joint support, and modulation of the production of inflammatory cytokines. This powerful formula is designed to work synergistically with the entirety of The Collection to help restore your body’s natural state of being.
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- Agrawal, Rahul et al. “Effect of curcumin on brain insulin receptors and memory functions in STZ (ICV) induced dementia model of rat.” Pharmacological research vol. 61,3 (2010): 247-52. doi:10.1016/j.phrs.2009.12.008
- Monika Sharma, Raman Manoharlal, Nidhi Puri, Rajendra Prasad; Antifungal curcumin induces reactive oxygen species and triggers an early apoptosis but prevents hyphae development by targeting the global repressor TUP1 in Candida albicans. Biosci Rep 1 December 2010; 30 (6): 391–404. doi: https://doi.org/10.1042/BSR20090151
- Li, Jian-Mei et al. “Curcumin inhibits hepatic protein-tyrosine phosphatase 1B and prevents hypertriglyceridemia and hepatic steatosis in fructose-fed rats.” Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.) vol. 51,5 (2010): 1555-66. doi:10.1002/hep.23524
- Bright, John J. “Curcumin and autoimmune disease.” Advances in experimental medicine and biology vol. 595 (2007): 425-51. doi:10.1007/978-0-387-46401-5_19
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BY DR. WILL COLE
Dr. Will Cole, IFMCP, DNM, DC, leading functional medicine expert, consults people around the world via webcam and locally in Pittsburgh. He received his doctorate from Southern California University of Health Sciences and post doctorate education and training in functional medicine and clinical nutrition. He specializes in clinically researching underlying factors of chronic disease and customizing a functional medicine approach for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, and brain problems. Dr. Cole was named one of the top 50 functional medicine and integrative doctors in the nation and is the best selling author of Ketotarian and The Inflammation Spectrum.