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Saturday, July 25, 2015

What do you think chronic inflammation is doing to your body right now?

Yes, I think you have some level of chronic inflammation going on right now.  I hope I am wrong, that you do not, but statistically, you probably do.  It is an ubiquitous player in modern life, a result of many foods you’ve been told are good, but are not; aggressive marketing by corporate edible producers, and lifestyle factors only some of which are under your control.

 Want to prove me wrong?  Ask your physician for a CRP (C-reactive protein) blood test.  It’s not obscure, and though they do not normally order it, they will without too much confrontation.  The test measures a protein that is part of the immune response.  A high level (above 1.0) indicate your immune system is simmering (or boiling) and not able to shut down so your body can heal.

 Do you have an medical condition?  Do you experience pain on a regular basis?  Those are manifestations of an immune system cranked up.  Healthy aging is not painful, forgetful, frail, disabled or fraught with medical diagnosis. 

 All those things ocurr in the presence of decades long chronic inflammation.  The damage continues to accrue until you have something (or somethings) wrong with you and a curtailed quality of life.

 So if you get the blood test, and it’s high, or you believe me that your chronic pain or disease is the result of chronic inflammation, what are you willing to do about it?  What exactly do you think it means for you—not the facts of it, but the consequence of it?

As I have researched inflammation, and what it means for myself, my friends and family, I can tell you what frightens me the most.  It is the effect of chronic inflammation on the health and function of my mind.  Having watched my own mother and others lose cognitive ability, I am most certain that isn’t what I want for myself.  An inflammed brain cannot stay sharp.  It cannot remember well.  It cannot serve us well.  But that’s not normal aging, it is pathology.

How do you reduce inflammation?  There are lots of things that help, but the biggest inflammatory factor in your body is the level of blood sugar and insulin.  They are an overwhelming cause of it.  Protein and fat do not increase blood sugar or spike insulin.  Only carbohydrates do.  Fewer are better for you, especially the high density things like sugars and grains.  The longer you have abused that system, the harder it is to get it working right again.

Next thing that reduces inflammation is to eliminate vegetable oils.  The healthy balance of Omega 3 oils (mostly animal fats) and Omega 6 oils (mostly vegetable sources) should be 50/50.  They do opposite things so an even balance keeps you right where mother nature intended.  For 40 years or more we were told saturated fat was deadly so they squeezed grass seeds to process out some oil and marketed rigorously.  Read labels.  Soy oil is in way too many packaged goods.  Too much Omega 6 is inflammatory.

Next is to eliminate the deficiencies.  Chances are very high that you are deficient in many minerals because almost everybody is.  Almost everyone is low in Vitamin D.  I blogged about these earlier this year.

Next, there are a variety of things that can tweak the process of eliminating inflammation, if the above steps do not do it for you--that depends on your individuality and lifestyle.  But the above are the ones to try first.  They are inexpensive, very effective, and have no bad side effects—only good ones. Yes, turmeric is anti-inflammatory, but if your blood sugar and insulin are high, turmeric’s benefit will be swamped and a waste of money.

Get the test.  While you’re getting that one (CRP) ask for fasting insulin.  Not fasting glucose.  Insulin should be 5 or below, lower is better.   Holler if you’d like help on any of this sort of nutritional approach to aging without brain fog, pain and disease!

So back to the question in the title…what do you think inflammation is doing in your body?  I think it is damaging you somewhere, shortening your life and increasing potential misery.  It’s keeping your body from being able to heal itself like it was intended. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Findings on Dementia

Results from 7 studies about what things boost risk of your brain failing you as you age.  Two thing to remember.  a) Your body has only one thing it can do when something is wrong (toxins, deficiencies, injuries, micro invaders)--anything wrong, it cranks up inflammation.  If it gets cranked up and never allowed to shut down it causes damage.  Where that damage shows up for you is individual, but the biggies in the category of diseases of civilization are the heart, metabolism, brain and malignant growths. Ultimately they all are part of a network (you).  All the info below ties to the inflammation thermostat.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Science as an Adjunct of Big Pharma

Mice are used for many studies because they have many, many similarities to humans.   In fact, wild mice are omnivores, they eat a variety of foods including meat--insects or in hard times, each other.  If you have been reading with me for very long, you know I think carbohydrates are far too prevalent in modern human diets.  In research mice, the normal mouse chow is 13% fat, 62% carbohydrate and 25% protein.   Why they decided this is "normal" for mice is anyone's guess.  Here is the headline for a recent mouse study and one line from the study. 

Age-related cognitive decline tied to immune-system molecule "Since B2M goes up with age in blood, Cerebral Spinal Fluid, and also in the brain itself, this allows us multiple avenues in which to target this protein therapeutically."

This protein with a negative effect on brain function goes up with age.  I want to know why.  Is it correlated with other markers of chronic inflammation like CRP?  I suspect the answer is yes.  And if that's the case,  the therapeutic intervention I'd be most interested in is one that reduces chronic inflammation (including B2M protein) without drugs, by changing the diet. 

So back to the mouse diet.  If chronic inflammation is going up with age, the first place to look would be the diet.  Yikes--62% carbohydrate and low fat of only 13% would sure be inflammatory in a human.  Little mouse subject might just need a better diet that promotes a healthier--lower--level of chronic inflammation. 

My point is that there is a bias in much of the science (follow the money) to make money for big pharma.  I think this is a good example of that.  They're simply not asking the right question in the first place. They're asking what drug can ameliorate the effects of this immune protein that goes up with age?  I would ask what's making this protein go up with age and I'd bet on a diet that's totally out of whack for an omnivore.