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The purpose of inflammation

Inflammation is one of the responses your body experiences as it defends itself from infections, heals itself after an injury, or contends with unknown substances. Although it’s an important component of maintaining your health, if it persists too long it can create a panoply of diseases. In fact, chronic inflammation is at the root of most of the symptoms we associate with aging. (Note: To mitigate the pain that can come from working out, consider the compression therapy that flossing bands provide.)

Although acute inflammation that lasts only a short time is necessary for healing, if it persists longer than a few days the body can begin to destroy healthy cells. Your system then has more difficulty removing them. This is why it’s important to control irritation that continues too long or occurs too frequently.

There are many situations where simple pains can run amok. Allergies are an example of the body overreacting to a foreign substance. Those itchy eyes during the pollen season can swell, constrict blood flow, block the sinuses, and cause a bottleneck. Suddenly you have an infection after your chronically active immune system has been under duress. The allergen, which normally isn’t a true problem requiring such an intense reaction, weakens your system and then allows truly detrimental pathogens to gain a footing.


Typically there are four signs that you have inflammation. Each stage was originally described by its Latin equivalent: redness (rubor), heat (calor), swelling (tumor), and pain (dolor). The redness is caused by the expansion of capillaries, which allows a greater flow of blood to deliver nutrients, proteins, and white blood cells to the site of infection or injury. It also allows for the removal of waste and damaged or dead cells. The heat and swelling that emanate during inflammation come from this increased flow of blood. They can also accompany a pooling of fluids outside and around the damaged cells. This is edema, and it causes the discomfort we associate with illness and injury by distorting surrounding tissues.


Disease and infection stimulate immune responses such as fever. When the body can contend quickly with the pathogens, your fever breaks, and the cooties are taken away. When these bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other illnesses resist your immune system, all the symptoms pile up. This creates the negative feedback loop that becomes dangerous and requires treatment.

It also happens when the body attacks its own tissues, as if they were foreign invaders. This results in autoimmune disorders. Those who suffer from these conditions should pay particular attention to avoiding anything that causes inflammation, especially problematic foods and alcohol. Injuries trigger inflammation when damaged cells leak a chemical trail that white blood cells can follow to the site. Fluids, cells, proteins, and other substances accumulate at the epicenter of the damage. This can also constrict movement, so another symptom of inflammation can also be immobility.

Many foods trigger the immune system as well. Whether it be by way of allergic reactions, or because they contain substances that the body cannot process, diet is one of the most significant sources of chronic inflammation. If a person eats these foods for a long time, they perpetuate the cycle of irritation. This in turns damages cells repeatedly, and this eventual breakdown creates aging. Sugar is a terrible source of inflammation. You can break your cravings for it by using gymnema.

As I noted in a past blog entry, I struggle with sugar addiction, and gymnema has helped me. This plant extract is the active ingredient in Crave Crush, which you can purchase on Amazon. There are also natural sweeteners that have a lower impact on blood glucose levels. Foreign substances that the immune system cannot dissolve or carry away also cause ongoing complaints. The body cannot use proteins to break down substances like silica shards and hydrogenated oils. It cannot carry away heavy metals and chlorine. These materials accumulate and cause recurring and constant immune responses.


According to The National Institute of Health,

“An increasing body of evidence shows that chronic inflammation causes and advances many common diseases. This opens new possibilities for treatment and therapy by blocking the inflammatory processes…Inflammation has long been a well-known symptom of many infectious diseases, but molecular and epidemiological research increasingly suggests that it is also intimately linked with a broad range of non-infectious diseases, perhaps even all of them.”

Whether it be diabetes, cancers, Lupus, recurring infections, Alzheimers, or almost any other condition, inflammation plays a critical role. For this reason, avoid and mitigate it as much as possible. A growing number of studies show that ginger is a natural remedy for relieving many different sources of cellular damage. Buy ginger capsules on Amazon.

Smoking, drug use, excess sugar (including alcohol), processed foods, tanning, and many other lifestyle choices contribute to aging and infirmity by creating a constant onslaught of immune triggers. Many people could potentially save themselves a great deal of money, trouble, and grief by examining whether or not they are making healthful decisions or overindulging in detrimental practices.

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Jack Kirven is a mobile personal trainer in Charlotte, NC. He is the owner of INTEGRE8T Wellness.

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