So, there is a lot of conversation out there about inflammation and why we need to fix it. Let’s talk about what is inflammation and why it matters, where it comes from, and what we can do about it.
It is important to understand that there is a connection between inflammation and immunity, which negatively impacts hormonal balance, which in turn impacts mood, energy, and wellness. We can actually have stress and inflammation at the cellular level. When we have inflammation at the cellular level, our gut and our brains are out of balance, which can cause us to feel foggy, run-down, and easily overwhelmed.
What are some things that contribute to inflammation?
- Sugar. Sugar, particularly in the form of fructose and sucrose, spikes insulin and triggers release of inflammatory cytokines.
- Chemicals. Pesticides, environmental pollution from industrial waste, hormonally-modulating plastics, etc.
- Pathogens. Herbicides, gluten grains, and genetically modified foods, promote changes in our intestinal flora that facilitate growth bacteria, yeast, and fungus which can negatively impact our immune systems.
- Stress. Stress is link between hormones and inflammation, because stress, whether it’s psychological or physiologic, triggers the release of stress hormones like Cortisol.
Once inflammation is active, the cycle continues to feed on itself. Inflammatory proteins, called Cytokines, travel throughout the body causing stress to tissue. In the brain, inflammation facilitates production of anxiety-provoking chemicals instead of chemicals like serotonin and melatonin, which are well-being and relaxation hormones. And we can then develop depression-like symptoms like sleep issues, decreased social activity, loss of interest, etc. According to an article in Hormonesmatter.com by Dr. Kelly Brogan, MD, Psychiatric researchers have observed that patients with higher levels of inflammatory markers are less likely to respond to antidepressants, and more likely to respond to anti-inflammatories.
OK—so what do we do about reducing inflammation and getting it under control? Some basics that can help:
- Exercise – Exercise helps to manage stress by producing Burst exercise is my primary recommendation. It is the most bang for your
- Meditation – The effects of stimulating the relaxation nervous system, even through listening to a 20 minute guided meditation, can be far-reaching.
- Diet – Elimination of refined carbs and grains, and through high levels of natural fats to push the body to relearn how to use fats for fuel. Ensuring that your diet includes foods that contain natural anti-inflammatories like polyunsaturated fats (evening primrose oil and fish oil), curcumin (the active component of turmeric), and probiotics are all helpful.
I also recommend adding natural plant-based supplements including herbal formulas like IN:PEACE, to help stop the stress/inflammation cycle before it starts. Understanding that there is a connection between inflammation and immunity negatively impacting hormonal imbalance, which directly impacts mood, energy, and wellness, is reason enough to add natural plant-based remedies which include adaptogens to increase resilience to stress, immune-boosters, and, of course, anti-inflammatories!
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