Can a Healthy Lifestyle Reverse Chronic Low-Grade Inflammation?

InflammationJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

As part of the body’s immune response, acute inflammation is the beginning of the biological healing process. A central component of innate immunity, inflammation is a local response to pathogens and injured tissue. Per the British Journal of Nutrition, acute inflammation is “marked by increased blood flow, capillary dilation, leukocyte (white blood cell) infiltration and the localized production of a host of chemical mediators,” all in pursuit of the identification and destruction of toxic agents and the repair of damaged tissue. Generally considered to be a protective mechanism, the trouble begins when anti-inflammatory mediators don’t resolve, and pro-inflammatory pathways don’t switch off. The balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines plays a critical role in the body’s response to an inflammatory stimulus.

Low grade inflammation is defined as a two to four-fold increase in circulating levels of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines, as well as other markers of immune activity. Chronic inflammation can occur when the body sends an inflammatory response to a perceived threat when a response is unwarranted, or can result from a failure to eliminate the cause of acute inflammation. The association between chronic low-grade systemic inflammation and chronic disease development is well recognized, yet the question as to why the immune system goes awry, signaling attacks on and destruction of its own healthy tissues, remains unclear. Obesity, bacteria; and the western lifestyle, characterized by sedentary habits, sleep deprivation, and a diet rich in industrially refined foods, are considered likely contributors to systemic inflammation.

Chronic inflammation can remain silent and symptomless and persist for years until a serious disease presents itself. Elevated unresolved inflammation can affect the body’s organs and tissues, and lead to conditions such as chronic sinusitis, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, arteriosclerosis, and irritable bowel syndrome, as well as some cancers and Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Crohn’s diseases. The American Heart Association recommends blood tests that measure levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation. Elevated levels of CRP are linked to plaque formation and a higher risk of developing coronary artery disease.

Scientists have found that obese people have higher levels of white blood cells, and ultimately, persistent inflammation. Studies also show that reducing inflammation through weight loss, along with modifiable dietary and lifestyle factors, may offer a disease-prevention strategy. Certain foods, supplements and nutraceuticals are known to target a range of compounds associated with inflammation. Astaxanthin, omega-3 essential fatty acids, and turmeric may help to slowly reduce or prevent inflammation without the side effects of anti-inflammatory OTC formulations and pharmaceuticals.

-Substantial evidence suggests that foods and nutrients, such as those found in a Mediterranean style diet, help to modulate both acute and chronic inflammation.

-Foods that help reduce inflammation include fatty fish, berries, leafy greens, nuts, olives and spices, including ginger, rosemary, cinnamon, garlic and turmeric.

-Foods that fuel inflammation include fried foods, red and processed meats, sugary foods and refined carbohydrates.

-Moderate intensity physical activity can improve weight and cholesterol, enhance cardiac and lung functions, calm stress and reduce inflammation by the release of hormones that decrease production of immune substances.

-Sleeping for fewer than six or more than eight hours nightly is associated with higher levels of C-reactive protein. Although sleep requirements vary, as a general rule, aim for the optimal amount of sleep.

-Omega-3 essential fatty acids are associated with lower levels of proinflammatory markers. An Ohio State University study showed that daily consumption of omega-3’s reduced acute and chronic inflammation, as well as anxiety in a group of young healthy people.

-Astaxanthin, a potent antioxidant and powerful anti-inflammatory, has been shown to cool the fires of the inflammatory process in peer reviewed scientific studies.

-Tart cherries’ powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties have been shown to significantly reduce levels of key inflammatory markers.

– B vitamin insufficiency can harm the lining of the blood vessels through increased clotting, oxidative stress, and interactions with white blood cells. Magnesium deficiency is also thought to play a role in chronic inflammation, and those deficient in vitamin A are more likely to have a prolonged inflammatory response.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other high quality supplements in support of a normal inflammatory response and overall health:

Astaxanthin 4 mgAstaxanthin 4 mg by Pure Encapsulations®: Derived from Hawaiian microalgae cultivated under pristine and highly controlled conditions, this powerful antioxidant naturally supports skin, macula, joint, immune and cardiovascular health. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO formulation.


ProOmega Lemon 1000...ProOmega® Lemon 1000 mg by Nordic Naturals: Clinically shown to provide high intensity, therapeutic support with high levels of pure omega-3 fatty acids, this deep-sea fish oil provides support for cardiovascualar, liver, joint, immune, brain and eye health, as well as a healthy natural inflammatory response. Gluten free, no artificial ingredients.


Tart Cherry UltraTart Cherry Ultra by Enzymatic Therapy: Tart cherries provide anthocyanins, beneficial antioxidant phytonutrients known to inhibit oxidative damage. Gluten, wheat, soy, dairy, sugar, yeast and artificial ingredient free, vegetarian formulation.


Vitamin A 10, 000 I...Vitamin A 10,000 IU by Douglas Laboratories: One softgel provides 10,000 IU of vitamin A palmitate in support of eye and cellular health, and a healthy immune response. Contains soy and fish oil.


Active B-ComplexActive B-Complex by Integrative Therapeutics: Active B-Complex provides a full complement of bioavailable B vitamins in support of numerous biochemical processes that support good health and bodily function. Gluten, dairy, sugar, yeast and artificial ingredient free, vegetarian formulation.


Chelated Magnesium ...Chelated Magnesium by Douglas Laboratories: One tablet provides 100 mg of elemental magnesium in the form of magnesium amino acid chelate for optimum absorption and assimilation in the body.


Low-grade inflammation, diet composition and health: current research evidence and its translation.
Lifestyle factors and inflammation: associations by body mass index.
Understanding Autoimmune Diseases.
Physical Activity & Hypokinetic Disease.
Inflammation: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment.
Lifestyle Approaches That Calm Inflammation.




Organic Fiji – Featured Brand

OrganicFijiSusan Brown Health and Wellness Editor

Professional Supplement Center now carries Organic Fiji, a line of unique artisanal personal care products. Inspired by the daily routines, beauty regimes, family health, personal care traditions, and diet of the Fiji islanders, all products are formulated with USDA Certified organic, cold pressed, extra virgin coconut oil. The uncompromised quality and cleanliness of the ingredients is supported by a cold pressed extraction method, which maintains the molecular structure of the oil, as well as the beneficial compounds. As one of nature’s most valuable gifts, coconut oil intensely nourishes and moisturizes the skin, hair and body, and provides the wholesome the benefits of lauric acid and medium chain triglycerides.

Graced with antioxidant, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties, coconut oil works as a healing agent to provide pure and holistically wholesome truly natural whole body wellness. Organic Fiji’s clean, sustainable, socially responsible and environmentally friendly plantation operates under fair trade ethics offering fair wages and supporting local communities. These top quality products are USDA Certified organic, Certified Kosher, vegan and cruelty free. All products are free of sulfates, phthalates, toxic chemicals, and artificial ingredients.

To see more products from Organic Fiji, please visit

Face and Body...Face and Body Coconut Oil Soap Awapuhi Seaberry: This wonderfully fragrant, chemical free organic coconut oil soap is handcrafted using a 400 year old Fijian recipe. Simple ingredients of saponified cold pressed extra virgin coconut oil and Awapuhi Seaberry essential oils deliver a rich creamy lather and leave skin feeling rejuvenated, nourished and cleansed. Suitable for all skin types including sensitive and irritated skin. This soap may also be used to cleanse hair, making it a very convenient travel companion. Additional fragrances: Cucumber Melon, Lavender, Lemongrass Tangerine, Pineapple Coconut, Tea Tree Spearmint and Fragrance Free.


Face & Body Lotion...Face & Body Lotion Night Blooming Jasmine: This artisanal tropical organic coconut lotion soothes, moisturizers and nourishes the skin. Island inspired and crafted with organic ingredients and essential oils, this aromatic skin quenching lotion revitalizes the face and body with each use. Additional fragrances: Awapuhi Seaberry, Cucumber Melon, Lavender, Lemongrass Tangerine, Pineapple Coconut and Fragrance Free.


Nourishing Lotion...Nourishing Lotion Tea Tree Spearmint: This eczema and psoriasis therapy lotion nourishes and heals the skin with timeless ingredients that include organic coconut oil, aromatic plant extracts, and essential oils that work synergistically to replenish the face and body.


Raw Oil Fragrance...Raw Oil Fragrance Free: Utilized for natural health and wellness in island cultures for generations, this 100% extra virgin, cold pressed, raw, unscented organic coconut oil is ideal for baby’s skin, sensitive skin and tender skin conditions, and may also be used hair and scalp treatments, and makeup removal. Scented raw oils include: Lavender, Lemongrass Tangerine and Pineapple Coconut.


Sunshine, Sunscreen and Vitamin D

SunshineVitaminDJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

The primary role of vitamin D is the maintenance of healthy bones and teeth, however the health of the immune, brain, cardiovascular, respiratory, nervous, and muscular systems also depend on the support of vitamin D. As an aid to diabetes management, vitamin D helps to regulate insulin levels. It also influences genetic expression in cancer development, and may have protective effects against depression, insomnia, and other diseases or conditions. Studies show that up to 50% of adults and children worldwide may be deficient in vitamin D.

Causes of deficiency can include inadequate sun exposure, sunscreen use, seasonal sunlight shortages, skin tone, obesity, malabsorption, aging, decreased outdoor activity, certain pharmaceuticals, and residential location. Vitamin D insufficiency can lead to a loss of bone density, increased risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis. Deficiency is tentatively linked to metabolic disease, hypertension, upper respiratory tract infections, and increased cardiac events.

Research suggests that It can take as little as 10 – 30 minutes of twice weekly unprotected midday sun exposure for the body to synthesize vitamin D3. This begins with skin exposure to solar ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation, which allows provitamin D found in the skin to be converted into pre-vitamin D3. Gradually, after further conversion in the liver and the kidneys, a useable form of vitamin D3 circulates in the blood stream. Yet the sun’s rays are a major risk factor for nonmelanoma and malignant melanoma skin cancers, and cumulative solar UV rays result in photoaging of the skin.

Not everyone agrees that complete avoidance of sun exposure benefits overall health, as this results in low levels of this important nutrient. There are limited dietary sources of vitamin D, such as fatty fish, liver, and cod liver oil, as well as fortified foods. However, most dermatologists agree that the regular use of sunscreen is the best way to protect against the harms of unprotected sun exposure.

Health benefits of vitamins D may include:

-Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption and regulation and the maintenance of blood levels of phosphorus, both extremely important for maintaining healthy bones.

-Inadequate levels of vitamin D can lead to muscle weakness and loss of optimal muscle function. Research shows that supplementation can be effective in preventing falls in adults over 65 years of age.

-Vitamin D is important for regulating cell growth and for cellular communication. Studies suggest that vitamin D may reduce cancer progression by slowing the development and growth of new blood vessels in cancerous tissues, increasing cancer cell death, and reducing cell proliferation.

-Vitamin D facilitates normal immune function and improves resistance against certain diseases. Mounting evidence links low levels of vitamin D to an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, dementia, depression, increased blood pressure, muscle weakness, bone pain and breast, colon, prostate, ovarian and other cancers.

If you have concerns about sensible sun exposure or have a history of skin cancer, supplementation is the safest, most effective way to get the vital amounts of vitamin D your body needs for good health. Supplementation guidelines vary. In general, a therapeutic range for children one year and older is 600 – 1,000 IUs daily and adults 1,500 – 2,000 IUs. Your healthcare provider can recommend optimal amounts for you based upon your own personal health status, or your 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test levels.

Consider taking vitamin K2 along with vitamin D3, as these two nutrients work synergistically to strengthen your bones and improve your health. Because all chronic conditions are multifactorial, it’s important to obtain adequate levels of all nutrients to support optimal heath and function, and reduce the risk of developing chronic health conditions.

If you are pregnant, nursing or taking blood thinning medications, please consult your healthcare provider before supplementing with vitamins D3 and K2.

Professional Supplement Center carries many fine brands for vitamin D supplementation as well as high quality sunscreen products:

Single Tests in...Single Tests in Blood Spot Vitamin D 25-OH, Total by ZRT Laboratory: This spot blood test provides a simple, convenient and accurate way to measure levels of vitamins D2 and D3. The kit includes all necessary tools for collecting the blood sample, as well as a pre-paid U.S. shipping label to send the sample off to the lab for analysis. The kit includes a 15 minute in person or phone consult with our Registered Nurse to review your results.

Bio-D-Mulsion ForteBio-D-Mulsion Forte® by Biotics Research: One drop supplies 2000 IU of highly absorbable vitamin D3 in micro-emulsified form designed to be helpful for those with malabsorption issues. Gluten free.


Vitamin D3 1000 IUVitamin D3 1000 IU by Pure Encapsulations: One capsule provides 1000 IU of vitamin D3 in support of bone health and calcium absorption. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.


D3 2000D3 2000™ by NuMedica: One daily softgel provides 2000 IU of natural bioidentical vitamin D3 as highly absorbable cholecalciferol. Gluten, wheat, soy, yeast, dairy and artificial ingredient free.


Vitamin D 5,000 IU ...Vitamin D 5000 IU by Douglas Laboratories: One tablet supplies 5000 IU of vitamin D3 in support of calcium absorption, bone metabolism, neuromuscular and immune health and a healthy inflammatory response. Gluten, wheat, soy, yeast, dairy and artificial ingredient free.


Liquid Vitamin D3 ...Liquid Vitamin D3 2000 IU by Protocol for Life Balance: One serving provides 2000 IU of natural vitamin D3 preserved with medium chain triglycerides. Gluten, wheat, and soy free.


Very Emollient...Very Emollient Sunscreen Pure Lavender SPF 45 by Alba Botanica®: This lightly scented, fast- absorbing sun lotion provides broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection. Water resistant, paraben, phthalate, and oxybenzone free, vegetarian formulation.


Cool Sport Face &...Cool Sport™ Face & Neck SPF 30 Sunscreen by Kiss My Face: This fragrance free, water resistant broad spectrum sun lotion offers Antioxidant Defenders® to protect and freshen skin. Gluten, paraben, phthalate, and artificial ingredient free. Vegan friendly.


Does Chronic Sunscreen Use Reduce Vitamin D Production to Insufficient Levels?
6 things you should know about vitamin D.
Little Sunshine Mistakes that Can Give You Cancer Instead of Vitamin D.
Getting Enough Vitamin D.
Skin Cancer Facts & Statistics.
Sun Protection AND Vitamin D.
Sunscreen may cause vitamin D deficiency, says study.