Tag Archives: Inflammation – Friend or Foe?

Inflammation – Friend or Foe?

Inflammation-Friend or FoeJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

We have all experienced the signs of short-term inflammation that occurs during an active immune response to an injury, illness or pathogenic invasion. Fatigue or fever when fighting a viral or bacterial infection, as well as pain, redness, warmth and swelling at the site of an injury, are all signs related to short-term, rapid onset inflammation. As a first-line defense mechanism acute inflammation is a central component of innate immunity, a vital and necessary physiological process that signals the body to release inflammatory mediators. This response dilates blood vessels and increases blood flow, thereby enabling immune cells to quickly reach affected areas and eliminate toxic agents, as well as heal and repair damaged tissue and ultimately, restore wellness.

While acute inflammation is friendly and beneficial, several decades of ongoing research deems chronic persistent inflammation a nemesis of healthy aging. Increased vulnerability to influenza and reduced response to vaccinations is a recognized consequence of a natural decline in immune function in older individuals. Inflammaging, the accumulation of inflammatory mediators in tissues associated with aging, is thought to be a significant risk factor for development of age-related diseases. Complex interrelated genetic, environmental and age-related factors determine an individual’s vulnerability or resilience to inflammaging.

Often silent and invisible, systemic low-grade inflammation can simmer for months or years, eventually triggering autoimmune and other disease processes that can cause lasting damage to the heart, arteries, joints, cells, brain and organs. Metabolic disorders including obesity, type 2 diabetes, arthritis and fatty liver disease are also associated with inflammation. While the inflammatory process is a normal part of body’s defense and immunosurveillance mechanisms, systemic inflammation, that correlates with a less robust immune response and the downregulation of the innate immune system, may help drive the aging process.

As recent evidence has shown that chronic inflammation is an underlying cause of age-related neurodegenerative diseases, controlling or reversing elevated unresolved inflammation may be one of the most important measures for avoiding functional decline and preserving long-term good health. Substantial evidence indicates that many foods, nutrients and non-nutrient food constituents modulate both acute and chronic inflammation. Increased vegetable and fruit intake is recommended to support cognitive and overall function, as well as reduced disease risk. Data shows that the health benefits of a plant-based diet is partly attributable to specific whole plant food compounds known as anthocyanins.

Decidedly potent, anthocyanins are phytonutrients found in the flavonoid family of polyphenols. These naturally occurring chemicals are plentiful in plant foods, particularly red, orange, blue and violet fruits and vegetables. They are most abundant in berries, red and purple grapes, eggplants, sweet cherries, blood oranges and red cabbage. As dietary intervention studies have found evidence that dietary flavonoids may have neuroprotective effects and are capable of modulating inflammatory cytokines, increased consumption of these brightly colored foods may result in reduced concentrations of low-grade inflammatory markers, positively influencing neurocognitive and overall health.

The synergistic effects of anti-inflammatory foods show great potential to help resolve unhealthy damaging systemic inflammation. A holistic lifestyle approach to calm the fires of inflammation encompasses a healthy anti-inflammatory diet, regular exercise, proper weight maintenance, sufficient hydration, adequate sleep and stress reduction. Additional  modifiable lifestyle factors include not smoking, refraining from excessive alcohol consumption and reducing exposure to environmental toxins. Along with the addition of anti-inflammatory foods, steer clear of inflammatory foods, including refined carbohydrates, highly processed foods, unhealthy dietary fats, fried foods and sugary foods and drinks.

Professional Supplement Center offers these and other high quality supplements in support of a healthy inflammatory response:

Spectrum VibranceSpectrum Vibrance by Vibrant Health®: This nutritional whole food powdered formula contains a broad range of specially selected high ORAC value red, yellow, blue and green fruits, vegetables and botanical extracts to support immune, eye, heart and overall health and healthy aging. Free of gluten, dairy and soy. Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.

Polyphenol NutrientsPolyphenol Nutrients by Pure Encapsulations®: This hypoallergenic formula offers bioavailable vitamins and minerals blended with standardized polyphenol extracts for advanced cellular and macular support. Gluten free, non-GMO formulation.

Berry-C CapsulesBerry-C Capsules by Lidtke® Technologies: This formula offers a blend of Non-GMO vitamin C, whole fruit extracts and a whole food powdered berry blend known to be rich in polyphenols, bioflavonoids, vitamin C and other nutrients in support of immune, skin, eye, cellular and overall health. No added gluten, yeast, wheat, soy, rice, milk, eggs, nuts, fish, shellfish, sugar preservatives or artificial colors or flavors. Non-GMO vegan formulation.

Daily ImmuneDaily Immune by Pure Encapsulations®: This hypoallergenic vitamin, mineral and herbal formula offers powerful wellness support with immune enhancing botanicals rich in anthocyanins, flavonoids and polyphenols. The added astragalus and eleuthero extracts provide adaptogenic support to help maintain a healthy immune response during times of physical or mental stress. Gluten free, Non-GMO formulation.

References:
Low-grade inflammation, diet composition and health: current research evidence and its translation. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4579563/
Redefining Chronic Inflammation in Aging and Age-Related Diseases: Proposal of the Senoinflammation Concept. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6457053/
Causes, consequences, and reversal of immune system aging. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3582124/
Understanding how we age: insights into inflammaging. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24472098
Anthocyanins. https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/030314p20.shtml
Foods that fight inflammation. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/foods-that-fight-inflammation