Tag Archives: Low-grade inflammation

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.

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

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. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4579563/
Lifestyle factors and inflammation: associations by body mass index. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23844105
Inflammation. http://www.wwu.edu/depts/healthyliving/pe511info/infection/description.html
Understanding Autoimmune Diseases. https://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/Autoimmune/default.asp
Physical Activity & Hypokinetic Disease. http://www.wwu.edu/depts/healthyliving/pe511info/infection/Causes.html
Inflammation: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248423.php
Lifestyle Approaches That Calm Inflammation. http://www.clevelandheartlab.com/blog/lifestyle-approaches-calm-inflammation/