Inflammation

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Blood Pressure and Heart Disease

2016 November 3 by

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Like many other disease processes associated with inflammation, heart problems can be prevented. A simple plan that addresses inflammation is often the answer. Gradual increases in blood pressure readings may be the first warning signs that inflammation is occurring.

The most common cause of high blood pressure is damage to artery walls and repair with plaque buildup. The damage is caused by free radicals and an inflammatory reaction. Free radicals are generated by toxic products in the environment (like pollutants) or in foods (like pesticides). Free radicals strip electrons from cells in the body in a process called oxidation. The cells are then damaged and become nonfunctional. In the artery wall, this damage is like a burn that the body repairs with plaque. This repair process narrows the artery, blood pressure rises, and the artery is in danger of not delivering blood supply to sensitive organs like the heart muscle or the brain. The result can be heart attacks or strokes.

Although cholesterol is the main component of plaque in the artery, an elevated cholesterol level in the blood is not the cause of the plaques. “High” cholesterol is not the cause of heart attacks, and lowering cholesterol levels does not prevent heart attacks. In fact eating the right saturated fats is important in maintaining health. This may involve including eggs, butter, and coconut oil in the diet along with meats free of hormones and pesticides.

Prevention

Avoid chemicals that cause free radical formation. Use natural cleaning products in your home that are free of petrochemicals. Avoid pesticides in foods as much as possible. Unfortunately, everyone is exposed to petrochemicals in the form of gasoline and oil products and pesticides used outdoors.

Exercise regularly, get adequate sleep, and get out into nature.  All of these prevent inflammation.

A prevention program will also include antioxidant supplements that scavenge free radicals. Glutathione is the body’s own potent antioxidant. As we age we produce less glutathione, but the amino acid cysteine is a building block of glutathione. Take n-acetyl-cysteine (NAC), at least 500 mg a few days a week. Other great antioxidants include resveratrol, acetyl l carnitine, astaxanthin, and CoQ10, which is specifically beneficial for the heart and arteries. Be cautious about taking too many antioxidants. The body needs to develop a certain amount of inflammation in order to ward off invaders. You may want to alternate the antioxidants you take on a weekly basis.

Take fish oil, which contains EPA, a profound anti-inflammatory fatty acid. A daily dose of 1,000-2,000 mg of EPA is best. And finally turmeric (curcumin) is a great anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, either in cooking or as a supplement. The most readily absorbed curcumin supplements are by Curcum-evail by Designs for Health and Theracurmin.

Treatment

Holistic treatment of high blood pressure and other forms of cardiovascular disease includes lifestyle changes and natural supplements. Most of the preventive measures discussed above are also appropriate in a treatment plan. In addition, Chinese herbal medicine provides specific formulas for the treatment of high blood pressure.  A combination of one of these specific formulas along with constitutional treatment using herbs and/or homeopathy rounds out a treatment program. If other illness patterns are present such as metabolic syndrome with elevated blood sugar levels and weight problems, then specific treatment that includes those issues will be necessary.

Exercise to maintain adequate circulation and oxygen transport. Practice some form of meditation, yoga, or conscious relaxation to counteract the stress reactions of the sympathetic nervous system. And maintain a whole foods diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, free of refined sugar, processed foods, and toxic chemicals. Other health-promoting practices include frequent exposure to nature, humor and laughter, and the cultivation of loving kindness in relationships.

A holistic plan that is individualized for the specific set of symptoms and dynamics in your body will help to maintain a high level of health and prevent the cascade of diseases that characterize aging.

 

 

 

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Inflammation: The Key to Chronic Disease

2016 September 17 by

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inflammation

The source

Many prevalent chronic illnesses including asthma, allergies, arthritis, and heart disease all have a common factor. Inflammation! Even cancer, Alzheimer’s and autoimmune diseases share inflammation as a fundamental mechanism that underlies these disease processes. And these disease patterns can be prevented and reversed by addressing the inflammatory reactions. These are all complicated diseases with many mechanisms.  But a fundamental treatment principle is – Control the inflammation and you can control the disease.

Causes of inflammation

Why does inflammation occur? Poor diet choices are the most common sources of inflammation. Lack of sleep, immune system dysfunction, and intestinal imbalance all add to the problem. Persistent stress in the form of emotional or physical problems is also a common source of chronic inflammatory conditions. All of these disrupt the immune system and result in the body’s inability to control persistent inflammation.

Solving the problem

Diet

The first and foremost treatment principle is to establish sound nutrition. Eliminating pro-inflammatory foods is paramount. That includes refined sugar and corn syrup, processed foods, and fast food. All of these triggers will cause flares of inflammation and persistent inflammatory disease in the gut and mucus membranes. Impaired intestinal integrity will lead to immune system disorder. So establishing a healthy small intestine lining and large intestine elimination is essential. A diet that discourages inflammation is based on fresh fruits and vegetables, clean protein sources, and healthy fats. Grains tend to be pro-inflammatory, so they should be consumed in moderation. Many patients with inflammatory conditions are especially sensitive to wheat, and a gluten-free diet can be tremendously beneficial for them.

Gut health

A healthy small intestine lining results in a healthy immune system. Patches of cells in the lining produce most immune mechanisms in the body. A healthy gut produces a resilient and resistant immune system that prevents chronic inflammation.  Any digestive symptoms need to be controlled by correcting GI imbalances. Sometimes a stool test is necessary to detect the contributing factors, but taking a good quality probiotic is always a good idea for immune health. Take a broad- spectrum probiotic with at least 20 billion CFU and saccharomyces boulardii. Prebiotics in the form of fructo-oligosaccharides or in inulin are helpful as well in the formula.

General supplements

Taking a curcumin supplement has proven useful in a wide variety of inflammatory conditions. Specific preparations to increase potency and absorption include Theracurmin and Curcum-evail.

Other important supplements include Vitamin D3 (with K2) in high doses (5,000-10,000 IU of vitamin D). An adaptogenic medicinal mushroom formula will also maintain healthy immune mechanisms. Vitamin C and other antioxidants will prevent free radical damage. A good antioxidant supplement program may include astaxanthin, resveratrol, and n-acetyl-cysteine.

Managing stress

Finally, a stress management program is crucial for everyone in our fast-paced culture. This includes an appropriate exercise regimen, sensible sleep schedule, relaxation techniques including meditation or yoga, and regularly getting out into nature. It is important to balance stress reactions with those calming tools that foster healthy metabolism and mental equanimity. This provides the link to the mind-body connection that leads to a smooth running immune system.

More to come

Next we’ll cover specific inflammatory diseases and tools for solving their problems. As always I welcome your questions.

In health,

Dr N

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