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by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath Many people that are chronically inflamed do not even realize that inflammation is an issue for them. Often you will be living in what I refer to as silent inflammation that over time will have a significant impact on your health. So the question is, “Is this silent inflammation taking you down?” Let’s take a deeper look at this today. Most of us have experienced acute inflammation in our lifetime. You know, you are running along the sidewalk and catch the very edge of the sidewalk and turn your ankle. When this occurs, your body will produce inflammation as a part of the healing crisis. This inflammation will allow for quick work of your immune system to repair the damage, immobilize the injured area and also create pain so you keep your ankle movement to a minimum. That is acute inflammation and actually a very healthy experience. Chronic inflammation is much different though. First of let me define chronic inflammation as a NF-kB state. This actually stands for nuclear factor kappa beta. In essence NF-kB is a protein complex that controls the transcription of DNA. If this sounds like an impact on your health and happiness, you are absolutely correct. This NF-kB state is due to a long term chronic inflammatory state. This factors that typically trigger this are:
  • Gluten sensitivity
  • Gluten cross reactive sensitivity
  • Standard American diet or (SAD) which is high in sugar and processed foods
  • Chronic mental/emotional stress
  • Chronic infection (very often undiagnosed gut infections)
  • Heavy metal, environmental or chemical toxicity
  • Obesity
  • Chemotherapy
When any of these factors trigger this NF-kB state, this is when the “you know what” hits the fan! Once the NF-kB state is now a factor in your health, the real challenges begin. This is due to the fact that the NF-kB has its own feedback loops that continually recycle your inflammatory condition.
  • The NF-kB leads to an increase in fat cell production, which in turn leads to insulin resistance and insulin surges. This than leads to further inflammation.
  • The NF-kB state leads to challenges with biotransformation in the liver, challenges with liver detoxification and ultimately, further inflammation.
  • The NF-kB leads to an increase in cytokine production, which leads to autoimmunity and ultimately, more inflammation.
  • The NF-kB state leads to a leaky gut condition, which in turn leads to an autoimmune reaction with the end result of, you guessed it, more inflammation.
While this may not look “silent” to you at all, these conditions are most often not directed toward their underlying trigger which is the inflammation itself. Most often these areas above will be looked at as anything but an inflammatory issue. Here are some examples below.
  • The weight gain is most often looked at as simply a nutritional and exercise issue.
  • The liver challenges are most often seen as a toxicity issue.
  • With conventional medicine the autoimmunity is looked at as an insurmountable condition.
  • The leaky gut leading to autoimmunity is most often diagnosed as IBS without a viable treatment option.
So you can see with this that the inflammation still remains the silent trigger for these conditions that remains in hiding, but there is more. Another factor to recognize is the fact that the NF-kB state can lead to immune system dysregulation. From this dysregulation, chemical intolerance is often a challenge. You may know somebody with this or perhaps even yourself. This would be recognized by the inability to be around new paint, new carpeting, perfumes, etc.. One more significant factor with immune dysregulation caused by NF-kB is the fact that this shuts down apoptosis. Apoptosis is basically cellular suicide. Understand that when a cell in your body becomes “broken”, this broken cell is designed to destroy itself. This is important because you do not want a broken cell becoming another broken cell and so on. When you get too many of these “broken” cells replicating themselves, this is the opportunity for cancer to develop. One more point to make though. Even if you rid yourself of all the triggers of the chronic inflammation or NF-kB state, due to the feedback loops mentioned above, this condition continues. Yikes! Register for our upcoming webinar on “The Mechanics of Weight Gain & Pain” to learn what you can do in regard to chronic inflammation. Now you understand the underlying silent inflammatory issue and more importantly, how this may be effecting you personally. Next week we will discuss conventional vs. holistic options for inflammation. I look forward to discussing this essential subject with you further! If you have any questions or comments in regard to this article, please post below and we will respond personally.