2 Types of Inflammation
There’s two main types of inflammation: acute (high-grade, localized) and chronic (low-grade, systemic).
Acute inflammation is the kind that happens after an injury like a cut to your hand, a bruise, or surgery. It’s not meant to be long lasting; it’s localized and it often results in rapid healing.
Acute inflammation is also essential to muscle growth. The body releases signals to initiate healing to the muscle tissues that were just utilized repeatedly.
On the other side of the spectrum, chronic inflammation starts as an overreaction to some stimuli that’s usually pretty benign. This overreaction might be in response to a particular food, an emotional stressor, an unhealthy lifestyle choice, or some bacteria or viruses. Eventually, without any true battles to fight, this army of chemicals might even begin to attack the body itself, a condition often characterized as autoimmune disease.
Low-grade systemic inflammation affects the whole body (not only tendons and muscles but organs, blood vessels, etc.), overloads and eventually weakens the immune system, speeds up aging and plays a role in the development of certain cancers and several conditions such as insulin resistance (even diabetes). As far as aesthetics are concerned, you’ll retain more water both subcutaneously (beneath the skin) and within fat cells, both of which make you look fatter than you really are.
Chronic inflammation is what you see in common allergies, gluten sensitivity, or in any one of the hundreds of mysterious human ailments.
Acute inflammation needs to be maintained or even temporarily enhanced (e.g., strength training) while chronic inflammation should be suppressed or even defeated.
Chronic Inflammation from Eating?
Leaky gut is identified as having tiny gaps and fissures within your intestinal lining that allows protein molecules to get into the bloodstream where they’re identified as invaders and provoke an immunologic response, e.g., inflammation. The intestinal linings of people with celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) contain many of these fissures (i.e., “leaky gut syndrome”).
But leaky gut syndrome, or varying degrees of it, isn’t restricted to people with Crohn’s or IBS. It’s likely that anyone who suffers from any type of inflammation, systemic or otherwise, has an intestinal tract that’s full of these “potholes”.
All kinds of things can cause the intestinal lining to become more permeable and allow stimulants to assault your immune system. There are, however, five main culprits:
- Diet: Alcohol, gluten (most of the population is sensitive), processed foods, fast food, etc.
- Medications: Antibiotics, corticosteroids, antacids
- Stress: Physical stress, lack of sleep, or psychological stress, any of which cause the release of stress hormones.
- Hormonal: Fluctuating or abnormal levels of thyroid hormones, progesterone, estradiol, or maybe even testosterone.
Any or all of these affect the health of the intestines by creating a limited or incomplete population of bacteria in the gut. Without a proper balance of bacteria, stress chemicals or hormones cause the intestinal lining to become more permeable. This increased permeability allows a greater chance for invaders to enter your bloodstream where they alert the immune system and lead to localized and systemic inflammation.
What Can I Do About Leaky Gut?
The most effective lifestyle change you could make is to lose abdominal fat, which is a lode of inflammation.
You can start with obvious stuff like getting adequate amounts of sleep (7-9 hours/night) and consistently exercising. Add in 10-20 minutes of a reflective activity that you can do each day like meditation, coloring, journaling, breathing, etc. Also, look to see if there are any toxic relationships in your life that cause more stress than good. You might consider changing jobs, finding a new mate, or, learning some new communication skills.
Just a few weeks of clean eating can make c-reactive proteins (a marker of inflammation) plummet.
If you suffer from inflammation (and the vast majority of us do), you first have to populate the gut with beneficial bacteria by eating a daily serving of good, old-fashioned sauerkraut, kimchee, natto, etc. keeping blood sugar regulated through diet and ingesting omega-3 fatty acids (e.g., wild-caught fish, grass-fed beef, walnuts, flax/chia seeds, etc.).
To get a greater positive effect, eliminate inflammatory foods like processed foods, and an overabundance of omega-6 fatty acids (as found in most vegetable oils, dressings and sauces).
Let’s be honest for a moment here… there will still be times where we’ll be stressed no matter how much sleep we had or how well we ate. For example, just today I created stress during my morning commute while I was sitting in traffic. I also created stress because I nearly got ticketed for parking my motorcycle in the wrong area. Likewise, there are environmental stressors that most of us are unaware each day like mold toxins, polluted air, cellular transmissions, xenoestrogens, etc. All this said, I highly encourage everyone to add in these two supplements (as an “insurance policy”) into your daily routine to help combat all the stressors:
- Fish/Krill oil
Both of these exhibit powerful anti-inflammatory actions and have shown to be effective against a host of diseases ranging from heart disease to skin cancer.
These three components – lifestyle, diet, and supplements – are the key to fighting inflammation and disease. Make a few key changes every couple weeks and feel a big difference!
Take Action Today
To improve your body’s resiliency to stress and start losing fat:
- Get adequate amounts of sleep (7-9 hours/night)
- Move your body everyday consistently (e.g., walking, strength training, surfing, etc.)
- Add a daily reflective exercise like meditation, coloring, journaling, breathing, etc.
- Consider a lifestyle change to reduce the effect of am external stressor
- Use fructose-free, gluten-free starch (e.g., taro, potatoes, quinoa, etc.) as your primary carbohydrate sources.
- Increase intake of Omega-3 fatty acids through wild fish, grass-fed beef, and/or supplement with fish or kill oil.
- Eat a daily serving of a fermented food like sauerkraut, kimchee, natto, or by supplementing with a probiotic supplement
- Eliminate your consumption of high Omega-6 vegetable oils such as corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, and fried foods.