What Does Alzheimer’s, Heart Attacks, & Colon Cancer All Have In Common?
As scientists delve deeper into the causes of certain chronic diseases, they are discovering the connection to an “age-old immunological defense mechanism,” also known as, inflammation. The growing evidence could ultimately change doctors’ idea of what causes sickness and the way illnesses are treated.
From an evolutionary perspective, chronic inflammation indicates our bodies have the ability to fight off microbial invaders that were more prevalent before the modern lifestyle of purified water, bathroom plumbing, hygiene products, etc. Some scientists believe that those same inflammatory strategies are more likely to go beyond our control.
Could foster the proliferation of abnormal cells and facilitate their transformation into cancer.
This new view of inflammation is changing the way some scientists do medical research.
“Virtually our entire R and D effort is [now] focused on inflammation and cancer,” says Dr. Robert Tepper, president of research and development at Millennium Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge, Mass.
In medical schools across the U.S., cardiologists, rheumatologists, oncologists, allergists and neurologists are all suddenly discovering and discussing the same thing, inflammation. The impressive number of researchers jumping on the “inflamed” bandwagon is very significant. Just a few years ago, “nobody was interested in this stuff,” says Dr. Paul Ridker, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, who has done some of the groundbreaking work in the area. “Now the whole field of inflammation research is about to explode.”
Potentially New Way To Fight Disease
Scientists, as well as our society, find this notion interesting since it suggests a new and possibly much easier way of warding off disease. Instead of having various treatments, there might be a single inflammation-reducing treatment that would prevent these chronic diseases.
A Burning Heart: Don’t Wait Until You Feel A Symptom To Put Out This Inferno
Among the first to recognize a connection were heart doctors who noticed that inflammation seems to play a crucial role in cardiovascular disease. Doctors previously thought heart attacks were due to a “plumbing problem” where LDL, a complex molecule known as bad cholesterol, created fatty deposits that would slowly build up on the insides of major coronary arteries eventually causing blockage to the heart.
The problem with this theory is that half of all heart attacks occur in people with normal cholesterol levels. “Something” aids in this path of dysfunction that leads to disease and illness. Dr. Dwight Lundell has been a heart surgeon for over 25 years and has come to the realization that “without inflammation, cholesterol would move freely throughout the body as nature intended. It is inflammation that causes cholesterol to become trapped.” As more become educated, the discovery a few years ago that inflammation in the artery wall is the real cause of heart disease is gradually leading to a paradigm shift in how heart disease and other chronic ailments are treated.
The Western diet high in sugars, polyunsaturated fats, and carbohydrates causes repeated injury to our blood vessels, thus causing chronic inflammation that leads to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and obesity. The biggest culprits are oils like soybean, corn, and sunflower. In addition, highly processed carbohydrates found in the endless products made from processed sugar and white flour have been the foundation of the American diet for six decades now.
Of course most of us love our buttery white rolls, but what we can’t feel is our bodies sending off alarms when these “foreign invaders arrive declaring war.”
Take a second to visualize a stiff brush being rubbed repeatedly over your soft skin every day until it becomes red and nearly bleeding. This would lead to a bleeding, swollen infected area, which is a good way to visualize the inflammatory process that could be going on in your body right now.
Dr. Lundell further explains how spiking your blood sugar level every day several times a day is exactly like rubbing sandpaper on the inside of your delicate blood vessels. Although you may not be able to see it, Dr. Lundell saw it in over 5,000 surgical patients spanning 25 years who all shared one common denominator — inflammation in their arteries.
It’s inevitable that the more we consume prepared and processed foods, the more we turn on the “inflammation switch.” Our bodies were not designed to consume foods packed with sugars and drenched in omega-6 oils.
How Can You Fight These Internal “Flames?”
To dampen the inflammatory fire growing inside our bodies, return to foods that are in their natural state, build muscle daily, and eat more protein. The following lifestyle choices will also reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
Exercise Regularly – 30 minutes a day
Floss – ridding your mouth of plaque combats gum disease, which is another cause of chronic inflammation.
Eat Colorful Fruits, Vegetables, & Fish – these are full of substances that eliminate free radicals from the body. Avoid polyunsaturated fats and carbohydrates.
Activate Nrf2 – this pathway regulates and produces “survival enzymes” that aid in the antioxidant cleansing process within our bodies, and so much more. Learn more here!
Reader – What do you currently do to reduce your internal inflammation? After reading this, what will you start implementing to reduce your inflammation?