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Health Concerns

Inflammation (Chronic)

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Chronic inflammation contributes to many leading causes of death in the United States:

  • heart disease
  • cancer
  • diabetes
  • stroke
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • kidney disease
  • chronic lower respiratory disease

Fortunately, fish oil, sesame lignans, and other integrative interventions can counteract destructive chronic inflammation.

Causes of Chronic Inflammation

Several factors contribute to chronic inflammation:

  • Mitochondrial dysfunction
  • Advanced glycation end products due to elevated blood sugar levels
  • Uric acid crystals
  • Oxidized lipoproteins (such as low-density lipoprotein)

Risk Factors Associated with Chronic Inflammation

Several risk factors promote chronic inflammation:

  • Increasing age
  • Obesity
  • High saturated fat intake
  • High sugar intake

Testing for Chronic Inflammation

Blood tests that can detect chronic inflammation include:

  • High sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP)
  • fibrinogen
  • tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α)
  • interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β)
  • interleukin-6 (IL-6)
  • interleukin-8 (IL-8)

Conventional Medical Treatments

Drugs that can help address chronic inflammation include:

  • Pentoxifylline
  • Metformin

Dietary and Lifestyle Changes

Several dietary and lifestyle changes can help reduce chronic inflammation:

  • Low-glycemic diet
  • Reduced consumption of:
    • total and saturated fat
    • cholesterol
  • Increased exercise

Integrative Interventions

  • Fish Oil: A higher intake of omega-3 fatty acids is associated with lower levels of markers of TNF-α activity, CRP, and IL-6.
  • Curcumin: Curcumin, a constituent of turmeric, has been studied in over 7000 published scientific articles and is known to modulate several important pathways including the ones involved in inflammatory processes.
  • Magnesium: In several large observational studies, greater magnesium intake was associated with lower hs-CRP, IL-6, and TNF-α activity.
  • Tea polyphenols: Tea polyphenols have been shown to produce reductions in CRP in human clinical studies.
  • DHEA: Supplementation was shown to significantly decrease TNF-α and IL-6 levels in elderly volunteers, as well as lower visceral fat mass and improve glucose tolerance.
  • Sesame lignans: Supplementation reduced the levels of a pro-inflammatory vasoconstrictor by approximately 30%.