Not all inflammation is equal. Acute inflammation is good (vital, in fact) for recovering from wounds or infections. This natural response to tissue damage or injury includes an elaborate cascade of events that act as a defense reaction. Once the problem is resolved, however, acute inflammation stops. Inflammation should be temporary in nature. The problem is when this reaction doesn’t stop or, worse, it starts when there is no real trigger. This is chronic inflammation.
Chronic inflammation can go on for days, weeks, months, or even years. This can lead to the progression of chronic diseases such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, and even bowel disease.
Inflammation and Muscle Mass
Evidence shows that inflammation can even lead to muscle loss and disability. Evidence from the Health, Aging, and Body Composition study indicates that men and women with higher inflammatory markers had greater muscle mass and strength loss. In fact, low-grade chronic inflammation is considered an important contributor to the degenerative loss of skeletal muscle that occurs naturally as we age, known as sarcopenia.
Cooling Down Inflammation
A poor diet will only add fire to the "flame". Trans fats, excessive sugar intake, and saturated fats can fire up the flame. Here are three ways a healthy diet can fight inflammation:
- Boost your natural, internal anti-inflammatory responses. Prebiotics and probiotics, for example, will promote the healthy function of your gut, especially its function as an internal barrier against the outside world (toxins, bacteria, other invaders). EnergyFirst's dairy-free probiotic complex contains 2 billion active cells to promote intestinal health.
- Reduce the production of damaging oxidants. Vitamin E and other antioxidant vitamins are powerful fighters against inflammation. These are the warriors that scavenge free radicals. Your best sources include a variety of richly colored fruits and vegetables, seeds, nuts, and vegetable oils. Since vitamin E exists as different chemical forms in nature, EnergyFirst's Vitamin E supplement contains a mix of different tocopherols, each of which have slightly different biological activities.
- Decrease production of inflammatory chemicals at the cellular level. Omega-3 fatty acids are metabolized into three families of anti-inflammatory products: resolvins, lipoxins, and protectins. These metabolites resolve inflammation and mop up any inflammatory debris left behind.
Numerous studies show that omega-3 supplementation can significantly reduce blood levels of markers of inflammation. EnergyFirst's OmegaEnergy fish oil supplement meets the recommended EPA and DHA dose of most medical experts and health organizations. In addition to fish oil supplements, eating fatty fish can lower levels of proinflammatory chemicals circulating in the bloodstream. Shoot for 8 oz of fatty fish per week for an average intake of 250 mg of EPA and DHA per day. The diet's role in taming or flaming inflammation is clear. Why not adopt a simple dietary change or two each week to reduce your diet's contribution to chronic inflammation. Not only will you decrease your risk of disease but you’ll enhance your overall health. Small changes will go a long way.