Tag Archives: inflammation
When you hear someone talk about inflammation, you might think of pain, swelling and redness in the case of acute inflammation. Chronic inflammation, however, is a different story. That’s what we’ll be exploring here.
Inflammation is the body’s natural healing response to an injury, an important aspect in the repair process! In acute inflammation, white blood cells bombard the trauma site to kick start the healing process. You might feel the effects of acute inflammation in the case of an allergic reaction or injury that causes trauma to the body.
Chronic (also known as systemic) inflammation involves ongoing stimulation of the body’s normal healing process. For example, white blood cells can speed to areas that are tipped off by simply breathing in environmental toxins or carrying excess fat in one’s midsection. If this process continues, permanent tissue damage can result and bring on the need for other treatments – think Hashimoto’s Disease, where inflammation launches an attack on a perfectly healthy thyroid gland and damages it to the point where medication is needed.
One of the more dangerous forms of chronic inflammation is atherosclerosis. The body perceives a buildup of plaque in the arteries as a foreign invader, then it attempts to create a barrier between the plaque and blood flowing through them. If the barrier breaks down, the plaque breaks up and mixes with the blood, creating a clot. These clots are what cause heart attacks and most strokes.
Chronic inflammation is also associated with diseases that cause wear and tear on the body like rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, lupus, Crohn’s and inflammatory bowel disease.
As in acute inflammation, the body perceives that a threat is present and white blood cells are sent to start the healing process. But if there is no injury, white blood cells just build up and direct their attack on healthy organs, tissues or cells. We can’t feel the inflammatory response so we have no way of knowing it’s happening until the damage is done. Heart disease is one example of this type of persistent inflammation.
The Role of Cytokines
If you’ve read up on inflammation, you would have surely come across the term cytokines, as they play a very important role in the inflammatory process.
The immune system uses a type of protein, or cytokine, to act as a chemical messenger to regulate the immune response. Cytokines released from immune cells bind to receptors on other cells with messages on what functions to perform – kind of like a general giving an order to his soldiers. Chemokines, interferons, interleukins, lymphokines and tumour necrosis factor are different types of cytokines that step in to fight various inflammatory diseases.
While we can’t feel chronic inflammation happening in our body, scientists tell us it’s there in varying degrees in every single person. It can be wreaking havoc on our organs and we don’t even know it. So assuming chronic inflammation is present in all of us, it makes sense to take steps to combat it. Turns out it all comes down to lifestyle.
Foods to Avoid
No surprise experts advise to cut out refined carbohydrates like white flour and sugar. Deep fried foods like French fries are another one to cross off your list. Red meat and processed meats like hot dogs and sausage, high-sugar beverages like juices and sodas and margarine, shortening and lard are also important to avoid. All of these foods accelerate the inflammation process.
Foods that Combat Inflammation
The list of anti-inflammatory foods reads like a typical Mediterranean diet: tomatoes, olive oil, almonds and walnuts, leafy greens, fatty fish like salmon, sardines and tuna and a host of fruits like blueberries, strawberries, oranges and cherries (organic of course!) are all must-adds to your daily diet.
Heal Your Gut
If the walls of your gut, or digestive system, aren’t woven tight enough to prevent bacteria, toxins and undigested food particles from passing through to the bloodstream, inflammation can result. In fact, the gut has the highest concentration of immune cells in the body. Again, diet plays an important role in healing a leaky gut as do prebiotic and probiotic supplements.
Reduce Stress, Increase Sleep
We all know stress can make us ill, but eliminating the things that put us on edge is important when it comes to minimizing chronic inflammation. Yoga, meditation or taking long walks can help diffuse a heavy stress load. Studies show that sleep deprivation prompts an increase in inflammatory hormone production, so get your Zs! 
The Role of Antioxidants
Free radicals play a part in promoting chronic inflammation that results in damaged tissues. They come from pesticides, fried and burnt foods, microwave cooked foods, trans-fats, hydrogenated oils and countless chemicals and preservatives that are inhaled or absorbed through our skin. Antioxidants can neutralize free radicals before they can harm healthy tissue.
A good-quality, well-rounded immune supplement can help protect against chronic inflammation. CanPrev’s Immuno Multi is an advanced daily multivitamin and multi antioxidant that is specially formulated to neutralize free radicals and combat chronic inflammation. Immuno Multi in conjunction with a healthy diet, moderate exercise, stress reduction and adequate sleep is a comprehensive approach to chronic inflammation busting.
For when chronic inflammation hits your body which could land anywhere like the joints, heart, and bowels, it would not be a pleasant experience. Try these preventive measures and tips that lead to a healthier lifestyle.
Referenced Studies & Content
The number of dietary supplements and food items, like bone broth, containing collagen are on the rise – and for good reason.
Increasing your dietary intake of collagen has been linked to positive effects on health, including improved skin appearance, reduced joint pain, and better digestion and gut health. It may also help strengthen nails, hair, and bones.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is a type of protein found in the bones and connective tissue of humans and animals. It provides support and structure to the body, particularly the skin, tendons, ligaments, muscles, and skeletal system.
Collagen is made primarily from the amino acids Glycine, Proline, and Hydroxyproline. The body produces its own collagen from free amino acids, but this process slows as we age.
It’s thought that this natural decrease in collagen production plays a role in the development of many common age-related concerns, like wrinkling of the skin, and joint pain and bone loss associated with osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, respectively.
Health Benefits of Collagen
Supplementing with collagen is not essential, but it does offer some pretty amazing health benefits that can help counteract these undesirable symptoms associated with age-related collagen decline.
Here are some of the most notable benefits of adding collagen into your regular dietary – and natural beauty regimen.
MORE SUPPLE SKIN & ANTI-AGING
Skin signs of aging include wrinkles, loss of firmness, dryness, and sagging. These signs may occur due to less collagen being made as we age and breakdown of existing collagen. Sun exposure also plays a role in aging the skin.
Research has found collagen supplementation results in significant improvement in the texture of skin, including fewer wrinkles, increased elasticity, and increased hydration. These findings suggest collagen supplements can be beneficial in slowing or even reversing signs of aging skin.
Most of the supplements used in these studies also contained other ingredients thought to benefit skin health and prevent the breakdown of existing collagen, such as hyaluronic acid, vitamins, and antioxidants.
Choosing a collagen supplement that combines several nutrients for skin health may be important.
It should be noted collagen in topical form is not effective at treating skin signs of aging. Collagen molecules are too large to be absorbed into the deep layers of skin.
Other lifestyle factors like diet quality, smoking, and stress can also play a role in skin aging and should be addressed in addition to collagen supplementation for best results.
EASING JOINT PAIN & STIFFNESS
Another symptom that goes along with aging is joint deterioration that results in pain, stiffness, inflammation, and limited range of movement.
Several scientific studies concluded that hydrolyzed collagen supplements resulted in increased collagen in surrounding joint tissues and a decrease in symptoms of joint degenerative disease, like osteoarthritis.
One study found taking collagen over 24 weeks helped reduce joint pain among athletes – an at-risk population for joint disease due to overuse.
People who experience improved joint health may also be more inclined to increase their physical activity levels, which further improves overall health.
Taking a collagen supplement specifically formulated for joint health, like CanPrev’s Joint Pro Concentrate, can help keep joints flexible and cushioned, easing pain, stiffness, and inflammation associated with arthritis.
GUT HEALTH BENEFITS TOO?
Some health practitioners believe collagen has additional anti-inflammatory properties that can help treat digestive disorders, like irritable bowel syndrome and leaky gut.
The thinking behind the mechanism is that collagen can help rebuild the lining of the intestine, which is usually damaged and inflamed in most digestive disorders.
Science is emerging to support the theory that amino acids, like those found in collagen, can prevent and treat inflammatory gastrointestinal disorders. However, additional research is needed to determine the impact of collagen supplements on gut health.
Some other benefits of collagen:
- Reduces hair loss
- Improves liver health
- Diminishes the look of cellulite
- Improves wound healing
Natural Food Sources of Collagen
Most people aren’t too familiar with collagen in the form of food. The best dietary sources of collagen are from inedible parts of animals, like bones and cartilage. The majority of Western diets aren’t rich in collagen since these animal parts tend to be discarded in food preparation and cooking.
Since animal food sources of collagen are less used and accepted by most people, supplementation is an easy and accessible option to boost your intake. The collagen found in most supplements is hydrolyzed, or separated, into amino acids making it more bioavailable.
Studies have found that collagen in food has less bioavailability, meaning its ability to be absorbed through the intestine and utilized in the body, compared to hydrolyzed collagen.
According to one study, hydrolyzed collagen is absorbed better than collagen from food – because it’s already broken down into amino acids that are ready to absorb.
Consuming hydrolyzed collagen also boosts your own collagen production by providing the “pieces” (amino acids) needed for its formation.
As a side note, studies show that collagen synthesis is stimulated by vitamin C, so it would be beneficial to take both collagen and Vitamin C together or increase your intake of vitamin C-rich foods.
Animal VS Marine Sources of Collagen
It must be noted that not all collagen is created equal! The two main types that you’ll find in supplemental form are animal (generally bovine/cow) and marine (fish) collagen.
|Made of skin, bones, muscles||Made from fish bones & scales|
|Rich in type 1 & type 3 collagen||Rich in type 1 collagen|
|Rich source of amino acids Proline & Glycine||Rich source of amino acids Glycine, Proline & Hydroxyproline|
|Excellent for maintaining bone, joint and gut health, reducing fatigue and repairing sun-damaged skin||Easier to digest due to smaller collagen peptides, so there is increased bioavailability and absorption|
Choosing one over the other is really up to you as both types have similar benefits.
Since it can be a little difficult to get a steady intake of collagen through dietary sources (who wants to constantly have a pot of bone broth on the go?), collagen supplements are a safe way to promote skin and joint health with little-known risk or side effects.
Hydrolyzed collagen supplements that are specially formulated with other complementary ingredients (like Vitamin C!) for skin and joint health are proven quite effective.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, commonly called PCOS, is a hormonal condition affecting up to 10% of women. While PCOS is a hormonal disorder of the reproductive system, and its direct causes are still unknown, there are some exciting new discoveries when it comes to PCOS and its connection to insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and chronic, low-grade inflammation. Addressing these possible root causes of PCOS could be a game changer in your holistic approach to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome prevention and treatment. Curious? Read more about a holistic approach to PCOS below.
What is PCOS?
PCOS is a common hormonal condition affecting the ovaries and reproductive system. Symptoms of PCOS include ovarian cysts (as the name, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, suggests) but note that you can still have PCOS even if you have no cysts on your ovaries.
Other symptoms of PCOS are menstrual irregularities – namely infrequent cycles, less than nine menstrual periods per year (or more than 35 days in-between periods), and heavy bleeding. Substantial weight gain, along with marked difficulty losing weight no matter what you do, is another hallmark of PCOS, as is excess facial and body hair (hirsutism). PCOS can disrupt women’s lives and carries myriad possible complications such as infertility, type 2 diabetes, and mood disorders like depression and anxiety.
So how can you holistically prevent and address PCOS? Your best game plan is to look at root causes. Below, we’re looking at three main root causes behind PCOS, along with preventative nutrition tips, supplement essentials, and lifestyle habits you can adopt today to prevent and address PCOS.
PCOS and insulin resistance
There’s a strong link between Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and insulin resistance, which affects as many as 65-70% of women with PCOS. Insulin is the pancreas-made hormone that enables your cells to use sugar (glucose) as energy for the body. If your cells become insulin resistant, your blood sugar levels will spike, causing your body to produce even more insulin. Excess insulin is linked with androgen production and the type of ovulatory dysfunction so common in PCOS.
Tips to reverse insulin resistance include healthier lifestyle habits, the right amount and kind of exercise, smart dieting, and wholesome weight loss. Food-wise, you can help lower your risk of insulin resistance by cutting back on starches and sugars, and replacing them with high-fiber, low-glycemic foods. Exercise is an essential part of insulin resistance and PCOS prevention, but don’t go overboard, either! Over-exercising puts stress on the adrenals and might contribute to hormonal imbalances. When in doubt, go for something mild like walking or yoga.
Supplement with Blood Sugar Support, a comprehensive formula of alpha-lipoic acid, cinnamon, chromium, and other blood glucose balancing ingredients to lower your risk of insulin resistance and PCOS.
PCOS and metabolic syndrome
PCOS has a strong association with metabolic syndrome. Hear this: women with PCOS are up to 11 times more likely to suffer from metabolic syndrome than those without PCOS! Being overweight is a risk factor for metabolic syndrome, as is lack of exercise. Metabolic syndrome increases incidence of cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis, makes you more prone to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, and ups risk of endometrial cancer.
Here’s the great news: metabolic syndrome responds really well to lifestyle changes. In other words, upgrade your health habits to massively lower your risk. Cut the junk food and eat healthy (ensure all your nutritional needs are met by relying on a quality daily multi-vitamin). Choose organic and keep processed foods to a minimum. Follow an exercise program and shed the extra weight. Boost your nutritious diet and regular exercise plan with Slim-Pro, a natural formula to enhance blood sugar levels and help you achieve your weight loss goals while lowering risk of metabolic syndrome and PCOS.
PCOS and inflammation
Chronic low-grade inflammation is a key contributor to PCOS, with elevated inflammatory markers regardless of excess weight. Inflammation can encourage higher androgen production as well as insulin resistance, leading to weight gain and disrupting the balance of sex hormones responsible for regulating the menstrual cycle. What’s more, this type of inflammation is also a feature of conditions like metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, which are closely linked with PCOS.
Gut health is a big player when it comes to the prevention of chronic, low-grade inflammation. So load up on whole plant foods (like anti-inflammatory dark leafy greens), fermented veggies, and cultured tonics like kefir and kombucha. Medicinal herbs like slippery elm and marshmallow root help relieve inflammation along the digestive tract and support gut health.
Anti-inflammatory powerhouse herbs like turmeric (and one of its active compounds, curcumin) are must-have allies for fighting inflammation daily, along with holistic habits like learning to manage stress better and making enough time in your life for rest and play.
If you suffer from joint pain, then you know from experience just how painful and immobilizing it can be.
However, by eating the rights foods and taking the correct supplements, you can prevent joint pain from arising and help manage inflammation that can make joint conditions worse. This preventative approach to maintaining healthy joints – can help keep you enjoying the physical activities you love the most, for a long time to come!
Foods That Promote Good Joint Health
One of the best remedies for helping to alleviate or preventing joint pain is eating the rights foods. Generally speaking, these are foods that are high in nutrients like Vitamin D, Omega-3 fatty acids and foods with antioxidant properties. Joint pain is almost always associated with inflammation and swelling, so foods that have anti-inflammatory qualities like dark leafy greens, dark berries and spices are always a good choice too!
Some of the best foods to eat if you want to reap the benefits of these nutrients are fatty fish like herring, cod, sardines and wild salmon. Nuts like walnuts and almonds and seeds like pumpkin and ground flax – can be great anti-inflammatory food choices too!
Some other great foods to include in your diet to maintain healthy and pain-free joints are cauliflower, broccoli, onions, leeks, cherries, pineapple, papaya, kiwis, lemons and other citrus fruit, ginger, squash, mushrooms and sweet peppers.
What Should I Avoid?
There are also foods to avoid when you suffer from joint pain and discomfort. Some foods contain inflammatory qualities, which cause or aggravate joint pain and swelling. The major triggers are alcohol, sugar, fried food, meats from grain fed animals, wheat, trans-saturated fats, and sodas. Try to avoid these foods to keep painful flare-ups away and limit discomfort.
Supplements that prevent or offer relief from joint pain and discomfort
Getting all the nutrients required to promote good joint health from your diet alone, is ideal. However, this is not always possible! With the fast-paced, busy lifestyles we lead today it is hard to get enough nutrients from our food to meet nutrient amounts associated with a helpful decline in degenerative conditions.
This is where nutritional supplements for joint health come in. As always, before taking any new natural healthcare product, you should consult your doctor or pharmacist about any potential contraindications.
Glucosamine – Glucosamine is a compound that supplies the joints in your body with the materials they need to heal damage resulting from joint injury or osteoarthritis. In particular, glucosamine sulfate is required by your body to manufacture a certain essential mucopolysaccharide found in joint cartilage. The good news is that it glucosamine is absorbed by your body quickly and easily.
Chondroitin Sulfate – this compound is another major ingredient of joint cartilage, specifically, it acts as the connective tissue between the tough protein strands that makes your cartilage elastic and stretchy as well as strong. Studies suggest it may promote healing and rebuilding of bone, and is effective in relieving symptoms of osteoarthritis.
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) – this is another raw material that the body utilizes in order to build cartilage. In particular, it is an ingredient of the structural proteins found in your skin, hair — and joints – and is an abundant source of sulfur – which is a key component of collagen, which helps from cartilage. Studies suggest that MSM could be just as effective in the treatment of arthritis as the aforementioned supplements.
Calcium – did you know that calcium is the most frequently occurring mineral in your body? Most of it is situated in the bones and teeth – so if you want to maintain healthy bones and prevent osteoarthritis, then a good calcium supplement is the way to go.
Vitamin C – this substance is most well known as an antioxidant, which protects the body from roaming free radicals, but it also has a role to play in maintaining strong connective tissue, including the bones, tendons, and ligaments that make up your body’s joints. It is also needed to make collagen, an essential part of the cartilage lining your joints.
Curcumin – is a phytochemical derived from the spice turmeric. For thousands of years, turmeric has been one of the most commonly prescribed Ayurvedic remedies to relieve joint-related inflammation. Curcuminoids in turmeric slow the enzymes that cause inflammation and give the spice it’s bright yellow colour.
There’s been an uptick in awareness that sugar is the culprit behind an increase in conditions like diabetes, chronic inflammation, cancer and high blood pressure.
With many health practitioners now recommend limiting or eliminating refined sugars, many people are taking an extra step and removing or drastically reducing their intake of the sweet stuff altogether. In his book, The Case Against Sugar, science journalist and author Gary Taubes writes that it’s likely that sugar is killing more people than smoking.
And while any efforts to cut back are in good practice, it’s actually difficult to completely remove sugar completely from one’s diet – and the foodstuffs in your local grocery could be to blame.
Much ado about sugar
Many food labels often tout the words “sugar-free” as a health incentive, when in fact, there are a number of additives that affect our bodies like sugar does.
Most people are aware that ingredients like high fructose corn syrup [HFCS], dehydrated cane juice or molasses are just synonyms for, well, sugar – but how familiar are ethyl maltol or maltose?
Now, let’s just be clear: this is not to say that all sugar is “bad.” At it’s simplest, sugar is a carbohydrate, which the body needs to convert to glucose for energy. However, it’s really not necessary to increase your intake in order for the body to make energy.
The pink, candy elephant in the room
At the root, the problem isn’t that sugar is being consumed, nor is it the type, necessarily. It’s the sheer quantity we ingest on a daily basis. In fact, in a 2014 article entitled Death By Sugar in Maclean’s magazine, it was reported that, “According to the latest Statistics Canada figures, Canadians downed 110 grams of sugar a day in 2004, from all sources. That’s the equivalent of 26 teaspoons, amounting to over 21 per cent of our daily calorie intake, and it’s surely gone up since then.
Canadians eat, on average, 88 lb. of sugar per year; the average nine-year-old boy will consume a whopping 123 lb. of sugar per year, and male teens, 138 lb.”
Hide and shriek
Horrified yet? No? How about this statistic:
“Of the 600,000 food items sold in U.S. grocery stores, 80 per cent have added sugar. Sugar and its ilk (including high-fructose corn syrup) are added to nearly everything we consume. Pasta sauce. Bread. Salad dressing. Peanut butter. One tablespoon of ketchup can contain as much as a teaspoon of sugar.” 
“Low fat” products, especially those intended for kids, are often the biggest sugar bombs of all. Sugar-laden processed foods are everywhere: even at the local health food store, it’s truly a matter of buyer beware. Honey, agave syrup, fruit juices, and other sweeteners that often appear in “healthier” options—all are sugars.” 
Cut the sweet talk
But back to our point. It’s not the type of sugar you are consuming, but simply the quantity. And since manufacturers are in the business of selling food, using a number of different types of sugars enables them use each in separately lower quantities. And since ingredients are listed in descending order on labels, this practice thereby allows them to place further down on the label. 
Becoming more aware of the types of sugars used in the manufacturing process empowers and allows us all to take charge and make healthy, sustainable choices.
, ,  http://www.macleans.ca/society/health/death-by-sugar-the-biggest-health-crisis-of-our-time/
Have you tried to cut back on sugar? Have you had any success? We’d like to hear from you. Leave a comment below.