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Chronic Inflammation-Aging,Muscles,Disease and More

Chronic Inflammation
An American Epidemic
Inflammation is an immune response; a response to an infection, an irritation, or an injury. Immune cells are called to the site through the blood stream. The blood vessels near the site become miraculously permeable and the site becomes warm and red due to the increased blood flow (warm, hence inflammation).
Neutrophils and macrophages engulf microorganisms and phagocytes are called in. Some immune cells try to “eat” the invaders; others excrete hydrogen peroxide (and other oxidative chemicals) trying to kill them so they can be cleaned up by the phagocytes and friends.
Inflammation is a part of the body’s natural defense system against injury and disease.
Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is a disease. The system has gotten hung up, and instead of protecting the organism (our bodies) it starts to kill the organism, slowly but surely.
Today modern medicine is starting to admit that chronic inflammation is the main contributing factor to all chronic degenerative diseases, and the root cause of the two greatest killers in America: Cancer and Heart Disease. In deed, chronic inflammation might just be the root cause of all degenerative disease.
Chronic inflammation may be the root of all degenerative disease. [Andrew Weil — www.drweil.com]
Accepting this would certainly simplify preventive medical practices (even as non existent as they presently are), but I find it interesting that once in our early history medicine tried to create a theory that reduced all disease into one or two categories. History does, it seems, repeat itself.
The Damage
Pro-inflammatory cytokines are the part of our immune systems that attack and kill cells with oxidative chemicals. If they don’t stop their attacks, they will start killing cells our bodies need. The inflammation in a joint can eat away at our cartilage and you’ve got a serious case of arthritis. Unchecked inflammation in an organ, say the pancreas, can cause diabetes. Unchecked inflammation is now thought to be responsible for cardiovascular disease and cancers. The elderly are especially vulnerable to this sort of unchecked inflammation since the body looses the ability to “down-regulate” inflammation with age.
You do not have to be old to have chronic inflammation. You can have it and not know it, until it is too late. Thus we are going to spotlight those tests for having chronic inflammation or being at risk for chronic inflammation.
After that, we will outline the therapies to bring down chronic inflammation and how to avoid it in the first place, for you will soon find that inflammation begins on the end of your fork.
Does anyone recall the headlines in the New York Times about blood vessels bursting like popcorn? The article told us that the latest theory on the cause of heart disease is inflammation. One of the doctors who made this discovery was Dr Paul Ridker. The results of his studies in the early 1900s landed on the front pages of the New York Times right around the turn of the century. We’ve covered this in our book, Bypassing Bypass, but we must tell you a little about it right now.
Microorganisms cause inflammation within our blood vessels, and the inflammation attacks the inside of the arteries. Besides immune cells being sent to the site to fight the inflammation, lipoprotein(a) is sent to form a sticky patch over the damaged area; a patch that that can grab onto cholesterol (supposedly bad cholesterol) and a cholesterol bandage is created over the site. However, the inflammation is inside now. The patch grows and bulges. The inflammation grows and bulges. Eventually, “blood vessels explode like popcorn.”
The reason I called the cholesterol “supposedly bad” is that it tried to save your life. If the inflammation continued without being patched by cholesterol, the artery would eventually open and you’d bleed out.
However, because the inflammation was not halted, the bandaged area has burst and the body must quickly respond because your artery is about to open wide. How is this patch formed? By a blood clot.
A clot is formed at the site to patch up the damage. Eventually, lipoprotein(a) will come along and form a sticky patch and attract cholesterol to form a better bandage, but there is a problem, and it has to do with our diet and lifestyle, our hypercoagulable lifestyles. Our blood tends to clot “too” much. The clot formed is usually bigger than it need be, and being such, the chances of it breaking loose increase. If it does break loose and it goes to your brain, you suffer a stroke. If it goes to your heart, you suffer a heart attack.
This sums up a good deal of what we have to say in Bypassing Bypass (which we are rewriting) but there is a lot more to learn (so if you want a copy, go get it here: Bypassing Bypass, and keep in mind that you are eligible to get the updated online version free when it is released).
Knowing you have a problem is the first step to fixing the problem.
The first test you should know about is called the C Reactive Protein test. If your CRP test is positive, you have are three times more likely to die of a heart attack, no matter how many cholesterol drugs you are on, or if your cholesterol is normal. [NEJM, 1997]
Please note that there are two CRP tests. The one that is needed MUST BE specified to the lab as H.S.C.R.P., which is high-sensitivity cardiac reactive protein test. This is crucial as it is measured in mg/L with a range of <1.0 mg/L being a low relative risk for "cardiovascular disease events" to >3.0 mg/L being a high relative risk.  Now, the regular test, CRP, is measured in ml's. Thus if your results came back showing that your result is .3 you look great and are considered low risk.  But, if the lab measured CRP and not hs-CRP than the number is actually 3.0 which is not good.Since many MDs are still unsure of their positions on chronic inflammation, they often order the wrong test without realizing it. So, be on your toes and always try to know more than your doctor
If you have Vulnerable Plaque (the popcorn popping arteries described above) you have an 800% greater chance of a heart attack.
In July of 2001, JAMA published a study on chronic inflammation and the risk of diabetes. Another test they used, besides the CRP, was an inflammatory marker test, the IL-6. The study concluded that your chances of developing type two diabetes are easily predicted by the outcome of the CRP and IL-6 tests together. The ultimate test would be the Inflammatory Cytokine Profile consisting of the two mentioned plus TNF (tumor necrosis factor), interleukins -1 beta and 8.
What is at stake?
Depression, asthma, pancreatitis, Parkinson's, lupus, anemia, kidney failure, psoriasis, and fibrosis might just be the start. All of these diseases have a suspected root cause of chronic inflammation.
From Life Extension Vitamins, we learned that seemingly unrelated illnesses “often exhibit excess levels of pro-inflammatory markers:
  • Allergy — Inflammatory cytokines induce autoimmune reactions
  • Alzheimer's — Chronic inflammation destroys brain cells
  • Anemia — Inflammatory cytokines attack erythropoietin production
  • Aortic valve stenosis — Chronic inflammation damages heart valves
  • Arthritis — Inflammatory cytokines destroy joint cartilage and synovial fluid
  • Cancer — Chronic inflammation causes many cancers
  • Congestive heart failure — Chronic inflammation contributes to heart muscle wasting
  • Fibromyalgia — Inflammatory cytokines are elevated
  • Fibrosis — Inflammatory cytokines attack traumatized tissue
  • Heart attack — Chronic inflammation contributes to coronary atherosclerosis
  • Kidney failure — Inflammatory cytokines restrict circulation and damage nephrons
  • Lupus — Inflammatory cytokines induce an autoimmune attack
  • Pancreatitis — Inflammatory cytokines induce pancreatic cell injury
  • Psoriasis — Inflammatory cytokines induce dermatitis
  • Stroke — Chronic inflammation promoted thromboembolic events
  • Surgical complications — Inflammatory cytokines prevent healing
Lets take a closer look at some diseases and their inflammatory connection.
Cancer: in an article entitled “Chronic Inflammation and Cancer,” by Emily Shacter, PhD published in Oncology, she sums up her findings thus:
A substantial body of evidence supports the conclusion that chronic inflammation can predispose an individual to cancer, as demonstrated by the association between chronic inflammatory bowel diseases and the increased risk of colon carcinoma. Chronic inflammation is caused by a variety of factors, including bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections, chemical irritants, and nondigestible particles. The longer the inflammation persists, the higher the risk of associated carcinogenesis. This review describes some of the underlying causes of the association between chronic inflammation and cancer. Inflammatory mediators contribute to neoplasia by inducing proneoplastic mutations, adaptive responses, resistance to apoptosis, and environmental changes such as stimulation of angiogenesis. All these changes confer a survival advantage to a susceptible cell. In this article, we discuss the contribution of reactive oxygen and nitrogen intermediates, prostaglandins, and inflammatory cytokines to carcinogenesis. A thorough understanding of the molecular basis of inflammation-associated neoplasia and progression can lead to novel approaches to the prevention and treatment of cancer. [ONCOLOGY 16:217-232, 2002]
Though conventional medicine hates admitting that sometimes we must fight “like with like” (the theory behind homeopathy), what I gleaned from this article that truly stood out was that irritation caused by the oxidizing chemicals released by the immune system can lead to a cancer. Cancer, in turn, is often treated by attacking it with oxidizing chemicals, which a few chemotherapies are, as is Paw Paw.
Since oxidizing chemicals are responsible for cancer, shouldn’t it be obvious (as Shacter points out) that supplementing with antioxidants might be a smart move to prevent cancer in the first place.
Aging: why do people age? One reason is the inflammatory process. This is why you see people who appear much older than their age, and you see people who look much younger than their age. One of them suffers from chronic inflammation.
Macular Degeneration: JAMA, in Feb of 2004 linked this one to inflammation.
Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: we still don’t know which came first, the problem or the inflammation, but these two are often found together. In her article “Cytokine and other immunological markers in CFS,” Dr Nancy Klimas believed that the unusual amounts of cytokines might lead to hormonal imbalances. Often called the most mysterious of illnesses, and hard to diagnose, we do know that chronic inflammation accompanies both, and that treating the terrain is a person's only hope for long term recover.
Osteoporosis: as we've seen with chronic periodontal disease, inflammation leads to bone loss. Studies using people with inflammatory bowel disease are also showing that bone loss progresses as the disease progresses.
Arthritis: earlier we mentioned that the inflammation eats away cartilage. In Rheumatoid Arthritis, the inflammation is systemic eating away at the entire body, an autoimmune disorder.
Multiple Sclerosis: this is a tough one. MS has been described as an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system. According to Professor V Hugh Perry, the macrophage population in MS brains are much more activated than in others, and that inflammations can be further amplified with age, injuries, infections, and surgeries. [http://www.sedonalabs.com/news/HMinflammation.html ]
Healing Chronic Inflammation
To heal anything, you must know its cause. As stated at the beginning, chronic inflammation begins on the end of your fork, or the Standard American Diet (SAD).
Sodas, French fries, chips, and burgers are the real weapons of mass destruction.
Every day there are WMDs of our diet that assault our bodies rendering countless damage and casualties to our body’s defenses, yielding more and more inflammation and damage. [Dr. Richard Fleming, cardiologist]
Let us talk about prostaglandins.
There are three types, Prostaglandin 1, Prostaglandin 2, and Prostaglandin 3. P1 and P3 are “good” in that they dilate blood vessels, reduce clotting, and are anti-inflammatory. It is P2 that is considered bad, mainly because it signals lymphocytes to increase the immune response. This in itself isn’t bad, because if you have an infection, you want P2 to do just that. However, we’re talking chronic inflammation here; the battle is over, but the soldiers fight on.
The building blocks of prostaglandins come from the foods we eat, but are synthesized (made) in our bodies. Biochemical synthesis requires that all the parts are available plus enzymes. Enzymes are the workers that put chemical A and chemical B together to make chemical C. Well, it just happens that the COX2 enzyme takes lipids (fats, mostly omega-6s) from our food and add them to arachidonic acid to create prostaglandin 2, which signals two things: Pain and an immune response.
Drugs on the market called COX2 inhibitors are designed to stop this process. And they did. They did this so well, that we learned a bit more about the connection between inflammation and cancer when Vioxx was discovered to prevent colon cancer. The big drawback was that Vioxx attacked the arteries causing heart disease.
There is another way to inhibit and stop this process, and that is by increasing our good fats in our diet which inhibit immune response, and take out the things that are causing our inflammation.
Additionally we should learn to cook our foods at lower temperatures. Cooking foods at high temperatures causes glycotoxins. Glycotoxins are sugars (glucose) bonded to critical proteins that accumulate in our bodies naturally (but we don’t need to help the process by eating foods cooked at high temps). As this buildup progresses, they cause cells to signal the production of inflammatory cytokines. [www.lef.org] This is one reason that as we age, our ability to bring “down” the inflammation response decreases.
The Most Dangerous Foods
Trans Fats: Funny, but we’ve been told for the longest time to avoid butter and eat margarine. Well, the American Heart Association, even though it had received a lot of money from the corn oil industry, finally came out and said that trans fats “might” be deadly and that we should cut down on them.
Trans fats inhibit the enzymes in our bodies that process our omega-3 fatty acids. They should just be avoided, plain and simple.
Corn Oil: This is the most popular omega-6 fatty acid in our diets today. Above we learned that omega-6s are needed to produce prostaglandin 2. Although I love the cult classic movie Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, I have to shake my head, because I know that corn is the real killer in America.
When I lived in Israel, I was amazed at how much olive oil they used. Your average Moroccan recipe called for anywhere from a half a cup of olive oil to half a swimming pool of olive oil (especially for egg plant). However, while I was there, the government began importing huge corn oil shipments from the US. Suddenly corn oil usage was on the rise, and they were exporting more olive oil than they were using. Today, Israel is a long-term human study in dietary fats. Cancer rates are on the rise. It will not be long before all the results are in. And no one who studies fats will be surprised, either.
Refined Carbohydrates: White sugar and corn syrup are in everything, it seems. Fructose is no better. And what about High Fructose Corn Syrup? Here you have a corn product and a highly refined carbohydrate. We have told you again and again and again that sugar depresses immune function. How does this work? you ask. From the Linus Pauling institute we get this:
High glycemic-load diets have also been associated with increased serum levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of systemic inflammation that is also a sensitive predictor of cardiovascular disease risk. Not surprisingly, in the Nurses’ Health Study, women whose diets provided the highest glycemic loads had a risk of coronary heart disease that was almost twice as high as those whose diets provided the lowest glycemic loads. The relationship between dietary glycemic load and coronary heart disease risk was more pronounced in overweight women, suggesting that people who are insulin resistant may be most susceptible to the adverse cardiovascular effects of a high-glycemic load diet.
If you eat something that is high in sugar, it stimulates the inflammation response. One thing we know about the inflammation response is that it taxes the immune system.
This is the last time I want to ever have to tell any reader to avoid processed foods. The more processed the food, the higher the glycemic level, the more chemicals, and the less food value. If high temp cooking is dangerous, Kellogg’s Cornflakes must be pure poison, for they are actually heated up to 4000 degrees during the process.
If you take a trip over the internet searching for the terms “Chronic Inflammation,” you will eventually find the worst foods you can eat:
French fries, Donuts, Commercial Pastries (donuts, cookies, crackers), Chips (potato, tortilla), and Sodas (and bottled Teas and Fruit Juices).
Why? French fries are cooked at high temps in trans fats. So are donuts and most commercial pastries plus they are made from white sugar; trans fats (shortening), and lots of white sugar, mmmmm. Chips are either high in trans fats or high in omega-6 fatty acids, not to mention the high-glycemic starches. And we should all know by now what’s in our sodas and fruit juices: sugar, sugar, and more sugar. Aspartame/NutraSweet isn’t any better; it too has been linked to triggering inflammation.
Beyond what you eat, you should be careful about how you live: diet and lifestyle are not two separate things. When the body is overloaded in toxins, it can respond only in one way: chronic inflammation. Smoke, pesticides, cleaning chemicals, allergens, dust, contaminants, herbicides all contribute to toxic overload just as much as nutritional deficiencies. Pathogens, as we’ve already seen cause infections that lead to inflammation. We’ve already discussed stealth viruses; but there are many more pathogens (Parasites, bacteria, and yeast) that are also contributing. If you don’t get enough sleep, your IL-6 markers can go thru the roof. If you are on drugs, antibiotics, steroids, birth control pills, they are killing off the good bacteria in your body. Candida can flourish. And don’t forget chlorinated water. Anything that kills off our good bacteria allows Candida to flourish. [Read about Probiotics]
Finally there is stress. Stress increases your natural steroids and eventually leads to depression. Depression has been linked to the inflammatory response. [Licinio J et al. “The role of inflammatory mediators in the biology of major depression: central nervous system cytokines modulate the biological substrate of depressive symptoms, regulate stress-responsive systems, and contribute to neurotoxicity and neuroprotection.” Mol Psychiatry, 1999 Jul: 4(4):317-27].
First Aid
Many of the following are anticoagulants or blood thinners. You are advised not to mix them or to avoid them if you are already taking anticoagulants or blood thinners. You might want to visit a naturopath to help you get off pharmaceuticals and onto safer alternatives, and to guide you in your choices if you have chronic inflammation.
Anthocyanins are the water-soluble flavonoid pigments in fruits and vegetables that help inhibit inflammatory COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes. [British Journal of Sports Medicine, 2006] Many of the fruits listed below contain these phytochemicals, however here is a graph we got from Wikipedia.
foodstuff Anthocyanin in mg per
100 g foodstuff
blackcurrant 190-270
chokeberry 200-1000
eggplant 750
orange ~200
blackberry ~115
vaccinium 80-420
raspberry 10-60
cherry 350-400
redcurrant 80-420
red grape 30-750
red wine 24-35
Birch taken as a tea and made from, the bark or leaves, is a diuretic and anti-inflammatory herb used for gout, kidney stones, and rheumatism. Oil and creams are used for swollen joints. Do not use if you are allergic to aspirin.
Berries are wonderful antioxidants. Raspberries, acai berries, goji berries, blue berries, cranberries and strawberries. All your antioxidants are needed to help fight chronic inflammation; antioxidants are anti-inflammatory. 
Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) is a Native American remedy, used mainly for “women’s problems” (menopause). It is also used for tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and arthritis. It contains alicylic acid, tannins, resin and bitter glycosides, so it is contraindicated if you are allergic to aspirin. It is an aspirin substitute, but should be avoided if pregnant, nursing, or using anticoagulants or are on HRT therapy.
Boswellia is a rainforest herb that in clinical studies has been shown to improve symptoms in patients with osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Like Curcumin, its active ingredients block the production of inflammatory prostaglandin hormones and other inflammatory chemicals.
Butterbur, a plant from the UK and Europe, is an amazing anti-inflammatory and anitispasmodic (prevents cramps). Just recently, studies in the British Medical Journal fount that butterbur treated allergies (hey fever) just as well as expensive medicines. Another study showed that it was far superior to the traditional allergy medications. In a combined study from Germany and Switzerland using a group of 330 patients, they discovered that an extract used, called Buterbur Ze339, was just as effective as Claritin and Tavist with no drowsiness. Dosage: 50mg twice daily with meals. ["Treating intermittent allergic rhinitis: a prospective, randomized, placebo and antihistamine-controlled study of Butterbur extract Ze 339." Phytotherapy Research Vol. 19, Issue 6.]
Vitamin C has long been recognized for its anti-inflammatory properties and works best when taken as a Vitamin C Complex (with bioflavonoids such as quercetin and copper, calcium, and l-lysine).   In a study of people exposed to simulated sunlight, researchers found that vitamin C and E worked synergistically to reduce skin inflammation. In a cell study, Italian researchers noted that quercetin and vitamin C worked together to protect cells from inflammation-induced damage. The daily dosage should be 1,000-2,000 mg if you live in a relatively non toxic neighborhood, up to 6,000 mg per day if you live in lots of smog.
Capsicum/Hot Pepper aka Capsicum frutescenscan, or Cayenne Pepper helps fight dangerous blood clots, can "cool" a number of inflammatory responses including burns, some nerve ending disorders and even possibly arthritis. Has definite fibrinolytic activity (can break down blood clots through enzymatic mechanism to some degree), also may be helpful in the pain of rheumatoid arthritis and a number of bowel diseases. Topical capsicum cream cools pain of several nerve ending disorders such as shingles and post-therapeutic neuralgia, a drop or two to the gum around an aching tooth works wonders. The cream can be helpful for pain due to diabetic neuropathy, and the pain which occurs after an amputation or mastectomy, as well as other peripheral neuropathies such as those that occur in AIDS patients. If you are taking anticoagulants or have a bleeding problem (slow clotting time) do not take capsicum without your doctor's approval. If the pepper you have eaten is too hot and starts burning you up, eating a banana will quickly cool you down.
Carnosine, at least 1000 mg a day, and/or 300 mg of the European drug aminoguanidine can inhibit pathological glycation [the bonding of sugars to proteins] reactions in the body which are now known to contribute to inflammation.
Cat's Claw, known as una de gato and Uncaria tomentosa, is a Peruvian herb with a long history as a remedy for inflammatory arthritis. Recent cell-culture and animal experiments at the Albany Medical College, New York, Studies show that cat's claw inhibits inflammation by blocking the activity of NF-kB.
Celery seed (Apium graveolens) has a calming effect on the nervous system, helps to lower blood pressure, and can aid in a urinary infection. The seeds are traditionally used to improve circulation to muscles and joints and helps excrete uric acid. Celery seed is contraindicated if you are pregnant or suffering from kidney disease. Like Curcumin, celery seed can cause photosensitivity if taken in large doses.
Chuchuhuasi is an herb from the rainforests of Peru and is used to treat a multitude of ailments. It is first and foremost an anti-inflammatory with immustimulant properties. It also repairs DNA damage and has anti-tumor properties. People traditionally have combined this with pau d’arco in their battle against cancer. Most herbalists recommend taking between 1,000 and 3,000 mg daily.
Coconut Oil is antiviral, antibacterial, and parasiticidal (kills parasites). Inflammation begins with a bad terrain and germs. Coconut oil can improve the terrain and help get rid of the germs.
Curcumin is the natural yellow pigment found in turmeric, a spice from India. Curcumin is also a powerful antioxidant; is active against a range of bacterial and fungal infections; a superb liver tonic; helps normalize blood cholesterol, and thins the blood. In a study from Cornell University, it was found that curcumin blocked the activity of Cox-2. which might explain some of the herb's anticancer effects. Curcumin is contraindicated if you are taking anticoagulants, suffer from gall stones or obstructive gallbladder disease. Curcumin also increases your sensitivity to the sun, so it is advisable to avoid long periods in strong sunlight. The daily dosage is 2.8 mg.
Devil's claw tuber (Harpagophytum procumbens) contains glycosides, phytosterols (suspected to have some effect in cancer prevention), flavonoids and harpagoquinone. It is a bitter, anti-inflammatory herb, useful for a wide-range of joint and muscular problems, including Rheumatoid Arthritis. It is also a digestive stimulant. Devil’s claw tuber is contraindicated if you are suffering from stomach or duodenal ulcer, taking anti-coagulant therapy, or are pregnant.
DHEA is a hormone that decreases with age. DHEA has been shown to suppress IL-6, an inflammatory cytokine that often increases as people age. Typical doses of DHEA are 25-50 mg daily, although some people take 100 mg daily.
Vitamin E is a protective antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties. A vitamin E complex that contains gamma tocopherol and tocotrienols provides the most broad-spectrum protection. Take 1-2 capsules (400 - 800 IU) daily. Vitamin E is a blood thinner.
Ecklonia Cava Extract is such an important food we've dedicated an entire page to it. ECE is one of the most powerful antioxidants known, is a powerful anti-inflammatory that repairs arteries, lowers blood pressure, removes plaque, and normalizes blood sugar. Read about it here: Ecklonia Cava Extract. To order the best form we've found: Algoran-FS.
EpiCore is a preventive. If you have a cold, it won’t end it overnight. But the odds are, if you’re taking it, you won’t get that cold. Researchers believe that EpiCor is a more powerful antioxidant than blueberries, that it will protect against most known infections, reduce inflammation, fight off Candida, and support the growth of probiotics in the intestinal tract.
Ginger inhibits Cox-2 and another proinflammatory compound, 5-lipoxygenase. This simple herb and condiment contains almost 500 different compounds, many of which are anti-inflammatory. It contains many volatile constituents, including zingiberene, zingiberole, phellandrene, borneol, cineole and citral, and can also be used externally. Ginger is contraindicated if you are taking anticoagulants. Large doses are contraindicated if you are pregnant or suffering from an ulcer. The daily dosage is 100 mg.
GLA: Although GLA (Gamma-linolenic acid) is an omega-6 fatty acid, it has anti-inflammatory properties. Very little GLA is converted to arachidonic acid and prostaglandin E2; GLA actually increases production of the anti-inflammatory prostaglandin E1. Robert B. Zurier, MD, of the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Worcester, gave GLA supplements or placebos to 41 patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Two-thirds of those receiving GLA had a 25 percent reduction in their arthritic symptoms. The daily dosage is 2-3 grams.
Green tea: Researchers at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, recently reported that the antioxidant polyphenols in Green tea had anti-inflammatory properties by inhibiting Cox-2 and TNFa. Genistein inhibits prostaglandin E2 and Cox-2, and quercetin inhibits the activity of inflammation-promoting "adhesion" molecules. It's likely that Pycnogenol, grape seed extract, and other bioflavonoids work through similar mechanisms. The daily dosage is 25-500 mg.
Irvingia gabonensis is an herb from Africa that many have been using for weight loss by balancing your hormones. In studies, Irvingia gabonensis brought HDL and LDL into a healthier balance, lowered C-reactive Protein (an indication of inflammation and one of the main culprits behind cardiovascular disease), and lowered their blood sugar rates.
Jiaogulan is a potent antioxidant (gypenosides are the active molecules) that protects the body from DNA damage, liver disease, atherosclerosis, and is a potent anti-inflammatory.
Vitamin K helps reduce levels of IL-6, a pro-inflammatory messenger. Vitamin K also helps in the treatment of osteoporosis by regulating calcium and promoting bone calcification. One 10-mg capsule daily is recommended for prevention purposes. Vitamin K is found in leafy green vegetables.
Lyprinol is a unique configuration of Eicosatetraenoic Acids (ETAs) that are related to the omega-3 fatty acids found in flaxseed and fish that could easily be 200 to 300 times more powerful than most NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) for relief of muscle and joint pain if used over a period of time. You seafood lovers will be glad to know that the Green Mussel (it has all sorts of names, but Green is always in the name, and it comes from New Zealand) from which this oil comes can be found in the frozen food section at your supermarket. Lyprinol can be pretty spendy, but we've found a good brand on sale here: Lyprinol.
Meadowsweet flowering tops (Filipendula ulmaria) contains salicylic acid, tannin and citric acid. It is an excellent digestive remedy, that reduces acidity in the stomach and helps to alleviate gastritis and peptic ulceration, which makes it tremendously useful for those with arthritic conditions who cannot take aspirin or other NSAIDs due to the side effects on the stomach. Quite a large dosage is needed for treating arthritis, but it does combine well with other herbs (mentioned above), but avoid if you are allergic to aspirin.
Minerals such as Calcium, magnesium, and potassium help to fight acidity and inflammation. Additionally you'll need some trace minerals Boron (found in raisons, prunes, and nuts), chromium, copper, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium (works best with Vitamin E), silver, zinc (abundant in fish). All of these are found in Celtic Sea Salt® Brand
MSM is a form of nutritional sulfur. With the advent of chemical fertilizers, our foods no longer have the nutritional sulfur our bodies need. Patrick McGean, a reader of ours who has researched MSM extensively told us, "Sulfur is the mineral which enables the transfer of oxygen by keeping the cell membrane semipermeable. Gases do not transfer as well as liquids through the cell membrane when the membrane is no longer permeable, and anaerobic disease happens in the toxic carbon dioxide trapped in the cell. Otto Warburg proved this but he never asked why?" MSM has a long history of helping people with arthritis, lupus, and even pollen allergies. It is necessary to good health.
N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC )is a protective antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties. NAC is an amino acid with antiviral and liver protectant properties. One 600-mg capsule daily is recommended.
Nettle leaf has been shown to suppress the pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF-a. It contains amines including histamine, choline, acetylcholine and serotonin. It is usually charged with minerals such as calcium, potassium, silicic acid and iron. It strengthens and supports the whole body. In addition to its major role as a skin herb, nettle improves elimination of wastes via the kidneys, in particular uric acid, making it a useful cleansing remedy and helpful in gout. You can find many preparations of Nettle leaf at health food stores, but picking the young leaves and making tea is one of the best ways to take this herb, just strain well (and wear gloves when picking it).
Olive Leaf Extract is antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral. Clearing up systemic yeast is another good start.
Olive Oil (extra virgin) contains oleocanthal, a compound that prevents the production of COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes. Apparently, some studies have shown that three and a half tablespoons is equal to 200 mgs of ibuprofen.
Omega-3 essential fatty acids found in fish oils contain EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) which are essential building blocks for the body's anti-inflammatory prostaglandins (e.g., prostaglandin E1) and for turning off Cox-2 and the body's pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1, IL-6, and TNFa). In addition, omega-3 fatty acids block the activity of an enzyme that breaks down joint cartilage.  DHA might just be the most effective nonprescription supplement to suppress pro-inflammatory cytokines. The daily dosage is 3 or more grams. Keep in mind that the body can make DHA and EPA from linoleic acid (flax seed oil) if you've got healthy probiotics in your gut. My favorite food product, Omegasentials, contains all you need to fulfill your daily omega-3 requirements.
Onions are loaded with sulfur compounds (see MSM above) that, besides relieving inflammation directly, inhibit enzymes that cause joint inflammation. The stronger the onion, the more phenols and flavonoids. Researchers have found that the strongest is the yellow onion, containing eleven times the flavonoids than the yellow. The shallot contains the most antioxidant activity.
Oregano is one of the most magical herbs in your garden. It is an anti-inflammatory and a powerful antioxidant. The best form of oregano is probably the essential oil, however, you can find oregano in capsules. TAKE WITH FOOD. The wild form of oregano contains 31 known anti-inflammatories, 28 antioxidants, and four known COX-2 inhibitors.
Quercetin is a bioflavonoid compound that blocks the release of histamine and other anti-inflammatory agents at supplemented doses; a minimum 100 mg per day.
Probiotics help clean up fungus in the gut. There are formulas that are even more specific against candida/yeast (Sedona Labs now calls their candid/yeast formula iFlora for Women). Additionally, probiotics help turn your flax oil (linoleic acid) into DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eiocosapentaenoic acid), natural anti-inflammatories. Recent studies show that probiotics reduce both C-reactive protein and cytokines (which turn on the inflammatory response).
Pycnogenol is a powerful antioxidant that reduces osteoarthritis pain. A recent German study published in Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapay (Vol. 60), discovered that it inhibited significantly the COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes within 30 minutes of taking the supplement. [Nutra]
Update: We've just discovered one of the best OPCs on the market; it is very powerful and is quickly absorbed by the body. Pycnogenol is an OPC (oligomeric proanthocyanidin). Once we tried the product and researched its background, we quickly joined their affiliate program.
Rosemary is a common kitchen herb is rich in ursolic acid. In laboratory experiments, researchers found that the ursolic acid extract of rosemary was a potent inhibitor of Cox-2 activity. The daily dosage is 100 mg.
St. John's wort is better known for its antidepressant effect, but this herb also has anti-inflammatory properties. Researchers from the University of Frieburg, Germany discovered that hypericin, one of the phytochemical in St. John's wort, inhibited NF-kB, which activates pro-inflammatory genes.
Silymarin is the antioxidant extract of milk thistle. Studies have shown that it inhibits Cox-2 formation. This role of silymarin might explain why earlier studies found it to inhibit the growth of prostate, breast, and skin cancers. Daily dosage is 100-200 mg.
Systemic Enzymes are used by many people with chronic inflammation. Systemic enzymes fight inflammation, fibrosis (scar tissue), and viruses; modulate the immune system; and cleanse the blood. Wobenzyme®, Rutozyme, and ArthroZyme are just three products containing admixtures of systemic enzymes. Below are more systemic enzymes and their actions.
Bromelain is the name of a group of powerful protein-digesting, (proteolytic) enzymes that are found in the pineapple plant. These enzymes are anti-inflammatory and have been proven to suppress the inflammation and pain of many forms of arthritis, sports injuries, and joint conditions.
Papain is also used to remove fibrin from wounds, treating jellyfish, insect stings, and edemas. It is a powerful inflammatory that accelerates wound healing, swelling, and adhesions after surgery.

Serrapeptase also known as Serratia peptidase, is a proteolytic enzyme found naturally in the intestine of the silkworm, which is used by the silkworm to dissolve the cocoon and emerge as a moth. It is a powerful an anti-inflammatory agent, used for bruises, for fibrocystic breast disease, bronchitis (loosens and expels mucous), edema, and lupus.

Serrapeptase digests dead tissue, blood clots, cysts, and arterial plaque. The late German physician Dr. Hans Nieper used serrapeptase to treat arterial blockage in his coronary patients. In addition to its anti-inflammatory abilities, serrapeptase reduces pain. Physicians throughout Europe and Asia have been using serrapeptase for years, especially as an alternative to COX2 inhibitors, NSAIDS, ibuprofen, and aspirin.

You can read our review of the best form of Serrapeptase we've found: SP-Zyme.
Tumeric is a yellow spice most often associated with Indian food, curry and yellow mustard. It is a very powerful anti-inflammatory that can safely quash pain and swelling in arthritis, bursitis,NOW Turmeric & Bromelean, 90 Vcaps tendonitis, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Tumeric helps in gastrointestinal problems such as ulcers, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and ulcerative colitis. Tumeric is also an immunomodulator that can brind down an excessive immune response is conditions such as allergies, asthma, and, in animals studies, curcumin (a main ingredient in Tumeric) appears to inhibit development of amlyoid plaques, which would give relief in Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis. Tumeric has also shown to prevent atherosclerosis and protects the liver from chemical and viral damage. Curicum, the active ingredient also has been shown to modify more than 250 oncogenes and processes that can trigger cancer turorigenesis, proliferation, and metastasis. We will publish more on this in our Alternative Cancer section.
Though Tumeric can be taken in food as a spice, it must be supplemented to get its full benefits, usually two capsules, two to three times daily. Because it also thins the blood, people with bleeding problems or who are on blood thinners should not take it, and it tends to release bile, so for people with bile duct blockage Tumeric is contraindicated.
Wild yam (Dioscorea villosa) contains plant estrogens that might help suppress the symptoms of menopause. It is also an anti-inflammatory herb, useful in joint pain; is anti-spasmodic which seems to help in Irritable Bowel Syndrome; and it is a bitter herb that stimulates digestion and supports the liver function. Wild yam is contraindicated if you are taking HRT or are pregnant or nursing or taking birth control pills.
Yarrow and has an aspirin effect, and is a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory herb. Used for muscle spasms and is a good wound healer. Do not take if you are taking aspirin. Works like white willow. Helps blood coagulate, unlike aspirin which prevents clotting. Both yarrow and birch should not be used if you are allergic to aspirin.
Back to the Basics
I can hear some of you chomping at the bit. Yes, we’re going to get to the root cause of this root cause.
Chronic Inflammation has a root cause. And it all comes down to one thing, which was stated in our paper: The Lost History of Medicine.
A healthy body has a pH of 7.0 and a negative electrical charge.
The overall solution to the problem of chronic inflammation is three fold: Alkalize, alkalize, alkalize. As Dr Baroody’s book says: Alkalize or Die.


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