INFLAMMATION is usually a sure sign that something’s wrong. Part of your body’s natural healing response, you might have banged your knee and it’s got hot, red and swollen.
But sometimes, inflammation happens by mistake, aggravating areas of the body where there isn’t actually an infection to fight, or trauma to fix.
And this can lead to autoimmunity and inflammatory disease.
Scientists believe that common grumbles such as allergies, joint pain, chronic fatigue, anxiety and frequent infections are all potential symptoms of inflammation, a growing complaint that affects millions of people worldwide.
“Inflammation is defined as a localised reaction that produces redness, warmth, swelling, and pain as a result of infection, or injury,” says Naturopath, Nutritional Therapist & Functional Medicine Practitioner, Olianna Gourlis (naturopathy-med.com).
“Inflammation is the body’s attempt at protecting itself by removing something it perceives to be harmful and allowing healing to begin.
“We need a low level of inflammation for all metabolic processes to occur but the trouble comes when we have too much of it and unfortunately, in the Western world, this is becoming more common due to our diets and lifestyles.”
While it’s easy to blame an unhealthy diet rife with trans fats and sugar, the latter being well recognised as a culprit of inflammation according to scientists, even the healthiest yogis akin to Gwyneth Paltrow aren’t escaping unscathed.
Over inflammation can show up in a physical sense, be it eczema or rosacea, arthritis, weight gain or loss, headaches and menstrual pain.
Although the aforementioned could also be symptoms of other biological shortcomings, Olianna stresses the importance of getting to the root of the problem with specific testing.
“There are direct markers of inflammation which can be tested,” she says.
“ESR (measures the rate of red blood cells in the blood) and CPK (if this is high it often means there has been injury or stress to muscle tissue, the heart, or the brain), calprotectin (a protein biomarker that is present in faeces when intestinal occurs).
“There are also indirect markers such as fasting glucose, glycosylated haemoglobin (to test for diabetes), insulin levels and high cholesterol is another marker of inflammation – these can all be done at your local doctors.
“If results are all normal and your clinician suspects inflammation, they may run further functional testing to rule out any hidden inflammation, due to chronic viral infections, gut permeability, food intolerances and so on.”
Tackling inflammation Gwyneth-style includes a kooky treatment plan one might expect from the controversial wellness warrior – the actor says she tried intermittent fasting combined with eating kimchi (fermented cabbage) and guzzling kombucha (fermented tea) and plenty of infrared saunas – which is disputed by medical professionals.
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