In episode 61 of his video series, Dr. Larson discusses:
There are two types of inflammatory responses in the body, acute and chronic. Acute inflammation is not only normal, but, in some instances, a necessary response of the immune system to aid in healing and to limit infection. If you cut your hand, your finger will become inflamed because the immune system is flooding the site with things like neutrophils, which are white blood cells, and macrophages, or “big eaters”, that work to fight against any pathogens or bacteria that might be present. Inflammation also works by pumping in white blood cells that push out the dead cells to aid in the healing process. So, acute inflammation is a necessary and healthy response by the immune system to trauma.
The average person should be tested yearly, and those who have any underlying disease should be checked more frequently, like every six months or more. Standard blood work can show a marker called the hs-CRP, which is the most general marker for chronic inflammation. DR. CHAD LARSON
Chronic inflammation isn’t a normal or good response of the immune system. It is similar to the foot of your immune system being stuck on the gas pedal and can lead to chronic immune activation, resulting in diseases like certain cancers, autoimmune disorders and neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease. Researchers have found a link between chronic inflammation and disease progression. There are three different types of chronic immune-inflammatory triggers: dietary, chemical and pathogenic.
Some dietary foods that are known to increase the inflammatory response in some individuals are gluten, or grains containing gluten, dairy, eggs, corn, and soy. Although some people can tolerate them fine, others can’t, and eating too many can lead to chronic immune activation and inflammation. Other foods that should be avoided are hydrogenated soybean oil and high fructose corn syrup. Diet can be a key influencer on chronic inflammation and a quick and easy fix.
Chemicals that can lead to chronic inflammation are things like phthalates and BPA, especially if your immune system loses the ability to tolerate them. Pathogens such as molds and viruses can cause the immune system to react over time, leading to chronic inflammation.
The way that you can measure the amount of inflammation in the body is by identifying certain “markers”. The average person should be tested yearly, and those who have any underlying disease should be checked more frequently, like every six months or more. Standard blood work can show a marker called the hs-CRP, which is the most general marker for chronic inflammation. Any accumulation of inflammation in the body gets filtered through the liver. The liver spits out CRP, so the more CRP you have, the more inflammation you have in the body. A cholesterol test shows both your HDL, or “good” cholesterol, and your LDL, or “bad”. But, LDL is essential in the body. It only becomes unhealthy when it is oxidized. So, measuring ox-LDL can help evaluate for chronic inflammation. A homocysteine test, which indicates a key inflammation marker is also a good measure. Finally, HbA1C, typically a test for diabetes, can also give rich information about the amount of inflammation that a person has. It measures insulin resistance, but it also measures glycosylated hemoglobin, which is an inflammatory molecule that is highly damaging to the body. Measuring the amount of glycation, or when a sugar molecule and a protein molecule are bound, is a great way to evaluate for chronic inflammation.
If your doctor isn’t already performing tests to measure chronic inflammation it is definitely something you should discuss. The key thing to think about is your HbA1C level, which can signal chronic inflammation and something that you need to know to keep your glucose in check. The best way to reduce inflammation in the body is to limit the production of glucose by lowering your intake of carbohydrates. A ketogenic diet is the best way to reduce the risk that you develop chronic inflammation especially as you age. Your body loses the ability to use the energy you get from carbohydrates as you get older which can lead to an excess of glucose resulting in inflammation. So, if you can make dietary changes if nothing else, you might stay ahead of the game and reduce the risk that you will develop chronic inflammation that can predispose you to illness over time.
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