You’ve certainly experienced the acute inflammation that occurs when an injured body part turns red, hot, and swollen. Inflammation is a natural defense against infections, irritations, toxins, and foreign molecules. It is your body’s first line of defense against infection and injury. This process normally shuts down when the injury starts to heal.
But trouble can arise when the inflammation process gets stuck “on” and doesn’t know when to stop. This can happen when your immune system is out of balance.
Then inflammation can turn on your body, attacking healthy cells, blood vessels, and tissues instead of protecting them. This is called chronic inflammation and has been dubbed a “silent killer”.
Chronic Inflammation Can be Deadly
If you break out in an itchy rash from poison ivy, you’re very aware of the “cause and effect” of acute inflammation. But the causes and effects of chronic inflammation are not so obvious.
Chronic inflammation itself is not painful but the damage it causes can be. It can lead to all sorts of seemingly unrelated problems including allergies, IBS, high blood pressure, and arthritis (or anything that ends in “itis”).
The chart below lists the ten top causes of death. Chronic inflammation is a contributor to seven of these: heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and nephritis. (1)
Chronic inflammation can affect brain function leading to brain fog, ADHD, ADD, anxiety, depression, and memory loss. (2) If you are struggling with these brain issues now, consider these warning signs and get your chronic inflammation under control now before it gets worse.
Chronic Inflammation Symptoms & Causes
If you aren’t sure if you have chronic inflammation, take a look at this list. If you have any of the following conditions, you have chronic inflammation:
- Autoimmune disease
- Frequent colds
- Chronic infections
- Digestive issues
- Heart disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
Chronic inflammation is largely caused by poor lifestyle habits such as eating poorly, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, stress, poor digestive health, and exposure to toxins. Anything that leads to free radical formation causes inflammation, too.
Getting Inflammation Under Control
Inflammation is not an all-or-nothing response, but a continuum. You won’t be able to get rid of all inflammation nor do you need to, but you do want to minimize its presence once it’s turning against your body. Here are the best ways to get it under control.
Vegetable oils such as canola, soy, corn, and safflower are abundant in the average modern diet. They are also loaded with omega-6 fatty acids — a main cause of inflammation. Switch to extra virgin olive oil and organic coconut oil which contain anti-inflammatory properties instead.
Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory. The best dietary sources are wild-caught salmon and grass-fed meat. Regular supermarket meat doesn’t contain healthy omega-3s. Neither does farm-raised salmon. (Beware that fish is often intentionally mislabeled so you must know your source!)
For most people, an easier way to assure they are getting the omega-3s they need is by taking an omega-3 supplement. We recommend krill oil. It’s more readily absorbed and easier to digest than fish oil.
Neutralize Free Radical Damage
Free radicals are a byproduct of living in an oxygen-rich environment. These unpaired oxygen molecules are on the loose looking for other molecules to pair up with.
In the process, they cause oxidative damage. If you’ve ever watched a sliced apple turn brown, you’ve seen this process in action. A similar process goes on inside your cells, too.
Free radicals are caused by stress, lack of sleep, grilled meat, fried food, air pollution, cigarette smoke, radiation from your cell phone and computer, and even from breathing and exercise. Moderate exercise has been shown to reduce inflammation, but strenuous exercise leads to excessive free radical formation which makes inflammation worse.
Clearly, free radicals can’t be avoided but they can be rendered harmless by antioxidants. The best dietary sources of antioxidants are plant foods.
One exception is astaxanthin, one of the most potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory nutrients known. This phytonutrient is found in algae but gets concentrated in krill making krill oil such a great source. Astaxanthin readily crosses the blood-brain barrier, allowing it to more easily neutralize free radicals and halt oxidative damage to your brain cells.
Prograde EFA Icon offers the benefits of krill oil plus the antioxidant properties of astaxanthin making this supplement an anti-inflammatory powerhouse.
If you are looking for purely a potent antioxidant formula, we recommend Prograde Longevity.
Antioxidant potency is measured with the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) score. The highest scoring food that you would be likely to ever eat would be blueberries with an ORAC score of 9,000 per cup.(4) But one capsule of Longevity has an ORAC score of 364,600 — over 40 times greater than a serving of berries!
One way you can find out for sure if you have chronic inflammation and to what degree is to have a C-Reactive Protein (CRP) blood test done. C-reactive protein is produced by the liver and its level rises in the presence of inflammation.
You can ask your doctor to order this test or you can order it yourself from True Health Labs for around $50. Using an online lab is a great way to save money — up to 80% — and gives you privacy and control over your health.
Knowing your levels is useful to monitor your progress and see how much your lifestyle changes are helping.
Our Best Recommendations for Brain Health
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