Anti-Inflammatory/Anti-Aging Strategies
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Boosting Inflammatory Responses: The Body’s Defense Against Food Poisoning

Posted on Thursday, August, 4th, 2011 by Dr. Hellen in Boosting Immune Responses (Pro-Inflammatory) | Food-Borne Illnesses

As predicted by microbiologists and immunologists,  the inappropriate use of antibiotics has resulted in the appearance of certain bacteria that are resistant to different types of antibiotics.  Last year an antibiotic resistant strain of E. coli was responsible for a serious outbreak of food poisoning in Europe, especially in Germany.

Now in the US, a food processor, in collaboration with the USDA, has issued a voluntary, nationwide recall of 36 million pounds of ground turkey.According to DNA analysis, the product appears to be contaminated with a multiple-antibiotic-resistant strain of Salmonella.  At least one fatality has been reported, and 38% of the individuals with this illness have required hospitalization.

Our intestines are constantly exposed to microorganisms that are ingested during the course of a meal. Embedded in the walls of the digestive tract is the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) network.
The immune cells in these clusters mount inflammatory immune responses to protect the digestive tract, and the rest of the body, from being overwhelmed by pathogens.

Two stages make up the immune response. The first is the production of antibodies (immunoglobulins), large protein molecules, which like heat-seeking rockets, specifically bind to the  invading organisms marking them for destruction.  Other immune cells then enter the battle, mounting an inflammatory response that hopefully will be sufficient to destroy the pathogens.

Whereas in chronic (long-acting) illnesses it may be important  to down-regulate (inhibit) inflammatory responses, in acute,  short duration infections (such as food poisoning)  the body must rapidly increase, or boost, its inflammatory immune responses in response to the challenge. (This is termed the pro-inflammatory phase.)

In a healthy person, gastrointestinal distress, such as abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, possibly associated with a headache and fever, typically resolve within a few days.  Once the threat has been met, the body initiates a strong anti-inflammatory response to return the body to its appropriate level of immune homeostasis (immune balance).

A balanced immune response is the only way your body defends itself against infection.  Even if you are infected, you are more likely to quickly resolve the infection if your immune system is functioning optimally.

Read more about food-borne infections:
http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/bacteria/
http://www.cdc.gov/foodborneburden/

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