Anti-Inflammatory Strategies–Achieving Homeostasis
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For years, physicians told their (overwhelmingly female) patients, that patient complaints of skeletal and muscle pains, sleep disorders, overwhelming fatigue not improved by bed rest, brain “fog”, and lack of stamina, were “all in their mind”.

However once pharmaceutical medications were introduced into the market place to help decrease some of these symptoms, health practitioners started diagnosing these conditions as chronic fatigue syndrome, CFS or ME, myalgic encephalomyelitis.

Viral Involvement Controversial

In 2009, an article in the prestigious journal Science reported that 95% of subjects with chronic fatigue syndrome were infected with a specific virus and/or had antibodies to that virus. The investigational team emphasized that these findings did not prove that there was a link between this virus and chronic fatigue, but that the virus might be “a contributing factor”.

Late this past year, the editors of Science retracted the controversial article due to the poor quality controls, and omissions in the description of certain figures. Additionally, other laboratories have been unable to replicate the results.

This specific virus may not have been responsible for ME, but the concept is sound since other studies have suggested that bacterial and viral infections can trigger inflammatory immune diseases such as heart valve damage, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

Autoimmune Inflammatory Conditions

Inflammatory diseases are often manifestations of an autoimmune inflammatory response. Autoimmune disease occurs when the immune system “over-reacts” to a stimulus and attacks its own cells with excessive inflammatory responses.

Digestive Tract-A Large Immune Organ

The lining of the digestive tract is heavily populated by immune cells and is considered a major immune organ. Many CFS patients complain of gut dysfunction, and have been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and with proinflammatory cytokine production.

Increase in Inflammatory Markers

Immunologically, individuals with chronic fatigue have increased blood levels of inflammatory compounds, such as C-reactive protein (CRP), and exhibit immunological abnormalities, including increased numbers of activated immune cells, and high levels of inflammatory cytokines, indicative of inflammation.

“… [T]he simplest way to think about … findings [such as these-HCG] is that people with increased inflammation–from whatever source–are more likely than others to develop a range of symptoms that frequently lead to a diagnosis of a condition such as CFS …” says William C. Reeves, MD, Chief of the Chronic Viral Diseases Branch, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “

Role of Immune Inflammation

Immune inflammation helps defend the body from infection and heals the body after injury. However, when immune inflammation is in “overdrive”, autoimmune and other autoinflammatory conditions result.

Making certain lifestyle changes will contribute to lowering the amount of inflammation in the body. These are: a) becoming physically active so that muscle contractions generate naturally-occuring anti-inflammatory molecules and b) controlling one’s weight to reduce the levels of inflammatory compounds being released by fat cells.

Other steps to consider are moderate exposure to sunlight (or taking vitamin D3 supplements), consuming omega-3, and adding hyperimmune egg to one’s diet.

Immune Balance

Good health is determined by the balance between the pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines produced by our immune cells; maintaining these immune factors in their appropriate amounts, is essential.

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For some, the holidays, and especially the morning of January 1, is pure misery, since they suffer with nasty hangovers. Alcohol hangovers occur when blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) return to zero. The event is characterized by pounding headache, sensitivity to lights and loud noises, dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, sweating, concentration problems, hyper-excitability, and anxiety and/or depression.

The biology of hangovers is complex and surprisingly, has not been well- researched. Dehydration and sleep deprivation may be contributors to the state of being hung over, but biological changes during suggest that, as with a majority of disease, imbalances of immune factors, especially excessive production of inflammatory cytokines, may be the culprit.

Hangovers are reminiscent of “sickness behavior”, the feelings that sick individuals have during the course of fighting an infection. “Feeling poorly” is the effect of increased levels of proinflammatory cytokines, that increase inflammation in the brain.

During inflammation, a great deal of cross-talk, mediated by cytokines, goes on between the immune system, the brain, and the intestines, which stimulates a wide range of physical, hormonal, nervous , gastrointestinal, and emotional responses.

Increased levels of inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-12 and interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) are found in individuals suffering from hangovers. Additionally IL-10 , which suppresses inflammatory cytokines, is also found at higher levels in hangover subjects.

C-reactive proteins (CRP) are found in the blood and are considered an excellent marker for inflammation in the body. High levels of C-reactive protein are strongly associated with the severity of hangover events. The response may be related to inflammation induced by excessive ingestion of certain alcohol components such as congeners, or alcohol metabolites.

Numerous anecdotal reports suggest that when the body is in immune inflammatory balance, that hangovers will not occur at all, or, will be severely limited in their scope.


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