Anti-Inflammatory Strategies–Achieving Homeostasis
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Dr. Cynthia L. Ogden at the Centers for Disease Control reported this week that nearly 50% of Americans consume drinks containing sugar, such as soda and energy drinks on a daily basis. Five percent of this population drinks the equivalent of more than four cans of soda each day. Teenagers and young adults drink the most, with males consuming more sweet beverages than females. Most of the sugar drinks consumed outside of the home, are purchased at stores, not schools or restaurants, and lower- income individuals consume more sugary drinks than those with higher incomes (1).

Sugar drinks or sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) are the largest source of added sugars in the diet of U.S. youths, and probably adults as well. Drinking excessive amount of calories contributes to the problem of obesity in this country (2). Previous studies have shown that the average teenager consumes about 300 calories a day from sugar-sweetened beverages. Over a period of a year, 300 calories/day is equivalent to an extra 30 pounds of weight!

The fat tissue around the belly, called abdominal or visceral fat, consists of immune-like cells that release pro-inflammatory cytokine molecules that result in body-wide inflammation. Extra weight around the midsection is linked to an increased risk of inflammatory diseases such as atherosclerosis (hardening and clogging of the arteries), heart attacks, diabetes, certain cancers, sleep apnea, arthritis, etc.

A healthy body controls the amount of inflammation it produces. Wellness is about maintaining “balance”, immune homeostasis. Balance one’s immune function and restore the proper and healthy balance of key systems that regulate the human body – metabolic, intestinal, hormonal, emotional, etc.–all mediated with the involvement of our immune systems.

An essential, simple step one can take to help the body regain immune and metabolic homeostasis and control weight, is to consume two or more servings/day of hyperimmune egg (http://www.HyperimmuneEgg.org ).

In addition, besides drinking less soda and other sugary beverages, incorporating the following steps will help achieve weight goals:
• Increase your physical activity-remember you have to use up more calories than you are consuming.
• Eat smaller portions then you typically consume.
• Increase intake of beans, nuts, lentils and colorful fruits and vegetables (berries, spinach, broccoli, etc.)
• Limit intake of:
Fast foods
Fried foods
Sugary desserts
Corn and potato processed products, (chips, nachos, French fries.)
White rice (use brown rice instead; it is higher in fiber and macronutrients)
Artificially-sweetened sodas and drinks—the body cannot tell the difference between “sweet”, and “sweet”

(1) http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db71.htm
(2) http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6023a2.htm?s_cid=mm6023a2_w

Rethink What You are Drinking: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/drinks.html

Dengue fever is caused by a virus that is carried by an infected female Aedes mosquito (called a vector) that injects the virus into a human while she is drawing her blood meal, a meal that she needs in order to reproduce. Over 50 million people, in over 100 countries, are infected every year with dengue. Until a report last week, there was still no way to control the disease. More on the study later.

The symptoms of Dengue Fever appear from a few days to two weeks after being bitten by an infected mosquito. The symptoms may be a sudden onset of high fever, nausea, vomiting, severe headache, muscle and joint pain, and pain behind the eyes, which worsens with eye movements.

The Response of the Immune System to Dengue

 There are four genetically similar types of Dengue viruses (subtypes). When a person is exposed to the virus, specialized immune cells produce large proteins called antibodies, also known as immunoglobulins (Igs), that attach to the virus particles and mark them for destruction by incoming inflammatory immune cells.

Unfortunately, exposure to one of the four subtypes does not confer immunity against the other three types. Even more troublesome, because of the peculiarities of the immune response, if one has been previously exposed to one type of Dengue virus, exposure to another subtype may result in Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever. In this stage of the disease, there is a significant amount of bleeding and a person may go into shock. Unfortunately, this disease is frequently fatal especially in children or the elderly.

As in all immune responses, a controlled, well-modulated response is needed by the body when it is exposed to a pathogen like Dengue. When the immune system has a balanced inflammatory response to disease, when it is in immune homeostasis, a person is more likely to successfully fight infection and survive. The key is that the body has to generate enough of an inflammatory immune response to destroy the pathogen, but not so much inflammation that nearby healthy tissue is damaged.

Inflammatory Cytokine Storm

Too vigorous, inflammatory response to infection, for example to the Dengue virus during Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever, may result in destruction of the walls of blood vessels, bleeding, abnormal clotting, and loss of fluids (which can lead to severe dehydration).

This sort of extreme immune response is also reminiscent of what is seen in diseases such as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), in which the body has an inflammatory or cytokine storm directed initially against the lungs, and goes on to destroy many different organs, resulting in death. [Cytokines are small immune molecules that trigger immune responses].

Decrease Mosquito Breeding Opportunities

Prevention- It Only Takes 15 Minutes:
There is no treatment for Dengue Fever, nor has vaccine development been successful. For now, the best way to avoid infection is to lower the risk of being bitten by an infected mosquito. Unfortunately, since the Aedes mosquito is active during daytime hours, nets around the bed are not an adequate solution.

However, all mosquitoes need water to complete their life cycle, so it is prudent to eliminate any standing water around the home. Think like a mosquito that is looking to lay eggs—it can be in any container imaginable, or a puddle that will not dry out within a few days.

Keep plant saucers, tarps, coolers, tanks, barrels, drums, bottles, tins, coconut shells, tires, buckets, and trenches, free of water.

Empty, cover them, or turn containers over when not in use, so water does not accumulate.

Keep containers of stored water covered at all times.

Empty refrigerator drip pans at least every other day.

Mr. Minchington Israel, Environmental Health Officer of the Government of the British Virgin Islands mantra is: “It only takes 15 minutes to go around the yard, … in search of stagnant bodies of water and do[ing] something about it.”

Mr. Israel also points out that since so many people have moved out of the countryside and crowded into urban areas, family and community-wide efforts are needed to slow mosquito population growth. In addition to the suggestions above, Mr. Israel strongly advocates:

  • Maintaining properties free of rubbish, junk, and overgrown vegetation.
  • Managing empty lots and abandoned properties.
  • Becoming knowledgeable as to where mosquitoes breed and eliminate these breeding areas.

Promising New Approach:
Last week the prestigious journal Nature, published results from an Australian research group reporting that they were able to stop the transmission of Dengue virus (ǂ). Researchers infected the Aedes mosquito with bacteria that “completely blocks the ability of the virus to grow in mosquitoes” (◊). The bacteria do not kill the mosquito, so the mosquito can continue to reproduce itself, and pass the bacteria to other mosquitoes. The infection is highly contagious so it spreads rapidly throughout the mosquito population. Successful testing in the wild supports its promise as a way to control vector populations. According to Flaminia Catteruccia, who works with malaria-carrying mosquitoes in London, “It’s an environmentally friendly approach that does not affect the mosquitoes, just the [growth of the] virus”(◊).

Personal Defenses:
If this concept works, it will take time for further studies to be completed and vector control to occur, so for now, taking personal responsibility is necessary. So in addition to the recommendations above:

  • Dengue carrying mosquitoes are active during the day, so netting around beds is not as helpful as in other mosquito-borne diseases.
  • Use mosquito repellents on your clothing and person.
  • Screen windows and doors against mosquitoes and use bed nets around ill, bed-ridden individuals.
  • Wear light-colored long-sleeves and slacks with thick socks.
  • A body in immune homeostasis, in immune balance, is better prepared to defend itself against infection.

To optimize one’s immune system: walk or be physically active in other ways for at least 150 minutes a week; eat in a nutritious manner; control your weight; eat darkly-pigmented fruits and vegetables on a daily basis; and consume fish or omega-3 supplements 2-3 times/week.

In addition, it is important to help the body achieve immune homeostasis, immune balance so that the body can battle illness and yet, control unchecked inflammation.

Hyperimmune egg contains a cocktail of antibodies and other active immune factors that help the body balance immune function. Consuming two or more servings/day of hyperimmune egg makes a major difference in your body’s ability to support immune health and heal itself.

ǂ http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v476/n7361/full/nature10355.html#/affil-auth
http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110824/full/news.2011.503.html

Severe nasal reactions to medications, pollen, dander, foods, fragrances, and other environmental stimuli may occur as people age. These responses, often not a true allergic response, are termed vasomotor or nonallergic rhinitis (1), because they are not due to a typical “allergic” response.

Nonallergic rhinitis (“itis” as in inflammation) is associated with increased irritability, problems in focusing, sleep issues, and daytime sleepiness. Also individuals with rhinitis are at higher risk of getting asthma (2).

Hallmarks of nonallergic rhinitis include inflamed sinuses, drippy, congested nose, chronic sneezing or coughing. Nonallergic rhinitis is seen when inflammation occurs in the sinuses of the face, and the nasal membranes and blood vessels in the nose expand filling the lining of the nose with blood and fluids.

According to the Mayo Clinic specific triggers for nonallergic rhinitis also include (3):

Infections: Viral infections can result in nonallergic rhinitis due to postnasal drip and nasal discharge. Facial pain and sinusitis (inflammation and pressure in the sinus cavities of the face) may also be an unwelcome outcome.

Medications: Overuse of decongestant nasal sprays can cause rhinitis as can medications such as sedatives, beta blockers, antidepressants, oral contraceptives, erectile dysfunction drugs, blood pressure medications, aspirin, ibuprofen, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Environmental: Strong odors, such as perfumes or cleaning fluids, smoking, secondhand smoke, dust, can become a cause of nonallergic rhinitis.

Foods and beverages: Nonallergic rhinitis may occur when you eat, especially when eating hot or spicy foods. Drinking alcoholic beverages, such as beer and wine, also may cause the membranes inside your nose to swell, leading to nasal congestion.

Weather: Temperature or humidity changes can trigger the membranes inside your nose to swell and cause a runny or stuffy nose. Dr. Rohit Katial, Director of Adult Allergy and Immunology at National Jewish Health, Denver, CO states “Even cold air becomes more problematic as we get older” (1).

Stress and Exercise: Stress and exercise have been shown to induce inflamed sinuses.

Hormonal changes: Changes in hormones due to menstruation or pregnancy, or a autoimmune hormonal conditions.

The majority of inflammatory illnesses result from over production of pro-inflammatory (inflammation enhancing) cytokines, and other immune cellular factors. Our survival on earth depends on the ability of the body to rapidly generate appropriate inflammatory responses to “burn out” pathogens that threaten to destroy us.

The body must be able to modulate the amount of inflammation produced and decrease its intensity as the challenge is met. The key to health is immune homeostasis. We must generate enough of an inflammatory response to meet the threat, but in controlled amounts so that bystander tissues and organs are effected.

1) http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111903480904576510302458640840.html
2) http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/874171-overview
3) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/nonallergic-rhinitis/DS00809/DSECTION=causes

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