Header image

When I ask people for their typical dietary intake, many people “shamefully” tell me that they drink coffee.  It  surprises them when I ask “what is wrong with that”?  Coffee is a healthy addition to one’s diet because it can help the body regulate its  immune inflammatory responses.

Studies have shown that coffee consumption reduces the risk of conditions such as diabetes, neurological diseases, cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, depression,and back and neck pain to mention a few.

 Diabetes
Phytonutrients, plant compounds, other than caffeine, found in coffee, are reported to reduce blood sugar levels, and decrease the way the body stores carbohydrates and fats.  Data from over 450,000 people found that every additional cup per day of caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee lowers the risk of diabetes by 5 to 10%.  Heavy consumers of coffee, 12 cups/day, have a 67%  lower risk of getting diabetes.  The effect is not due to the caffeine found in coffee, but to other compounds in coffee.

 Parkinson’s Disease
In Parkinson’s disease, caffeinated coffee may protect nerve cells from destruction, decrease the incidence of Parkinson’s, and the improve mobility of individuals with Parkinson’s disease. In the case of Parkinson’s, the caffeine in coffee is the “magic ingredient”, since decaffeinated coffee does not have the same affect.  Women with Parkinson’s Disease, that were on hormonal replacement therapy, showed less benefit from coffee.  

Alzheimer’s and Dementia
As mentioned above, caffeine may help the body protect nerve cells. Consuming caffeinated coffee over a long period appears to decrease the risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Heart Disease
In other studies, although coffee may raise blood pressure for a brief time, after two months of daily coffee consumption, blood pressure is reduced. It also lowers the risk of heart disease and reduces stroke incidents.

Cancer
Drinking one cup of coffee a day has been associated with a 42% lower risk of liver cancer.  Women that drank two or more cups of coffee per day had a delayed onset of a hard-to-treat cancer.  Individuals drinking three cups of coffee a day had a 40% lower risk of developing pharyngeal, esophageal, and oral cancers. Men who drank over six cups of caffeinated or non-caffeinated coffee a da,y had an 18% lower risk of prostate cancer, and a 40% lower risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Individuals that were heavy coffee drinkers had a 30% lower risk of colorectal cancer.

 Depression
A study of over 50,000 women, found that 4 cups of coffee daily lowered their risk of depression by 20%.

Coffee and Pain Responses
Subjects who consume coffee while working at the computer, report less pain in their back and necks than those that abstain from drinking coffee

Inflammatory Responses  and Coffee:
Regular coffee consumption affects the production of cytokines, such as IL-1 and IL-10 that regulate immune inflammatory responses. The data suggests that the benefits of coffee consumption are due to the phytonutrients, plant nutrients, and caffeine found in coffee. The adage that “coffee is not good for you”, should be re-examined.

 

Reach out to Dr. Hellen Greenblatt for simple steps to help the body balance inflammatory responses. 


http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2012/jan2012_Discovering-Coffees-Unique-Health-Benefits_02.htm
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22955949
http://www.biomedcentral.com/1756-0500/5/480/abstract
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21858104
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22070680
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21779565
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20839413
http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/why-coffee-protects-against-diabetes-190743.aspx
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21030499
http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=192731
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22927157
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22149008

 

Gut-associated lymphoid tissues are found in the walls of the intestine and contain billions of immune cells.  The white blood cells control the levels and types of bacteria that naturally populate the intestines.  The bacteria help to digest food that provides energy to the body,  and are part of the immune/bacterial ecosystem of the intestine.

 Interestingly, both immune cells and bacteria, protect the intestines from attack by pathogenic microorganisms, and cancer cells, and help heal the intestines when they are damaged.  Cross talk between the bacteria, and immune cells help the intestines maintain homeostasis, balance.  Each keeps the other in check.

 CELIAC DISEASE
Celiac disease is an intestinal, inflammatory, autoimmune (against oneself) disorder.  Individuals with celiac disease suffer from a wide-range of symptoms including diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, inability to focus, skin and neurological issues, constipation, a feeling of being “bloated”, gas, anemia, headaches, osteoporosis (loss of bone density), and depression. 

 Ingesting grains, such as wheat, rye, and barley, which contain a component of protein called gluten, reportedly stimulate celiac disease.

 The presence of gluten stimulates sensitive immune cells to produce proinflammatory cytokines.  These immune messages drive inflammation, resulting in the destruction of the intestinal wall and symptoms.   Genetic, environmental, dietary, neuroendocrine, and immunological factors all contribute to disease progression.

 Currently, the primary guidance that celiacs get, is to go on a “gluten-free” diet.  Although it may be effective for some people,  such diets are restrictive, expensive, and do not work well for everyone.  In one study, every patient, 100% of those surveyed, in a cohort of 300 individuals, hoped for another option.

 OTHER APPROACHES
I often hear from people with autoimmune challenges such as celiac disease, “it’s genetic”.  Fine, so your genes are partially to blame. Meanwhile, what will you do? Continue to be uncomfortable?  So I ask those with inflammatory issues, why not consider short-term approaches until researchers discover longer-term solutions?  In three words: limit excessive inflammation.

 I like to describe inflammation as a way that the body “burns” out pathogenic microorganisms and cancer cells. The body must produce enough inflammation to protect itself from disease, and help the healing process, but not so much that healthy tissue, for example the intestinal lining, is damaged.

 Nutritional Approaches
Vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids, from fish oil, inhibit the production of proinflammatory cytokines. (There is however,  evidence that vitamin A increases inflammatory processes.).

 Medical Approaches
Antibodies against specific inflammatory cytokines reduce intestinal injury in celiac disease, and the administration of corticosteroids, along with a gluten-free diet, was reported, in a small clinical trial, to provide benefit to celiac patients.

 Immunological Homeostasis/Balance
Hyperimmune egg, an ingredient that helps the body return to immunological balance, helps to support gastrointestinal health.  Many individuals with digestive issues report daily consumption of hyperimmune egg leads to major differences in their quality of life.

 LIMIT INFLAMMATION FOR BETTER HEALTH
The key to a higher level of quality of life in celiac and other autoimmune and autoinflammatory conditions, is to help the body limit its excessive inflammatory responses.  Removing gluten from one’s diet, using vitamin C, omega-3, corticosteroids, and hyperimmune egg, may contribute to helping the body regulate run-away inflammation.

Feel free to contact Dr. Hellen at DrHellen@DrHellenGreenblatt.info with questions or to consult with her. A message may also be left at: 1.302-265.3870 or click on: http://drhellengreenblatt.info/contact-dr-hellen/.


www.cell.com/cell-host-microbe/retrieve/pii/S1931312812000662

 www.medscape.com
 www.nature.com/nature/journal/v471/n7337/full/nature09849.html
www.nature.com/nature/journal/v471/n7337/full/nature09849.html
www.nature.com/nature/journal/v474/n7351/full/nature10208.html
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18667914
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22024540
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22109896
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22606367
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=morningstar%20hyperimmune%20egg
 www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081114185942.htm
www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120426105654.htm

 

Alzheimer’s and IVIG Rx
Last week John Gever, Senior Editor, MedPage Today brought attention to the results of a small study presented at the 2012 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference held in Vancouver, British Columbia.  In this study, patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s were given antibody preparations, immunoglobulin preparations, which were obtained by pooling plasma from numerous blood donors.  This sterile, medical product, IVIG, intravenous immunoglobulin, consists mostly of immunoglobulins, antibodies,  and is administered intravenously (IV). 

After receiving IVIG twice a month for three years, patient’s ‘ ability to function or think, their mood, or memory did not worsen over the three years. [Untreated Alzheimer’s disease patients typically show measurable declines in 3 to 6 months.]

The FDA, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, has approved the use of IVIG for only six conditions.  However, it has been used “off-label”, to try and treat about 50 other conditions, including infectious diseases, a wide-range of autoimmune conditions, organ transplant and cancer patients, blood, and neurological conditions to mention a few.

When practitioners are asked how s/he thinks IVIG works, the response is typically, except for infectious diseases, “we are not sure”.

 IVIG Contains Immunoglobulins and Smaller Immune Factors
IVIG contains antibodies to organisms such as streptococcus, hepatitis, measles, polio, etc., that can specifically neutralize infectious agents.  Other immunoglobulins may be directed  against specific immunological factors. 

However, viewing reported results in chronically ill populations, I have always been of the opinion that IVIG also contains cytokines, or cytokine-like immune molecules, with potent immune system-modulating properties, which help the body return to immune homeostasis, immune balance. 

 I suggest that the reason that Alzheimer’s patients receiving IVIG saw a stabilization of their symptoms, is that IVIG limited inflammatory responses and thus slowed the progression of disease.

 Alzheimer’s and Inflammatory Cytokine Levels
This supposition is further supported by the fact that animal models suggest that excessive production of inflammatory cytokines, inflammatory messages, are implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. These animals have a condition similar to human Alzheimer’s, and also have higher levels of inflammatory cytokines in their blood.  When a drug was administered that inhibited the cytokines, there was less damage to nerve cells and neurological outcomes in the animals improved.  

 The scientists suggest that blocking production of high amounts of inflammatory cytokines may be beneficial for any number of brain conditions, such as “Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), motor neurone disease, frontotemporal dementia, and complications from traumatic brain injury.” (1)

 Immune Homeostasis, Immune Balance the Key to Health
Thus improvements, or at least delay in the onset of Alzheimer’s, or other brain –associated conditions, may be associated with the body achieving immune homeostasis.  A body in inflammatory balance controls the immune system’s  inappropriate inflammatory responses which otherwise may lead to damage of bystander tissues.

Feel free to contact Dr. Hellen at DrHellen@DrHellenGreenblatt.info with questions or to consult with her. A message may also be left at: 1.302-265.3870 or click on: http://drhellengreenblatt.info/contact-dr-hellen/.

 


www.medpagetoday.com/MeetingCoverage/AAIC/33780
http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/210367-overview#aw2aab6b3
www.alz.org/aaic/tues_1030amct_ivig_trial.asp
www.jneurosci.org/content/32/30/10201.abstract?sid=349221d1-e12f-411a-80a6-80285ed5db54
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22806462

A previous posting (1) discussed the relationship between obstructive sleep apnea and inflammation. Evidence was presented, that levels and types of inflammatory cytokines, as well as other blood markers, are different for individuals suffering with sleep apnea as compared to controls.

Steven Park,MD, a renowned sleep apnea expert in NYC, has discussed the contribution of inflammation to sleep apnea and vice versa (2).

Arthritis, Sleep Apnea, and Inflammation
Recently Dr. Park discussed a Mayo Clinic study in which 50% of rheumatoid arthritis patients were diagnosed with sleep apnea, compared to 31% of the rest of the population. Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease of runaway inflammation affecting the joints. (Older individuals are also at greater risk of sleep apnea, and they trend towards higher levels of inflammation.)

Cancer, Sleep Apnea, and Inflammation
Dr. Park has also mentioned a study concluding that sleep issues are associated with a heightened risk of cancer. Moreover, it is known that there is substantial “cross-talk” between cancerous cells and inflammatory immune cells. Cancer patients experiencing high levels of inflammation, have reduced survival rates. Clinicians have suggested that decreasing levels of inflammation in cancer patients may improve their prognoses.

Obesity, Sleep Apnea, Asthma, and Inflammation
As Dr. Park and others have pointed out, there is a strong association between obstructive sleep apnea and obesity. Fat cells, adipocytes, not only serve as fat depots, but also produce cytokines, immune messages, that up regulate or increase, inflammatory responses.

Obesity is also associated with a higher rate and severity of asthma. Overweight individuals with asthma have increased levels of TNF-apha, an “inflammatory” cytokine than healthy controls.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Symptoms May be Reduced by Physical Activity
One of the most important steps one can take to lower inflammation, besides controlling weight, and eating a healthy diet, is consistent exercise.

This concept is supported by a recent study from Brazil suggesting that physical exercise affects the cytokine makeup of obstructive sleep apnea patients and may reduce inflammation and symptoms of their disease.

Immune Homeostasis, Immune Balance
The key to excellent health, and healthy aging, is to achieve immune homeostasis, immune balance. The immune system needs to produce enough inflammation to meet healing and infectious disease challenges, but it must be a “controlled” burn, so as not to damage innocent, by-stander cells and tissues.

Lifestyle changes are some of the simplest ways to correct immune imbalances and should be considered as part of anyone’s “preventive and treatment” protocol.

www.jrheum.org/content/36/9/1869.short
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22758643
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22377793
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22610391
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21339327
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22720220
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22751736
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22773729
http://drhellengreenblatt.info/2012/02/inflammation-cancer-chemotherapy-and-brain-fog/

The journal of the American Geriatrics Society, just released a study of older women suggesting  that women, and we assume men as well, add years of healthy living by staying active and increasing their consumption of fruits and vegetables. 

 Women between the ages of 70 to 79 years were followed for a five-year period.  Investigators monitored the amount of physical activity they reported, and their carotenoid blood levels.  [Carotenoids are a class of pigmented, phyto [plant] nutrients found in the yellow, orange, and plants.  Blood levels of carotenoids are associated with the quantity of vegetables and fruits consumed.  The more fruit and veggies consumed, the higher the levels of carotenoids in the bloodstream.]

In the study, women that were most physically active and consumed large amounts of fruits and vegetables, were eight times more likely to be alive after the study’s five years of follow-up, compared to women who were not active, and did not eat many fruits and vegetables.

 Exercise increases survival times

More than half of the 713 participants (53%) did no exercise, 21% were moderately active, and the 26% were very active.  The active women engaged in twice the amount of activity as did women who were not active.  Active woman reported that they walked, or were involved in strength training, bowling, dancing, household, or outdoor chores.  Physical activity resulted in active woman experiencing five-year death rates 71% lower than those of the least active women.

 Fruits and vegetable consumption increases survival times

During the five-year follow-up period, women who consumed the most fruits and vegetables, and had the highest blood levels of carotenoids, were 46 percent less likely to die than woman that ate fewer fruits and vegetables.  Blood carotenoid levels were 12% higher in the women who survived, compared to blood samples taken from women that would die earlier.

 This study supports previous results demonstrating that eating more vegetables and fruits, and consuming moderate amounts of wine products, which also contain phytonutrients,  is linked to people living longer.

 Down-regulation of inflammation:  A probable reason for the reported results.

Most scientists have only vague ideas as to why exercise, and heightened consumption of fruits and vegetables should make a difference in longevity.  However, decades of literature reviews, and successful counseling of individuals in the importance of balancing immune system inflammation, make it evident to me, that exercise and healthy food consumption helps the body limit run-away inflammatory responses, and therefore helps the body balance its natural levels of inflammation.

 Inflammation is the body’s protective response to infection, cancer cell growth, and injury.  However, when inflammatory responses are not controlled, inflammation ends up doing more harm than good, and becomes the origin of most illnesses.

 It has been documented that unhealthy aging is accompanied by excessive inflammation with increases in cytokines that cause inflammation, and inflammatory markers such as C-reactive protein (CRP).

 But the body expends a great deal of energy to naturally control inflammatory responses, and return to immune homeostasis, immune balance.   So for example, moderate exercise lowers inflammation. 

Every time muscle contraction occurs, potent anti-inflammatory cytokines are released.  Therefore, as the women in this study were physically active, their bodies were naturally reducing the amount of inflammation in their bodies.

 As to the contribution of fruits and vegetables in lowering inflammation, hundreds of studies support the fact that carotenoids affect cytokines, the immune system messengers that modulate inflammation. 

 There are many ways to help the body modulate immune system-generated inflammatory responses, but simple lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, and increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, are two simple steps to consider for a healthier, longer, and more active life.

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22587851

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22162208

www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120530100512.htm

www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090624093353.htm

 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19549997

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22483785

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22473333

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22708923

The retina is the “flat screen” at the back of the eye onto which light is projected when we look at an object.  The center of the retina is called the macula.  When it is damaged, a condition called  macular degeneration, there is a “hole” at the center of one’s vision, making it difficult to recognize faces, read, or drive a car.

 As people grow older, they are at greater risk of getting macular degeneration.    Risk factors for this condition are:  being Caucasian, obese, female, and having a family history of macular degeneration.  High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and eating few fruits and vegetables, also add to one’s risk.

 However, the greatest known risk of damaging the retina comes from smoking tobacco.  Current and former smokers have 6.6 times the chance of developing macular degeneration as compared to those who never smoked. [Unfortunately, if you smoked one or more packs a day, even having quit 15 years previously, still increases the risk that you will have damaged your retina in some way.]

Even after decades of study, we do not understand the underlying mechanisms of macular degeneration. Increasingly however, the literature suggests that inflammation is a major contributor to destruction of the retina.

Immune system inflammation is the body’s first line of defense against pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites.  Inflammation is also important to control mutating, cancer cells. 

 However, excessive amounts of tissue-damaging inflammation can damage healthy neighboring tissue.  High sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) is a blood marker associated with inflammation, and an indication that too great an inflammatory response is being generated by the immune system.

  A seven year study of hs-CRP levels of 4900 people was conducted in the Netherlands.  Individuals with high levels of C-reactive protein had a significantly greater risk of acquiring macular degeneration compared to those with “normal” baselines of the inflammatory marker. Additionally, other studies suggest that 75% of patients with macular degeneration have “inflammatory” genes that release pro-inflammatory cytokines that are associated with the condition.

 Some clinicians have recommmended using-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications to control macular degeneration, yet contradictory studies suggest that frequent aspirin use leads to macular degeneration. 

 We know that high aspirin consumption leads to excessive bleeding in digestive tracts and the eyes.  Perhaps the association of high aspirin use and macular degeneration is due the bleeding aspect of excessive aspirin consumption.

Inflammation is important for our survival, but it must be the appropriate amount of inflammation; it must be a balanced response of just enough inflammation to defend and heal, but not so much that it damages tissues.

Controlling excessive inflammation, without  the  side-effects of medications such as bleeding,  would likely help limit degeneration of the retina.

 www.blindness.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=46&Itemid=56

www.ophsource.org/periodicals/ophtha/article/S0161-6420(00)00580-7/abstract

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21920607

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21183941

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17923549

www.csmd.ucsb.edu/news/md_science_article.pdf

As I have shared with readers and audiences over the years, when someone ages poorly, it results from decades of inflammatory imbalances.

Inflammation is necessary for the body to defend itself from pathogens and mutating cells, and for the body to heal itself after trauma or disease.

However, when the immune system produces excessive levels of inflammation, and does not correctly limit the amount of inflammation after its task has been completed, then inflammation becomes associated with unhealthy aging, and chronic disease.

For example, it is apparent that neurological diseases are affected, if not triggered by, inflammatory responses of the immune system.

 Immune cells of the brain and nervous system release inflammatory factors, cytokines and complex mixtures of other small immune molecules.

 These factors result in nervous cell and immune system inflammation and eventually, death of nerve cells.

 Last month, the journal of Immunity and Aging reported the results of genetic and immunological studies of Sicilian centenarians, individuals that are 100 years or older.

The researchers concluded that these individuals, all active and “in relatively good health”, survived longer than their cohorts, because their immune system was at “optimal performance” and that they were able to control inappropriate levels of inflammation.

 More evidence for the contribution of inflammation to aging poorly, for example cognitive abilities, is seen in a seemingly irrelevant study in which the use of fish oils was shown to counteract the negative effects of sugar drinks.

In this study, rats learned how to run a maze.  After their lesions, one group of rats was fed a sugary solution for over 6 weeks. After six months, the rats ran the maze again from memory.

Rats that were on the sugar, could not remember how to run the maze, but those on sugar along with  omega-3 fatty acids, were able to run it. The omega-3 fatty acids counteracted the negative effects of the sugary diet.

We know that high sugar consumption results in increasing size of fat cells, adipose tissue, and that fat cells release inflammatory molecules that are associated with the cardiovascular, joint, and insulin-related issues seen in obese individuals.

In addition, it has been shown that there are compounds in omega-3 fatty acids that counteract inflammatory responses.

Therefore, the results of the maze study may be attributable to the fact that the omega-3 helped down-regulate pro-inflammatory cytokines, messengers that initiate the inflammatory process.

During the past decades, I have watched the health outcomes of older individuals that have followed a regimen that maintains inflammatory balance.

In their 70s, 80s, and early 90s, they work full days, sometimes in physically-demanding positions, are on little or no medication, and find that they are more active, than individuals 20 years their junior.

Balanced immune inflammation, immune homeostasis, is the key to an active life.

One must generate enough inflammation to defend oneself from infectious disease, and help the body heal, but a healthy person has to be able to limit and control  inflammatory responses at appropriate levels for the tasks at hand.

www.immunityageing.com/content/9/1/8/abstract
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22404117
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16613757
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22535513
archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?volume=66&issue=11&page=1263
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22566778

Through the years, I have spoken with many individuals, usually, women, who have now been diagnosed with fibromyalgia.  Fibromyalgia is a condition in which individuals suffer from chronic pain, and have tenderness in about a dozen different spots in the body, and have “brain fog”.   They suffer from unremitting fatigue, bowel problems, difficulty in sleeping through the night, and waking up unrefreshed.  As would be expected, they are depressed and anxious as well.

 There are some physicians, even now, that think fibromyalgia “is all in the minds” of their patients.  Some studies have shown, that compared to the general population, individuals with fibromyalgia have significantly higher levels of depression and anxiety.  [Now why someone who is in pain and tired much of the time, would be depressed is beyond me.]

 I once spoke to a male physician who said that he always thought that fibromyalgia was “just” a psychological problem, having nothing to do with biology.  I asked him why he used the past tense, and he said to me, “because I got it!”. 

 Now that the pharmaceutical industry has come out with at least three FDA-approved medications for fibromyalgia, it evidently means that fibromyalgia can now be classified as a disease, and many clinicians treat it as such.  

Many patients have differing success when using these prescription medications.  The three pharmaceuticals reduced pain symptoms by only 30%.  Some of the medications made a difference in fatigue, but not in sleep patterns.  Many of these medications result in side effects ranging from insomnia (which they were trying to combat in the beginning!), nausea, and diarrhea.  Unfortunately for individuals suffering with fibromyalgia, many patients find that if the medication does work for them, too often it is for only a short-period of time, for as little as six months total.

Most clinicians state that the cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, but that “painful tissues” are not associated with inflammation. 

I respectfully suggest that inflammatory responses are major contributors to the pain and discomfort those individuals with fibromyalgia experience.  Indeed, I cannot imagine that a person can feel pain, in the absence of inflammation.

Increasingly, the literature suggests that fibromyalgia, and other neuromuscular conditions are characterized by low-grade inflammation.  Inflammatory cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha and IL-1, and other immunological factors, have been found to be at higher levels than “normals” and may be resulting in the fatigue and flu-like illness experienced by individuals with fibromyalgia.

Controlling run-away inflammation by returning to immune homeostasis, immune balance, has, in my experience, resulted in dramatic differences in the quality of life of individuals suffering with fibromyalgia.  These individuals have tried other approaches with only limited success, so why not support balanced immune responses?

Medscape Family Medicine 2012 WebMD, LLC
www.actabiomedica.it/data/2007/2_2007/fietta.pdf
www.medicinenet.com/fibromyalgia/article.htm
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21975140
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19957871

 

Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome  (OSAS) occurs when an individual repeatedly stops breathing, sometimes as many as 1-2 times a minute during their sleep.  It is most frequently associated with heavy snoring, broad swings in heart rate, and, as one would expect, extreme daytime sleepiness.  Those that suffer with sleep apnea are prone to accidents; they are twice as likely to be involved in car crashes as compared to individuals without the condition.

 The relationship between inflammation and sleep apnea is complicated, with not only inflammation of the airways, but  body-wide inflammation as well.

 As with other inflammatory conditions, obstructive sleep apnea is associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity.  Visceral fat, belly fat, is a major predictor of having obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, since fat cells produce large amounts of immune modulating molecules, that trigger inflammation.

 People suffering with sleep apnea have complex imbalances of immune factors, cytokines.  Their levels of immune modulating cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor and interleukin (IL)-6, are markedly high, as are levels of other inflammatory proteins, including  C-reactive protein (hsCRP). [CRP is a blood protein typically associated with the presence and amount of inflammation in the body.]  Additionally,  hormones that regulate insulin and hunger levels are higher than levels found in those without sleep apnea.

 There is conflicting data about the affect of CPAPs, continuous positive airway pressure breathing devices,  on inflammation. Some studies suggest that the devices help lower the number of inflammatory molecules circulating in the body, other studies suggest that using a CPAP increases inflammation.

 Successfully battling disease, and healing , is determined by inflammatory immune cells and the types and ratios of cytokines they generate.  Restoring balance, immune homeostasis, to the body, helps the body stay healthy, and recover rapidly when in ill health.

emedicine.medscape.com/article/295807-overview
www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080218214401.htm
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22515302
www.chestjournal.chestpubs.org/content/127/3/1074.full
www.chestjournal.chestpubs.org/content/126/1/1.long
www.mayoclinic.com/health/sleep-apnea/DS00148
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22408197

The concept of epigenetics was first introduced in the 1940s, and its implications on how we modulate inflammation through its processes are intriguing and exciting.

For most of my scientific career, we were taught that biological processes of the body were pre-determined by genes. It was said that DNA’s message was set-in-stone, and except through mutations which might result in cancer, or mutations and recombinations of genetic material that were handed down from one generation to another, the message encoded by DNA was unchanging.

Accumulating evidence suggests that altering our diet, life style, and environment, significantly influences gene expression; the way that the body translates the DNA message. We can change the affect our genes have on our physiological and emotional well-being.

It never ceases to amaze me that the medical profession writes off conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, cancer, strokes, Alzheimer’s etc. as being the result of “aging”; basically, saying to their patient, “you have to live with it because you are getting old”.

Instead, health practitioners might better focus on the fact that imbalances of inflammatory and anti-inflammatory responses contribute to health issues. Directing the emphasis on life style changes would enable individuals to take steps towards breaking the inflammation cycle, literally affecting the DNA message, and the resulting quality of their lives.

There are simple approaches that help maintain immune balance, immune homeostasis. Two such changes are: limiting the size of fat cells, and exercise. Fat cells, especially around our abdominal area, produce large amounts of pro-inflammatory cytokines, that trigger inappropriate levels of inflammation.

Exercise is a way to neutralize these molecules since contracting our muscles releases potent anti-inflammatory cytokines.

Additionally, the daily consumption of two or more servings of hyperimmune egg can go a long way toward supporting the body’s natural immune-rebalancing attempts.

In the controversy of genes vs. nurture, we now know that it is a combination of both that makes the difference. We can help regulate what our genes “say” by how we choose to live our lives.

www.sciencemag.org/site/feature/plus/sfg/resources/res_epigenetics.xhtml

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22004920.1

target=”_blank”>articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/04/11/epigenetic-vs-determinism.aspx

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22428854

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20388091

 

Recently a woman going through menopause, pleaded with me for suggestions as to her dealing with hot flashes, mood swings, sudden tears, fatigue, inability to sleep soundly, difficulty in concentrating, mental blocks, and “always forgetting things”.

She had tried many different physicians and approaches, without success. She was “at her wit’s end”.

About 75-85% of woman undergoing menopause complain of “hot flashes”, the sudden sensation of heat that spreads through their bodies, and often resulting in skin turning pinker than usual. Some women say it is a mild, sensation, others say it is a burning sensation, that drives them (and their spouses!) crazy.

Clinicians suggest that symptoms are due to changes in a woman’s hormones as she leaves her reproductive days. However they ignore the fact that the profile of hormones, their quantities and types, may be affecting the inflammatory status of a woman, resulting in symptoms.

Obesity, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption, increase the likelihood that a woman will experience stronger and more frequent hot flashes when they reach menopause. And genes play a role as well, since women of color, and those carrying a special gene, have hot flashes in greater numbers than other women.

Women who control their weight, do not smoke, and/or limit the amount of alcohol they consume, will helpl reduce runaway inflammation in their bodies, and possibly reduce their menopausal symptoms.

Other approaches that will help balance inflammation,maintain immune homeostasis, are to exercise, which encourages the release by muscle cells of anti-inflammatory molecules, and the daily consumption of two or more servings of hyperimmune egg. This ingredient has been clinically proven to help the body balance inflammation.

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22399517
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22073175
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20238396
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16855150

 

(Please see prior posting)

ACHIEVING INFLAMMATORY HOMEOSTASIS, IMMUNE BALANCE, NATURALLY

CONTROL INFLAMMATION

Restoring immune inflammatory balance, homeostasis, may reduce diabetic symptoms, help guard against infections, and contribute to overall health by letting the body heal itself. Lifestyle changes, rather than medication, are the best ways to regain immune balance, inflammatory homeostasis.

BECOME PHYSICALLY ACTIVE.

Muscles release anti-inflammatory molecules every time they contract. To help balance the levels of inflammation in the body, try to be physically active at least 150 minutes a week. Walk to the bus at a brisk pace. Stand, instead of sitting. Work faster when in the garden. Exercise while watching TV. Just get moving!

This week’s pre-publication article from the journal, Diabetes Care, reports that diabetics that participated in aerobic and resistance training twice a week were more fit than controls, even when they personally did not have any weight loss. Moreover, another publication this week in the journal, Endocrine, reports that even without weight reductions, exercise by itself helps control blood sugar levels.

GET TO YOUR IDEAL WEIGHT.

Obese individuals are at greater risk of getting diabetes. Fat cells release pro-inflammatory cytokines, messages that result in inflammation. Many diabetic symptoms are reduced, even with minimal weight loss.

Make smarter beverage and food choices. The most recent discussions about foods is to ignore the amount of fat you take in, and instead, concentrate on decreasing your total carbohydrate intake.

 Limit your intake of:

  • Liquid carbohydrates such as sodas, either regular or “diet”, fruit juices, “energy” drinks, beer.
  • Fried foods.
  • Starches, such as corn, white rice, chips, nachos, French fries.
  • White flour such as found in breads, pasta, cakes, desserts.

 Fill half your plate with vegetables and colorful fruit. The following foods are reportedly helpful to diabetics: Brewer’s yeast, broccoli, buckwheat, liver, okra, peas, and spinach.

VITAMIN D MAY PLAY A ROLE IN BALANCING INFLAMMATORY RESPONSES. Recent studies suggest that vitamin D, actually a hormone-like biochemical, is involved in cell growth and immunity. Studies suggest that vitamin D suppresses proinflammatory cytokines and increases anti-inflammatory cytokines. Organ systems such as liver, skin, thymus, small intestines, and pancreas have cells that bind a form of vitamin D. Certain groups of diabetics have low levels of vitamin D.

The body produces its own vitamin D when sun exposure is appropriate. Moderate sun exposure during the summer months, stimulates the production of its vitamin D. In temperate climes, supplementation may be prudent.

 OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS. There are suggestions in the scientific literature that diabetics may benefit from consuming omega-3 fish oils. Consume 2-3 servings of fish/week or take supplements.

MODERATE COFFEE CONSUMPTION. Certain compounds in coffee may help decrease inflammation. Moderate consumption of coffee may be helpful to diabetics.

HYPERIMMUNE EGG. Immunologists have shown that consumption of multiple servings/day of hyperimmune egg is a natural way to help the body regain its immune homeostasis.

IN SUMMARY

Important steps that a diabetic can take are to become physically active, control their diet and weight, and are other steps to reduce inappropriate inflammation.


www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22399699

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22407494

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20181814

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22404117

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22397028

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19957870

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21593500

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22375372

 

 

The body’s cells, especially brain and red blood cells, obtain their energy needs from the glucose (sugar) that circulates in the bloodstream.  There is an optimum amount of glucose that our body needs.  Too high a level of glucose, is just as bad as too little. The body uses insulin, a hormone, to support healthy levels of blood sugar.  Individuals with diabetes cannot properly control their blood glucose levels, and are therefore at risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, eye, kidney, skin, and nervous system complications.

 The probability of getting diabetes is especially high in obese individuals.  Fat cells, especially those found around one’s waist, release pro-inflammatory cytokines.  The production of these immune factors result in inflammatory responses that destroy insulin-producing cells, making it difficult for the person to control their blood glucose.

 Dr. Umut Ozcan of Children’s Hospital Boston, has stated that “For 20 years, inflammation has been seen as detrimental, whereas it is actually beneficial.”  Research demonstrates that obese individuals have difficulty in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels due to imbalances of inflammatory molecules. Some proteins triggered by inflammation help the body control glucose levels, whereas other types of inflammatory molecules are detrimental to maintaining healthy glucose levels. 

 Dr. Ozcan continues,  “It may be that inflammatory pathways are not working optimally and there could be a resistance to the cytokines that mediate the inflammation.”.

 Restoring immune homeostasis, balance,  by helping the body control excessive inflammation may reduce the symptoms of diabetes or the risk of getting the condition in the first place.    Lifestyle changes, rather than medication, are the best way to regain immune balance.

 Please look for our next posting that will describe ways that one can help correct imbalances between pro-inflammatory (molecules that lead to inflammatory responses) and anti-inflammatory cytokines (cell messages).

 

www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0031225

www.cdc.gov/obesity/causes/health.html

www.nature.com/nm/journal/v17/n10/abs/nm.2449.html

vectorblog.org/2011/09/in-diabetes-inflammation-may-be-part-of-the-solution-not-the-problem/

http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=20604914

 

Many patients that undergo chemotherapy report lingering effects of the disease, or from treatment protocols. Some individuals report that experience problems with cognition, clear thinking, memory, focus, concentration, and staying organized which they call “brain fog” or “chemo brain.”

The relationship between inflammation and cancer is still under intense study. Immune inflammation plays a major role during different stages of tumor development, from recognition of the cancer cells, to metastasis, to resolution of the disease. There are proven complex interactions between immune and cancer cells during which there appears to be “cross-talk.”

Chemotherapeutic medications are, of necessity, cytotoxic. The medications cause the death of cells (apoptosis) by programming their death or by interfering with certain biochemical processes within the cell.

The relationship of inflammatory immune cells and dead cells is a complex one. Whenever a cell dies because of infection or injury, inflammatory immune cells release inflammatory cytokines, messages that activate immune cells to clean up debris, and start the healing process.

Chemotherapy, in which both healthy and cancerous cells are killed, can have unintended effects. The medications can damage immune cells and their DNA; the very cells that the body needs to stop cancer cells from multiplying, to clean up the dead cells, and heal the body after cytotoxic challenge.

An example of such a possible problem is tumor lysis syndrome. When large numbers of cells are killed by chemotherapeutic agents, the dying cells release vast amounts of inflammatory-triggering compounds. The body is simply overwhelmed by these factors, resulting in significant immunological and chemical disruptions throughout the body.

A limited number of studies, still to be replicated, suggest that long after treatment has ended, healthy brain cells continue to die off. And at least one study has shown altered brain structure in individuals that had undergone chemotherapy a year previously. These results however, were not seen in patients that had received chemotherapy three years previously.

The relationship between inflammation, cancer, and cancer therapy, is not understood. However, the available science suggests that limiting excessive inflammatory responses by the immune system, may help minimize the adverse effects of chemotherapy, especially as it relates to the brain.

 

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/chemo-brain/DS01109


www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20303878


www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21545608

www.nature.com/cdd/journal/v15/n1/full/4402255a.html

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22294874

www.nature.com/nrclinonc/journal/v3/n8/full/ncponc0581.html

jbiol.com/content/7/4/11

 

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.

www.sciencemag.org/content/326/5952/585
www.sciencemag.org/content/334/6063/1636.1
www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0889159108004261
www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/content/7/1/79
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19758205
cmr.asm.org/content/9/4/532.abstract
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16380690
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18801465

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.


http://alcalc.oxfordjournals.org/content/43/2/124.full
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15226168
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14693266
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC508465/pdf/1002641.pdf
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20712594
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11259077

 

 Role of Balancing Inflammatory and Anti-inflammatory Immune Factors (e.g., Cytokines):

An injury requires enough inflammation to start the healing process, but not so much that it starts a cascade of immune inflammation that causes damage to by-stander tissues. Cytokines are immune factors generated by white cells that initiate pro-inflammatory (inflammatory) responses and anti-inflammatory responses in response to infection or injury. A healthy person produces appropriate levels of these factors depending on the challenge it encounters. A body in immune homeostasis will either up-regulate, increase immune inflammation, or down-regulate, limit its inflammatory responses, depending on the body’s needs.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) Doctors often suggest non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including aspirin when a patient complains of a sprain or other work- or sport-related injury.. These pharmaceutical compounds inhibit the production of immune inflammatory molecules such as cytokines. Limit the amount of inflammation and its resulting pain and stiffness are decreased.

The problem is that many of these medications put people at risk of significant digestive, cardiovascular, kidney, and muscular/skeletal problems. For example, according to the American College of Gastroenterology, the regular use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs is the major cause of potentially life-threatening ulcers and stomach bleeding.

Also, some practitioners question whether the use of NSAIDs may be the cause of increases in osteoarthritis and the high level of knee and hip replacements.

Because of concerns about health risks, some health practitioners physicians suggest complementary, more natural methods, to decrease pain and inflammation, and perhaps even prevent damage from muscle injury.

Complementary Approaches:

Glucosamine: Glucosamine is a natural substance produced by the body that encourages cartilage regeneration and the production of synovial fluid that helps “lubricate” the joints. There is evidence that glucosamine has anti-inflammatory properties.

 Omega-3 Fish Oil:  Omega-3 fish oils have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and help the body control pro-inflammatory cytokines and the pain that results from up regulating, increasing, inflammation.

 Vitamin D3:Vitamin D appears to affect immunological function such as inflammation. Vitamin D supplementation has been found to provide therapeutic relief.

Hyperimmune Egg: Hyperimmune egg, an all natural, food-based ingredient, is another approach to helping the body return to immune inflammatory homeostasis. In a study conducted at a major hospital in NYC, individuals on hyperimmune egg for 30 days reported higher levels of joint comfort.

When certain types of glucosamine are added in combination with hyperimmune egg, joints appear to heal more rapidly and individuals report changes in their quality of life.

 Summary:

When experiencing sprains, strains, or other injuries due to work, sports, or accidents, one might wish to consider the use of complementary ingredients prior to starting on prescription medications.

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20424410
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17112189
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=Family%20Practice.%202005%3B22%3A118-125
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20726384
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20737476
http://newsblog.mayoclinic.org/2009/03/20/mayo-clinic-researchers-link-vitamin-d-and-chronic-pain-relief/
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22143284
http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/omega-3-000316.htm
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21067953
http://HyperimmuneEgg.org
www.google.com/patents/about/6706267_Glucosamine_and_egg_for_reducing.html?id=SAwRAAAAEBAJ

Exercise is essential for workers such as firefighters and paramedics that have physically-and emotionally-demanding jobs, and is mandated by most departments.

According to a study by the University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, 30% of the strains and sprains that firefighters and paramedics experienced, happened as they were working out. Seventeen percent of injuries, and almost half of time off work for injuries, were caused by strains and sprains resulting from workers carrying individuals.

Pain and inflammation “feed one another”. Pain triggers more inflammation and inflammation  leads to more pain. It is not clear how the body senses pain, nor biochemically, the exact events that lead to the sensation of pain. We know however, that pain signals from our back or limbs travel along nerve cells to the spinal cord and up to the brain, and that inflammation in the spinal cord and brain is either the direct cause of pain, or a major contributor to pain sensations that we experience.

When muscles and tissues are injured, immune cells respond by entering the area and releasing cellular factors (e.g., cytokines) that will up-regulate inflammation as a way to help the body heal.

However, it is as important for the body to decrease its inflammatory responses after a challenge is met, as it is to increase the response in the first place. Decreases in inflammatory responses, down-regulation, result from the production of different amounts of anti-inflammatory cytokines and their ratio to pro-inflammatory cytokines that cause inflammation. It all about the appropriate balance of immune responses, immune homeostasis.

(Please watch for the next posting discussing natural methods of helping the body achieve immune homeostasis, and recover, and heal faster.)

injuryprevention.bmj.com/content/early/2011/11/03/injuryprev-2011
www.nature.com/nrneurol/journal/v7/n3/full/nrneurol.2011.4.html
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19096368
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22119349
www.gluegrant.org/inflammation101.htm
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=Curr%20Drug%20Targets%20Immune%20Endocr%20Metabol%20Disord%202005%205%3A413

The immune system is responsible for helping the body heal itself after illness or injury, and to defend the body against attack from pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, and molds, and cancer cells that multiply too rapidly.

In some overly sensitive people however, the immune system may mistakenly view harmless substances, allergens (e.g., peanuts, pollen, dust mites, pet dander), as putting the body at risk of infection.

In response to an attack, the immune system produces large immune molecules called antibodies, immunoglobulins, along with smaller immune co-factors to help in the fight.

Individuals with allergies tend to have higher levels of immunoglobulin E (IgE), a class of antibody. IgE attaches tightly to special immune cells called mast cells. They are found in the skin and linings of the intestine, eyes, and nasal passages. Mast cells play a pivotal role in host defense, inflammation, and tissue repair.

Mast cells are pre-loaded with inflammatory factors. At the body’s next exposure to the allergen, the allergen binds to the IgE, like a key going into a lock, and triggers the release of mast cell biochemicals such as histamine, and small immune factors such as cytokines.

A number of studies suggest that men and women with allergies are at a lower risk of developing glioma, a brain cancer. Gliomas are among the most common and most rapidly growing brain tumors. Men and women with moderately higher levels of IgE, compared to clinically normal individuals, had statistically significant lower probabilities of developing gliomas.

However, as is usually the case in biology, more is not always better. Individuals with significantly elevated levels of IgE were not at a lower risk for developing malignant gliomas.

Look for future postings on the role of inflammation and cancer. Any search will reveal that inflammatory responses play major roles at different stages of tumor development. Since the relationship of inflammation, cancer, and immunological responses are under study, it is best to let the body do what it does best, and that is protect us from illnesses.

To optimize health, immune homeostasis, immune balance, is essential.


www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21726235
www.jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2011/10/17/jnci.djr361.abstract
www.nature.com/nri/journal/v4/n10/fig_tab/nri1460_F1.html
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21978688

A recent guest post on kevinmd.com by Sophie Lee expressed her frustration and anger at physicians who dismiss her reports of pain with her severe bouts of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). She repeatedly hears, “it isn’t really serious” “you will just have to live with it, etc.  [ www.ibstales.com ].

I just do not get why conventional “wisdom” is that IBS is not an inflammatory disorder. Perhaps pain is possible without inflammation, but that would be atypical. My contention is that if the immune system was in homeostasis, autoimmune disease would either not occur, or it would be limited.

For years I have been questioning “experts”, how is it that IBS is categorized as an autoimmune* disease, yet you claim there is no inflammatory response in the gut?

Current research supports my contention. Recent studies are providing evidence that low levels of inflammation, along with immune mast and other immune cells, are found in the small and large intestines. Mast cells are typically associated with allergic reactions such as runny noses, watery eyes, swelling, and excessive mucous. The mast cells in the intestines appear to be involved in immune homeostasis, in helping the immune system balance.

Interestingly, many of the immune cells found in the gut are in close proximity to nerve cells. .. “Cross-talk” between these cells may explain the pain and other symptoms that individuals experience, and support the hypothesis of a brain-gut axis event in IBS.

It is time for individuals that have “tried everything”, to give their bodies a chance to heal naturally. The immune system has caused the problem, and the immune system can be gently guided to down-regulate overly active responses.

The key to greater comfort may be as simple as helping the body return to immune homeostasis. I hold a patent in the area of immune homeostasis and gut health, and numerous anecdotal reports suggest that balancing immune inflammatory responses makes a major difference in the quality of life of such individuals. Additionally there is a published clinical report by Mark Morningstar, DC, Grand Blanc, MI supporting the relationship between immune homeostasis and healthy bowel function.

One has everything to gain by letting one’s own body rebalance and limit inflammatory responses.

*The immune system mistakenly attacks “self”, the body’s own healthy tissues.

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22053295
sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100607111308.htm
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18627650
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19674619
patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=6,803,035.PN.&OS=PN/6,803,035&RS=PN/6,803,035

css.php