Inflammation – the nemesis of our times

We have all been unwell once or twice before so feeling hot, having achy or swollen body and a foggy mind may be what we remember when we look back to these events. They came, we sweated it out, and got better soon after. The various cells of the innate immune system (I won’t bore you with details here) identify and fight the offender, then the cells of the adaptive immune system get involved by helping to finish the fight and learning the lesson for the future, tidying the scene post battle and extinguish any remaining fire. A perfect example of the body’s immune system at its best – an acute response to a microbe or toxin that we have been exposed to addressed swiftly and effectively. 

Bur when the body is depleted in nutrients, stressed, genetically (e.g. HLA – Human leukocyte antigen being present) or epigenetically compromised (e.g. a strong emotional charge from a past trauma stored in a given organ) or energy reserves are too low to fight the fight, the above scenario gets complicated and becomes more tricky to address. 

Also, when one’s innate and/or adaptive immunity is compromised, the body is not able to correctly identify a foreign or own cells as acceptable and a pathogen can sneak into the system and remain unnoticed for a while. A dormant, latent virus (e,g, from a vaccine that has not elicited immune system reaction) or other infection (e.g. from a food poisoning or an insect bite) can be present in the background as well and compromise one’s ability to mount an offensive against it as the mutation may not be visible to the immune system. It can also happen that an antibiotic administered for a given problem has not been effective for a given bacteria and as time went on it stayed present by continuing to mutate with other pathogenic strains becoming totally invisible to one’s immune system. 

To complicate matters more, a food intolerance reaction or even allergy can also be triggered by a toxin present in the food itself, in one’s body, or inhaled with the air we breathe, be it of organic (like mould spores) or inorganic origin (like a toxic pint or chemical used in the garden), and can be weakening such transformation and elimination organs such as liver, kidneys, or the intestines may be too compromised to stop the irritation from a given pathogen (or even imbalanced microbial flora – one’s microbiome) leading to chronic inflammation. And when the body starts attacking itself as it mistakes its own tissues for the offender, the auto-immune diseases arise. The diseases that arise from these unresolved scenarios range from rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, Grave’s disease, ankylosing spondylitis, lupus, Crohn’s disease, etc. They have been on the rise and affecting more and more people worldwide, including the UK and USA as well as other ‘well developed’ nations. 

Lastly, stress alone can aggravate all the previous reactions altering the pro-inflammatory cascade and switching off the body’s ability to engage the anti-inflammatory measures. 

From the weight of such a variety of immune challenges, the whole plethora of symptoms rightly called chronic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS) or multi-systemic infectious disease syndrome (MSIDS) like Lyme’s disease infection develops. A common problem seen in many CIRS sufferers for instance, is the overgrowth of staphylococcus bacteria called multiple antibiotic resistant coagulase negative Staph (MARCoNS) in the nasal and sinus cavity. These MARCoNS secrete toxins that can amplify inflammatory response fewfold. 

And let’s not forget long Covid many people are suffering from right now – it is yet another presentation with several characteristics of chronic inflammation that appears to resemble the two previous complex symptom pictures as well as, according to Dr. Sarah Myhill, the chronic fatigue syndrome or ME.

When inflammation becomes chronic, it changes the whole way the body responds to it. Instead of being able to produce the anti-inflammatory secretions (cytokines) and then switch off the initial response, the raging fire spreads and affects the neighbouring systems. The body’s hormones which were initially involved in buffering inflammation start getting involved by adding more fuel to the fire rather than extinguishing it. The immune system can become confused and signal the hormonal system and the nervous system to join in the ranks. This inflammation itself becomes an additional stressor and, regardless of what made it persist in the first place (be it low level of body’s own anti-inflammatory hormones, weak adaptive response of the thymus or bone marrow, or specific immune cells that went rogue), it is more difficult to unwind the inflammatory process unless the original triggers that ignited it in the first place are ascertained, removed or avoided, and /or addressed by several means, be it nutritional, supplemental, energetic, naturopathic or behavioural. 

All of these tools, both diagnostic and therapeutic are available to you at Body Mind Insights since it is by working with the body’s innate wisdom to self-heal that a real change can be made and precarious situations significantly improved and /or completely resolved by applying ‘lifestyle medicine’ tools.