Health & Wellness: Inflammation
Chronic inflammation is an ongoing problem that many are not even aware of. Internal inflammation puts constant stress on your joints, immune system, and all other organ systems. The inflammatory process causes tissue damage overtime and impacts the bodys natural ability to heal and repair. There are important environmental factors that affect the healing process such as age, nutrient deficiencies, and metabolic diseases.
Our genes have been linked to playing a role in inflammation. Polymorphisms have been noted in several genes to result in higher proinflammatory markers. However, our genes load the gun but our environment pulls the trigger. It is important to remember that nutrition and lifestyle interventions can affect these genes and how they are expressed.
For every one pound an individual is overweight, it puts ten pounds on your joints. This is an early life stressor that easily leads to chronic low-grade inflammation. Additionally, this can lead to diabetes, depression, cancers, and even cardiovascular diseases. We use DNA Health from DNA Life to determine an individual’s genetic predisposition and risk factors when it comes to inflammation. A sample of the report is shown below:
Tumour necrosis factor is a proinflammatory cytokine. It is secreted in the body from macrophages and adipocytes. In fact, it has been shown to alter whole-body glucose homeostasis and is implicated in the development of obesity. For individuals who have the wild type, GG genotype there is no impact. However, those with Heterozygote GA have a moderate impact. Lastly, those who have an AA homozygote genotype has a high impact.
If you have the A allele, you have a two-fold increase in TNFa transcription. This leads to elevated levels of TNFa protein circulating in the body. This is what leads to an increased risk for insulin resistance, obesity, and other health conditions when the intake of fat is high.
For individuals holding an A allele, it is best to maintain a healthy weight and watch your fat intake. By increasing healthy fatty acids we see an improvement in individuals. For more information regarding the TNFA gene, please see GeneCards, The Human Gene Database for TNFA.
Interleukin 1 is one of the first genes activated by any challenge to a tissue. Certain genetic variations lead to a more active inflammatory response in the body. The combination of IL-1 SNPs has been linked to different clinical trajectories and diseases. Overall, those who have a IL-1 positive result have been associated with increased plasma concentrations and genotypes linked with pro-inflammatory diseases like autoimmune diseases and coronary artery disease. Those who have a negative IL-1 response show no impact.
If you are IL-1 positive it is important to add supplements like curcumin and ginger to your diet. This will help to decrease inflammation. Additionally, adding in phytonutrient foods like blueberries and blackberries will help inhibit the secretion of pro-inflammatory markers. For more information regarding the IL-1A gene, please see GeneCards, The Human Gene Database for IL-1A.
Interleukin 6 is another pro-inflammatory cytokine that plays a role in inflammation y regulating c-reactive protein (CRP). Low-grade chronic inflammation is a silent killer and is heavily correlated with fat deposition, insulin resistance, and cardiovascular disease. The wild type, CC, shows no impact. However, the Heterozygote GC shows a moderate impact and then CC Homozygote shows a high impact. In this case, the C allele has been associated with raised IL-6 numbers and CRP levels in the blood.
For those who have the C allele, it is best to follow a low-inflammatory diet and increase the intake of omega fatty acids. Not only does this decrease inflammation, but it helps with a healthy heart as well. Additionally, increasing vegetables and antioxidant-rich foods will improve your inflammation. For more information regarding the IL-6 gene, please see GeneCards, The Human Gene Database for IL-6.
When it comes to inflammation, we want to make sure we understand the exact areas that are being impacted the most. With this, it is best to first use the genetic information provided by DNA Health and then use additional testing to get a direct measure. One way we do this is by measuring inflammatory markers in serum (blood). A cardiovascular assessment from Genova Diagnostics measures inflammatory factors such as C-reactive protein. A sample is shown below:
As mentioned, our lifestyle has a lot to do with how our genes are being expressed. For starters, we want to decrease toxins. This means getting an air purifier, making sure our house is dusted frequently, using natural cleaning products that do not contain a long list of chemicals, and adding more plants into the house to reduce carbons and clean the air rather than using scented wall plug-ins.
Secondly, we want to ensure our diets are promoting anti-inflammatory factors. Decreasing the amount of transfat and increasing antioxidant-rich foods will help our inflammation decrease. Along with dietary factors, increasing omegas by taking supplements like high-grade fish oils will improve overall omega levels and decrease inflammation.
Third, exercise. Exercise promotes our bodies to stay healthy and help cycle out inflammatory causing factors. This can be low impact such as yoga. It is also important to exercise the mind and meditate to reduce stress. The less stress on the body, the less inflammation.
Remember that we need inflammation. Inflammation is a natural response to fighting off infection. However, chronic inflammation is where we see trouble. Reducing the amount of stress you have will significantly reduce the amount of inflammation the body feels. Stress drives negative behavior and we want to eliminate that as much as possible to give our bodies a better fighting chance. -Kenna Vaughn, Senior Health Coach
To get started with your health, take this metabolic assessment below:
Roy, R. A., Boucher, J. P., & Comtois, A. S. (2010). Inflammatory response following a short-term course of chiropractic treatment in subjects with and without chronic low back pain. Journal of chiropractic medicine, 9(3), 107–114. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcm.2010.06.002
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