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Addressing Inflammation in Its Multifold Parts: An Overview

Last time we defined inflammation as immune system- mediated tissue damage. We also described how this type of immune confusion can occur because of toxic, infectious, and allergenic exposures.

Today, we are going to discuss some of the different ways to reduce common types of inflammation suffered by so many people.

  1. Allergenic inflammatory response- this is mediated by exposure to often harmless environmental stimuli-animal dander, pollen, plant material are well-known triggers.  Mold spores and food triggers can also play a big role.  To reduce this kind of inflammation, we employ avoidance whenever possible-IE don’t eat peanuts if they make your lips swell.  Don’t mow the lawn if it makes you wheeze and break out with hives.  Common OTC aids are antihistamines. There are botanicals that help stop the reactions in the body- Quercitin is a star here and can be found by itself or in formulas like Natural D-hist, Aller-all, and Allermast.  Stinging Nettle, Butterbur, Bromelain and Vitamin C are helpful in reducing the degree of the reaction.
  2. Cytokine-mediated inflammatory response- This is a broad category that includes autoimmune type tissue destruction as well as food immune reactions.  Degenerative joint disease, heart disease and diabetes are also included.  Basically, the immune system produces many chemical mediators that both talk to each other and cause profound tissue destruction.  (think Rheumatoid Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, etc.)

This requires a thorough work up to address, but the main principles remain the same- find and eliminate the trigger(s), Use diet and nutraceutical therapies to reduce the damage.  

Diet: Gluten is always a troublemaker and should be eliminated in ANY inflammatory disorder.  Cow’s milk is a common second.  Followed by eggs for some, and nightshades for others. Work with your doctor to determine what the food triggers are in your case.

Sugar: Feeds the fires of any type of inflammation and should be avoided. This includes drinking fruit juices in large quantities, and simple carbohydrates like popcorn.

Infections: Chronic infections like Lyme, Epstein-Barr Virus, Herpes viruses, and others need to be first identified, and then appropriately treated with antimicrobials. Usually, testing is needed to determine which organisms are causing the problem.

Gut dysbiosis: Candida and pathogenic bacterial overgrowth are a common result of antibiotic use and poor diet.  These can be treated with antimicrobials, probiotics, and reducing sugars. Testing is also helpful in understanding exactly which bugs are present and in helping use the right agents in treatment.

Treatments can include prescription and nutraceutical agents.

Common nutraceutical agents include:

Fish oil, krill oil, and astaxanthin inhibit inflammatory prostaglandins and pain mediators, are good for degenerating joints.

Cucurmin and Boswellia are specific for inflamed and degenerating joints and inhibit COX and LOX without the dangerous effects of NSAIDs 

Japanese Knotweed, Kudzu and Chinese Scullcap reduce systemic as well as brain inflammation- and are pivotal in decreasing Lyme Disease-induced damage, PANDAS related neuroinflammation, and mold-induced tissue injury

Berberine, L-glutamine, probiotics, and licorice are beneficial for a damaged GI tract.

The list goes on and includes certain essential oils as well.

With so many interventions to choose from, it is best to work with your doctor to come up with an individualized plan for your specific needs. Most of the time, there are multiple triggers/mediators that need to be taken into consideration, and treatment may be staged into antimicrobial, detoxification, and repair phases.

How Can We Help?

Dr Julie Logan has spent the last two decades in functional medicine working with the complex chronically ill patient.  If you are suffering from an inflammatory condition or chronic disease, we can help organize the right testing and treatment regimen, as well as helping to coordinate care with your other doctors.

If you are stuck and not making progress, we would love to help.

Come visit us at New Hope Holistic or call us at (630) 466-0480  


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