Inflammation: The Body’s Protector And Foe

Inflammation is our body’s first defense.  It is an immune response where the body protects itself by releasing its white blood cells and their substances to a part of the body that has been attacked or infected by bacteria, fungus, or viruses.  This results in an increased blood flow that is sent to the infected area for healing.  It is the body’s process for healing itself.  Without the process of inflammation, the body’s wounds could not heal.  

To repeat, “inflammation does not mean infection, even when an infection causes inflammation. Infection is caused by a bacterium, virus or fungus, while inflammation is the body’s response to it.” 

It is important to understand that inflammation is a part of our body’s immune system defense; therefore, it should be allowed to continue when it is helping the body to heal.  For example, neuroscientists at the Lerner Research Institute in Cleveland, Ohio, have discovered that inflammation actually helps the muscle tissue to heal.  According to an article in Medical News Today, Lan Zhou, M.D., Ph.D., recommends close monitoring of therapies that claim to reduce inflammation, in order to ensure that the benefits of inflammation are not eliminated. 

Chronic Inflammation

Again, it is important to acknowledge the benefits of inflammation as a part of the body’s innate self-healing system because the ‘bad’ side of inflammation has received so much recent press.  The ‘bad’ inflammation is the low-grade chronic inflammation that can persist for weeks, months, or even years.  When left unchecked, it could eventually cause many diseases and conditions, such as cancer.  

Further, there are some diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases,  where the body’s immune system ‘thinks’ it is being attacked, when it is not… and so, it mistakenly attacks the body’s own tissues, as if they were infected.  When this is the case, it is important to work towards minimizing the inflammation in the body because this chronic inflammation could result in causing other diseases, including cancer.  To learn more, click here

To learn about arthritis and other autoimmune issues, check out the Arthritis Foundation and their anti-inflammatory diet.

The Body’s Regulation of Inflammation

A protein in the body called MyD88 plays a key role in mediating the body’s inflammatory defense responses to microbial attacks.  Interestingly, within the past few years, researchers have discovered yet, another protein called CYLD that controls the responses of the MyD88 protein.  It acts like a “brake pedal,” and therefore, controls the output of the MyD88 protein and level of inflammation in the body. This discovery was made by Dr. Jian-Dong Li, Director at the Institute of Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State.

Researchers are very excited about discovering this new finding as it will help them to develop new therapies and treatments that will increase the levels of the CYLD protein to control overactive inflammation.     

There are certain foods, such as, broccoli, wild caught salmon, onions and garlic, and tart cherries, that naturally fight inflammation in the body. Click here to determine eight ingredients that cause inflammation.  


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