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The Ins-and-Outs of Inflammation

Sep 14, 2021 | Blog, Gut Health

Not too long ago, I read a book called Metabolical by Dr. Robert Lustig. He is a now-retired pediatric endocrinologist who trained in nutritional biochemistry at MIT, then attended medical school at Cornell.

 

What’s he up to now? He challenges the current health paradigm, which he believes has gone off the rails under the influence of certain industries in our society. He ascribes to 8 underlying causes of disease, one of which is inflammation.

 

I like to keep things simple, and as I learned from my mentor, Dr. Dan Kalish, I consider 4 main drivers of chronic disease, but like Dr. Lustig, I agree, one of those is inflammation.

 

We can talk about the other drivers of disease later, but for today let’s focus on inflammation. It’s a big one!

 

The truth is: inflammation isn’t always harmful! Your body was perfectly designed for inflammation to arise from time to time. Inflammation is trying to protect you. And, we need an inflammatory response to kill foreign invaders like bacteria or viruses and heal injuries, like a sprained ankle.

 

However, inflammation can go rogue, and the standard American lifestyle and the standard American diet sets us up for just that.

 

Do you know what’s so great AND confusing about functional medicine? Everything can cause everything, and anything can cause anything.

 

Healing inflammation or any driver of chronic disease takes time. So it’s not a pill-for-an-ill, one-size-fits-all approach. I know most (if not all) patients are focused on symptoms, and I completely sympathize with that; I’m focused on symptoms too.

 

But I have seen the functional approach work enough times to know that results come if I trust the process, don’t give up, and constantly tweak and assess the underlying physiology. It’s a marathon and not a sprint kind of mentality that requires precision, patience, and perseverance. The only way we’ll fail is if we give up. I don’t give up easily. I LOVE when it works the first time efficiently. But I’m always committed to investigating when it doesn’t work quickly and figuring it out like a detective.

 

What causes inflammation? The food we eat plays a vital role, and so do the things living in our gut that can either make or break our microbiome. Inflammation can also present itself in a wide range of forms such as:

 

  1. Emotional stress/ negative thoughts
  2. Aging
  3. Loss of nutrients
  4. Insulin resistance
  5. Injured tissues
  6. Chronic illness–it is in and of itself an inflammatory state. It may be obvious, but often it isn’t.

 

So, who’s inflamed? Everyone is different, but everyone has inflammation to some degree. As mentioned, it might not be so apparent as to how to fix it. But improving the underlying inflammation by addressing the ROOT CAUSE almost always seems to crack the code and improve it.

 

We can also do several things to reduce inflammation through diet, lifestyle, sleep, balancing the circadian rhythm, and limiting exposure to harmful environmental, indoor, and product-based substances. All of this leads us back to Metabolical and Dr. Lustig’s advice for treating all NCD(non-communicable disease): protect the liver and feed the gut.

 

If you or someone you know is experiencing chronic inflammation, whether at the beginning or later stages, consider working with a functional medicine practitioner like myself to help pinpoint the root cause and cure inflammation with a personalized treatment protocol. Contact us today.

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