I got started on the subject of exercise. It is a huge subject, just as is nutrition. The book I’ve been working on for the last year is more or less done—except for the chapter on exercise. I need to do a lot more noting down of studies, referencing researchers and “real” experts (versus the “mainstream” experts). Why? Because it turns out mainstream exercise gurus have got it as wrong as mainstream nutritionists. So to give you the super duper cliff notes: You do not need near as much exercise as they told you, but it needs to be a whole lot more vigorous.
All this by way of saying exercise is another huge topic and right now—today—I’m not sure it’s the most important thing to discuss. I’ll come back to this in the near future.
In chatting with friends, blog followers, family and friends, what I am finding is that chronic inflammation is rampant not only among seniors and baby boomers (my peers) but among the much younger crowd, too. The difference is in degree, not in cause or the amount of misery it causes.
chronic inflammation means your cells are on fire
For me, I had debilitating arthritis that led to four joint replacements, an iffy spinal column, hurting thumbs and neck most of the time. For my granddaughter who was just here for a visit, it was a two-month-old, debilitating rash that had her scratching arms, legs and chest until she made scabs in places.
“Guess I better go see the dermatologist,” she said.
Over the course of the visit we had talked about diet. And of course, while here she ate no sugar no grains, and lots of animal products.
“What if your rash is just a symptom of inflammation because of your diet?” I asked her. “Would you be willing to try a little experiment?”
And since she was, we began right then with 8 fish oil capsules. You see, dietary changes toward less inflammation take a while to put into effect, but fish oil (Omega 3) fatty acids, make anti-inflammatory eicosanoids—chemicals that mediate how much inflammation you experience—right away.
Within 12 hours, my granddaughter’s rash was less itchy. Within 24 hours it had all but disappeared. Oh, and by the way, she found her dry skin suddenly wasn’t so dry! At the ripe old age of 19, inflammation was already causing her problems. And that was only the obvious sign of inflammation. We know that over time it causes structural damage and wrecks biochemical havoc on body systems.
The body is remarkably flexible in the face of assaults on its integrity. It tries to maintain health and function by prioritizing what’s important in the face of non-optimal nutrition and lifestyle. My joints lasted me till I was about 55 before they actually laid me low. But my diet was “eating away” at them with chronic inflammatory processes for 55 years. By reversing inflammation now, I might be able to reverse and prevent other systems getting compromised. And for younger people, maybe they’ll have vibrant, vigorous vitality indefinitely!
All disease processes begin with inflammation. But then it gets complicated as the body tries to heal in the face of damage caused by its own immune system. And each person is different in what gets damaged or needs healing. So let me give you another example.
Another younger person, age 40, suffering for nearly 20 years with fibromyalgia. Well, it turns out an anti-inflammatory diet reduces the pain. The other piece is that low thyroid plays a role in fibromyalgia. So is it inflammatory or is it thyroid disease? Hard to separate out this kind of question—and clearly your typical doctor isn’t too good at it. Most just prescribe some drugs for any ailment, never looking at where the symptoms are coming from. Even in treating with thyroid hormones (which is not what typical doctors do anyway) if the underlying inflammation that probably caused the thyroid dysfunction in the first place isn’t addressed, success is not likely. But when inflammation is addressed, maybe the endocrine system can even repair itself. It’s certainly worth a try. Before pharmaceuticals which just add another layer of assault on the body.
If you have anything going on in your health other than feeling absolutely wonderful absolutely all the time, take a look at some information about chronic inflammation. It might make you feel a whole lot better and it even might just save your life!
Next time I’m going to talk about snacks and snacking –all without grains, of course!