Inflammation. In a lot of ways it’s a double-edged sword – it’s something your body uses to fight off infections, and without it wounds would never heal. Whenever you have an infection or injury, the redness, heat and swelling you see is your body’s immune system in action.
But once the infection or wound is taken care of, your body is supposed to shut off the inflammatory response. All too often, however, it doesn’t. And this leads us to the other edge of the sword: chronic inflammation.
Too Much Of A Good Thing Is VERY Bad
The problem with chronic inflammation is that it doesn’t just affect the area that was wounded or infected. It’s a system-wide low level of inflammation that affects every cell in your body. Like water dripping on a rock eventually causes it to wear away, an endless trickle of immune cells interferes with the body’s healthy tissues. And it leads to some pretty major problems.
One of the scariest things about chronic inflammation is that there are no symptoms – unless you count the growing number of degenerative diseases that are being attributed to it. But these only show up years later.
Which means that thousands, probably millions of people are walking around with a ticking time bomb, never realizing the state of danger their bodies are in.
What Causes Chronic Inflammation?
There are several things that can cause chronic inflammation. Smoking, toxins and pollutants in the environment. Being obese. Repeated infections.
Specifically, the ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids. Both fatty acids are essential, meaning they’re something your body needs but cannot make. They must be consumed.
One of the things Omega-6′s do is stimulate inflammation. Omega-3′s, however, are anti-inflammatory. So having a proper balance of both is key. The optimal balance is 1:1. But most Americans get anywhere from 15 to 50 times more Omega-6 than Omega-3.
Why? Well, the reason becomes obvious when you see where Omega-6 comes from. Sources of Omega-6 include:
- Most vegetable Oils
- Corn Oil
- Canola Oil
- Red meat
By contrast, sources of Omega-3′s include:
- Oily fish such as salmon, herring, mackeral
- Grass-fed beef
- Eggs from specially-fed chickens
When you consider how much of our diet adds Omega-6, the “eat fish twice a week” addage seems a bit like trying to put out a bonfire with a squirt gun.
And again, there are no obvious symptoms of chronic inflammation. No pain, no “warning signs” to look out for. Until…
Long Term Effects of Chronic Inflammation
There is mounting evidence and growing consensus that chronic inflammation is at the very least a contributing factor to (if not the outright cause of) a host of debilitating diseases, including:
- Alzheimers Disease
- Parkinsons Disease
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
- Insulin Resistance
Just to name a few. At this point it seems almost impossible to overstate the dangers of continuing to eat the same unhealthy foods. We really are digging early graves for ourselves!
What To Do About Chronic Inflammation
Whether you already suffer from any of the above conditions or not, it’s critical that you take action to end the cycle of chronic inflammation in your body before more damage is done.
Here are the steps we suggest:
1. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, less simple carbohydrates and processed foods. And yes, more fish. It may not be possible to get all the way to a 1:1 ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 with our busy lifestyles, but the closer you can get the better.
2. Get enough sleep. Too little sleep has been shown to increase markers of inflammation. For that matter it’s also been shown to increase the risks of cardiovascular morbidity. Plus, it makes you grouchy. You should try to get at least 7 hours per night of good restful sleep.
3. Get more antioxidants in your system. Oxidation contributes to inflammation. Antioxidants are anti-inflammatory. To find out more about antioxidants and our recommendations for them, see our article Understanding Antioxidants.
4. Strengthen your immune system with Probiotics. Inflammation is an immune system response, and 80% of your immune system takes place in your digestive tract. Probiotics ensure peak health and performance. Learn more about them in our section on Probiotics. (Or see the probiotic supplement we recommend below).
5. Most importantly, get more Omega-3′s. Repeated studies have found that Omega-3′s, specifically EPA & DHA, are the key to combatting chronic inflammation. For years fish oil has been studied as an effective source of Omega-3′s with good results. But recently krill oil has been found more effective.
Obviously we’d like to see you follow all 5 of these steps. But if you had to choose only one, we’d recommend you add a Krill Oil supplement to your routine as soon as possible.
Rag-Tag Research Geek Recommendations
Chronic Inflammation is one major reason both Omega-3′s and Probiotics share the ground floor in our Blueprint For Health.
Much like the kitchen and bathroom are two of the most important rooms in your home, these are some of the most crucial supplements to add to your routine.
Specifically, we recommend:
Red W____ Krill Oil™
This is one of our favorite products in all the supplement world!
- Contains the highest amounts of EPA and DHA (the Omega-3′s found to be the most effective against inflammation) of any krill oil on the market
- More astaxanthin (the anti-inflammatory antioxidant powerhouse) than any other krill oil available
Where To Find It:
Contains strains from all five genera – including anti-inflammatory strains like Bifidobacterium Lacits and Lactobacillus Rhamnosus – for a COMPLETE probiotic that colonizes the ENTIRE digestive tract.
Where To Find It: