Inflammation

series of xrays showing inflammation

Chronic inflammation has come to the forefront as a major player in the genesis of atherosclerotic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, diabetes and cancer, essentially those diseases that will kill you dead. Acute inflammation, on the other hand is protective of the body. It is integral to our immune response, wound healing and repair (with or without hypertrophy) of exercise-induced muscle damage. Without inflammation, our workouts would be fruitless, inducing little if any growth. We simply would never build those stronger muscles nor a better body. Chronic inflammation on the other hand serves absolutely no benefit. On the contrary, it is only detrimental.

Unfortunately, in many of us, the flame burns unchecked and disease accumulates. Every disease, yes every disease, possesses an underlying inflammatory component. This is foundational, and paramount to your understanding of aging and age-related disease (from which we are statistically likely to die). Squelch inflammation and by doing so, retard the aging process.

chart showing infmmation variables

Bodily inflammation can be assessed with a CRP or C-REACTIVE PROTEIN test. CRP is a protein secreted by the liver in response to a variety of stimuli, namely those that activate the inflammatory cascade. Interestingly, one of the factors that cause an elevation in CRP levels is secreted by adipocytes or fat cells. It should not come as a surprise therefore to learn that patients with Metabolic Syndrome, a premorbid condition associated with a variety of diseases, have elevated CRP levels. In fact, CRP is an independent risk factor for coronary heart disease, hypertension, type II diabetes and atherogenic dyslipidemia.

Elevations in CRP are no joke. Take them seriously! Do not procrastinate and allow bodily inflammation to run rampant one day longer. Stop "inflammaging" in its tracks with proper nutrition, exercise, supplements and if need be, pharmaceuticals. Drive your CRP down to zero.

A second critical biomarker of inflammation is homocysteine. HOMOCYSTEINE is an amino acid and byproduct of the so-called "methylation pathway" that when present in high concentrations, has been linked to inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, coronary artery disease, type II diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and obesity. These are all inflammatory diseases, remember? Not only associated with inflammatory disease, elevated levels of homocysteine have long been considered an independent risk factor for the development of these diseases. Why? Because elevated levels of homocysteine or "hyperhomocysteinemia", through complex biochemical mechanisms (involving unpaired electrons known as free radicals), actually induce both acute and chronic inflammation.

One of the major causes of hyperhomocysteinemia is vitamin deficiency, the major culprits being B6, B12 or folate or a combination of them. Some patients have a genetic predisposition to elevated levels of homocysteine (MTHFR mutation or SNP).

Regardless of the cause, both HOMOCYSTEINE and CRP must be kept at bay, as elevated levels are powerful predictors of inflammatory disease, specifically coronary artery disease, statistically that which is likely to kill you. You’re only as old as your arteries, right?

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