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Reversing Signs of Aging & Chronic Disease

There’s lots of talk these days about the hidden cause of chronic diseases, otherwise known as the signs of aging.

Symptoms first show up as fatigue, decreased mental focus, loss of libido, aches and pains, etc. Eventually you see arthritis, cancer, diabetes & heart disease enter the picture. The latest research demonstrates that all of these signs of aging and chronic diseases have one thing in common, namely inflammation.

Interesting, but probably not new information for most people.

Given this discovery, it’s obvious why the search is on for effective remedies to reduce inflammation in the body. If you do any research to find these remedies, you’ll find quite a few. They range from hard-core (and side-effect laden) pharmaceutical drugs to natural anti-inflammatory supplements. And all of these work to one degree or another for reducing the symptoms of inflammation.

But what most people don’t know is that there is a deeper, hidden cause that creates the inflammation in the first place. And we’ll get to that in a minute.

First, let’s take a look at why the body might experience inflammation in the first place. After all, our bodies have developed extremely sophisticated mechanisms for dealing with a wide variety of problems.

The first thing to realize about inflammation is that it is the body’s natural, healthy response to a variety of assaults it faces. For example, if we get a cut, the area turns red and swells as the body’s resources come into play to fight infection and heal the wound. That redness & swelling is part of the inflammatory response the body uses to heal the area. And that’s a very good thing.

The body’s response to a cut is an example of an acute response to a trauma. But there is also a more problematic kind of inflammation, namely chronic or long-term inflammation. This is the type of inflammation that is associated with those signs of aging mentioned previously.

Here’s a list of some of these chronic inflammatory conditions:

  • Acne vulgaris
  • Asthma
  • Autoimmune diseases (Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis)
  • Chronic prostatitis
  • Glomerulonephritis (kidney disease)
  • Hypersensitivities to food and other substances
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBS, celiac disease)
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Osteo arthritisasculitis (inflamed blood vessels)
  • Interstitial cystitis

And since inflammation is a major contributing factor in other chronic diseases, we could add cancer, diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s Disease to the list.

In some ways these are different than the acute injury example, but in other ways they are very similiar, For example, these kinds of chronic inflammatory problems also indicate the body is reacting to some kind of assault. The question then is, “What is the body reacting to that creates these chronic inflammatory conditions?”

It’s safe to say that there isn’t just one thing the body could be reacting to in these situations. Among the most common triggers for inflammation are long-term physical, mental or emotional stress, exposure to toxic chemicals  at home or at work and normal metabolic activity that creates free radicals.

All of these are worth addressing. However there is one huge additional factor that almost nobody talks about – the food we eat.

Here’s why…

Every single one of the 50,000 plus biochemical reactions inside our bodies has to get it’s raw materials from somewhere. There are only a few sources for these raw materials. The most basic are the air we breath and the water we drink. Those two sources provide many crucial elements for metabolic processes. What’s more basic than oxygen, hydrogen, etc.? These are the most basic building blocks for all kinds of activites in your body.

But as useful as water and air are, our bodies can’t only rely on them to accomplish everything. That’s why we need to eat. Our bodies are designed to require food to provide every other necessary substance that your body needs to be healthy.

But if we eat foods that are highly processed, they don’t contain all of the nutrients we need. Not surprisingly, these processed, denatured foods also contribute to inflammation in the body. This means that one very effective way to stop inflammation is to eat whole, natural foods. Of course it takes time, but since you’re ‘pulling the plug’ on a major source of inflammation it’s a hugely important step towards reversing the signs of aging and chronic disease.

References:

Faloon, W.  Chronic inflammation:  the epidemic disease of aging.  Life Extension.  8(1), 2002.

Vlassara, H., et al.  Inflammatory mediators are induced by dietary glycotoxins, a major risk factor for diabetic angiopathy.  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.  100(2):763, 2003.

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