Many experts now see inflammation as arising from an immune system response that’s out of control. When you catch a cold or sprain your ankle, your immune system switches into gear. Infection or injury trigger a chain of events called the inflammatory cascade. The familiar signs of normal inflammation — heat, pain, redness, and swelling — are the first signals that your immune system is being called into action. In a delicate balance of give-and-take, inflammation begins when pro-inflammatory hormones in your body call out for your white blood cells to come and clear out infection and damaged tissue. These agents are matched by equally powerful, closely related anti-inflammatory compounds, which move in once the threat is neutralized to begin the healing process.
Our bodies weren’t designed for a daily barrage of toxins, infectious agents and stress, seen and unseen. This kind of demand requires a lot of support to maintain your immune’s system resilience. Our go-go lifestyle just doesn’t make room unless we pay attention to everything: what we breathe, eat, drink and absorb and feel. It all has a pro- or anti-inflammatory effect, and for most of us, the factors are skewed toward inflammation.
One thing that’s certain about today’s society is that we appear to be more stressed and depressed than ever. Although the incidence of inflammation and inflammatory disease is rising in all developed countries, it’s important to remember that each of us has an individual response to the stressors in our life. Some of that unique response is determined by genetics. However, much of it is within our control — if we understand how our choices affect our health. You can see that countering chronic inflammation takes a combination approach because it arises from a combination of causes. The good news is that so much of it is in your control.