Fasting May Be One Way to be Proactive About Inflammation4 years ago | Nutrition
By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder
Fasting is pretty popular these days, with celebrities like Terry Crews and Jennifer Lopez reportedly hopping on the fasting bandwagon to maintain their incredible figures. (We recently discussed three types of fasting and how they may be beneficial to your health if practiced with the advice and guidance of a competent healthcare professional).
But aside from weight loss and weight management, fasting may play a big role in fighting something we all need to fight - inflammation.
First, let’s break down exactly what inflammation is.
Acute inflammation is a perfectly normal and healthy immune response. For example, when we burn our tongue on a hot cup of coffee or whack our knee against the stair banister, the pain and swelling we may feel is a result of inflammation.
Luckily, this inflammation is usually short-lived and our bodies heal and then go back to normal.
Acute inflammation actually helps the body fight off infections.
“When a wound swells up, turns red and hurts, it may be a sign of inflammation. Very generally speaking, inflammation is the body’s immune system’s response to an irritant. The irritant might be a germ, but it could also be a foreign object, such as a splinter in your finger,” according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
“This means that an inflammation doesn’t only start when, for instance, a wound has already been infected by bacteria, is oozing pus or healing poorly. It already starts when the body is trying to fight against the harmful irritant.”
Acute inflammation is basically the body’s way of telling itself, “Hey, you need to do some healing.”
“Without inflammation as a physiological response, wounds would fester, and infections could become deadly,” Live Science reports.
Then, there is chronic inflammation.
And this is a whole different ball game. Chronic inflammation, hence the name, is inflammation that lasts several months or even years. And you can have chronic inflammation and not feel any pain at all.
According to Live Science, “Unlike acute inflammation, chronic inflammation can have long-term and whole-body effects. Chronic inflammation is also called persistent, low-grade inflammation because it produces a steady, low-level of inflammation throughout the body, as judged by a small rise in immune system markers found in blood or tissue.”
Chronic inflammation is essentially believed to be the root cause of many diseases Americans face.
“For example, chronic inflammation has been linked to heart disease and stroke. One theory suggests that when inflammatory cells stay too long in blood vessels, they promote the buildup of plaque.”
Chronic inflammatory diseases.
“Chronic inflammatory diseases are the most significant cause of death in the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) ranks chronic diseases as the greatest threat to human health,” reports the NIH.
Common chronic inflammatory diseases include:
And if you are constantly stressed and sleep-deprived, follow a pro-inflammatory diet (lots of nutrient-void junk foods), drink heavily and smoke, you can pretty much guarantee you will have chronic inflammation throughout your body. Having chronic inflammation has also been linked to the development of dementia and Alzheimer's Disease.
So how does fasting come into play?
A recent study that worked with both human and mice immune cells found that intermittent fasting reduced the release of pro-inflammatory cells called "monocytes" in blood circulation, according to this report discussing the study.
“Further investigations revealed that during periods of fasting, these cells go into ‘sleep mode’ and are less inflammatory than monocytes found in those who were fed.”
And one of the doctors involved in the study said, “Monocytes are highly inflammatory immune cells that can cause serious tissue damage, and the population has seen an increasing amount in their blood circulation as a result of eating habits that humans have acquired in recent centuries."
So should you fast?
I wish I could give a yes or no answer, but, of course, it depends on the individual. And I always recommend that each individual seek the advice of a competent healthcare professional. I do, however, think that what the doctor said above is very insightful and helpful information.
Humans have apparently acquired more monocytes in their blood circulation as the result of poor eating habits. So what this tells me is that we have to be proactive by avoiding a pro-inflammatory diet and adopting an anti-inflammatory diet. You can practice intermittent fasting and temporarily combat chronic inflammation, but if you don’t follow a healthy lifestyle and eat healthily, fasting (in my opinion) may be ineffective.
How else can you be proactive about fighting chronic inflammation?
Along with following a healthy lifestyle and taking care of your physical, mental and emotional health, maintaining nutritional balance is key.
Take routine nutrient tests to identify any nutrient imbalances or deficiencies. If you discover you are not nutritionally balanced, a competent healthcare professional can work with you on making the necessary dietary changes and recommend quality supplements if necessary.
If you are already battling a chronic inflammatory disease or have inevitable nutrient absorption issues whether it be due to older age, genetics or from taking certain medications, may I suggest utilizing IV Vitamin Drips or injections. I take advantage of these on a monthly basis to address my inevitable nutrient absorption issues. They provide nutrients like vitamins and minerals (and hydration) directly into the bloodstream to help boost my nutritional status and help with energy levels. I believe this has successfully boosted my immunity, energy and good health. I am also confident that along with exercising and eating healthily, these vitamin drips will help prevent chronic inflammation which threatens us all.
Enjoy your healthy life!
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