Analyzing the Cycle of Metabolic Inflammation

As holistic and natural practitioners, we must move away from an allopathic model of disease and truly into naturopathy, especially when we look at one of the most important issues that can cause so many different diseases: metabolic inflammation.

Analyzing the Cycle of Metabolic Inflammation
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There are many factors that go hand in hand here:
Diet (excess refined carbohydrates)
• Other triggers of inflammation (pollution, water, chemical exposure and electromagnetic fields)
• Excess cholesterol
• Increased cortisol production
• Fat in the liver
• High blood glucose

There are 12 interrelated systems that work together in the management of inflammatory process in the body. It just so happens that these systems have a major effect on the major meridians as well.
The 12 systems are:
1. Energy
2. Cells/DNA
3. Inflammation response
4. Antioxidant defense
5. Sugar regulation
6. Hormones/metabolism
7. Liver/detox
8. Circulation
9. Cognition/nerves
10. Immunity
11. Digestion
12. Structure/connective tissue

Through our lifestyle, we can learn how to feed each of these systems and maximize our health. First and foremost, we need to eat from a diverse and colorful buffet of foods—looking to nature and the seasons as to what foods are present and plentiful,and stop eating the SAD diet (standard American diet, or what I call the "beige food group" and McDonald's calls the Happy Meal).

A steady diet of refined sugars and carbohvdrates has to be the No. 1 cause of metabolic inflammation. This strategy leads to over production of insulin and wil create fatty liver syndrome that further complicates things by producing inflammatory cytokines that will up regulate an inflammatory response.

When we look at the 12 systems, we can start to see how they are all interrelated. Like how energy affects all of the other 11 systems, because the functions of all 12 depend on the cells having sufficient nutrients and energy to do their work.

If we look at cells/DNA, we can see that protection of the cells depends on proper gene expression for the cells to carry out their specific functions. So inflammation and antioxidant defense involve imbalances that can affect the whole body as well as the other systems in the body. A cascade affect, if you will.

Metabolic inflammation involves the interaction of four of the 12 systems: hormones/metabolism, sugar regulation, liver/detox and, of course, inflammation response. This cycle is crucial, as it can become the basis of numerous seemingly unrelated long-term health issues.

How Do We Stop This Vicious Cycle?
We can interrupt the spiral at any point: reduce excess weight through exercise and a lower caloric intake, and reduce refined carbohydrates. Improve nutrient balance and eat fewer inflammatory triggering foods, chemicals and trans fats, and decrease stress. Take supplements that increase insulin activity such as chromium, alpha-lipoic acid, cinnamon and green tea.

Another process that involves multiple systems is the folate cycle. We may get the sense that we are relaxing, yet biochemicals are swirling with motion inside our cells.

Dynamic energy transformation processes are constantly taking place. These processes are known as metabolism, and they are the life force of our being. The liver is in a state of methylation and detoxing. It is these methyl groups that create thinking, acting and our mood that can become impaired. In order to carry out their specific function, certain vitamins must be methylated.

For our joints to function optimally, certain compounds must be methylated in the liver—all so critical to turning genes on or off so that the cells can differentiate their particular functions.

Beyond just basic nutrition, we need to teach our bodies to be healthy. Hunger is the body's need for nourishment and appetite is the psychological need to eat. It's not that foods are bad, it's what we have done to these foods that becomes the issue. GMOs, (gentically modified organisms) pesticides, fungicides and additives are what is creating cravings, not so much the food.

The food companies have discovered that by adding certain flavors, we can keep the cycle of addiction going to sugary foods. This is one of many possible sources of our current state of illness in America.

Nutrients are powerful, and science is now starting to confirm and advance our knowledge from a plethora of sources such as ancient herbal wisdom and traditional worldwide health practices. This science is opening an amazing door for many of us—we may no longer be victims of our parental heritage and environment.
Like Mission Impossible: our role, should we decide to participate, is to organize longterm wellness through diet, environment and nutritional supplemental regimens that will send messages to our genes that are non-inflammatory, stress reducing and healthful.

Core Nutrition is the Key
The following list is what I consider to be an everyday regimen along with a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables and proteins (plant-source or meat, provided one is making sure the meat source is grass fed):
Multiple vitamin
Digestive enzymes
• Herbal anti-inflammatory formula
Essential fatty acids (EPA/DHA)

No matter what one's belief is—whether vegetarian, vegan or carnivore—there is plenty,of information to support it. For me, I choose "nutritarian" (meaning if it's good for me and it's nutritious, I will eat it).

Remember that bio-individuality is the key here; there is no one-size-fits-all approach, yet there is common sense. Encourage your clients to be proactive with their health and be tested to determine their baseline of health in this moment. Like achieving any goal, you need to know from where you are starting and where you want to go.

From the baseline, the above list could be used as add-in target nutrients based on your client's own body needs. Select from reputable companies in those categories and watch what changes in your patient's mind, body and spirit.

As one realizes the importance of taking charge of their health, many are overwhelmed by the complexity of issues and their lack of understanding concerning how the body works. Knowing, they need a new way to attain optimal health, lets start with the six core nutrients and see what happens.
Be well!
29 November 2012