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Four Reasons We Have Inflammation

Four_Reasons_we_have_Inflammation_19244772_m

– article by Kalene McCrary, NTP, CGP

Inflammation is a huge health concern and we are now learning that inflammation is the root cause of many disease processes, including major diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Not all inflammation is bad—it is necessary to initiate wound healing and activate the immune system—but when it does not shut off and becomes chronic, inflammation causes health problems and degrades quality of life.

What causes unhealthy inflammation and what can we do to put out the fire? Here is a list of four things that cause chronic inflammation and some things you can do to douse the flames:

1. Environmental toxins are a serious problem. We are subjected to tens of thousands of chemicals in our environment (75,000 to be precise, according to the Sustainable Futures Group). More than 2,000 new synthetic chemicals are registered every year (ref. Rome). These are chemicals created to kill insects, weeds, bacteria, viruses and so on. They all have one thing in common: they are anti-life.

At this time in the earth’s history, we have more chemical pollution than anyone could have dreamt of a hundred years ago. There are 300 manmade chemicals found in human beings. The cord blood of a baby born today will have anywhere from trace to high amounts of at least one manufactured chemical in it and most often multiple chemicals are found. A particularly disturbing chemical is glyphosate, also known as Round Up. Since its introduction, the manufacturer of Round Up has repeatedly asserted its safety for humans and the environment. However, the World Health Organization recently released a statement saying Round Up is ‘probably linked to cancer’ (ref. Green).

With pollutants in our air, water, and food, we are constantly bombarded with the things that create unhealthy inflammation. When our body’s detoxification pathways are overloaded, our systems are challenged and inflammation sets in in the form of muscle aches and pain, migraines, diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune disease, brain fog, lowered immune function and weight gain just to name a few. In a 2014 article published by the Journal of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Research, asthma and allergies were linked to chemicals that alter the balance of our endocrine and immune systems (ref. Yang, et al). Data show that allergies and asthma rates are higher in urban areas where environmental toxins are the greatest.

Environmental toxins also include the medications we take. Prescription drugs are well known for their side effects but many people don’t realize the nonprescription drugs we take to quash inflammation are big contributors to inflammation itself. Acetaminophen is finally being outed for the dangerous drug it really is. According to an article in the Huffington Post, it contributes to 78,000 emergency hospital visits and more than 150 deaths every year (ref. Healthy Living). With these side effects, you can’t tell me it’s not causing some inflammation! There are many over-the-counter drugs, including aspirin, ibuprofen, antacids and cough medicines that contribute to inflammation in the body.

I cannot forget to mention the toxicity of cleaning supplies. Many of the supplies you buy in the grocery store are very toxic and if you inhale the fumes or submerse your hands in water containing these chemicals, you are getting them into your body. They all contribute to high levels of body inflammation. Just think—we wear gloves when we clean our toilets but we do nothing to protect our bodies from inhaling the fumes of powerful Clorox or Lysol cleaners!

What can we do about it? Adding to your body’s burden is only going to make things worse, so one of the easiest first steps is to make sure you eliminate from your diet the most toxic foods in the grocery store: processed foods. And, I have said it before, make sure the food you put in your body is clean! Spend a little bit more for food that is grown and/or raised organically. Organic foods will not have the residue from chemical sprays on them. If you have a green thumb, you could grow some of your own vegetables and herbs. This will save you money on your grocery bill and gardening is wonderful therapy. You can also try making your own cleaning supplies—it’s easier than you think. More than 32 million pounds of cleaning products are poured down the drain each year nationwide (ref. Clean Buildings). Many books are in print that teach you how to create your own natural cleaning products easily, safely and economically. White vinegar is very inexpensive and has hundreds of uses as a household cleaner!

2. Cosmetics are another grand source of toxins. The FDA has no jurisdiction over the cosmetic industry and the cosmetic industry takes full advantage of this, often putting words like ‘natural’ on their labels, which technically mean nothing and is misleading to the consumer. Many cosmetics are loaded with chemicals that are linked to cancer. Coal tar, for example, which is used in medium to dark brown hair dye, is linked to bladder cancer (ref. NYR).

Often lotions, face creams and hair care products, tooth paste, mouth wash, deodorant and perfumes contain phthalates and parabens that can cause inflammation. According to the Environmental Working Group, propylene glycol is shown to be linked to cancer, reproduction and development issues, allergies, immunotoxicity, neurotoxicity and endocrine disruption and as little as a 2% dilution causes skin irritation (ref. Green). Eye shadows are known for containing unhealthy levels of nickel and other metals but the one cosmetic to really look out for is lipstick which is often found to have lead in it, also inflammatory (ref. Salerno). Preservatives, sudzing agents, chemicals that keep particles suspended in solutions…there are too many to list but I recommend a trip to the Environmental Working Groups web site, www.ewg.org, for more information. For many years it was believed the skin was impervious to everything that went on it but we now know our skin is like a sponge and anything you put on your skin goes directly into your blood stream. That is why dermal patches used for delivering medications work so well and have become so popular.

What should you do? Choose cosmetics that are made with ingredients on the label that you can pronounce and, even better, ingredients you can eat! Support your local boutique cosmetic manufacturer or go online to find one because their products are often made without unnecessary additives. Check out Amazon books on making your own cosmetics. You might be surprised at just how easy it is. This will reduce your body’s burden and lower you levels of inflammation. And as a bonus, the quality (and smell!) of truly natural products is often so much better.

3. Dental pollution is another problem that causes massive inflammation due to heavy metal poisoning. We have been putting amalgam fillings in our mouths for over a hundred years and although there are dentists who refuse to use mercury amalgam, the practice is still in place and there are many whose teeth are full of silver colored mercury fillings. According to the FDA, an amalgam filling is about 50% elemental mercury (yikes!) and the rest is silver, tin (also very toxic) and copper. These fillings outgas mercury vapors which are inhaled into the lungs and can create neurotoxicity and inflammation (ref. Mercola).

What can you do? Finding a biological dentist properly trained in the removal of mercury amalgam fillings is strongly recommended. You might find it interesting to know that when amalgam fillings are removed, they must be treated (and disposed of) as hazardous waste. Why would anyone put something permanently into their mouth that is considered hazardous waste? Studies show only one in four people with amalgam fillings know there is mercury in their fillings.

4. Water is one of the foundations of good health but the water that comes from the tap in most American cities has many chemicals in it, starting with the two most common and dangerous: chlorine and fluoride. I know what we have been told, fluoride makes strong teeth and helps prevent cavities, but the science tells another story. The fluoride used in our municipal water systems is a toxic byproduct from the fertilizer industry. Fluoride is pro-inflammatory, meaning it helps move inflammation forward (ref. Gutowska, et al). Just to be clear, fluoride is not a nutrient and it does not have a positive role in human metabolism. Along with fluoride, water often has traces of antibiotics and hormones from the urine of millions of people who swallow antibiotics and birth control pills. These pharmaceutical residues are too small to filter out at the treatment plant and they end up in our unfiltered tap water. There are many other toxins in water that create inflammation in the body as well.

What can be done? Get a good water filtration system and, if possible, put it where the water comes into your house. Then all your water taps will be able to give clean, filtered water. If that isn’t feasible, a good reverse osmosis filter on the kitchen faucet will provide clean, pure water for drinking and cooking. Also consider a chlorine filter on your shower. Your itchy skin will thank you! The amount of chlorine absorbed through the skin during a 20 minute shower is equivalent to drinking eight glasses of unfiltered tap water! The water we drink is needed for hundreds of metabolic functions, meaning it is important that the water we drink is clean so metabolic processes don’t get bogged down and inflammation stays at bay.

Live healthy,

Kalene

 

Cited References:

1. Alexandra Rome. Chemical Soup. rense.com; Accessed April 2015.
2. Green. Roundup, an Herbicide, Could be Linked to Parkinson’s, Cancer and Other Health Issues, Study Shows. Huffington Post; April 2013. huffingtonpost.com; Accessed April 2015.
3. Yang O, Lim Kim H, Weon J, Rok Seo Y. Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals: Review of Toxicological Mechanisms Using Molecular Pathway Analysis. J Cancer Prev; 20(1): 12-24. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
4. Healthy Living. Tylenol Overdose Risk is Staggering; Acetaminophen Safeguards Remain Insufficient: Report. Huffington Post; September 2013. huffingtonpost.com; Accessed April 2015.
5. Healthy Clean Buildings. Are You and Your Children Safe? cleaningpro.com; 2014. Accessed April 2015.
6. NYR Natural News. The Hair Dye/Cancer Connection. nyrnaturalnews.com; February 2013. Accessed April 2015.
7. The Salerno Center. Toxic Lead Found in Lipstick & Makeup. salernocenter.com; 2012. Accessed April 2015.
8. Mercola.com. Still Carrying Around Mercury Next to Your Brain? Dr. Mercola; September 2011. articles.mercola.com: Accessed April 2015.
9. Gutowska I, Baranowska-Bosiacka I, Siennicka A, Baskiewicz M, Machalinski B, Stachowska E, Chulbek D. Fluoride and Generation of Pro-Inflammatory Factors in Human Macrophages. 2011; 44(3): 125-134. fluorideresearch.org
10. Gutowska I, Jakubczyk K, Dec K, Baranowska-Bosiacka I, Drozd A, Janda K, Wolska J, Lukomska A, Debia K, and Chulbek D. Effect of the Extract from Nettle Fruit Cluster on the Synthesis of Pro-Inflammatory Agents in Hepatocytes Treated with Fluoride. Fluoride. 2014; 47(2): 109-118. fluorideresearch.org

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