The inflammation in our bodies can be very sneaky. I am not talking about the good inflammation, also known as the group of hormones called eicosanoids (eye-KAH-sa-noids). This group of hormones provoke our immune system to fight diseases, viruses and other invaders and help in repairing tissues after injury. I am addressing the chronic silent inflammation, which is the result of the helpful eicosanoids going rogue.
Silent inflammation is the direct result of negative outside influences, such as genetics, excess weight, lack of exercise and poor diet. These influences keep the eicosanoids turned to “on” when they should be shut off. When it stays in the “on” position in our bodies, it accelerates and becomes the silent inflammation that creates pain, swollen joints, and many other harmful issues to our bodies. This type of inflammation can cause chronic diseases to appear.
The silent inflammation lies in wait in our body unbeknown to us. It can take decades for such devastation — heart disease, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis (the list goes on) — to emerge.
In the book The Anti-inflammation Zone by Barry Sears, PhD, the author explains the power and destructive path of silent inflammation. The book shares that the start of chronic diseases may start very early in our lives. Sears explains that our lifestyle plays a big part in determining whether we will be healthy now or in the future.
Sears feels that eating the bad fats and an overabundance of carbohydrates can cause overproduction of the hormones eicosanoids and insulin. Too much of these hormones may cause the body to produce more cortisol (the “stress hormone”), which promotes inflammation. There is a blood test your doctor can give you to check your silent inflammation levels. Then you will be informed so you can take steps to control it.
Not all is lost. Sears also shares the positives to help control the silent threat. He says that taking ultra-refined high dose fish oil can work toward balancing your eicosanoids, and can help control your silent inflammation. Along with smart lifestyle choices such as exercise, proper diet, researching foods that can cause inflammation and keeping your weight down.
In my case, I can see the parallels to silent inflammation that have put me on the path of multiple sclerosis, hypothyroidism, high blood pressure, gallbladder disease and fibroids in my uterus.
I recently turned 60 years old, and I feel I have had a life of chronic illnesses since my 20s. I was a thin child and teenager. I started to gain weight with each of my three pregnancies. I was active, but I did not always make healthy diet choices. I know genetics and pregnancy played a big part in me having gallstones at 21 years old, and my thyroid condition and high blood pressure had hereditary links as well. With my MS, I strongly believe having mononucleosis (Epstein-Barr virus), silent inflammation, and low vitamin D (Pacific Northwest) are the culprits. With my dietary choices, and silent inflammation I feel they sped up the processes of the diseases I experienced.
This book and other many online sources concur with the silent inflammation theory. So, I added taking the ultra-high dose fish oil to my current regimen of watching the foods I eat, being more active and losing weight.
It feels great to be proactive in fighting my MS and the hidden beast of silent inflammation!