Inflammation May Be Aging You Faster Than You Think
Inflammation may be aging you faster than you think and if you want to live a long, healthy, active life – decreasing your inflammation is critical.
Inflammation is a natural, healthy part of the healing process. However, sometimes this inflammatory response is triggered and can’t (or won’t) turn itself off.
An overactive inflammatory response can lead to chronic inflammation, which may increase joint pain, brain fog, swelling, weight gain, and a multitude of other symptoms.
But more than that, chronic inflammation can make you age faster. The condition inflammaging describes a natural increase in inflammation that happens as you get older – but just because some inflammation is inevitable doesn’t mean you have to lose your quality of life.
Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine in Boulder, Colorado applies a functional medicine approach to inflammation. Our experienced doctors search out the cause of your inflammation and work to decrease your inflammation levels.
Keep reading to learn more about inflammaging and how Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine helps you decrease inflammation and age gracefully.
What is Inflammation?
Inflammation is a natural and critical part of the body’s immune response. When your immune system detects an infection it sends immune cells to fight off the offending agent and start the healing process.
Your white blood cells release hydrogen peroxide and other toxic substances to try and kill the invader. The blood vessels open up to let the inflammatory mediators into the tissues to fight the virus, bacteria, parasite, or fungus. This makes your blood vessels leaky and can lead to puffiness and edema.
You’re probably more familiar with the immune system’s healing process from the outside perspective. Fever, swelling, rashes, sneezing, and many other signs of sickness are the result of your immune system’s battle against foreign invaders.
Not all inflammation is bad. A fever fights off your virus, swelling marks the arrival of healing white blood cells, and sneezing gets rid of dust and pollen in your nose. The problem is when inflammation becomes systemic or chronic.
How Inflammation Speeds Up Aging
A certain amount of inflammation is unavoidable as you get older. Pro-inflammatory markers increase because of dysregulation in the immune response.
So, low-level systemic inflammation is more common the older you get and that is why inflammation may be aging you faster than you think.
The term inflammageing describes the natural increase of inflammatory markers with age. Inflammaging is a risk factor for several diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, all forms of dementia, obesity, and arthritis. It also contributes to a shorter overall life expectancy and chronic pain.
While some inflammation is inevitable, you can decrease your risk of disease by recognizing the symptoms early.
A few signs you’re experiencing a systemic response to inflammation include:
- Stiff or painful joints
- GI Dysfunction
- Swelling, edema
- Brain Fog
- Memory loss
- Chronic pain
- Weight gain
When people look and feel older than they are – chances are they have chronic inflammation. Inflammation is part of what distinguishes the difference between your chronological age and your biological age. If you ignore the signs, your health will steadily worsen as your body struggles to return to optimal health.
Thankfully, chronic inflammation isn’t a permanent state. You can make a dramatic difference in your health as you age by improving your gut health.
The GI Tract and Inflammation
Inflammation often starts in the gut because the gut is where you come into contact with the outside world the most.
Food allergies and sensitivities are common causes of chronic inflammation. They increase inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract as the body attacks the offending food.
When your immune system forms an antibody for a certain food, your body responds the same way it would to a foreign invader. It tries to destroy and expel the food before it can do any harm.
The food sensitivity and food allergy response increase inflammation levels in the gut, which eventually spreads to the rest of the body.
Some foods are more likely to cause inflammation than others, including processed sugar, gluten, dairy, corn, and soy. These foods are inflammatory in everyone, regardless of if you have an antibody to them or not. The reason these foods are inflammatory has to do with the way we grow and process our food.
Other common causes of inflammation are toxins in your environment and chronic infections. The amount of toxins and harmful substances in the environment has been exponentially increasing and these toxins are inflammatory. The more we are exposed, the more inflammation we will have.
Does Inflammation Cause Weight Gain?
Weight gain and inflammation often go hand in hand. A high level of inflammation or toxins can contribute to weight gain.
If your body can’t detoxify a toxin, it will increase the number of fat cells in the body in order to dilute the toxin and make them less damaging to your cells. Toxins stored inside fat cells make inflammatory changes to the tissue. They are slowly released into the body over time and the inflammatory response gradually increases as a result.
So, inflammation can be the root cause of weight gain – but that isn’t always the case.
How to Reduce Gut Inflammation
A food sensitivity and allergy panel is critical to get to the root cause of inflammation. As is doing a comprehensive stool study. Together, these tests reveal the health of the microbiome and its diversity as well as any infections or imbalances in the gut.
Seventy percent of your immune system lives in your gut and microbiome. If you have a chronic state of infection in the gastrointestinal tract, your immune system is busy fighting these infections and doesn’t have as much capacity for other infections you may encounter. Furthermore, the immune response in your gut creates a state of chronic inflammation.
If chronic gut inflammation goes untreated, the inflammation seeps out into the rest of your body and creates disease. Chronic yeast infections, parasitic infections, or gut dysbiosis are common and often silent infections in your gut. An untreated chronic inflammatory response in the gut will affect the whole body and may result in neuroinflammation, arthritis, weight gain, etc.
Some good anti-infammatory supplements are NrF2, curcumin, Boswellia, omega-3 fatty acids, green tea extract, and CBD. Order through Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine to get high-quality supplements from Fullscipt and Wholescipts.
Your biggest immunomodulator is your microbiome. A healthy microbiome will increase good immune responses and decrease immune dysfunction such as inflammation, auto-immunity, and allergies. Again, the microbiome is CRITICAL to aging gracefully.
Contact Boulder Holistic
Inflammation may be aging you faster than you think – but that doesn’t mean you can’t age gracefully. Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine in Boulder, Colorado finds the cause of your inflammation with functional medicine to reduce pain, increase longevity and prevent disease.
If you have signs of inflammation or want to learn what functional medicine can do to help, contact Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine to schedule a consultation!
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