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Inflammation Treatment

Intense shoulder painInflammation is something we see a lot in our clients and often its manifestation is not solely in the more obvious forms such as pain, redness, swelling or heat. It can also manifest in other ways such as those below:

  • Skin problems – eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, cysts
  • Digestive problems – gas, diarrhea, bloating, constipation
  • Fatigue – inflamed cells are sick cells that are inefficient at making energy (ATP)
  • Belly fat
  • Allergies
  • Depression, anxiety, foggy brain
  • High blood sugar or blood sugar irregularities
  • Lack of proper function – often seen in reduced movement or joint flexibility can manifest in many forms depending on the tissue involved
  • Puffiness, redness beneath the eyes
  • Erectile dysfunction (for males)

The sign or symptom seen as a result of inflammation will differ depending on the tissue or cell type involved along with the biochemical pathways affected. Our genetics and predispositions play a factor too, as prior tissues that have been injured, diseased or traumatized are more susceptible to inflammation and are likely be inflamed more severely.

There are numerous triggers of inflammation. These include:

  • Oxidative stress – occurs from free radicals or ROS (reactive oxygen species). Consuming a diet high in antioxidant rich foods such as fruit and vegetables (particularly cruciferous vegetables for their sulforaphane content) is supportive in reducing oxidative stress. Other foods or herbs to support this include cocoa, turmeric, milk thistle or silymarin, green tea, grapeseed, resveratrol. Ensuring we breathe properly is also supportive.
  • Chemical stress – such as preservatives, environmental toxins, many pharmaceuticals, (non-natural) cosmetics and personal care products.
  • Mental and physical stress beyond what the body can happily adapt to – meditation, mindfulness practices and regularly assessing your mindset and life design are all beneficial in reducing mental and emotional stress levels.
  • Lack of exercise – doing 30-45 minutes of aerobic exercise and 15-25 minutes of resistance or weight training at least 4-5 times weekly helps minimize inflammation.
  • LPS (lipoprotein polysaccharide) – an endotoxin produced by gram-negative bacteria in the gut can cause gut permeability (leaky gut) and trigger an immune response within your gut that creates inflammation. Ensuring your gut flora are well balanced and that your digestive system and immune system are balanced and working well are key to prevent overgrowth of endotoxin producing bacteria.
  • Blood sugar control – a diet with minimal or no processed carbs or sugars, combined with regular well-balanced meals consisting of: adequate protein intake,2-3 handfuls of vegetables, whole forms of carbohydrates, healthy fats (naturally occurring unprocessed) that have a low glycemic index (low GI) will support good blood sugar balance.
  • Obesity – inflammation appears first in the fat cells. One mechanism is dysfunction of the mitochondria due to obesity. Inflammation creates leptin resistance which means our ability to feel satisfied when we are full in reduced and will have a tendency to over-eat in this situation.
  • Consumption of Inflammation Encouraging Foods. Avoiding or minimizing consumption of these foods can greatly reduce inflammation levels.

The Top 5 Inflammatory Foods to avoid are:

  • Gluten – this includes wheat, barley, rye, oats unless specifically wheat-free, spelt, soy sauce. See our Gluten Free Guide section for further information.
  • Processed oils – particularly trans-fats, soybean, rice bran, canola oils, corn and sunflower oils
  • Char-grilled foods – AGE’s(advanced glycated end) are highly inflammatory. AGEs form when foods are prepared in the following ways; broiling or barbecued, frying and grilling. Stewing, simmering and boiling are better options when cooking.
  • Nightshade vegetables – capsicum, tobacco, potato, eggplant, tomato, chilis. Nightshades effect calcium metabolism and this results in calcium deposition in joints and blood vessels.
  • Sugar – Harvard research showed a worsening of osteoarthritis symptoms as sugar consumption raised.

Inflammation is reduced by the action proteolytic (enzymes that breakdown proteins) enzymes. These enzymes are naturally reducing in numbers from the age of 27, which is one reason why we tend to find that we can’t get away with not looking after our body in the 30s or 40s the way we didn’t look after it in our teens or early 20s. These enzymes work to break down scar tissue and fibrin and also support better immunity. Two examples of these enzymes are bromelain and papain and these can be found in the following foods as examples:

  • Pineapple
  • Papaya
  • Mango
  • Honey – pref. unpasteurized
  • Bananas
  • Avocados
  • Kiwifruit
  • Ginger
  • Kefir
  • Kiwifruit
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi

Some other anti-inflammatory foods or herbs include:

  • Turmeric
  • Devil’s claw
  • Quercetin
  • Boswelia

For some more in-depth reading on inflammation, there are a couple of excellent links below:


Inflammation Treatment in Wellington and Miramar | Total Health Chiropractic