Unfortunately, your body is likely inflamed to some extent right now, and will become more so as you age. In fact, chronic inflammation is so common and increases so predictably as we age that scientists have now coined a term for it:
You Must Reduce Chronic Inflammation For Healthy Aging
That word - inflammaging - came about through the observation of how steadily chronic inflammation happens in our bodies as we age. This graph tells the tale:
ESR ("erythrocyte sedimentation rate") is a test for inflammation. As you can clearly see, as our age climbs, so does the inflammation in our body. By the age of 60, a man might have double the amount of chronic inflammation in his body as he had at age 30. Women do better, but still face more than a 30% increase from 30 to 60. And that's a problem!
That chronic inflammation is linked to disease has become so well understood that the topic got on the cover of Time magazine:
(Credit: Time.com)If you thought that inflammation was a protective measure used by the body to heal wounds, you're right, but that's not the kind of inflammation to worry about.
The Difference Between Acute and Chronic Inflammation
Before we delve into why chronic inflammation can cause and/or amplify various chronic illnesses and what to do about it, let's first identify how it's different than what we are more familiar with - the "acute" inflammation that happens when we cut ourselves.
Inflammation comes in two basic varieties: acute and chronic.
We need acute inflammation to help heal injuries. You've experienced that after you cut or bruise some part of your body the area around the injury turns reddish and swells. This is called an "acute inflammatory response." In response to the injury and infection, our immune system sends a complex array of immune cells to congregate in and around the site and release chemicals to handle the infectious organisms and debris from the injury, which then allows the tissue to repair. As the healing happens, the inflammation gradually subsides. This is all good and essential to life. (1)
Chronic inflammation is inflammation that persists irrespective of a localized injury, spreads throughout the body, does not subside and affects various disease states. Unlike acute inflammation, the chronic variety is not needed to help heal an injury - just the opposite. Chronic inflammation spreads throughout our body as we age, quietly making us increasingly vulnerable to the diseases associated with aging - unless you do something about it.
The Role of Chronic Inflammation In Disease
Dr. Josh Axe says that:
"When we look at the diseases that plague our society - arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) - we see that long-term lifestyle changes are needed. What might not be as obvious is the common denominator tied to all of them and more: inflammation is at the root of most diseases."
If you read about chronic inflammation, you'll see that last bit from Dr. Axe appear quite a lot:
"Inflammation is at the root of most diseases."
- Arthritis is inflammation of the joints;
- Heart disease is inflammation of the arteries; and
- 20% of cancer cases are linked to inflammation. (1)
Dr. Tanya Edwards, director of the Center for Integrative Medicine, writes that inflammation is now recognized as the "underlying basis of a significant number of diseases." Long known to play a role in allergic diseases like asthma, arthritis and Crohn’s disease, Dr. Edwards says that Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and Parkinson’s disease may all be related to chronic inflammation in the body. (2)
Chronic inflammation can be both a cause and an effect of some disorders, setting up a vicious cycle that helps explain their chronic nature. For example, chronic inflammation plays reciprocal roles with obesity and insulin resistance. It contributes to the development of insulin resistance, which in turn may help promote obesity. Conversely, obesity worsens insulin resistance and increases chronic inflammation, partly because body fat (especially the type surrounding internal organs) releases pro-inflammatory compounds. (1)
In effect, inflammation, obesity, and insulin resistance reinforce one another and can thereby cause type 2 diabetes. Moreover, several lifestyle factors that promote chronic inflammation, such as being sedentary and having an unhealthy diet, also promote obesity and insulin resistance.
The Inflammaging Hypothesis
The hypothesis that many diseases are connected to chronic inflammation was put to the test in a 2013 study of 3,000 British civil servants published by the Canadian Medical Association Journal. A strong link was discovered between higher levels of chronic inflammation (as measured by blood levels of an inflammatory marker) and a decreased likelihood of "successful aging," defined as optimal physical and cognitive health and the absence of chronic diseases.
Get this - according to the study, elevated levels of chronic inflammation:
- Reduced the odds of successful aging by half over the next decade, and
- Substantially increased the odds of cardiovascular disease and death. (3)
The Signs and Symptoms of Chronic Inflammation
Are you experiencing any of the following?
- Constant fatigue
- High blood pressure
- Ulcers or Irritable bowel syndrome
- Allergic reactions
- Unexplained weight gain
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Water retention
- Food cravings
- Binge eating
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Joint pain
- Processed foods
- Processed meats
- Trans fats
- Simple/refined carbs
- Corn and soybean oils
- Pasteurized dairy
- Deli meat or meat from animals fed hormones and antibiotics
Of course, the most accurate way to measure chronic inflammation is through a blood test.
Three Blood Tests for Chronic Inflammation
Chronic inflammation is measured via various inflammatory chemical markers in the blood or tissue, such as interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor (TNF), C-reactive protein (CRP), prostaglandins, and leukotrienes.
Elevated levels of these factors are good indicators of disease activity for some conditions (such as inflammatory bowel disease). But it’s not clear whether measuring them adequately gauges inflammation and the resulting risks for some other disorders (such as cancer).
The Life Extension Foundation offers three tests for chronic inflammation:
ESR (Sedimentation Rate) is a nonspecific test used to detect chronic inflammation associated with infections, autoimmune disorders, and cancer.
CRP (C-Reactive Protein) measures the level of chronic inflammation. This test is highly sensitive and can measure even the smallest amount of inflammation in your body.
Cytokine Panel measures cytokines, which are proteins that modulate the inflammatory response. This panel is used to identify elevated levels of specific cytokines. While inflammation is important for a healthy immune response, the cytokines themselves have the potential for inducing damage.
If you are past 4o years of age, have a number of the signs and symptoms of chronic inflammation and/or consume the foods and drinks listed above, then it's likely that your health is being negatively impacted by chronic inflammation. You can get tested to get a definitive answer, and you can begin supplementing with curcumin.
ProHealth's Optimized Curcumin
ProHealth offers three curcumin products: One contains only a specialized form of curcumin; the second adds an herbal extract that targets joint inflammation; and the third adds an herbal extract that targets brain and cognitive health.
All three curcumin products contain a form of curcumin optimized for absorption called Optimized Curcumin Longvida. ProHealth’s curcumin is protected from stomach acids, dissolves at the point of absorption in the GI tract and helps the free form of curcumin cross into the bloodstream and target tissues.
Optimized Curcumin Longvida by ProHealth is unique for the following reasons:
- More than a dozen research studies and clinical trials in independent labs have been completed on Longvida.
- One small, single daily dose of Longvida offered significant health benefits in just 30 days.
- Published chronic-dosing safety studies on Longvida support a strong safety profile.
- Longvida is 285 times more bioavailable than regular curcumin.
- Longvida offers therapeutic levels of free (not deactivated/metabolized) curcumin.
- Curcumin from Longvida passes the blood-brain barrier.
- Longvida contains no metabolic inhibitors, volatile oils, or crude, unpurified ingredients.
What differentiates ProHealth's three versions of Optimized Curcumin Longvida is the health issues targeted.
Optimized Curcumin Longvida is ProHealth's curcumin-only product, but of course the curcumin is special, because it's been optimized forbioavailability through the Longvida process.
Cutting-edge SLCP™ Technology (patent pending) is responsible for the "magic" of Longvida. SLCP is an ideal absorption-promoting system validated by approved analytical methodologies. Each capsule contains 1,000 mg of Longvida Curcumin.
Optimized Curcumin Body and Joint combines Longvida Curcumin with the most bioavailable form of Boswellia to create a product that targets joint inflammation. Bosweilla, also known as Indian frankincense, is an herbal extract taken from the Boswellia serrata tree. Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, Bosweilla can be an effective painkiller and may prevent the loss of cartilage. Some studies have found that it may even be useful in treating certain cancers, such as leukemia and breast cancer.
In its Optimized Curcumin Body and Joint formula, ProHealth uses a form of bosweilla called Wokvel Extract, one of the only joint health ingredients shown to be bioavailable in human trials.
Optimized Curcumin Brain and Focus is a powerful blend of two clinically tested ingredients combined to create a supplement to protect your brain as well as support improved cognitive function. The first ingredient is Optimized Curcumin Longvida (reviewed above) and the second is Bacopa monnier.
Bacopa monnieri has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for hundreds of years. This herbal extract has the ability to support mental focus and improve memory. Natural phytonutrients called bacosides in Bacopa help to boost neurotransmitters activity, which improve brain function.
Unsurprisingly, ProHealth uses an enhanced form of Bacopa monnieri called Bacognize, which is standardized to 45% bacoside concentration. This ensures that a consistent and potent dose of Bacognize is delivered to your body, activating 5HT (serotonin) receptors. Bacognize; Extract has been shown in randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials to support memory, focus, and mood.
ProHealth's Krill Oil
One other supplement you should consider as part of your chronic inflammation-fighting arsenal is ProHealth's new Arctic Select Krill Oil Caplets™.
Arctic Select Krill Oil Caplets™ are a premium, naturally rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which provide vigorous support for heart, brain and joint health. Omega-3 phospholipids from krill are the most bioefficient source of Omega-3 compared to the Omega-3 triglycerides derived from fish oil. Plus, phospholipids, also known as liposomes, deliver EPA and DHA fatty acids directly to your body's cells for maximum absorption.
Sustainably harvested from the frozen waters of the Antarctic, ProHealth's Arctic Select Krill Oil Caplets provide a long list of health benefits*:
- Krill Oil Caplets Support cardiovascular health – Patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD) show a significantly lower concentration of Omega-3 in tissues and blood. Research suggests that Omega-3 helps modulate CVD risk factors such as cholesterol levels, inflammation and high blood pressure.
- Krill Oil Caplets Help build strong bones and joints – Helps maintain bone health, delays degradation of articular cartilage and modulates inflammation response.
- Krill Oil Caplets Promote healthy inflammation response – Supports the body's natural mechanism for controlling inflammation.
- Krill Oil Caplets Nourish the brain and help support cognitive function – Omega-3 phospholipids play an important role in the structure and function of brain cell membranes and cell signaling. The Omega-3 fatty acid DHA is the most common fatty acid in the brain and is valuable in supporting memory and cognitive function.
- Krill Oil Caplets Support relief from PMS symptoms – Studies suggest krill oil significantly reduces both the emotional and physical symptoms related to PMS.
- Krill Oil Caplets are a Powerful antioxidant – Arctic Select Krill Oil contains high levels of the naturally occurring antioxidant astaxanthin. Antioxidants protect our cells from damage from free radicals, and unlike many other antioxidants, astaxanthin crosses the blood-brain barrier, which may protect the eyes, brain and central nervous system from free radical harm.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat or prevent any disease.
To Sum Up
Remember these five things:
- As we get older, we get more chronic inflammation, now referred to by gerontologists as "inflammaging."
- Chronic inflammation has a powerful role in many chronic diseases, either as a causal agent or amplifier.
- Processed foods, sugar, deli meats, simple/refined carbs, various oils and more (see the list above) contribute to chronic inflammation.
- There are at least three blood tests that can measure your level of chronic inflammation.
- Curcumin and krill oil supplements can help you lower and control the chronic inflammation in your body.
Joe Garma has written more than 670 articles on his anti-aging blog, GarmaOnHealth, and is currently writing a book, The Ageproof Method, 12 Biohacks for A Long and Strong Life. Prohealth Longevity readers can get his four-part guide, Transform Your Body and Mind here.
- Berkeley Wellness: Why Inflammation Is a Hot Topic
- Joe Garma: 14 Ways to Wipe Out Chronic Inflammation (and why you need to)
- Dr. W. Gifford-Jones: 'Inflammaging': The Dr. Jekyll Reaction