Hal's Hat

Hal's Hat

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Anti inflammatory

This is the beginning of a longer conversation about this topic: anti-inflammation food, supplements, herbs, etc.
First question (for many): why do we need anti-inflammatory anything?

Apropos of nothing: myrna, squash!
--Part of the answer is diet. Our diets consist of lots of processed food. Even unprocessed food can be grown in ways that add to inflammation in our bodies (pesticides, preservatives, GM seeds, etc.). Inflammation is linked to basically every single disease that shortens your life. So, strokes, heart disease are big ones- arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and blood that doesn't circulate well. Slower mental functioning, even learning disabilities, depression, and all age-related decline is linked to inflammation. Obesity, arthritis and diabetes (type 2) are affected by inflammation. Also, many skin issues are caused/ exacerbated by inflammation in the body (dermatitis, eczema sometimes). Basically, human decline is made worse by diets that inflame.

--Why does our diet inflame our bodies? One answer is an imbalance between Omega 6 oils and Omega 3 oils. Omegas 6 are very available to us with nut and bean oils (soybean oil is the most prominent in fast food and in our American diet). Also, highly refined and hydrogenated oils are used to preserve things and make boxed food. Omega 3 oils are unstable and scarce- coldwater fish, flaxseed. That seems simple... it can get so so so complex.

--These are essential fatty acids- our bodies do not make them and we must get them from an outside source. Omega 6 oils increase cell proliferation and blood clotting as well as complicated hormone creation. Omega 3's stop blood clotting. So we eat and get a ton of Omega 6 oils in everything we do. Our ratio really needs to be 1:1 for them or 1:2 (O6:O3). Get what the issue is? This is why people pop fish oil like it's going out of style. Here is a Dr. Weil bit of documentation on it.

dr. weil's creation. not mine. but good info.

 What do I do to limit inflammation in my body?
--I take a high quality fish oil supplement. Because of the risks of tainted fish (especially in coldwater oily fish), it is best to use a highly purified oil from a quality source. I take Mega EPA from Vitacost here. This is a good ratio for EPA to DHA. Higher EPA is reportedly being found to lower inflammation, cortisol and lower symptoms of depression more rapidly. Really, all the info I've found tells me there is NOT a definitive answer about how much EPA v DHA. But DHA is vital to brain development. EPA for lowering stress hormones and inflammation. My recommendation is 3:2. Widely available sources support this.
--[To further complicate matters, I need to bring up web information sources here. Many web sites that are vitamin based are trying to sell you supplements. Duh. But they often have good information on them. Often doctors and wellness practitioners are great sources and speak from experience in a holistic way. Sites that I take with a grain of salt include hippy, healer, fringe sites and weight lifting sites. Both of these can offer vital info for me but are often so highly charged that the information is more opinion than fact. Sybil, a good friend of mine, asked about a new inflammation fighter called FlameOut. The only info I could find was on weight lifting sites because the charge of this supplement is to offer a reversed ratio of EPA to DHA. Giving tons more DHA, which is supposedly more useful to men and folks with higher muscle tone. Interesting. That being said, if you are drawn to a supplement and feel like the recommendation is a good one (weight lifting or hippy healer), try it out.]
wki picture of turmeric plant!
--I also take Turmeric. Just like you add to the Indian dish you are making. Turmeric the spice. It is a wonder "blood pressure lowering" addition. It is an old fashioned anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory that has been shown to lower rates of Alzheimers and lower people's c-reactive protein (this is why you take NSAIDS like ibuprofen). Many people take this as Curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric)- a therapeutic preparation of turmeric from a lab. I just take turmeric because it helps lower all sorts of weird stuff that pops up (strange fungus, etc) and is supportive of the liver. This also has a good affect on my skin. Much of the reason I take anti-inflammatory supplements is because aging (you're not 17 anymore?) skin gets thrown out of whack by the smallest things- a night of too many drinks for instance! Turmeric is very skin friendly- it is even reported to impart some of its lovely color to your face. Not yellow but you get the point, no?!? It is good for joint pain and arthritis and abolishes free radicals in the body. Also, most of the information I've read suggest that not only is it a liver support but it supports BILE production. Any of you with gall bladder issues need to take note! You need to foster your liver and work on your bile production- bile is produced by the liver for the benefit of the gall bladder. (If you have non-critical gall bladder issues, get thee to a health food store and consult some good holistic sources. You can help yourself before you have to get an operation! No more processed food!)
anti-inflammatory- good fat, oolong tea, blackberries

Alright, that's a lot of words. I hope someone cares about this. I vacillate between feeling like I want to share this info and feeling like it is way way too much for anyone to care about or read. Not that it is emotional sharing but still, it's information and lots of it.
For my last act and chapter, I'd like to offer this: it is always a better idea to try to get your nutrition and support from food sources. Things made in a labs, isolates, are isolated (duh) from their context. That means that they can easily be sources of overdose or cause reactions in our bodies that we didn't expect. Eating/ drinking your herbs is simpler, cheaper usually and safer. It's not always possible (I just can't buy and eat enough cold water fish- I will always take fish oil supplements. And those are very whole anyway) but I try. Here is a great recipe using black eyed peas and turmeric (enjoy the website too. Rebecca Woolfe, mommy blogger and her mommy, the good cook).
xoxo- Laurel

Here is a P.S. I am not trying to be judgmental about food. Eat what you like. But it is a choice and I, personally, am trying to become NOT ADDICTED to processed crap. It is an addiction and a cycle. So I feel ya when you fall prey to the Taco Johns. Shut up- that is NOT a bag in my car. Gawd.

Next time: burdock and cod liver oil. My skin looks a lot better than it did 6 weeks ago. That ought to get your attention. Also on tap: healthy fats. I eat a lot of fat, always have. Fat doesn't make you fat. High cholesterol food does not cause high cholesterol. I eat fat cuz then I don't eat crap. I eat half an avocado, cheese, nuts and then don't crave ice cream. It's good. I also eat butter. It's pure. I trust that. Hearts!!


  1. Same here, I read every post. Your actually making me late to work going back from lunch :). Im going to start taking Turmeric, sounds nice.

    I also started using Oregano Oil as a topical for skin.

    Buuut I am very intrested in Learning how to make my own tinctures and oils n such. I havnt looked into it yet, but do something on that. I have a feeling not evrything is Solublue in the same solution and what not. I could use google, but you're sweeeter. :) Dont judge me by my typos btw :)
    have A good day!


  2. I'll be happy to clarify the oils and tinctures thing. They are easy to make, with one caveat: that oregano oil that you're using or the lavender? Those are essential oils, made in a lab and are 1000x more potent than anything you can make at home. Be careful with essential oil directly on the skin. I think I know what you're going for- anti-bacterial, etc. But it can burn. Try the burdock and internal oil balance- I'll get on the post soon. :)xoxo