If you are a frequent blog reader on our site, you are probably well aware of the fact that current research has strongly linked chronic inflammation to chronic disease.
But what does that really mean? How do I know if I have “inflammation”? What can I do about it? These are great questions. Let’s take a brief look at each chronic disease separately to tackle these burning questions.
An autoimmune disease is an illness that causes the immune system to produce antibodies that attack normal body tissues. The specific autoimmune disease is defined by the type of antibodies that are created and which normal body tissues the immune system attacks. Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Multiple Sclerosis, Crohn’s/Colitis, and Type 1 Diabetes are all autoimmune disorders, to name a few.
At some point an inflammatory response in the body continued long after it was needed. Essentially, the body perceived an injury or a threat within normal tissue, where of course, no real threat existed, and so a normal, acute immune response became a chronic and maladaptive one. For example, if you have RA, your body thinks your joints are injured so it continues sending inflammatory chemicals to “heal” the area. Rather than healing- since it doesn’t need healing in the first place- it just causes swelling and tenderness, making mobility difficult. You can see how the way to treat any autoimmune disease is to interrupt the chronic inflammatory response thereby stopping it from targeting normal body tissue.
It's important to note that not all inflammation is bad. Inflammation is the immune system’s response to injury, toxins or infection, essentially, that’s how we heal. This short-term, or acute, inflammation is beneficial when it is under control, however, inflammation that persists longer than necessary, in other words, when it gets out of control, is known as chronic inflammation.
How Turmeric Can Help:
Turmeric is one of nature’s most powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, as confirmed by over 6000 research studies. After years of extension research with our partner scientists in India, we have developed a breakthrough turmeric formula, Dr. D’s Ultra BioTurmeric, that has been clinically proven to lower inflammatory blood markers and to substantially decrease the subjective reports of pain in patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis. For more information on this study, visit https://doctords.com/blogs/news/the-research-behind-dr-ds-ultra-bioturmeric
What’s important to know is that turmeric’s anti-inflammatory action does not prevent a healthy, or acute, inflammatory response. It instead helps to regulate the unhealthy inflammation, and helps to return the body’s defense mechanisms back to normal. In other words, turmeric enables your body to move back into the range of a healthy inflammatory response system, so that you have inflammation when you need it and your body can turn off the response when you don’t, thereby preventing the unnecessary harm to your body that is typical of autoimmune disease.
To bring home this point further, I like to use the example of the unfortunately common autoimmune disorders of the digestive system, Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Ulcerative colitis is characterized by ongoing inflammation in the large intestine and rectum whereas Crohn’s can affect anywhere along the GI tract. If intestinal inflammation remains untreated, it can decrease your gut’s ability to absorb nutrients from your food, as well as promote the overgrowth of bad gut bacteria such as candida (or yeast). In this way, your gut health is highly related to your overall health. Turmeric, having anti-fungal properties, can prevent candida overgrowth. It also reduces intestinal cell damage and infection in the digestive tract, and can repair ulcers. Turmeric can therefore reduce pain and inflammation associated with autoimmune disorders such as Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s. When you reduce the inflammation in your gut and balance out the healthy bacteria in your digestive tract, you will be better equipped to absorb nutrients which can help to regulate and improve your immune health. This is a perfect illustration of how turmeric can not only help with the disease or condition at hand, but can also aid the body in returning back to a healthy inflammatory response system…in other words, a healthy, more effective and efficient, immune system.
There is now scientific evidence showing a direct link between Alzheimer’s and Dementia and chronic inflammation.
What is the process of this terrible condition? It starts with microglia. Microglia are a special part of our central nervous system’s immune response and are constantly on the look-out for signs of infection or toxins, including a protein called beta-amyloid. When these neuro immune cells detect a threat, they become activated to attack the damage, release pro-inflammatory cells, and call on support from other microglia. Normally, this process does not last long, and the activated neuro immune cells go back to a deactivated state of surveillance once the threat passes But in Alzheimer’s and Dementia, research suggests that these neuro immune cells become overactive, increasing their production of inflammatory cells and clear less of the original damage that caused them to be activated in the first place. Therefore, a vicious cycle ensues as microglia begin to cause the neuroinflammation they are designed to defeat…and their ability to clear away damage diminishes! The result is more and more damaged neurons and a buildup of beta-amyloid plaques, which can lead to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological conditions.
How Turmeric Can Help:
Turmeric has not only been shown to break down these plaques associated with Alzheimer’s/Dementia, but also exhibits a very strong neuroprotective effect on brain cells and can even help them to regenerate! In fact, a double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry showed that of the 40 adults between the ages of 50 and 90 who had memory issues, those who took turmeric daily for 18 months showed a 28% improvement in their memory, and also had mild improvements in their mood, compared to the control group. Turmeric supplementation seems to be a promising adjunct to the little treatment options that currently exist for Alzheimer’s and Dementia…but what’s more effective than treatment is PREVENTION. And I’ve been saying this all along. Preventing diseases like Alzheimer’s and Dementia, or delaying its onset should be our goal. There is merit to incorporating turmeric supplementation to your health regime to help prevent chronic, maladaptive inflammation and thus chronic disease.
You might be surprised to hear that genetics play a small role in all cancers, and that the significant factor in most cancers is actually lifestyle choices/habits/environmental factors which lead to inflammation. Let us take a moment to explain how inflammation is involved here.
Inflammation is the immune system’s normal response to injury, toxins or infection. This short-term, or acute, inflammation is beneficial when it is under control, however, inflammation that persists longer is known as chronic inflammation. What we are exposed to in our modern lifestyle and our choices… such as smoking, high intake of processed foods, high stress, and environmental pollutants actually increase the systemic inflammation in our bodies as those are all sources of toxins that our immune system continually tries to fight off. Chronic, persistent inflammation causes tissue destruction and scarring, reshaping of healthy or normal tissue, and changes in gene expression, causing cells to undergo transformation and rapid growth. This abnormal and uncontrolled proliferation of maladaptive or inappropriate cells in a tissue, known as dysplasia, is a classic precursor to cancer.
How Turmeric Can Help:
There have been countless studies confirming that turmeric has anti-cancerous properties. In fact, cancer rates are lowest in countries that have the highest dietary intake of turmeric among the population. For example, the prevalence of some of the most common cancers (lung, breast, prostate and colon) are as much as 10 times lower in India, where there is a high turmeric dietary intake, than in the US, where there is a relatively low turmeric dietary intake among the population. Turmeric prevents this unhealthy inflammatory cascade and may therefore cease tumor formation, meaning that it stops the transformation from a healthy cell into a cancer cell, like in the case of HPV and cervical cancer. It is commonly accepted that some strains of HPV cause cervical cancer by instigating abnormal changes to normal cervical cells. Turmeric has been found to prevent precancerous changes in cervical cells after being infected by the HPV virus. Turmeric also inhibits the activation of cancer-causing genes. It inhibits the proliferation (or spread) of cancer cells. It also prevents the polyps, or growths, that lead to cancer. For example, turmeric has been found to delay the onset of colon cancer by preventing the formation of polyps on the intestinal lining of people living with familial adenomatous polyposis, a genetic condition that causes the extra tissue growth that precedes colon cancer. Turmeric also blocks angiogenesis, or the formation of new blood vessels, to a tumor, thereby cutting off its nutrient supply and suffocating tumor growth. Lastly, turmeric has been shown to help in the efficacy of chemotherapy and to reduce side effects for patients undergoing treatment for breast, thyroid, liver, lung, prostate and skin cancers
Evidence points strongly towards turmeric’s benefits in terms of slowing down, delaying or preventing cancer cells from forming in the first place. Therefore, it is important to speak about turmeric and cancer in the context of PREVENTION. A full-spectrum turmeric supplement should be considered as a daily part of a healthy lifestyle to give your body the best chance at combating future disease such as cancer.
Let’s take a look at the mechanism behind cardiovascular disease. You may be aware that buildup of plaques containing fat and cholesterol in the blood vessels are the precursors to heart attacks and strokes. Your risk is dictated depending on where the plaque build-up (known as atherosclerosis) forms. For example, you would be more predisposed to a stroke if these plaques form in the arterial walls of the brain, or to a heart attack if the plaque forms in or near the arterial walls of the heart. Keep in mind that plaque can form at multiple sites along the arterial walls, so the risk of both may exist simultaneously.
Here is where we get to the connection between atherosclerosis and chronic inflammation...
A large-scale study at Stanford University found that coronary artery disease risk might be linked to genes associated with inflammation. This likely happens because the body will recognize the plaque buildup as a foreign invader as it is not part of a normal blood vessel. Therefore, the immune system kicks in to respond to the threat, but the response is not always adaptive and becomes chronic. This persistent inflammation promotes continued plaque formation, progression and even makes it prone to rupture.
How Turmeric Can Help:
One way to interrupt this chronic inflammatory response is by adding a turmeric supplement to your health regimen. Turmeric can prevent atherosclerosis from forming but can also remove existing plaque- thereby reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. The antioxidant power of turmeric can actually protect the heart. For one thing, it provides a mild blood thinning effect, which can prevent blood clots. It does so by inhibiting blood platelet aggregation, or accumulation, which makes it difficult for blood clots to form in the first place. Turmeric has also been shown to induce vasorelaxation, meaning the relaxation of blood vessels, which studies have shown can help lower heart rate and blood pressure, reducing the risk of cardiovascular stress. It also has been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels, which can take pressure off the cardiovascular system as well. Lastly, turmeric has been shown to reverse heart enlargement and prevent some ventricular arrhythmias, or heart beat irregularities.
To understand diabetes, a proper explanation of insulin is required. Insulin is an important hormone secreted by the pancreas to regulate the amount of glucose- or sugar- in your bloodstream. It either allows the sugar produced from the carbs you eat to be used for energy, or it stores the sugar in the body to use in the future, like between meals or during a workout. As blood sugar rises, the pancreas releases more insulin. In this way, it “regulates” the amount of sugar in the bloodstream. Therefore, insulin is imperative to keep your blood glucose levels in normal, healthy range.
Diabetes is a disease in which the body’s ability to produce insulin (such as in Type 1) or respond to insulin, called insulin resistance, (such as in Type 2) is flawed. The result? An abnormal utilization of carbohydrates and elevated levels of glucose in the blood. The problem with having too much uncontrolled glucose circulating in the bloodstream is that it damages tissues and organs, most commonly: the eyes, the kidneys and the nerves. Now, if you are a seasoned reader of our blogs, you are probably anticipating what’s coming next…Yes. Chronic inflammation is a part of this process.
Chronic inflammation is the maladaptive, continued inflammatory response by our immune system, long after an immediate threat has passed. Basically, it arises when the immune system fails to “switch off” after an illness or trauma, leading to persistent unnecessary signaling that can be harmful to the body. According to the Journal of Gerontology, cytokines, a notorious inflammatory promoter, can interfere with insulin signaling. This results in increased insulin resistance and therefore, spiked blood sugar. The spikes trigger the immune system’s white blood cells to attack, causing further inflammation and faulty insulin signaling, and the vicious cycle continues.
How Turmeric Can Help:
One way to interrupt this chronic inflammatory cycle is by adding a turmeric supplement to your health regimen. There is evidence to suggest that long-term turmeric supplementation can prevent those living with prediabetes from developing the full-blown condition. Turmeric has also been shown specifically to help stabilize blood sugar. Moreover, a 2009 study at Auburn university demonstrated that curcumin, the active medicinal property in turmeric, was up to 100,000 times more effective than the popular medication used to suppress glucose production, significantly benefitting patients with diabetes.
Dr. Adrian Lopresti, who is a clinical psychologist and researcher and Murdoch University explains this very well, stating that patients with depression have greater inflammation and oxidative stress, which can affect all major organs in the body, including the brain. In fact, a study found that patients with major depression had elevated levels of inflammatory biomarkers in their blood, indicating that they also silently suffered from chronic inflammation. Preliminary data from that study stated that hindering inflammatory signals to the brain may improve depressed mood and increase response to anti-depressant medication. Moreover, meta-analyses of the literature also conclude blood biomarkers of inflammation in patients with depression. Even non-depressed individuals express symptoms of depression when administered inflammatory proteins. As research advances, it has become apparent that inflammatory markers may also be elevated in patients with other neuropsychiatric disorders including anxiety disorders and schizophrenia. Allow me to explain this a little further…
Inflammation also affects hormones and other neurotransmitters in your brain such as Serotonin. Serotonin contributes to wellbeing and happiness. As the precursor for melatonin, it helps regulate the body's sleep-wake cycles and the internal clock. It is thought to play a role in appetite, emotions, motor, cognitive, and autonomic functions. Inflammation drives down the level of serotonin, which can lead to feelings of depression or anxiety, and problems with memory. It prevents melatonin from being produced, which causes insomnia. It causes dopamine levels to rise, which contributes to insomnia, and feelings of anxiety and agitation. Dr. Roger S. McIntyre, Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology at the University of Toronto asserted that “curcumin does have an effect on several physiological systems that are implicated in the causes of depression”. Curcumin is one of the most anti-inflammatory components of turmeric. In recent years, several randomized controlled trials have found turmeric to be effective in the treatment of major depressive disorder, likely due to its ability to reduce inflammation in the gut and brain.
How Turmeric Can Help:
Turmeric is one of nature's most powerful anti-inflammatory, although in raw form it is difficult to absorb. This is why taking turmeric in supplement form with a high absorption technology is recommended. Dr. D's Ultra BioTurmeric's groundbreaking technology involves an advanced extraction process which results in an all-natural, full spectrum turmeric supplement which remains in the bloodstream for up to 24 hours and exhibits 14 times greater absorption (compared to standard curcumin)! Unleashing Turmeric’s Full Medicinal Potential!
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THE POWER OF TURMERIC: A HEALING AND PREVENTATIVE GUIDE, DR. FABIO DI STEFANO, PUBLISHER PRODUCTION SOLUTIONS, 2018
*THE CONTENT IN THESE BLOGS IS STRICTLY EDUCATIONAL AND NOT INTENDED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS, OR TREATMENT. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTHCARE PROVIDER WITH ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE REGARDING A MEDICAL CONDITION OR YOUR GENERAL HEALTH. ALWAYS THOROUGHLY READ AND FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS ON THE LABELS OF YOUR SUPPLEMENTS AND/OR MEDICATIONS. NOTE THAT THE CONTENT IN THESE BLOGS MAY BECOME OUTDATED AS NEWER RESEARCH IS PUBLISHED.