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By northviewwe24053360, Jan 4 2017 04:50PM

Food is defined as any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body usually of plant or animal origin and containing essential nutrients like carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals. When ingested, this food is assimilated into the body to provide energy, maintain life and stimulate growth.

Hmm...In light of that definition... where does that leave the modern Hodge-Podge of various so-called "foods" we consume today?

The chemical mediator of pain in the human body is inflammation which is defined as a "protective attempt by an organism to remove injurious stimuli and initiate the healing process. This is a great thing when you step on a thorn or sprain your ankle, but what if your body is attacking its own tissues as is the case in auto-immune disease or degenerative arthritis or even chronic infections.

In the same way that too little inflammation will slow down the healing process, too much of it will keep you in pain longer. Chronic inflammation is the type of inflammation that is not effectively mediated by drugs.

So what is the deal with the headline of this letter?

While true food can serve to decrease inflammation and help heal the body, man-made or heavily processed foods can work against us. Even some items that may be considered "real food" can become inflammatory if manipulated, eaten too often, or activate your immune system when eaten. Things like processed or refined grains, pasteurized dairy, refined or artificial sugars, refined or hydrogenated fats and oils. Even healthy foods like the nightshade family of foods (tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, etc.) or eggs can be inflammatory in the wrong individual. This why it is important to have a food's inflammatory reactions measured to see if you might be better off with a food eliminated from your diet.

So what is the mechanism here? How can "food" cause inflammation in our gut, much less the rest of our entire body.

As food enters the digestive tract and begins to be digested, one of two things can happen. We either completely break it down into useful, healthful nutrients absorb it through our intestinal lining and take it to where it will be utilized for health or we cannot break it down and it becomes an irritant to the system. In this situation, incompletely digested food particles (either because we lack the enzymes and acids necessary or because it is a processed non-food) move through our intestine causing irritation and promoting an immune response.

Over time, this immune reaction breaks down the protective barrier provided by the gut and causes larger-than-normal holes to be left in the lining. This now so-called "leaky gut" allows not only undigested foods to pass through, but also a number of other inflammation producing substances including pathogens like viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites.

This passage through the protective barrier of the gut produces inflammation-causing immune complexes throughout the body resulting in inflammation and pain potentially all over your body. Now that "old" knee, back or whatever injury hurts you even when you are not "playing" on it. What is even worse is that over time the repetitive exposure to this inflammation and immune system response can produce physiologic tissue change and disease.

It is now well-known, that most of the chronic diseases that we fear including heart disease, diabetes and cancer are all caused in part or entirely by chronic inflammation. Other conditions or symptoms related to chronic inflammation include:

Joint Pain/Arthritis Auto-Immune Disease Asthma/Allergies

Leaky Gut/IBS Chronic Fatigue Skin Disorders

Obesity/Weight Gain Hormonal Imbalances Neurodegenerative Disease

The body was not designed to fight chronic inflammation and begins to suffer with mal-adaptive responses quickly when faced with such a situation. There are, of course, many other sources of chronic inflammation such as toxicity, repetitive trauma, and even emotional stress we did not discuss in this article. However, all sources of inflammation should be explored and eliminated if one is to not only be pain-free, but disease-free as well.

I will also note that anti-inflammatory medications such as NSAIDs, COX inhibitors, and steroids do not qualify as adequate means of dealing with chronic inflammation due to their toxicity burden and should be a last resort in dealing with inflammation in general.

By northviewwe24053360, Aug 8 2016 06:42PM

I don't know about you, but I was a Star Wars fan from the beginning...a long, long time ago. Last time we were discussing body function as it relates to energy production and began to look at the "cost" of sustained or chronic inflammation in the body. First off let me say that I am not referring to the effects of the "acute" inflammatory cascade because this is necessary to heal properly. What I am talking about here is the degenerative and damaging effects of chronic inflammation.

Inflammation is one of the languages of the immune system. Acute or chronic, it is the immune system that signals and mediates a response in our system. This occurs whether the insult that "damages" a tissue in the body is an external force or an internal one. We will spend our time discussing the internal variety today.

As we discussed last time, food is our primary source of recurrent damage. It is an insidious source in that most of us have no clue that we are literally destroying the inside of our body with the honey buns, cheeseburgers, chicken fried steaks, and diet sodas. Even the metabolism or "breakdown" of food produces reactive oxygen species or free radicals leading to damage and inflammation.

There are many other things, of course. I am sure you do not need a lesson in the chemical toxicity of our environment (we will be discussing detoxification in our next post). Whether it is the chemicals in our foods, the air we breathe, the water we drink and bathe in, or even the furniture, flooring, or play grounds we send our children out to; our body is inundated with an overload of things to "process." Lest you think I am just being a toxicity alarmist, I will share some alarming facts about toxins next episode. For now try this on for size, newborn babies born today have between 50 and 70 dangerous toxins (as classified by the EPA) in their cord blood at birth. When we can no longer stay up with the detoxifcation demand, body tissue systems become damaged and inflammation ensues.

As we alluded to in our last post, pathogens such as bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi all can and often do take up residence within our system. Now we do have probiotics there, right? This, collectively with the bacteria and such throughout the body structures, we call our microbiome and these probiotics are neccessary for our very existence. Without them we would die. There is an area though where "overgrowth" of our natural, good probiotics create a problem for us. We call that SIBO or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. We also know that dysbiosis or a disproportionate population ratio of so called "good" bacteria or other organism versus "bad" bacteria create a burden and damage to our system. This process is what creates the environment for both acute and chronic infections in our body. As our internal environment endures more and more pathogen overgrowth, damage occurs both from the pathogen as well as our immune system's attempt to eliminate the pathogen.

I should also mention that our body's hormonal and biochemical response to stressors like those mentioned here or work, school, or home stress, family illness and tragedy... also create oxidative damage and inflammation. How about the burden of autoimmunity. This is quickly becoming the norm, not the exception. All of these things I have been talking about here drive the immune pathways leading to auto-immune recognition and crisis. You will need help from a qualified clinician with this one.

So what are we to do in the wake of such a significant weight?

Well we must begin by lowering the burden because fire will never be extinguished when gasoline is poured on top of it. We begin with foods. Find out what drives our body's inflammatory response and stop eating it. It is that simple. Choose foods rich in life-giving nutrients that support the body's natural anti-inflammatory and detoxification pathways. If you need help there, get it. This may indeed require initially utilizing therapeutic levels of nutrients to support the restoration of those pathways. Meaning... you might not can physically eat your way out of your predicament and therefore need to supplement for a while. If you suffer from chronic infections, you must rid your body of these pathogens. If toxic, detoxify...if anemic, oxygenate. Take steps to reduce your stress load. If that means cutting some things out of life...well only you can determine if your life is worth it. Seek out stress reducing activities to mitigate the effects of stress on your life. Without going into specifics here, spirituallity is extremely important.

The Body Strikes Back! Well it does, but it is only doing its job...defensively. We can't really blame our body for operating within its design. We wouldn't want it any other way. We just have to realize that to enjoy the benefits of the masterful system God created in us, we have to be good stewards of that system. We have to care for it, nourish it and protect it.

Next time we will look specifically at detoxification systems and then finish up this series talking about adrenal health. Till next time.

God Bless You and Keep You.

By northviewwe24053360, Apr 19 2016 04:40PM

As promised, I want to pick up this tale with gastrointestinal health. I know...I know. This isn't the subject most enjoy talking about. However, it just maybe the most important topic relative to our overall health as it impacts not only are energy-producing capabilities, but immune function, inflammation, hormone and neurotransmitter production, detoxification, cellular health, etc, etc, etc. It serves as a front line barrier against health offenders entering from the outside via our mouth and when working properly can provide amazing protection against all manner of garbage we try to stick in our mouth as well those "little critters" that hop along for the ride. When things are not good "in there," we find ourselves in a world of potential problems brewing and waiting for an opportunity to wreak havoc on our system.

We spoke last time about the importance of proper nutrition...not just "good" food, but food that is "good" for you an your individual systems and about the need to investigate those issues in more detail. This time we want to discuss the impact "foods" and pathogens can have on our gut and how that may impact our ability to generate cellular energy.

Beginning in our mouth and running through to the other end lie specifc areas designed with specific purposes. It is not my goal to turn all of my readers into little gut "scientists," but more importantly to arm them with some information to help them assess their own potential situation and determine if there is a need for more comprehensive assessments. The gastrointestinal system provides a access route for us to move "fuel" from the exterior in the form of food to the interior all the way down inside our cells to the very central aspect of gene expression. Now that sounds like an important job, doesn't it? This is maybe something we don't want to turn over to the "mad" scientists at your local fast food establishment. The breakdown of this "fuel" begins in our mouth, continues in the stomach and is finally prepared for absorption and assimilation in our small intestine.

What if....

We start with "food" that really isn't food, don't chew our food long enough because we have to get to the ballgame, lacked the necessary stomach pH because of an unknown bacterial infection in our stomach, and had depleted our enzyme stores trying to deal with the chronic levels of inflammation in our body.

What if...

When this, so called, food arrived in our bowel there was a mucosal surface that should have absorptive extensions called villi that were no longer there because they had atrophied in the wake of constant inflammatory assault.

What if...

Because of the lack of mucosal and gut immune integrity, the bowel had become a haven for colonization of fungi and yeast, parasites and chronic viral invasion.

What if...

After months and years of abuse the pores we use as a filter to allow only the appropriate nutrient particle were no longer filtering and began to allow large protein molecules, bacteria, fungi, and cellular debris to pass through the bowel wall and into the blood to be transported all over the body.

This would be a very deletarious situation, but it is the situation that most individuals today are dealing with. You might think with all of the badness listed above that you would be walking around with all manner of symptoms like fatigue, headaches, arthritis, nerve pain, foggy thinking, anxiety, depression, insomnia, asthma, allergies, skin problems, hormonal imbalances, learning problems, etc, not to mention the multitude of gastrointestinal symptoms like IBS, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, gas and bloating and you would be right...many people do walk around like that. You would also be fooling yourself into thinking that you do not have a problem developing if you happen to not have these symptoms yet. Remember that symtoms come when the body can no longer adapt and that is always late in the process of illness.

So what does this all mean relative to our topic. We will get into more detail next post about this, but for the moment realize that the chronic inflammation that follows this scenario and the resultant loss of nutrient availability robs the bodies capacity to generate the necessary drive to the mitochondrial machinery designed to make energy for your cells and ultimately for you. The energy you spend fighting the chronic inflammatory/immune response to this situation places the body in a chronic "fight or flight" mode leading to a shift in energy production to a "stress" state response where there is a net loss of energy production. We will explore this in more detail next episode. Until then, try to assess your present food list and where you might can begin to substitute some healthful choices for ones that you might suspect are working against you.

By northviewwe24053360, Mar 15 2016 03:30PM

So we are continuing with the topic of fatigue today with our first and primary area of concern. Now I don't want to use this time to talk specifically about what you should eat. We can and should handle this on an individual level. More inportantly I want to talk about the importance of composing your diet around foods that you tolerate well and assist with the proper function of your body's energy producing systems. We will use this topic to springboard into areas like systemic inflammation and gastrointestinal health, but we need to first outline some important areas of concern and needed assessment.

When it comes to food, there are two main areas of concern. The first is bioavailability...that is to say is it in your food rotation plan (which we will deal with here) and if it is...can you get it to where you need it? The second area of concern has to do with our immune systems response to the things we are putting in our body.

So how do you know what is right for your system and what isn't? Does it taste good? Does it make us feel good while we are eating it? Many of us use these two qualifiers as a filter for our diet. Unfortunately, our taste buds and emotional responses to food don't really make trustworthy markers for the "is this right for me" test. We can sometimes look at "how we feel" as a general barometer of food appropriateness, but most of us feel so bad all the time that we wouldn't know if food is adding to the problem or not. It is not until you have removed a problem food from our diet that we would even be able to tellif it is working against us upon re-introduction. Even it was part of the problem, would we really choose to remove it from our diet when the emotional payoff is so high for consuming it.

With just a little assistance, most of us could come up with a list of "obvious" good foods and "obvious" bad foods, but what about the the "good" foods that just aren't "good" for us? We have all been told, for example, that consuming grain-based fiber is "good" for us and fiber is good for us by the way. However, what if that grain-based source of fiber has been labelled as an irritant or as foreign by our immune system and each time we consume it we are causing a wide scale inflammatory response that is beating down the normal energy producing mechanisms in our body. This would be a distinct problem to normal body function, nutrient assimilation and delivery as well as having a rather dramatic impact on energy production (I will explain how in a later post).

So how can we be more sure that what we are consuming is working efficiently and productively in our body? It takes an analysis of the gastrointestinal system's mucosal integrity, acid and enzyme-producing capabilities and the body's immunological response to our foods. You must utilize specific testing to find out these components so that not only are you consuming "good" food, but also food that is "good" for you and for the individual systems of your body. Only then can you begin to repair damaged energy producing systems and be on your way to eliminating that chronic fatigue permanently.

Next time we will look more specifically at GI health, nutrient assimilation and the role systemic inflammation plays in disrupting the normal energy cycling in our system.

By northviewwe24053360, Mar 10 2016 11:00PM

I often get asked by prospective patients or those in our community the question, "why am I tired all the time?" This is a difficult question to answer with just a few words or catch phrases so I often try to direct them to a much bigger thought than just why they might be tired all the time. Many times we get caught in the trap of thinking that because our lives our so busy, we are just worn out from all the activity and lack of sleep. While it may indeed be true that your life is "busy," a better question might be "what impact has my busy life had on my body's function?"

You see, the generation of energy in our system is much more complicated than the degree of activity and the amount of sleep we are exposed to each day and night. Sleep is restorative and therefore vital to energy production, but sleep alone cannot "make up" for developing deficits in the production of cellular energy. Understand that our body's ability to repair and restore is much more dependant than the moments we are lying down with our eyes closed lest you think all you are missing is a good sleeping pill. In fact, I often find that the quantity of sleep one might gain on a sleeping medicine, narcotic, muscle relaxant, mood stabilizer, alcohol, even so called "natural" products is not comensurate with the degree of body repair or energy production.

That may beg the question, "what am I running on if I am not running on normal cellular energy?" Or you may be saying to yourself "I know I don't have it...where can I get some?"

Well stay plugged in. I will be addressing this rather complicated issue in coming posts by breaking it down into more digestible sections. In fact, speaking of digestion, we may just start right there. Talk to you soon!

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