Preventing Chronic Degenerative Disease and Obesity:
Get in the Anti-Inflammatory Zone Naturally
by Dr. Karen Wolfe
A recent headline in USA Today, and an article in Men’s Health (Dec. 04), and a book by Dr. Barry Sears, The Anti-Inflammation Zone, all highlight the dangers of silent inflammation that occurs within the cells of the body.
The USA Today article by Steve Sternberg quotes studies that appeared in New England Journal of Medicine. It says: “Inflammation is as potent as bad cholesterol: Two leading research groups independently report today that lowering blood levels of a protein that promotes artery inflammation is just as important as reducing bad cholesterol for preventing heart attacks and strokes. Their conclusions reflect a major shift away from the notion that bad cholesterol, or LDL, is the primary villain in heart disease. Levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) also must be reduced to halt the disease’s progression, researchers said.
The article in Men’s Health, Bonfires of the Arteries, sites “Inflammation is the slow burn that sparks thousands of heart attacks and strokes every year.”
“Half of all heart attacks and strokes in the United States each year occur among people with essentially normal cholesterol levels, says Paul Ridker, M.D., a professor of medicine at Havard medical school. There’s more to heart disease than just lipids. In addition to the problem of cholesterol, there’s the problem of the immune system or the inflammation response. A heart attack occurs when plaque ruptures inside your blood vessels. But that rupturing hinges not just on how much plaque you have but also on the degree of inflammation, Dr. Ridker says. Your level of CRP – measured by a simple blood test – helps detect this condition so you can predict whether you’re in danger of cardiovascular disease and stroke.”
Many people take drugs to dampen down inflammation. After numerous months of controversy, the FDA removed Bextra from the market this month amidst reports that it posed health risks to the heart and stomach, and can cause a potentially fatal skin condition. Vioxx was also taken off the market in September 2004 because of dangerous and life-threatening cardiovascular side effects. The FDA established new warning labels for anti-inflammatory drugs, both prescribed and over-the-counter and older, popular non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), are also coming under increased scrutiny.
This is a big step in protecting the consumer from the dangers of these drugs, but it’s left many wondering what to do now.
Top Ten Tips to help reduce inflammation (CRP) levels in the body naturally.
Glucosamine sulfate is found naturally in high amounts in joint tissue. It stimulates the body to make cartilage, thus helping repair the joints; glucosamine also helps protect joints against destruction. When taken orally, it is absorbed selectively by joint tissues where it exerts a powerfully therapeutic effect in those with osteoarthritis. Many good studies have shown that it works better than NSAIDs and placebos at relieving the pain and inflammation of osteoarthritis in at least 50 percent of people—with only minor side effects Recommended dosage is 500 mg, three times per day.
• Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins (OPCs) are a powerful group of antioxidants found in both pine bark and grape seeds. There’s good research on both grape seed extract and pine bark. Because OPCs help repair connective tissue, they are also very good for bones, hair, nails, and skin.
Copyright Dr. Karen Wolfe. All Rights Reserved.
Karen Wolfe is a national and international speaker, author and coach. She is the author of:
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