INFLAMMATION: GOOD & BAD

The Link between Inflammation & Immunity 


Inflammation has become a buzzword that gets thrown around a lot - how does inflammation work? What does inflammation mean? What are the major causes of inflammation in the body? When is inflammation a good thing or a bad thing? And yes, inflammation is a good thing when it's healing!


Our emerging understanding of the link between inflammation and chronic illnesses has also brought attention to the ways dietary patterns and foods can influence the body’s health at a cellular level. 

All about inflammation

When is inflammation good?

Inflammation can actually be a good thing, and is a key mechanism in your body's immune defense.


Inflammation is an immunological defense mechanism and biological process that enables our bodies to fight off disease causing pathogens like parasites, viruses, and bacteria - that means it actually can be a good thing.


Acute inflammation is transitory and occurs when the body sends white blood cells to surround and protect an area. This process is critical to preventing infection and injury in the body and speeding up the healing process


Specialized cells are pre-stationed throughout the body and alert the immune system as soon as the body detects infection. Some of those cells then release histamine, which makes nearby capillaries leaky so that plasma can pour out and slow down the invading infection. This allows for immune defenders to attack the pathogens and damaged tissue, which results in inflammation symptoms such as redness, swelling, heat, and pain. 

when is inflammation bad?

As the saying goes, too much of a good thing can be bad. And accordingly, when inflammation becomes chronic rather than transitory, the body turns on itself and white blood cells may end up attacking nearby healthy tissues and organs. 


Blood vessels, arteries, nerves, and the intestine may become damaged, and the inflammation could lead to chronic illnesses like heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, and cancer.


The immune system plays a 3-prong function: pathogen surveillance, self surveillance (tissue repair and cancer), and removal of debris.


Each of those functions requires a specific microenvironment that have side effects including chronic/systemic inflammation. Pathogen surveillance is the most likely to cause chronic/systemic inflammation which is correlated to many diseases, especially when unnecessarily induced for prolonged periods of time by poorly thought-out products or by poorly informed formulators that simply do not know better.

3 MAIN BLOOD MARKERS FOR INFLAMMATION

To help quantify inflammation, researchers use the following 3 key markers:


       1. C-reactive protein (CRP)

       2. interleukin-6 (IL-6)

       3. tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF- α) 


These can be found and measured in a simple blood test. 

These indicators are important for evaluating the links between chronic inflammation and its treatments.


TLDR: acute inflammation when the body needs repair (such as at the site of injury, or when fighting pathogens) is a good thing, but chronic inflammation can lead to damage.

HOW DOES DIET INFLUENCE CHRONIC INFLAMMATION?

Inflammatory food choices can lead to higher chances of heart attacks, higher risk of cardiovascular disease, and higher cholesterol.


Foods can be both pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory, which means that anti-inflammatory foods have the potential to become a simple remedy to help ward off chronic diseases. Researchers found that people with extremely low levels of CRP* rarely have heart attacks, while those with high levels, which can be attributed to dietary choices, have a much higher risk of heart attack.   


Another study found that people consuming pro-inflammatory diets have a 38% higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease compared to those consuming anti-inflammatory diets.  


Furthermore, additional research has linked pro-inflammatory diets to a poor cholesterol profile and anti-inflammatory diets to improved cholesterol


*Mushroom Design was actually formulated when our founders experienced extremely high rates of CRP resulting from the mushroom supplement powders they were both consuming. You can learn more about that in the bloodwork study here.

MUSHROOM DESIGN & INFLAMMATION

Mushroom Design combines the physiological assistance of vitamins with the immunological benefits of 9 mushrooms to help optimize and support the body’s innate ability to repair tissue, recognize disease, and defend against pathogens.


This is achieved by keeping the nutritional content (beta-glucans and terpenes) in their natural states (water and oil environment) to allow the body to absorb and handle the nutrients more efficiently and effectively. 


The dosages in the daily vitamins are consistent with the recommended daily allowance by the NIH to prevent overstimulating the immune system. And science backs it all up! Read all about MD's science here.