“Mommy, I fell off my bike and now my knee is all red and swollen!” This is what we commonly refer to and understand as inflammation – swelling. You receive a trauma and your body, specifically your immune system, goes to work. It causes your body to make it swell, send pain signals, cause redness and protect the area.
Your body then sends in the cleanup crew to repair the tissue, to ensure no bad bugs get into the cuts and scrapes. Lastly your body caps it off with a scab (or just bruising) so it can do the repair underneath. This is commonly referred to as acute (sudden or immediate) inflammation.
However, what we have learned is that throughout the body, small traumas to our cells are occurring regularly and quietly. This is due to multiple factors such as stress, infections, toxins, lack of sleep, diet or alcohol. Your diet plays an extremely important role in removing chronic inflammation. It is being vigorously studied throughout the medical sphere, in areas from Alzheimer’s (brain) to irritable bowel syndrome (gut) and to cancer (everywhere).
Inflammation – Causes And Contributors
Chronic inflammation has been linked to the development of such serious health conditions as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, Parkinson’s, and cardiovascular disease. Also, depression, Alzheimer’s, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s, cancer and other less serious conditions such as allergies and acne.
We have environmental and life stressors all around us, but diet is something we can all change. It’s a lot easier than changing our relationship, job or our hour-long drive to work every day.
One of the biggest causes of chronic inflammation in our diet is refined carbohydrates/sugar which are pro-inflammatory. There are several foods that can cause inflammation. I won’t cover them here – rest assured vegetable oils (some types), dairy, fried foods and some others have a role in chronic inflammation.
Suffering With Fibromyalgia? Acute Inflammation VS Chronic Inflammation...Know the difference!
What Fuels Our Bodies
Let’s step back a second and talk about our body’s energy needs. Our bodies can run on two energy sources. Fat (which our body converts to ketones) or glucose. Glucose is not always bad! We have been fueling our bodies with glucose for a long time now (and you’ll be surprised to know ketones as well). It’s how our bodies process the glucose that leads to the problem if we are not mindful.
How Glucose Affects Our Body
We need to give our bodies just the right amount of glucose, in the form of complex carbohydrates, otherwise we will overwhelm the system. As well, we need to ensure we are not constantly giving our bodies too much glucose (i.e. snacking). This is because our bodies create insulin to transport that glucose to give energy to our cells. But insulin’s dark side is that it stores that glucose as fat if we give our body more than it needs. I say dark side, but this fat storage is what keeps us alive during times of famine – you know, like last week when you had no snacks in the cupboard?
“Anything that raises insulin halts weight loss and stimulates significant inflammation, which is the cause of most diseases of civilization.”
“INSULIN MAKES INFLAMMATION WORSE. Insulin drives the inflammatory cascade. It stimulates the inflammatory hormones that cause arthritis, allergic rhinitis, psoriasis, dermatitis, and inflammatory bowel problems to become amplified.”
“The underlying cause of heart disease is high insulin response to carbohydrates, which leads to blood vessel wall damage, inflammation, and blockage; the cause is not the presence of one form of cholesterol.”
What Are Ketones?
Ketones manage the inflammatory response systemically and stop production of inflammatory molecules.
“When you take a deeper look at diseases and conditions ranging from diabetes, kidney disease, Crohn’s disease, and multiple sclerosis (MS) to Alzheimer’s disease and cancer, one key attribute seen across the board is chronic low-grade inflammation/neuroinflammation.”
“The most common treatments for Crohn’s, anti-inflammatory drugs and immunosuppressants, are aimed at reducing inflammation in bowel tissues.”
““Ketones can limit oxidative stress and inflammation.”
When you are not eating carbohydrates/sugars/glucose, you do not suddenly die (hopefully). Your body is designed to recognize that when the readily available source of cheap energy from carbs you eat is unavailable. It goes to its energy stores of glucose in your body (which can only last a day or so) and if that is depleted it goes to your fat (which was created by storing the excess carbohydrates/sugars/glucose from days, weeks, months, years … you get the picture). It converts this fat into ketones and runs your body on that better more efficient fuel.
What Is A Ketogenic State?
This ketogenic state, where you are burning your fat, can occur in small amounts if you wait as little as 12 hours after your last meal before you eat again (say you eat supper at 7 p.m. and you don’t eat until 7 a.m. or later).
With ketones running your system even partially, your chronic inflammation has time to reverse. Going for 12 to 16 hours without eating is often referred to as intermittent fasting (and that’s a whole other topic but so good for you – I do it almost every day).
Athletes and biohackers take it to the next level and not only fast intermittently, they also commit to cutting out nearly all carbohydrates/sugars/glucose. They then eat what is called a ketogenic diet, which means eating high fat (good fats), moderate protein and very little but only high-quality carbohydrates. Ketogenic Diet Study Confirms Massive Anti-Inflammatory Effects
Benefits Of A Keto Diet
People doing the diet feel more energy, greater mental clarity, less to no brain fog, more flexibility (especially those with inflammatory conditions like arthritis) and generally a better sense of health. Science suggests this is because chronic inflammation is reduced, and their bodies are running more efficiently (ketones are a cleaner burning energy source).
And lastly, there is the ability to “drink” your ketones – and studies suggest that these exogenous (outside the body) ketones, which are bioidentical and natural (the ones I recommend, at least) act in the same way as those created by burning your own fat or eating a ketogenic diet.
Whatever you decide to do to take control of your inflammation, I strongly urge you to eat healthy fats, remove as much processed foods and refined sugars from your diet as you can and stop snacking! And try skipping a meal occasionally, you’ll be surprised at how much you can get done when you are not cooking, eating and then cleaning up! (Just ask Dr. Fung).
For additional reading check out Keto Diet and Chiropractic – What Do They Have in Common? And as always, if anything I have written resonates with you, leave a comment. If you have any questions or would like more information about drinking ketones, making ketones or healthy eating, feel free to send me an email at [email protected]
I am here to serve! (I just won’t serve you dessert 😊 )
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Jack Lauzon, B.Sc. Honours Physics, Health Educator
The Ketogenic Bible
“Individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease also display elevated levels of inflammation in the brain (Hunot et al., 2003), likely due to energy deprivation and an inability to clear damaged proteins, both resulting in impaired mitochondrial function.”
“Impaired Mitochondrial Function in Alzheimer’s Disease As with Parkinson’s disease, extensive research has shown impaired mitochondrial function in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Along with changes in mitochondrial function, individuals with Alzheimer’s tend to have elevated levels of oxidative stress (an accumulation of free radicals that may result in cell damage) and inflammation. When the ability of mitochondria to produce energy is impaired, it causes inflammation, increases amyloid plaque formation, and ultimately results in the deterioration of cognitive function.”
“The direct cause of migraines and headaches is unknown; however, the fact that a ketogenic diet has been found to be beneficial may provide a clue: we don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but as in so many other health problems, mitochondrial dysfunction and its accompanying decreased ATP production in the brain may play a significant role (Roos-Araujo et al., 2014). Ketones would alleviate that issue by providing an alternative fuel that bypasses the problem areas of the mitochondria. The ketogenic diet’s ability to reduce inflammation may also play a role, as migraines may involve neural inflammation.”
“A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine demonstrate significant improvement in overall inflammation in type II diabetic patients following a carbohydrate restricted diet versus a low fat calorie restricted diet. Another bit of proof demonstrating what I’ve been seeing in my office over the last 8 years. The study reveals significant improvement in glycemic (blood sugar) control in those following a low carbohydrate diet as well as significant lowering of C-reactive protein, IL-1 and IL-6 over those following a low fat diet.”
Did you get this far down? Great, here’s something funny/serious to finish off:
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