Three important nutrients to help fight inflammation
Sarah is 35, lives in Northern Ontario and has come to see me for nagging, persistent back pain. She has tried physiotherapy in her hometown but without much relief. She also lists on her intake that she is troubled by fatigue, insomnia and irritable bowel syndrome. When I palpate and test her muscles, they are tight or hypo-tonic which, in my experience, is a sign of low grade inflammation in her body.
Inflammation in our bodies is a normal response of our body's immune system. For example, if you sprain your ankle it will often become swollen. In this case, the swelling is caused by your immune system sending molecules to the area to begin repairs. Once the job is done, the molecules leave and the inflammation subsides–a sign your immune system is behaving properly. On the flip side, as in Sarah's case, where there is general body inflammation which has been there for a while, it is a sign her immune system is behaving badly or dysregulated.
When your immune system is behaving badly it often indicates it has been overworked. Imagine your immune system is an army whose main job is to defend your body. When it comes under attack the immune soldiers respond, deal with the threat and then go back to their barracks. If, however, the attack is more like a siege where your immune soldiers have to defend your body over a prolonged period, at some point they are going to become disheartened, fatigued and less likely to follow orders.
In today's polluted world, this situation is very much the norm. Our bodies have to deal with any number of invading hostile elements in the food we eat, the water we drink and wash in and in the air we breathe.
It is no wonder our immune system gets overwhelmed!
In any siege, the defenders are protected behind a wall which, in our body’s case is our skin, is the lining of our intestinal tract and lungs. Like the defending soldiers, after sustained attack these protective barriers will become weakened and holes will appear through which the attackers can enter. In our bodies the intestinal lining can become weakened, among many things, by medication such as antibiotics or birth control, and eating gluten. In medical terms this weakening of your intestines is called intestinal permeability or leaky gut.
Just by hearing Sarah's symptoms, I can see her barriers have been breached, a battle is raging inside her body and her defending immune system is starting to behave badly.
When your immune system behaves badly, three negative things begin to happen.
- The defenders become overzealous and fire continuously.
- The defenders begin to see anything that comes into the body as hostile – how multiple food sensitivities develop.
- The defenders begin to see parts of your body as potential threats and begin attacking them – how autoimmune diseases begin.
To help her out of control and overwhelmed immune system Sarah needs to step in and help out. She can do this by:
- Identifying and limiting the number of hostile invaders her body has to deal with.
- Stop weakening her barriers and find ways to rebuild them.
- Ensure that her immune system is strong enough to sustain some form of siege without losing the plot.
To strengthen her immune system and make it less likely to go rogue, the body needs to have sufficient supplies of three essential nutrients:
- Vitamin D
- EPA and DHA from Fish Oils
Ensuring her body has access to foods high in these nutrients and or taking supplements where her supplies are very low will be crucial if she is to keep her immune system in order.
I hope you found this information useful. More importantly, I hope you do something with it.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.