What Causes Inflammation? And one common mistake people make when trying to heal.

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The Western world has been struggling with inflammation for generations and has been relying on anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin, NSAIDS, and steroids to heal them.  What people don't realize, though, is that these anti-inflammatory drugs actually causes inflammation to become worse, not better, and are causing several bodily systems to function poorly.

So exactly what causes inflammation?

That's right!  Anti-inflammatory drugs cause inflammation!  You might be asking, "But aren't they supposed to reduce inflammation?"  Technically, yes, they do.  But let me explain why this isn't the best strategy and why it actually makes inflammation in the body worse...

You see, the body needs to be able to inflame and anti-inflame to heal and repair the body.  Inflammation is the first line of defense the body uses to heal the body before anti-inflammatory elements come into play.  Inflammation and anti-inflammation are directly caused by the production of certain elements called prostaglandins.  There are three classes of prostaglandins int he body, PG1, PG2, and PG3, and all three are required for proper inflammation balance.

These prostaglandins are formed with the intake of the fatty acids: omega-6s, omega-3s, and saturated fats.  If the intake of fatty acids is unbalanced, then the prostaglandins will in return produce an unbalanced inflammation response that causes inflammation in the body.

I know this is getting a little science-y... but try to stay with me here.  It gets good!

Briefly speaking, omega-6s form the anti-inflammatory PG1, saturated fats form the pro-inflammatory PG2, and omega-3s form the anti-inflammatory PG3.  None of these are worse than the other; it's all about the balance of the three in the body.  An unbalanced ratio of these three fatty acids will cause inflammation to the body, no matter if an individual takes in a higher number of omega-6s or a higher intake of omega-3s.  An individual could be taking in the perfect balance of fatty acids, but if they are also taking anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin, NSAIDS, and steroids, this will inhibit the formation of prostaglandins and therefore disrupts the overall balance and causes inflammation in the body by default.

What does this all mean?  Let me explain...

Well, these anti-inflammatory drugs inhibit the production of prostaglandins.  Yes, they may stop the production of inflammatory prostaglandins (and therefore temporarily relieve pain), but they also stop the production of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins causing a roller coaster effect towards higher and longer bouts of inflammation.

Want to know something else that's cool?  Prostaglandins aren't simply the inflammation regulators.  They are also metabolic regulators and are involved in many other important processes of the body all of which will be negatively affected by taking these drugs.  The use of drugs stops the production of prostaglandins and therefore also slows or shuts down these metabolic processes which harms the body and may cause many other problems in return.

So... now what?  How will my body heal?

As a culture, we tend to promote the production of inflammatory prostaglandins (most commonly by overeating omega-6 fats) while at the same time taking things like anti-inflammatory drugs to inhibit the formation of the anti-inflammatory prostaglandins.  Stopping the use of these drugs will be the first step to allowing the body to heal as it was created to do.The body is one smart machine.  We need to do their best to give our body what it needs so it can do what it was made to do - heal itself.

In this post, I share with you some natural remedies (besides balancing your omega-3s, 6s, and saturated fats as I mentioned above) for reducing inflammation and letting your body heal -- the way it was created to do!

Tell me -- do you take anti-inflammatory drugs on a regular basis?  Will you be willing to give them up?  Tell me in the comments below!