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I've heard the word inflammation thrown around many different topics lately: eating meat, eating dairy, cancer and on and on. But what is inflammation really, how does it happen and how can it negatively affect the body?

The word itself, Inflammation is used to describe something red, swollen, warm and painful.

It is a mechanism that our body needs and uses to repair tissues after they've suffered damage.

These are the steps:

1) A lesion: shock, a cut, a burn, poison, infection is detected by blood platelets

2) Platelets gather and release PDGF (Platelet-Derived Growth Factor)

3) PDGF alters the white blood cells

4) White blood cells now produce transmitter substances: cytokines, chemokine, prostaglandins, leukotrienes, thromboxanes

5) They dilate vessels surrounding the site to facilitate the influx of other immune cells

6) They seal off the opening by provoking blood coagulation around the platelet build-up

7) They render neighbouring tissue permeable so the immune cells can pass to find the intruders

8) They trigger growth of damaged tissue cells to regenerate the missing piece and grow blood vessels

It is very important however, that the system stops growing once regeneration is over and goes into standby mode.

This is why cancer cells need to produce inflammation to sustain their growth. A measure of inflammation in someone is one of the best predictors of long a cancer patient has to live.

Tumour cells release Nuclear Factor-Kappa-B, NF Kappa-B is a pro-inflammatory factor related by tumour cells. Almost every cancer preventative is an inhibitor of NF KappaB and the whole pharmaceutical world is looking for substances to block it.

There are two natural ones:

- Green tea catechines

- Red wine reservatrol

Persistent feelings of helplessness: constant despair is accompanied by changes in the secretion of noradrenaline and cortisol, stress hormones. They prepare the body for a potential wound in part by stimulating inflammation factors. This why it is also essential to try to find ways to minimise these feelings in order to improve your health.


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