Almost all diseases or ailments stem from inflammation. This is why inflammation is thought to be the root of disease, but it’s not. This distinction makes sense when you consider the causes of inflammation.
Inflammation is a natural, healthy response to cellular damage or a natural, healthy immune response to a perceived threat. The idea that inflammation can persist without serving a purpose is a misnomer that allows the cause of disease to go unchecked and ignored. A symptom cannot be the root of disease. Chronic inflammation is a symptom.
When any part of the body is inflamed, it is either damaged and healing or damaged and deteriorating. Forget the idea that inflammation is “wrong” or “unnecessary” or that it can even get out of control. It’s not inflammation that is “out of control.” Inflammation is what brings the disease fighting cells and the extra nutrition needed to heal damage to the site. Without inflammation, we wouldn’t heal.
What causes damage? Damage, in this case, is cell trauma. Cells malfunction due to trauma caused by an external force or from internal trauma caused by toxicity of some kind and (or) a lack of nutrition.
It’s important to note that while nutritional deficiencies are one of the main causes of cell malfunction, diet is not always to blame. Sometimes the problem is a lack of ability to absorb and assimilate nutrition due to damage from toxic foods. For example, many people consume plenty of nutrition while they also ingest way too much sugar.
Candida Causes Inflammation
Inflammation is not the root of disease; Candida is typically the root of disease.
An overgrowth of Candida causes an imbalanced gut that cannot digest and assimilate nutrition well, and Candida burrows into the gut lining, penetrating the gut wall to allow proteins, sugars, infectious microbes, and other particles into the bloodstream.
Candida Albicans is a very opportunistic parasite. It can normally live in our intestinal tract in harmony with bacteria. “Normally,” in this case, indicates the natural way, but in today’s society, a balanced gut is far from the norm. An imbalance in the gut almost always leads to a massive overgrowth of Candida, which is very good at tearing through the intestinal walls to flood the whole body, opening the door to other infectious agents that should not escape the gut, causing infection and inflammation everywhere.
Candida and other infectious microbes cause inflammation by being properly perceived in the body as an infectious agent (when an immune response is activated) and also due to the toxins they release throughout their lifecycle.
Fungal infections and other parasitical infections cause massive amounts of toxic substances to overwhelm the body, causing cellular damage everywhere. Infection also feeds off of dead and decaying cells, and infection leads to more dead and decaying cells. It’s the epitome of a vicious cycle.
Foods That Cause Inflammation
Candida flourishes when there is not enough beneficial bacteria in the gut. Candida can survive toxic substances more easily than bacteria. Candida spores are almost indestructible. When alcohol is consumed, beneficial bacteria are killed as soon as alcohol enters the gut. Candida bounces back to take over the intestinal tract, and soon invades the whole body when the gut becomes “leaky”. Toxic foods either kill beneficial bacteria due to their toxicity, or they feed Candida and other infectious microbes, which then outnumber the beneficial bacteria.
Foods that feed Candida cause inflammation by feeding Candida, but these and many other foods cause inflammation in other ways, too. Some foods have natural, and naturally beneficial inflammatory properties, like many omega 6 fats. But these fats are not “bad,” they promote the healing process.
Sugars feed Candida and almost all other well-known infectious microbes as well. Almost everyone has too much sugar in their diet. In nature, sugar is harder to get. Fruit is seasonal, and in areas where people eat lots of fruits all day, their diets also included strong anti-microbial foods to keep the gut flora in check. Take papaya, for instance, which is high enough in sugar that it could lead to a gut imbalance (especially for those who don’t have the healthiest gut to begin with) if it is eaten too often. In areas of the world were people eat a lot of papaya, they also eat a lot of papaya leaves and seeds, which, among other benefits, have anti-fungal properties that offset the sugars of the fruit.
When healing the gut, it’s important to cut out sweets, including fruit juices (even fresh, slow pressed), honey (even raw), agave, brown rice syrup, and all other sweeteners with the exception of stevia.
Acid Forming Foods (Generally Refined Foods)
When fiber is removed from foods, many of the minerals that alkalinize the body and the beneficial fats are also removed.
It’s imperative to cut out all other refined carbohydrates such as rice, pasta, other refined flours, and any processed starches. They feed Candida as well, but they also are inflammatory and acidic by nature, having lost their anti-inflammatory fatty profile and alkalinity due to the processing that removed fiber. For instance, the brown part of the rice contains the fiber and anti-inflammatory properties.
GMOs and Pesticide Laden Conventional Foods
Pesticides and herbicides are designed to kill pests and microbes, and they do this in our gut as well. GMO foods that are designed to kill the “pest” or the microbe that would otherwise infect the crop will kill the good microbes in the gut, too. Candida will bounce back, along with other infectious microbes, because the gut becomes inhospitable to our naturally beneficial flora as the toxic food keeps coming in.
Factory Farmed Animal Products
Factory farmed animals are raised on genetically modified grains that are already on the inflammatory side of the spectrum, even without being genetically modified. For instance corn, wheat, oats, hay, and certain grasses are inflammatory, especially when they are not balanced with a wider variety of natural foods within the diet.
A cow, for instance, would normally eat many different kinds of grasses and other plants growing from the ground. Now, beef comes from cows that are typically feed toxic grains that they would not normally eat and lots of antibiotics. Even grass fed cows (especially from larger scale farms) are typically only given access to a very limited diet with only one or a few kinds of grasses. This lack of diversity does not meet their nutritional needs for optimum health.
Dairy has the same issues, plus pasteurization and homogenization destroy many nutrients in milk and makes proper digestion more difficult. Homogenization also changes the protein molecules.
Wheat, Bread, Gluten
If we were making bread the way we did a very long time ago, we would be using probiotic and yeast cultures to fully break down the gluten proteins before they are ingested. The flours would be processed by hand and not refined (no nutrition removed). The sugars added to make the bread would be much less refined, and the bacteria would go to work on the sugars like it does with yogurt, leaving an end product many beneficial properties.
Today, due to hybridization, there is a new kind of gluten molecule that we ingest. This gluten molecule in our wheat is more inflammatory than previous varieties. It’s not the only gluten molecule in bread, but it’s prominent, and it’s not found in ancient wheat strands.
Today’s bread is made from wheat sprayed with Round-Up and other chemicals that is then refined and processed with most of the nutrients stripped before being fortified with toxic manufactured vitamins and minerals that the body cannot properly assimilate. Then sugar is added along with other chemical ingredients like preservatives and colorings. The end result is a bread far removed from the kind of food the Bible mentions.
Omega 6s are not all inflammatory fats or “bad” fats. Omega 6s are just as important as omega 3s. Healthy, naturally occurring “inflammatory” omega 6s, in balance with omega 3s, and 9s, help the body properly respond to injury, and consequently, to heal. An imbalance of fats causes an inflammatory response for many different reasons, including but not limited to, the natural inflammatory properties found in some fats.
On the other hand, there are “bad” fats. No, they’re not saturated fats. Most informed people know by now that coconut and avocado and plenty of other fats have tremendous healing properties and do not naturally contribute to obesity. The bad fats are commercial, highly processed fats, rancid fats, trans fats, and otherwise unnatural fats. These fats cause inflammation and contribute to every autoimmune disease.
Other Toxic Ingredients
Soy lecithin, casein, and protein isolates generally have heavy omega 6 profiles and are also very acidifying.
Excitotoxins like MSG, aspartate, and glutamates, excite nerves, damaging the nervous system.
In cells, glutamate and aspartate can be synthesized from each other. The two main food additives that are sources for excitotoxins are MSG (monosodium glutamate) and aspartame (NutraSweet). High levels of glutamate and aspartate are found naturally in protein rich foods, including very high levels in wheat gluten, and milk casein. While these amino acids are necessary for normal brain function, excess amounts of them create a wide range of bodily damage.” – Dr. Amy A. Yasko
We could go on and on about artificial sweeteners, artificial colors, artificial flavors, preservatives, and other food additives, but the body needs whole foods to heal, not processed foods with ingredient labels.
Inflammation and Free Radicals
Inflammation causes free radicals, which damage cells and cause more inflammation.
You can picture free radicals as red-hot particles bouncing around inside a cell burning anything they come into contact with such as your DNA, cell membranes and proteins in the cytoplasm. – Evergreen Nutrition
Free radicals are created by our natural everyday functions, and they play many important roles, including the elimination of the weakest cells in the adjacent area (like infectious microbes). But too much inflammation means way too many free radicals that are overwhelming the body, impeding healing.
Specific Nutrient Deficiencies Known To Cause Inflammation
Any nutrient deficiency can cause inflammation one way or another. Two common nutrition deficiencies well known to directly cause inflammation include:
Vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency is linked to depression, pain, increased overall inflammation, an ineffective immune system, inflammatory bowel disease, many different autoimmune diseases, many forms of cancer, and so much more.
Vitamin B deficiencies (especially B6 and B 12)
Vitamin B deficiencies can cause, exacerbate, and also be the result of inflammation. When the body’s digestive system isn’t healthy, B vitamin assimilation becomes more difficult, and extra B vitamins often give some almost immediate relief to those suffering from inflammation. This is especially important for anyone dealing with an abundance of stress.
How Excess Weight Causes Inflammation
Most studies that point to obesity as a cause of inflammation rely on the problems associated with obesity to show correlation to inflammation. This is problematic because the cause of the inflammation is not obesity. Inflammation is due to causal factors that leads to obesity. While a fatty liver can lead to inflammation, it’s not obesity that makes a liver fat; it’s a poor diet that makes the entire body overweight.
That said, carrying a lot of fat on the body is stressful to the body, which leads to damage, which requires repair and causes inflammation. But there are some interesting studies showing a direct cause.
We did not know fat cells could instigate the inflammatory response. That’s because for a very long time we thought these cells did little else besides store and release energy. But what we have learned is that adipocytes don’t just rely on local resident immune cells for protection… – A Mechanism by Which Fat Causes Chronic Inflammation
This is another chicken and egg scenario. Inflammation of the body causes a tremendous amount of stress, both physical and emotional. Chronic pain is stressful! On the other hand, chronic anxiety will leave the body in an inflammatory state as well. The two feed off of each other.
When intense anxiety has been a part of someone’s life for more than a few days, anxiety causes depleted levels of certain nutrients, like B vitamins, which are needed to get over anxiety. A deficiency in B vitamins also leads to anxiety.
Chronic anxiety eventually causes numerous nutritional imbalances, and the whole endocrine system begins to function poorly. Anyone who has been dealing with any kind of chronic stress needs to nourish and heal the thyroid, the adrenals, and the gut before inflammation will subside.
Whole foods, foods that have no need for an ingredients list, heal the body. There are lots of conditions that cause allergic reactions, sensitivities, or other inflammatory responses from otherwise healthy foods. For instance, someone with severe hypothyroidism may worsen with the consumption of cruciferous vegetables. The problem with eliminating whole, healthy foods in the diet is that the nutrient deficiencies that are at the cause of the problem get worse. Remove all unhealthy foods from the diet. Temporarily remove some healthier foods if you must, but add them back in as soon as you are able.
For those who are forced to breathe toxic air regularly, or live under power lines, or have other environmental issues that cause inflammation, it takes much longer to heal the body if the environmental toxins are not removed. For most people, it is doable. The body can handle a very heavy toxic load if the gut is balanced and the diet is good. Be sure to read our candida, leaky gut article and our hypothyroidism article if you’re suffering from chronic inflammation.
- Shillington’s Intestinal Cleanse Formula
- FloraMend Prime Probiotic – Thorne Research
- Formula SF722 – Thorne Research (kills Candida and other fungi)
- Boswellia – Pure Encapsulations (reduces inflammation and relieves pain)
- Curcumin 500 with Bioperine® – Pure Encapsulations (A powerful formula for inflammation and many other ailments)
- Arctic Cod Liver Oil with Vitamin D – Nordic Naturals
- Organic Vegan EFA Liquid (vegan-friendly fats, but not necessary if doing cod liver oil)
- Vitalzym Systemic Enzymes – World Nutrition (system enzymes eliminate fibrous, damaged tissue and foreign proteins)
- AR-Encap – Thorne Research (joint support formula)
- American Ginseng – Gaia Herbs (for inflammation, but juicing your own organic ginger is better)
- Gluten, Candida, Leaky Gut Syndrome, and Autoimmune Diseases
- Understand Hypothyroidism – Prevention and Natural Remedies
- 80% Raw Food Diet
- Overview of Inflammation – Oregon State University
- Could This Be the Root Cause of Inflammation and Many Modern Diseases? – Socio-Economics
- Three Hidden Ways Wheat Makes You Fat – Mark Hyman