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Inflammation is the universal response of the body to any functional imbalance. Inflammation is the first step of cellular repair and of immune activation. There can be no repair within the body without inflammation, and there can be no immune defence without inflammation. Inflammation is essential for health.
Problems arise with inflammation when it becomes uncontrolled. Uncontrolled inflammation is the primary mechanism by which all “wear and tear” damage occurs in your body over time. There are four cardinal signs of inflammation that every medical student learns in Latin (because they rhyme in Latin): rubour, calour, tumour, dolour. You probably know these signs as redness, heat, swelling, and pain, respectively. All inflammation shares these four characteristics, whether at the cellular level or the level of a sprained ankle.
Inflammation helps explains every chronic disease process including arthritis, heart disease, irritable bowel, senility, wrinkles, and ageing itself. Any chronic disease requires support to control excess inflammation. All inflammation begins at the cellular level via the transformation of essential fats into compounds known as Eicosanoids. Arachidonic Acid is the essential fat most responsible to begin the inflammatory and healing process, whereas DGLA and EPA are the essential fats most responsible to end the inflammatory process. Obviously we need a balance between these essential nutrients. However, the modern diet is about 25-times more pro-inflammatory than the hunter-gatherer diet of 20,000 years ago. Consequently, we often find it necessary to supplement fish, borage and/or evening primrose oil to support anti-inflammatory biological processes. Certain herbs like curcumin, garlic, and liquorice root are also useful at supporting a healthy balance in inflammation and repair.