Common Causes Of Inflammation

Common Causes Of Inflammation

Common Causes Of Inflammation – Targeting The Core Cause Of Autoimmunity

There are a number of common causes of inflammation that lead to autoimmune conditions. A combination of genetic predisposition and environmental factors play a significant role. Let’s explore some of the common causes of inflammation and how they contribute to the development of autoimmune diseases.

Common Causes Of Inflammation – Allergies To Certain Foods

Some of the most common food allergies include dairy products, gluten-containing grains, nuts, shellfish, and eggs. Symptoms of a food allergy can range from mild discomfort to severe reactions such as anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening condition.1

It is important to note that food intolerances may also cause inflammation in the body. Unlike allergies, an intolerance does not involve the immune system but rather an inability to properly digest certain foods.

Food allergies can lead to inflammation in various parts of the body, including the digestive system, skin, and respiratory system. Inflammation caused by food allergies can also lead to chronic conditions like eczema, asthma, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).2

Read more about IBS.

Common Causes Of Inflammation – Sugar Consumption

One of the most common causes of chronic inflammation is sugar consumption. Sugar, especially refined sugar, has been linked to numerous health issues such as obesity, and heart disease.3 

One of the main ways sugar can lead to chronic inflammation is through its effect on insulin levels in the body. When we consume sugar, our blood glucose levels rise, triggering the release of insulin from the pancreas. Insulin helps transport glucose into cells for energy. However, when we consume too much sugar, our bodies can become resistant to the effects of insulin, leading to high levels of both insulin and glucose in the blood.4

This chronic elevation of insulin and glucose can cause inflammation in the body. High levels of insulin have been found to stimulate the production of inflammatory cytokines, which are proteins that promote inflammation. This constant state of inflammation can damage tissues and organs, leading to chronic diseases.5

Read more about insulin resistance.

Another way sugar consumption can contribute to inflammation is through its impact on gut health. Our gut contains trillions of microorganisms that play a crucial role in our immune system and overall health. However, when we consume too much sugar, it can disrupt the balance of good and bad bacteria in our gut, leading to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria, triggering inflammation.6

Read more about the microbiome.

Common Causes Of Inflammation - Consumption Of Sugar

Common Causes Of Inflammation – Consumption Of Grains

One of the common causes of chronic inflammation is consuming grains. Grains are a staple food for many people around the world and are often touted as a healthy food choice. However, grains can actually contribute to inflammation in the body.

Grains contain phytic acid, which is a compound that binds to minerals like iron, zinc, and calcium and prevents their absorption. This can lead to nutrient deficiencies and weaken the immune system, making it more susceptible to inflammation.7

Lectins are proteins found in grains that can irritate the lining of the gut and cause inflammation. They can also bind to insulin receptors, leading to insulin resistance.8

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. For those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, consuming gluten can trigger an immune response and cause inflammation in the gut.9

Grains are often treated with pesticides and fungicides to protect them from pests and mold. These chemicals can disrupt the balance of healthy bacteria in the gut, leading to inflammation.10

Common Causes Of Inflammation – Vegetable Oils

One significant cause of inflammation is the consumption of vegetable oils. These oils are often used in cooking and processed foods, making them a common component of our diets.

One major issue with vegetable oils is their high levels of omega-6 fatty acids. While our bodies do need some omega-6s, excessive amounts can lead to inflammation. This is because omega-6 fatty acids are converted into pro-inflammatory compounds in the body.11

Furthermore, vegetable oils are often highly processed and refined, stripping away many of their natural beneficial properties. They often contain high amounts of trans fats, which can increase inflammation and contribute to various health issues such as heart disease, and obesity.12

It’s crucial to avoid highly processed vegetable oils such as corn, soybean, and sunflower oil if you want to avoid chronic inflammation.

Common Causes Of Inflammation – MSG

One common cause of chronic inflammation is Monosodium Glutamate (MSG). MSG is a food additive commonly used in processed foods to enhance their flavor. This flavor enhancer is often found in fast food, canned soups, chips, frozen dinners, and many other processed foods.

MSG has been linked to various health issues such as headaches, migraines, nausea, and fatigue. It can also trigger chronic inflammation in the body. This happens because MSG triggers an immune response that leads to the release of inflammatory molecules called cytokines. These molecules then cause inflammation in various parts of the body, including the brain, muscles, and joints.13

Common Causes Of Inflammation – Preservatives

Preservatives are commonly used in food processing and manufacturing to extend the shelf life of products. They are also found in personal care products, medicines, and household cleaners. While preservatives help prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi, they can also have negative effects on our health.

Preservatives such as sodium benzoate and propyl gallate have been found to disrupt the balance of bacteria in our gut. When this balance is disrupted, it can lead to inflammation and other health issues.14 15

Some preservatives, such as sulfites and benzoates, are known to trigger allergic reactions in some individuals. These reactions can range from mild rashes to potentially life-threatening anaphylaxis.16 17

Intestinal permeability refers to the ability of substances to pass through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream. Preservatives, specifically emulsifiers like polysorbate 80, have been found to increase this permeability. This can lead to harmful substances entering our bloodstream and causing inflammation in various parts of our body.18

Some preservatives, such as parabens and phthalates, have been found to disrupt hormonal balance in our body. These chemicals can mimic estrogen and interfere with the proper functioning of our endocrine system. This disruption can lead to inflammation and contribute to various health issues.19 20

Preservatives like butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) have been found to impact cellular function and damage cells. This can lead to inflammation as the body tries to repair damaged cells or remove them.21 22

Common Causes Of Inflammation - Preservatives

Common Causes Of Inflammation – Maltodextran

Maltodextran is a carbohydrate derived from starch. It is commonly used as a food additive for thickening, enhancing texture, and increasing shelf life of processed foods. However, it can also cause inflammation in the body.

One of the main reasons maltodextran can cause inflammation is because it can irritate the lining of the digestive tract. This irritation can lead to symptoms such as bloating, gas, stomach pain, and diarrhea. In some cases, long-term consumption of maltodextran may also contribute to conditions like leaky gut syndrome.23

In some cases, maltodextran may trigger an autoimmune response in the body. This can manifest in various ways depending on which part of the body is affected, such as joint pain, skin rashes, and fatigue.24

Common Causes Of Inflammation – Sugar Alcohols

Sugar alcohols are a type of low-calorie sweetener that is often used as a sugar replacement in food products. They are found naturally in some fruits and vegetables, but they can also be produced synthetically. Common types of sugar alcohols include sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, and erythritol.

Sugar alcohols are known for their ability to cause digestive issues such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea. This is because our bodies have a difficult time digesting these sweeteners, leading to fermentation in the gut. This fermentation can disrupt the balance of bacteria in the gut and lead to inflammation.25

Common Causes Of Inflammation – Oxalates

Oxalates are naturally occurring compounds found in many plant-based foods such as spinach, kale, almonds, and chocolate. They are also found in small amounts in the body, but excessive intake of oxalates can cause inflammation and other health problems.

When we consume foods high in oxalates, our bodies produce an enzyme called oxalate oxidase to break down these compounds. However, some people have a deficiency or lack of this enzyme, making it difficult for their bodies to break down oxalates. As a result, oxalates can accumulate in the body, causing inflammation.26

Inflammation caused by oxalates can manifest in various ways, such as joint pain, digestive issues, skin rashes, and even kidney stones. In fact, around 80% of kidney stones are made of calcium oxalate. This is because oxalates bind to calcium in the body, making it difficult for the kidneys to filter them out, leading to stone formation.27

Common Causes Of Inflammation – Alcohol

Alcohol, despite its widespread consumption and social acceptance, is a common cause of inflammation in the body. This is due to the fact that alcohol has been shown to have various effects on our immune system and overall health.28

Firstly, alcohol can directly damage our gut lining, leading to leaky gut. As a result, our immune system is constantly activated, leading to chronic inflammation. In addition, alcohol has been shown to disrupt the balance of good and bad bacteria in our gut.29

Moreover, alcohol consumption has been linked to an increase in the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are signaling molecules involved in the inflammatory response. These cytokines can contribute to tissue damage and chronic inflammation if produced in excess.30

Common Causes Of Inflammation - Alcohol

Common Causes Of Inflammation – Targeting The Core Cause Of Autoimmunity

While there are more triggers, we looked at some common causes of inflammation. Adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes proper nutrition, regular exercise, and stress-reducing activities plays a crucial role in managing inflammation.

Read more about autoimmune conditions.

References

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2 Yu W, Freeland DMH, Nadeau KC. Food allergy: immune mechanisms, diagnosis and immunotherapy. Nat Rev Immunol. 2016 Dec;16(12):751-765. doi: 10.1038/nri.2016.111. Epub 2016 Oct 31. PMID: 27795547; PMCID: PMC5123910.

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