Although you may think that inflammation is always bad, it really isn’t. For example, if you cut yourself and the wound heals, you see a redness around the wound. This is caused by inflammation. This is normal as long as it defends the body against intruders who could likely be dangerous, e.g. pathogenic bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms.
Although we can see it best on the skin, this type of inflammation happens all the time in every part of the body. In the microcosm of the cells, messenger molecules (cytokines, e.g. IL-6) and others (e.g. CRP) and free radicals are produced to help our immune cells (mostly white blood cells or Leucocytes and Lymphocytes) to fight the attacker.
Normally, after the attacker is made harmless (by engulfing and dissolving it or by binding at it and dissolving of the immune cells (pus)) the immune system gets the signal to stop producing inflammatory cytokines and free radicals and “cleans up” the debris.
A well-functioning, healthy immune system can deal with the free radicals produced by everyday cell activity very well with the help of detoxifying enzymes like glutathione and vitamins like Vitamin C and others.
So what happens if the immune-system malfunctions (see my previous blog post for reasons)? Our immune system may think harmless substances (e.g. our own body cells) are dangerous and attack them, like it does in autoimmune diseases like Lupus, Rheumatoid arthritis, MS and others.
Or it identifies harmless substances (e.g. food molecules or harmless bacteria and viruses) as dangerous and attacks them vigorously, causing inflammation.
In both cases the body can’t regulate his/her own immune system over-response back down like it normally would, either because nutrients essential for building blocks are missing or toxins are blocking crucial enzymes…
In this case we speak of Allergy or Autoimmune diseases.
In my next post in this inflammation series we will talk about different types of Allergies, how to detect them and what we can do about it!