Inflammation: Two Sides to the Coin
You’ve heard the old saying, “I won the battle, but lost the war”. In health, that is not a very good outcome. Winning small battles in the body but losing the war, which is your life, is a poor battle strategy. Unknowingly, this is how many people manage their healthcare. They pick and chose the symptoms to attack without an overall plan to win the war. That is a hit and miss plan, which for the most part seems to work until the symptoms become too overwhelming. The heavy artillery and tanks are brought in to help but the damage caused to the body can be quite severe and the war may be lost. Inflammation is a symptom that can help you win the war.
Inflammation is a symptom of the body’s response to supposed infections and foreign substances such as bacteria, viruses, its and some good stuff getting into restricted areas they don’t belong. Inflammation is a process by which the body’s white blood cells and chemicals protect us from these invaders. The reason I use the word “supposed” is because there are times when the body’s immune system is triggered with an inflammatory response when there are no foreign substances present. This is called an autoimmune response. The body has targeted places in itself to destroy thinking they are the invaders. This is the immune system going over to the “dark side” (I couldn’t resist a little Star Wars humor).
Let’s take examples of good inflammation and bad.
Suppose you hit your thumb with a hammer; a child falls off a bicycle and skins their knee; in skiing you break your leg, or you slice your hand with a paring knife instead of the tomatoes. The body goes immediately into its emergency mode. All available cells of the immune system are called up to the site of the injury. Some are sent to clear out the dead, dying, and injured cells. Others are guarding the area looking for opportunistic foreign invaders and ready to eliminate them. Others release chemicals to increase the blood flow to the area which may result in redness and warmth. Some of the chemicals can cause leakage of fluids into the surrounding tissues, resulting in swelling. This process may also stimulate the pain sensors. Oh, the pain and agony! Depending on your total health condition, the body is rebuilding the affected areas as quick as it can get the raw materials together. I know you don’t want to hear it, but this is all good. In time you will be as good as new.
Now let’s examine the “dark side” of inflammation. There is a hidden or stealthy side of your immune system. It did not start out that way, but over time, the lack of discipline and attentiveness to your core body systems perverted the immune system from its designed function. One of the first systems to “tank” is the digestive system. You’ve heard that most illnesses and diseases begin in the digestive track. That is right on! Digestion takes approximately 60% of your energy. It also uses a multitude of enzymes for the digestion process. Food cannot be totally broke down, digested, and assimilated without a sufficient quantity of digestive enzymes. Without sufficient digestive enzymes the body must bring them from the outer parts of the body.” Calling all enzymes, Call all enzymes, Code red, stat!” Enzymes that are used to repair your body are drafted into the digestive service. Parts of your body’s systems that are under repair have slowed their repair due to the reduced work force. Unless the enzyme work force is increased the repair will continue to decline and fall behind schedule.
What happens when food reaches the intestines and is supposedly ready for assimilation, but the food is not totally digested? It enters the blood stream, but not in the form that your immune system recognizes. You see, since birth your body has figured out what belong in the blood stream and what doesn’t. A food molecule which is not in the proper format is considered an outsider, even though it is made up of recognizable parts. Parts do not matter; it is the format which is important. Since the food molecule is not formatted correctly the alarms go off in the immune system’s head office. An invader has been spotted in the upper left quadrate and the immune rapid response team is on the way to investigate and render this invader harmless. Food belongs in the body, but when it is in the wrong place at the wrong time the body declares an emergency. The immune system sends antibodies to attack the antigens (perceived bad guys). This forms CICs (Circulating Immune Complexes). The problem is, CICs are inflammatory. CICs if not cleared out of the body quickly can be deposited in places of the body like joints, organs, and blood vessel walls where they trigger inflammatory conditions that eventually lead to illnesses. At their worst, CICS confuse the immune system so it has lost its ability to distinguish between what belongs in the body and what doesn’t.¹ It starts attacking the good body tissues as though they were antigens. This can lead to MS, RA, lupus and thyroiditis and host of other diseases.
According to Dr. Ellen Cutler, enzymes may help prevent, reduce, or reverse the immune responses when they threaten to backfire on the body. In autoimmune diseases, enzymes help not only by interrupting the inflammatory cascade but also by breaking down CICs and activating the macrophages to gobble up and get rid of them.²
Stop the inflammation and you greatly reduce the probability of chronic diseases overtaking your body.
1 Micro Miracles pg. 172
2 Micro Miracles pg. 172