Monday, August 24, 2009

Battling Inflammation Through Food An Emerging Field

/24-7/ -- Scientists have identified the inflammatory process as the common soil in a diverse range of chronic degenerative diseases. The news, recently reported in the LA Times article, discusses how foods like cherries may help rheumatoid arthritis or avoidance of gluten may fight off psoriasis.

"Chronic inflammation is an emerging field," says Dr. David Heber, a UCLA professor of medicine and director of the university's Center for Human Nutrition. "It's a new concept for medicine."

According to the article by Shara Yurkiewicz, "The activated immune cells and hormones then turn on the body itself, damaging tissues. The process continues indefinitely, occurring at low enough levels that a person doesn't feel pain or realize anything is wrong. Years later, proponents say, the damage contributes to illnesses such as heart disease, neurological disorders like Alzheimer's disease or cancer."

In addition to eating foods that may reduce inflammation, foods that actually cause the inflammation should be avoided. Individual biochemistry and genetic makeup differences may render even normally healthy foods as instigators of chronic activation of the immune system in some people and not others.

Cell Science Systems, maker of the ALCAT Test for food and chemical sensitivity, offers a way to pinpoint which foods may be causing inflammation and recommends an individualized dietary regimen to avoid those specific foods.

"The ALCAT Test provides customized feedback as to which foods and chemicals are activating your immune system," said Roger Deutsch, founder of Cell Science Systems and co-author of "Your Hidden Food Allergies Are Making You Fat". "We believe in eating anti-inflammatory foods; but we also believe in avoiding specific foods that may not be compatible with your own biochemistry. It's all about customization."

According to a study released by the National Institutes of Health, treating Alzheimer's disease with DHA and EPA, found in fish oil and many plant sources, slowed its progression in a subgroup of the study population. While the ultimate goal of consuming anti-inflammatory foods and supplements is to prevent chronic illness, this study lends credence to the value of this emerging field.

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