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What is inflammation and why should I know about it?

What is inflammation and why should I know about it?
Functional Nutrition

What is brain inflammation?

Inflammation in general is commonly referred to as swelling and it is essential to the healing process in the body. A trim level of inflammation in the brain or anywhere else in the body is tolerated. However, when the swelling continues, special brain cells are activated to reduce swelling. In most cases, brain inflammation is activated by initial trauma to the head and when there are other inflammatory conditions in the body.

How does body swelling relate to brain inflammation?

We are all familiar with inflammation. If you have visited a doctor for a sprain or persisting joint pain, that could be related to swelling in that area. When an injury occurs, we feel redness and heat with some swelling. You might even be familiar with diagnoses such as laryngitis, pancreatitis, and tonsilitis. But there is that internal injury we do not see or feel.

Injury in other parts of the body

When an injury occurs anywhere in the body, the immune system releases white blood cells, which release chemicals to initiate healing and in the process cause inflammation. Unlike joint swelling, brain inflammation is often not noticeable unless when brain tissue is damaged and when there is inflammation in the gut.

How brain inflammation occurs?

An injury that causes damage to the brain barrier, blood vessels, or cells can activate microglial cells (brain immune army, commonly referred to as the “trash-collector†crew). Other than trauma to the head, there are other issues and conditions that, if they exist in other parts of the body, would lead to the activation of the microglial cells.

What causes Inflammation or Brain Inflammation?

Brain inflammation can result from a head injury,
An increased presence of immune cytokines, and
Food intolerance.
Other conditions that can activate Microglia cells include
A high-carbohydrate diet,
Drug abuse,
Systemic/bowel inflammation,
Head trauma,
An autoimmune condition,
Poor circulation.
Emotional stress, such as anger, can also activate an inflammatory response.
Lifestyle stress, such as lack of sleep
PTSD can further exacerbate the inflammatory condition.

In a compromised blood-brain barrier or brain cell injury, the microglial becomes activated for an immune response. In a healthy individual, the microglial cleans up dead brain neurons and plagues, protecting the brain from damage. Microglial cells play a crucial role in aging and brain protection. However, when microglia cells are activated, it starts a cascade of inflammatory immune responses to protect the brain.
What does inflammation do to your body?
Slower mental speed,
Memory recall difficulties,
Slow reflex and function.
Increased neuroinflammatory processes,

If not addressed, it would cause more symptoms like challenges with:
other mental tasks.

The mid-brain contains cytokines receptors that respond to physical, emotional, and chemical stress from lack of sufficient sleep or over-exercise or anger, and argument.
In a healthy individual, the body can manage short-stressful situations; however, a prolonged period of extreme stress, such as in war experience, child abuse or rape experience.
These experiences would lead to flooding the brain with inflammation cytokines. With continued stress, the brain becomes sensitive even to a hair strand. Such experience further stresses our fight or flight response.

What inflammation does do to the body?
Although, maintaining the blood-brain barrier is vital to prevent cranial inflammation from becoming systemic under these ongoing conditions. When chronic inflammation exists anywhere in the body can lead to brain inflammation, which often results in a leaky gut and vis-versa. A leaky gut equals a leaky brain, which contributes to joint and gut swelling without intervention, vis-versa. Finally, brain inflammation can lead to cell death since it can trigger neurons to tangle, called neurofibrillary tangles. If inflammation is not addressed, neurofibrillary tangles can lead to cell death.

What improves brain inflammation?

Improving brain inflammation can be as simple as participating in physical exercise. Although the exact mechanism is unknown, exercise increases brain plasticity and reduces inflammation in the hippocampus. Despite the lack of reliable evidence, some supplements are suggested to improve immune response, like vitamin C, vitamin D, Zinc, elderberry, echinacea, and probiotics. Furthermore, eating nutrient-dense food, proper hydration, getting seven-nine hours of sleep per night, addressing infection, and dental hygiene can help reduce inflammation in the body and the brain.

What to do when brain inflammation is activated?
So, brain inflammation is activated due to tissue or cellular damage anywhere in the body. Furthermore, brain inflammation can be due to gut inflammation because of the gut-brain connection—a leaky gut results in a leaky brain. When microglial cells in the brain are activated, there is protection and cleaning to be done. And this leads to further inflammation and clean-up. A situation like this requires medical mitigation and the kind of support a brain health coach can provide click here.

De Miguel, Zurine et al. “Exercise plasma boosts memory and dampens brain inflammation via clusterin.†Nature vol. 600,7889 (2021): 494-499. doi:10.1038/s41586-021-04183-x

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Tejera, D., Mercan, D., Sanchez-Caro, J. M., Hanan, M., Greenberg, D., Soreq, H., Latz, E., Golenbock, D., & Heneka, M. T. (2019). Systemic inflammation impairs microglial Aβ clearance through NLRP3 inflammasome. The EMBO journal, 38(17), e101064. https://doi.org/10.15252/embj.2018101064

Postolache TT, Wadhawan A, Can A, Lowry CA, Woodbury M, Makkar H, Hoisington AJ, Scott AJ, Potocki E, Benros ME, Stiller JW. Inflammation in Traumatic Brain Injury. J Alzheimers Dis. 2020;74(1):1-28. doi:10.3233/JAD-191150. PMID: 32176646; PMCID: PMC8190673.