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Inflammation

December 27th, 2011

Certain foods are hyped as anti-inflammatory and certain dietary supplements are marketed with claims that they are anti-inflammatory. Integrative medicine guru Andrew Weil promotes both foods and supplements. Unfortunately, it is not clear that they can actually reduce the kind of inflammation that is associated with chronic diseases, or that such reductions actually prevent or improve the clinical course of those diseases. It is conceivable that they might lead to harm as well as benefit. If they really diminish the body’s ability to mount an inflammatory response, wouldn’t that also tend to impair wound healing and response to infection? Fortunately, most of the anti-inflammatory diet recommendations are consistent with consensus recommendations for a healthy diet (lots of fruits and vegetables, etc.). Anti-inflammatory medications like NSAIDs and steroids do reduce inflammation, but they have had limited use in treating diseases associated with chronic inflammation, and they have problematic side effects. In fact, steroids make people more vulnerable to infection.

For the present, we have only hints. Research like Dr. Ozcan’s will help us better understand the risks, benefits, and complexities of inflammatory processes. Meanwhile, it’s a mistake to oversimplify and to assume inflammation is always a bad thing, and trying to prevent or treat it with special foods and supplements is little more than a shot in the dark, a gamble based on speculation. Eat your vegetables and stay tuned!

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Moseley on Pain

December 16th, 2011

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Motion Is The Lotion

December 8th, 2011

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