HOW TO DECREASE SYSTEMIC INFLAMMATION:
On a recent podcast episode of The School Of Shred, Ep:091 – Diving In On Digestion, I talked about digestive health. Poor digestive health leads to inflammation. Something believed to be the starting point for all physical illness. Whether you want more wellness in your life, to shred body fat and extra weight or perhaps slap on pounds of beefcakey muscle it all starts with how you digest, absorb, and assimilate the nutrients from your food.
Intestinal permeability, also known as Leaky Gut, is a condition in which the walls of the intestines–where we absorb the nutrition from our food, allow excessive food particles through into our bloodstream.
When this happens our body senses a threat and sends out an immune response to attack the foreign invaders. This attack causes cytokine production which kick starts the inflammation process.
There are two forms of inflammation: systemic and local.
Systemic inflammation is when our body doesn’t know exactly where the threat is coming from so it sends out antibodies everywhere and our body begins to attack itself. This inflammatory response tends to turn into a chronic, meaning long term, response. This usually happens because we are not aware of the process we are contributing to.
Local inflammation is when our body knows where the threat is and sends out helpers to fix the problem area. A good example is if you have sore legs from exercise. You will experience some edema, meaning water retention, in the lower extremities as you sent a localized inflammatory signal by breaking down that specific muscle tissue. In a healthy system this is acute, meaning short term. In this scenario you then go rest, recover, regenerate, and progress in your exercise program. This is a beneficial use of inflammation. The type of inflammation necessary to create and maintain a strong healthy body.
Now you know inflammation is sometimes good, right? Short term inflammation can help initiate positive health changes while chronic, systemic inflammation breaks the body’s systems down.
What causes systemic inflammation? Stressors like poor food quality, over fermentation in the intestines (of a compromised digestive system), lack of sleep, and psychological stress all have the ability to team up and cause intestinal inflammation which degrades digestive health. Poor digestive health is the gateway (no pun intended) to poor overall health.
How To Decrease Systemic Inflammation
1. Get 7-9 hours of sleep each night:
Rest is where your body stripes inflammation and regenerates every tissue in your body. Androgens like testosterone, DHEA, and Growth Hormone help the body rebuild and decrease water retention (inflammation).
2. Try metabolic fasting:
Time restricted feeding like 16 hours of fasting (coffee, tea, water only) followed by eating all your daily calories within an 8 hour time frame can help give your digestive system a break, allowing for some inner work and repairing to be done. As you get more experienced and build mitochondrial efficiency and metabolic flexibility you can try pushing for one weekly 24 hour fast to reap greater repairing benefits. This is a great time to hydrate the body with water. *Side note: 15 ml of water per pound of body weight can help increase the body’s compliance to excrete excess water, which is what inflammation is.
3. Temporarily Reduce Fermentation:
This means temporarily reducing consumption of probiotic sources and fiber. Food sources that are otherwise healthy like bone broth, sauerkraut and other fermented foods may not be best suited if you are experiencing digestive issues. Eventually these foods are part of a good gut health protocol. However depending on the current state of your digestive health they may cause too much fermentation to occur in an already irritable gut. Limiting fiber and live cultures temporarily may provide the break to the large intestine it needs to assist in intestinal wall rebuilding. 7-21 day elimination may be considered as a jump start.
4. Temporarily Focusing On N.E.A.T over E.A:
Focusing on low level activity, also known as Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis can help decrease inflammation by increasing circulation without the inflammatory response that anaerobic activities like vigorous weight lifting can elicit. Remember, the inflammatory response from vigorous exercise is not bad, it’s essential for a strong, healthy body. However repairing a compromised system takes precedence over getting a hard workout in. Lower stress aerobic activities such as walking increases respiration while keeping lactic acid and systemic damage down. Respiration induces relaxation when performed aerobically, where our body meets energy demands in the presence of oxygen. Simple activities like walking or knocking out chores around the house can induce a parasympathetic nervous system response and get us into a “rest and digest” state where we can cut systemic inflammation. A step tracker is a great tool to add to your tool bag for staying accountable.
5. Low Carb, High Fat Nutrition:
Even a mild state of ketosis, a metabolic process where the body starts to burn fat sources like acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyrate for fuel instead of glucose (sugar), has been well documented to significantly help inflammation. Butyrates are short chain fatty acids you can get through food sources like butter or your body can create out of fiber. If you are going lower on fiber to reduce fermentation then being “keto-ish” might be a good option to stack with a few others on this list. You could simply do this by cutting all direct carbohydrates until dinner each night and consume primarily dietary fat with moderate protein the first half of the day. In other words eating keto type meals for breakfast and lunch then consuming a reasonable amount of natural starches at night. This is not full keto, it’s just challenging your body to utilize ketones sometimes and glucose others–this is the essence of metabolic flexibility.
These are not the only ways of reducing systemic inflammation but will certainly help a tremendous amount in reducing inflammation so you can optimize your fat burning potential to maintain a healthy, lean, muscular body full of energy and life!
Students who enroll in my online health academy, The School Of Shred, get extensive coaching assignments that help them reduce systemic inflammation and manage both physiological and psychological stress, essential for overall health and wellness. Holistic health and fitness is looking at ALL factors related to health. Ask any questions and I will do my best to serve you by answering!
To your success,