Complete Health, Inc. - Proactive Health Consulting Since 1976
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The Gut Microbiome and Artery Hardening
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Inflamm-Aging

New models describing how aging and essentially diseases happen are emerging.  This is tremendously useful when looking for causes of illness.  Among the most prominent theories about aging is the idea of chronic inflammation, and thus the term "inflamm-aging".  Chronic inflammation involves the production of pro-inflammatory molecules called cytokines by our innate immune system.  Why does the immune system produce pro-inflammatory cytokines?  It can be for many reasons, but one particularly interesting theorized cause ismetabolic endotoxinMetabolic endotoxin is a toxin produced inside the body, mostly in the intestines due to bacterial overgrowth (endotoxin actually happens when the cell wall of bacteria break down).  That is why the gut environment and mucosal barrier is so crucial to the immune system and to overall health.  And that is also why imbalance of bacteria in the intestines as well as gut permeability is correlated to increased endotoxin, and thus chronic pro-inflammatory cytokine production and chronic inflammation.  Furthermore, increased endotoxin levels are found in some of the most common chronic diseases, including diabetes, obesity, liver disease, heart disease, Parkinson's, and cancer.  To add to the endotoxin-as-an-underlying-cause-of-disease-and-aging argument, it has been shown that smoking and excessive alcohol consumption increase endotoxin levels as well.  Back to the intestines as a primary site for endotoxin production:  The goal is to lower unhealthy bacteria, increase beneficial bacteria, and protect the integrity of the gut wall so that endotoxin doesn't get into the blood stream (thus triggering an immune response).  Among things that help to do that are Zinc Carnosine and gelatin (collagen).  From a dietary perspective, we know that a "western style" diet promotes endotoxin production and thus inflammation.  I believe the worst aspects of a "western" diet are processed vegetable oils (corn, soybean, canola) and processed starches (notably wheat).
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