The Wednesdays With Will (5) series continues with details on what causes inflammation, how it harms you and what you can do about it.
Dr. Will Harden shares his vast knowledge and ideas on how to live a healthier, longer life.
These special episodes will be a reoccurring series with Dr. Will Harden, chiropractor, creator of the Dr. Will Bar, and health and fitness guru. He will discuss health, fitness, nutrition, and chiropractic issues that have the potential to improve your health and life.
Dr. Will Harden has been a chiropractor for 26 years. He graduated first in his class from National College of Chiropractic in Chicago, IL and moved to Portland, OR in 1989 and owns a practice called the Corbett Hill Wellness Center.
Will Harden: Inflammation, what a… What a huge topic. Inflammation is an absolutely necessary part of our physiology. If you work out too hard, if you do a bike race, you train too hard and especially if you hurt yourself, sprain an ankle, strain a wrist, hurt your knee or back — one of the first things that happens is inflammation occurs. And what that means is multiple cells go in to an area of tissue damage, for example, neutrophils and microphages. And macrophages cause of response that cause that basically they release histamines. And that causes vasodilation and lots of fluids to come into the area and that splints the area. It make it so that it’s sore and it doesn’t move too much. And that’s… That’s actually very therapeutic, right? That’s the first stage of healing the acute inflammatory stage.
But so many people develop chronic inflammation, meaning really at chemical level. They’re retaining fluids. And they have inflammatory processes happening throughout the body. But there is not even a question that chronic inflammation is associated with essentially all major deadly diseases: heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, arthritis. All major diseases, all have inflammation implicated as being of the base of their cause. Therefore, avoiding chronic inflammation is extremely wise.
Relative to natural remedies to control inflammation, there’s ample, ample evidence that many things help accomplish this. First – and something that’s been around for 50 years – is something called proteolytic enzymes. If you take certain enzymes on an empty stomach, they essentially chew up inflammatory cells and fluids and reduced inflammation. You probably heard of one called Bromelain. That’s an example of a proteolytic enzyme, which when taken on an empty stomach only, is absorbed whole, gets into the blood stream and thus reduce inflammation.
So if I see someone, let’s say with a extreme neck pain, back pain, pain between the shoulder blades as a result of an injury, let’s say a motor vehicular accident; if we put them on Bromelain, fairly high dose like 3 capsules, 3 times a day only on an empty stomach – which means an hour before lunch, an hour before dinner and at bed time – usually within 24 hours, they’ll say, “I swear that stuff really helps.” But the compliance with proteolytic enzyme is fairly low because many people have difficulty either remember… Remembering to take it when they have an empty stomach or they never have an empty stomach.
Second, the newest thing in the natural remedies arena as it relates to research is turmeric. Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin. And we know that curcumin has strong anti-inflammatory compounds within it or principles. That is to say, taking curcumin or a turmeric extract and it’s… The beauty is it doesn’t require an empty stomach. You take one capsule in the morning, one in the evening. Most people within 5 days, the research shows 80% of people within 5 days feel the affect is reduced inflammation.
And I dispense probably on the daily basis turmeric to people with chronic inflammation because it’s so incredibly rampant. So many people have chronic inflammation in the form of chronic pain. And of course, as a chiropractor, a lot of people see me for pain that I can’t squarlycarry that and dispense it very regularly with great benefit.
Other possible considerations, the newest known anti-inflammatory are fish oil fractions. Fish oil contains omega 3 fatty acids. There are two omega 3 fatty acids: EPA, which is Icosapentaenoic Acid; or DHA, which is Docosahexaenoic Acid. Well, it’s… And we know that those have anti-inflammatory potential. However, the bioavailability, the ability of EPA and DHA to be absorbed and to interfere with the inflammatory process is fairly limited. That is to say you’d have to take 6 or 8 grams a day to notice distinct anti-inflammatory principles, effects.
Out of Harvard University, there is a very recent research resulting in the manufacturing of fractions of EPA and DHA that is to say small extracts, if you will, from EPA and DHA. One is known as 17-hydroxy docosahexaenoic acid. And the other is 18-hydroxy icosapentaenoic acid. These two fractions are now proven to interfere at the chemical level with the inflammatory process in such a way that the researcher, who did this work, is expected to win a Nobel Prize for it. In other words, this is really cutting edge. This is the latest, greatest nutritional research as it relates to inflammation.
And based on that, I… I just started carrying this. It’s made by a company called Metagenics. And it’s called SPM Active OmegaGenics. It’s small… It calls for a very small dose. It’s one small capsule about the size of a oil-based Vitamin D gel cap, one in the morning and one in the evening. It’s fairly expensive, extremely compelling in its likelihood to change the way we see inflammation.
So what is the typical approach to treating inflammation? Well non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil, Naproxen – which is also Alleve and there, of course, there are multiple prescription variations on that – and then there is Celebrex, which is a cox-2 inhibitor. But we know that all NSAID’s have the same potential destructive effect on the GI system and that is erosion and possible hemorrhaging of the GI lining.
In fact, on average in the US, 17… 16,500 people die as a result of GI bleeding as a result of taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories. And the majority of those deaths are from Advil, which we naturally think is really safe because you can get it at every gas station, corner store, grocery store and golf pro shop in the US. So we assume it’s safe. It is not meant to be taken for more than 1-2 weeks at a time. And unfortunately, erosion of the GI lining, impossible hemorrhaging may not necessarily be really symptomatic. It may just simply cause fatigue which gets worse and worse until medical emergency arises at which time may be discovered there is internal bleeding. So not to be taken casually to deal with neck pain and back pain and an old knee injury, and that old multiple sprained ankle just because you can get it over the counter everywhere. I… I think I’ll stop there for the sake of not rambling on. But inflammation is a big topic. They could be discussed for hours.
Glenn Johnson: Thank you very much. Please remember to share and subscribe this episode. And I look forward to talking to you again next time. Take care.
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