Inflammation – Fire in the Body

inflammationIn today’s fast paced world, with little rest, overloaded with toxins, and devoid of nutrients, inflammation is very common. Once triggered, it can be hard to shut off – and if certain biochemical processes persist, chronic inflammation can ensue.

Inflammation acts like a fire in the body, literally burning up many of our necessary nutrients. Inflammation can be triggered by infections, irritants, and biochemical processes that have gone awry. It creates pain, and can lead to cellular damage and a cascade of health problems.

In fact, inflammation is underlying most neurological and chronic disorders in children and adults.  All of following conditions have been linked to inflammation:

  • Autism 1,2,3  • Asthma  • Allergies  • ADHD4  • Autoimmune conditions  • Depression 5, 6
  • Anxiety 7, 8 • Inflammatory Bowel disorders  • Eczema  • Schizophrenia 9, 10

Inflammation is a necessary process for the immune system. When the body can’t shut it off however, it can cause serious problems. Inflammation in linked to heart disease, obesity, and diabetes, as well as the myriad of mental health and mood conditions described above.

And some substances that people use to “help” inflammation, like over the counter anti-inflammatories and cortisone creams, are generally ineffective in the long run and can have harmful side effects.

So what can you do? Prevention is a good start; take charge of avoiding common causes of inflammation – things you can influence, like food choices and toxic exposures.

kid at home cryingGluten, dairy, and soy are major food sources of inflammation. Alcohol, processed foods, caffeine, and sugar are also inflammatory. Pesticides can trigger asthma (inflammation) in people, so eat organically whenever possible. Fish oil is a natural anti-inflammatory, as are a variety of herbal supplements. Phytonutrients found in fruits and vegetables, and spices have anti-inflammatory properties; however, for some people the salicylates and other food chemicals can be irritating and cause inflammation.

Also, talk with your integrative clinician about inflammatory lab markers, and appropriate medical treatment. Sometimes the inflammatory process needs to be stopped, and there are useful methods/medications that can help. As you are exploring and working on this, I suggest beginning with the food, toxin and lifestyle factors that you can address at home. This may provide you some relief (mild to major) and help you and your doctor determine next steps.

Inflammation is the topic of the April Session of my Nourishing Hope Support Club, a monthly Membership Club for parents and clinicians actively employing specialized diets and nutrition. This April Session is OPEN for ANYONE to attend…member or not!

You will learn more about:

  • What causes inflammation
  • Which conditions have an underlying inflammation
  • Foods that cause and calm inflammation
  • How to address it: food, supplements, toxins and lifestyle factors
  • Avoiding common “anti-inflammatory” foods…that actually create inflammation in some people

Addressing inflammation is vital to good health and healing. I hope you can come the flames with some of these approaches.

See you online!



1 Vargas, Diana L., et al. “Neuroglial ac- tivation and neuroinflammation in the brain of patients with autism.” Annals of neurology 57.1 (2005): 67-81.

2 Li, Xiaohong, et al. “Elevated immune response in the brain of autistic patients.” Journal of neuroimmunology 207.1 (2009): 111-116.

3 Rossignol, D. A., and R. E. Frye. “A review of research trends in physiological abnor- malities in autism spectrum disorders: im- mune dysregulation, inflammation, oxida- tive stress, mitochondrial dysfunction and environmental toxicant exposures.” Mo- lecular psychiatry 17.4 (2011): 389-401. 4 Donev, Rossen, and Johannes Thome. “Inflammation: good or bad for ADHD?.” ADHD Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders 2.4 (2010): 257-266.

5 Miller, Gregory E., and Ekin Blackwell. “Turning Up the Heat Inflammation as a Mechanism Linking Chronic Stress, De- pression, and Heart Disease.” Current Directions in Psychological Science 15.6 (2006): 269-272.

6 Raison, Charles L., Lucile Capuron, and Andrew H. Miller. “Cytokines sing the blues: inflammation and the pathogene- sis of depression.” Trends in immunology 27.1 (2006): 24-31.

7 O’Donovan, Aoife, et al. “Clinical anxi- ety, cortisol and interleukin-6: Evidence for specificity in emotion–biology rela- tionships.” Brain, behavior, and immunity 24.7 (2010): 1074-1077.

8 Pitsavos, Christos, et al. “Anxiety in re- lation to inflammation and coagulation markers, among healthy adults: the AT- TICA study.” Atherosclerosis 185.2 (2006): 320-326.

9 Saetre, Peter, et al. “Inflammation-relat- ed genes up-regulated in schizophrenia brains.” Bmc Psychiatry 7.1 (2007): 46.

10 Leonard, Brian E., Markus Schwarz, and Aye Mu Myint. “The metabolic syn- drome in schizophrenia: is inflammation a contributing cause?.” Journal of Psychop- harmacology 26.5 suppl (2012): 33-41.

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Hi, I’m Julie Matthews, a Certified Nutrition Consultant, Author, and Published Researcher. I teach parents and practitioners that children with autism, ADHD, and related disorders can improve and heal, and that there’s hope for their children. Then I educate and empower them to make strategic dietary changes that positively affect children’s health, which in turn helps their learning and behavior. With 17 years of experience and my unique range of knowledge, from nutrition research and clinical experience to cooking in the kitchen for my own family, I’ve created a much-needed community for parents and practitioners looking to help children with autism live happy, healthy lives. Join us.

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One response to “Inflammation – Fire in the Body”

  1. Reference #4 should be: Donev, Rossen, and Johannes Thome. “Inflammation: good or bad for ADHD?.” ADHD Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders 2.4 (2010): 257-266.

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