I have been working at Koéna for about 12 months and have had many discussions around inflammation and how the Resta-Plex© formula has well researched ingredients known for reducing inflammation. But I wanted to find out more, so I sat down with Koéna’s expert and resident science guru Dr Paul Turner for a Q&A session...
How does inflammation affect me?
One of the most important scientific discoveries in recent years has been the realisation that inflammation plays an important role in not just a few “obvious” disorders, but many other conditions that are causing poor health and early death.
Inflammation has been shown to have a major contributing factor in several psychiatric conditions, such as anxiety and depression, and others including asthma, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, certain cancers, stroke, and many others.
Surprisingly, chronic inflammatory diseases have been recognised as the most significant cause of death in the world today, with more than 50% of all deaths being attributable to inflammation-related diseases.
Is inflammation helpful or harmful?
In the view of poor health and death associated with inflammation it is easy to characterise inflammation as bad. However, the story is complicated, and we are learning new things about it almost daily. Before I go a little deeper about inflammation, it is important to realise that there is not a specific inflammation that is beneficial or one inflammation which is damaging, it is the same process in both. Perhaps it is best to think of inflammation as being in one of two groups.
1. Good inflammation
This type of inflammation is there to keep us healthy. When we are infected with a virus or bacteria our immune system recognises these pathogens and primes immune cells to clear them away. How it does this is incredibly complicated; each pathogen is unique and has specific patterns on its surface which our immune cells recognise through a receptor known as a pattern recognition receptor (PRR). Once it has recognised the pathogen it releases signals through messengers known as cytokines that mobilise the immune system in an inflammatory response which clear the pathogen.
Our immune system does the same process when it recognises cells in our body that are damaged from infection or trauma. In the same way our immune cell PRR recognise a pattern on the outside of a cell indicating its damage and produces cytokines to orchestrate the clearance of the damaged cells.
Ok, cool, can you translate that into English for me?
Basically, your body will generate an inflammatory response to trigger the healing process. Therefore, we consider it to be good, as it keeps us functioning in a healthy state.
I take it, not all products on the market that reduce inflammation are targeting good inflammation?
That is correct, the second group and the critical one when we investigate damage and conditions described before is classed as Systemic Chronic Inflammation or SCI.
2. Bad Inflammation
As the name implies SCI is evident for a long period of time, and consequently it is different from inflammation that is making our body healthier by clearing pathogens or damaged cells. SCI is mainly associated with clearing damaged cells, but as old and damaged cells are cleared more damage is caused to new cells leading to a long term or chronic situation.
It has been shown that there are many causes of low-grade SCI, these include chronic infections, physical inactivity, obesity, intestinal bacteria dysfunction, poor diet, social isolation, psychological stress, disturbed sleep and disrupted circadian rhythm. Also, exposure to toxins such as air pollutants, hazardous waste products, industrial chemicals, and tobacco smoking.
It is interesting that in many of the cases the causes of SCI can be improved by a change of behaviour. The work we have done at Koéna is geared around helping people bring the balance back to their bodies by reducing SCI.
But why don’t we all get eczema or other chronic conditions if we all have SCI?
It is an interesting question. There would appear to be a genetic component to all these conditions. It would appear from the latest research that people are predisposed to certain conditions more than others. For example, if I have a genetic predisposition to inflamed skin and I have SCI the odds are that I would end up with a condition such as eczema or psoriasis. Therefore, it is important to have a suite of products that not only reduce SCI but also have specific components that can help the conditions a person is predisposed to.
How would you sum up?
I would say the big thing to remember is that there are two types of inflammation good and bad. Good, is short lived and is mainly associated with restoring our body after infection and/or cell damage. The bad is associated with long term damage to cells from a variety of causes and become evident in a variety of medical conditions. Bad inflammation can be improved by behaviour change and using products that aim to restore the balance to our body.