Psychology of our physiology
INFLAMMATION, IBUPROFEN, MUCOSA AND INFLAMMATION
Functional Nutrition looks at the powerful intersection between food, physiology and psychology. It is truly mind body nutrition. It is the area where everything is interconnected. Our food, our body and our mind. True Mind Body Nutrition is who we are after the food we eat
THE VICIOUS CYCLE
You might wonder why the title has the word Inflammation twice, and you might even be thinking that I’ve made a mistake! Let me start by telling you that it is conscious. In much the way a circle has no starting point and no ending point, I’ve created a loop in the Title which has no starting point and no ending point. It keeps looping around in circles constantly.
I’ll start with the first word Inflammation. It’s been thrown around quite a bit isn’t it? Be patient with me. I promise you that it will all come together at the end and make perfect sense. “Calor, dolor, rubor, and tumor: Heat, pain, redness, and swelling. The four classical signs of inflammation, originally recorded by the Roman encyclopedist Celsus in the first century AD.” Imagine that you are going for a run, and that you are so engrossed in talking on the phone, that you don’t see a stone and you trip and fall. You bump your knee really badly, and it swells up. After a while, it becomes red. With all the activity happening inside it becomes hot to touch and eventually you feel severe pain. This is an acute inflammation, when your body protects the area, but it also shuts off this process after sometime, and all that heat, pain, redness and swelling subside. In chronic inflammation, this does not shut off. Your body does not reduce the heat, redness, swelling and pain. It stays in a state of inflammation. And this might be in an area within your body where you cannot see. I constantly have people telling me that their inflammation is much less today simply because the swelling on their eye has reduced or because the breakout on their face has reduced a little. But they are still having pain somewhere, a lot of anger and irritation at the world around them. If there is consistent anger, there is hidden inflammation. You just cannot see it.
Ibuprofen is a NSAID, or a non steroidal anti inflammatory drug.You might have used it as Brufen, Advil or Combiflam. Either your doctor might tell you to take it for a few days or you might know about it as pain relief so you take it for a few days. When your immune system does not shut off this process, and the symptoms of heat, redness, swelling and pain continue, you might slowly start to rely on it more often. 3 days becomes 10. A week becomes a month. Until eventually you start relying on it to get through the day. Today, some people also take it every now and then, when they push their bodies aggressively with exercise, something gets inflamed, and then they rest it for a while and take Ibuprofen.
Mucosa is the skin inside your body, or the wet tissue. This inner skin, or Epithelium is just a quarter of a piece of paper in thickness and makes up the Mucosal Immune system. The Mucosa is found in your skin inside your eyes, your nasal tract, your digestive system, your respiratory system and your reproductive system predominantly. It contains more flora and mucus which are capable of trapping foreigners. It also keeps the tissue moist and is responsible for absorbing nutrients, so it has a vital role.
Inflammation again? Why? Let’s come back to that loop I spoke about now that I’ve described the others briefly. Studies have shown that these NSAID drugs like Ibuprofen led to mucosal damages, including erosions and ulceration. They destroy the Mucosa over time and make your Epithelium permeable. Since your skin is a big line of defence in your Immune system, it impacts your entire Immune system. Further, since 70% of your Immune system is located in the wet tissue of your small intestine, your gut, overall Immunity is deeply affected by damaged Mucosa.
In this vicious cycle, with your Immune system on chronic mode, and symptoms of heat, redness, swelling or pain not disappearing, inflammation is constant. Once more, relying on the NSAID, you get caught in a loop of inflammation, Ibuprofen, Mucosal damage and further inflammation.
To get out of this vicious cycle is required, but how? It requires deep work in reducing overall inflammation, correcting deficiencies like that of Vitamin A which can affect the mucosa, addressing pains with other therapies, repairing the damaged mucosa, changing the diet to an anti inflammatory one, addressing all the factors that might affect overall immunity like sleep, coping with stress and whatever might be causing inflammation to you personally, for each one is truly unique. It takes time. It takes patience. But believe that it is possible. Understand the connection between Inflammation, Ibuprofen, Mucosa and Inflammation. I want you to take decisions for your health in future, being empowered with the knowledge that you need.
Also know that your Immune system does not live in one place. It is a network working together to protect you, and is working for you. Taking one single pill thinking that it will bring inflammation down is not true. Since your Immune system exists in multiple areas of the body, hence, it requires that resolution lies in multiple space.