Inflammation Revealed, Tamed and Resolved

Inflammation is now widely recognized as a causative factor in most forms of ill health.

To make good clinical use of the last half-century's scientific study of inflammation, we need to re-think inflammation and understand it more correctly as a repair deficit--something blocking the innate ability of the body to heal.

The causes of impaired repair are three-fold: Antioxidant deficits that lead to oxidative stress; Loss of beneficial minerals, resulting in a hyper-acidic cellular environment and impaired cellular ability to make energy; Increased immune burdens due to impaired digestion, detoxification, and neurohormonal imbalance.

The most well-validated clinical marker for inflammation is hsCRP, a simple blood test used extensively, and able to predict all causes of morbidity and mortality, though it is most commonly used in the context of cardiovascular risk assessment.

If our interest is in promoting better health, not just managing late-stage disease, we need to re-define how we use predictive biomarkers such as hsCRP.

I believe we should aim to get hsCRP values down below 0.5 mg/L. Based on the Framingham 10 year risk score, I have provided a projected life expectancy corresponding to one's hsCRP levels.

The data are very clear: get hsCRP down below 0.5, and the odds of living 10 more years are practically 99%! As CRP rises, the odds of living for another decade show a direct decline.

Elevated hsCRP values indicate, among other things, a state of increased inflammation and blockage in tissue repair. When the value goes higher than 0.5 mg/L, I recommend taking proactive steps to reduce inflammation and enhance repair. These include:

1. Determine Ascorbate Needs: Vitamin C is very important, and someone's need is based on how fast ascorbate is being consumed by oxidative stresses. The C-Cleanse protocol I developed allows personalized dosing for each patient, based on need. I recommend a fully buffered and fully reduced, recrystallized 100% l-ascorbate; other forms of the vitamin can be irritating or unhelpful either due to being synthetic or due to being oxidized in processing and storage.

2. Increase Intake of Polyphenolics: These include such as quercetin dihydrate and soluble orthoproanthocyanidins (OPC), which enhance the repair benefits of ascorbate.

3. Increase Buffered Minerals: An individual's mineral needs can be determined based on urine acidity (pH) after six or more hours of rest (so the urine can equilibrate with the kidney and bladder cells). In essence, this is a non-invasive assessment of cell acid/alkaline balance. The goal value for pH in urine after rest (usually 1st morning) is 6.5-7.5. Lower values show need for more bioavailable minerals, particularly potassium and magnesium. Extracellular acid impairs cellular "batteries" from producing ATP. Impaired cells shift to 'survival mode'. Be aware that digestive problems can impair mineral uptake. Concurrent administration of choline citrate has been shown to improve the uptake of magnesium.

4. Repair Leaky Gut: If maldigestion, dysbiosis, 'leaky gut' and/or enteropathy is present, it is highly likely that immune defense and repair tolerance has been lost. In such cases a comprehensive evaluation of immune response to common foods, environmental chemicals, food additives and colors is indicated. Unburden the immune defense and repair systems by teaching patients to avoid triggers for 3-6 months. Continue to provide antioxidants and alkalinizing minerals, if needed, as these will help in restoring tolerance and resilience.

5. Daily Practices: Because we are what we eat, drink, think, and do, I recommend that healthful lifestyle practices be part of every personalized treatment plan. Specifically, movement, breathing, and an alkalinizing diet, of the patient's choosing, should be part of any plan aimed at reducing inflammation and repairing tissue damage.

Stress, toxins and dietary deficiencies are all too common in today's world, and they're triggering a landslide of inflammation-based chronic diseases. The hsCRP test can give doctors—and patients—a handle on the problem, and help guide lifestyle-based interventions.

Recheck hsCRP every 1-3 months, adjusting the treatment program as needed, until the patient reaches the goal value.

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Russell Jaffe received his MD and PhD from Boston University School of Medicine in 1972. He is a Senior Fellow of Health Studies Collegium and founding chairman of the Scientific Committee of the American Holistic Medical Association. Dr. Jaffe developed the lymphocyte response assays (LRA) that enable physicians to rule in/out 491 common allergenic substances based on delayed hypersensitivity by functional LRA by ELISA/ACT. He is also founder of PERQUE, a practitioner-only nutraceuticals company.