Unless you have lived on remote Planet Zod for the last hundred years (some doctors have, I think!) you will know that stress is the number one killer. No question.
But you may be surprised at the emerging mechanism. It’s certainly not intuitive: stress mainly works its mischief by ramping up inflammation problems. Even short-term stresses (exams, application for a job, etc.) can lead to a temporary rise in inflammatory markers.1
Inflammation: The Two-Edged Sword
Inflammation and inflammation problems are something of a mystery, even today. We know we need it. There are times when we wish we didn’t have it!
Short-term inflammation is a healthy and normal response to infections. Without it we would die very quickly. If the immune system doesn’t respond swiftly enough, you lose.
But then the inflammatory response is supposed to turn off. You get your ‘flu, you sweat and ache for a few days, gradually you recover and are soon back to normal (not so soon with real ‘flu: it really is a very nasty once or twice in a lifetime disease, not the sniffly cold that everyone calls “flu”).
If inflammation starts up and won’t go away, for whatever reason, we call that chronic inflammation (Brits often call something “chronic” when they mean silly, or hilarious, but it just means through time; same word as chronometer, or clock).
It’s chronic inflammation that is to be feared. It rips up our bodies, tears our organs apart and leads to relentless and rapid aging. What’s more it’s unpleasant. In the process of doing the damage we feel ill, aches and pains are inevitable, we are down on energy and life loses its joys.
Look at pictures of me: I’m not just boasting but if you want to be bright, vigorous and cheerful in your seventies, like me, you HAVE to beat inflammation. It’s the key to not aging.
Auto-immune diseases—the plague of the modern artificial world—are basically just inflammation gone crazy. Instead of attacking pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses, the immune system attacks YOU, the host!
Auto-immune diseases are often bizarre but some very common problems are essentially the body attacking itself: rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroid, lupus, inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis and type-1 diabetes.
There’s a surprise inflammatory element to many other diseases too, including type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular degeneration, Alzheimer’s and cancer. Even depression seems to be largely a symptom of inflammation, rather than a “mental disease” or condition, as the psychiatrists claim. Settle down the inflammation and the depression lifts.
So this is bigger than genomics. “There is no question, inflammation is everything,” says Charles Serhan, an immunologist at Harvard Medical School. “In the post-genomic era, understanding inflammation is the next big frontier.”2
Obesity and Inflammation
This is another problem that characterizes our modern world. People have never been so fat and lazy in history!
We need a little fat, it’s true, for optimum health. But once body fat passes the 25% mark, you’d better look out. Start a layaway account at the local funeral parlour.
Body fat stores large amounts of inflammatory cytokines (sorry, I’ve tried not to be technical but it has to be said…) Inflammatory cytokines are nasty, damaging chemicals that create the fire of inflammation widely in our bodies.
So if we have too much fat, we are carrying around a lethal factory of fast-aging inflammagens—substances which generate inflammation. You need to understand this is not just about the extra weight, the extra work the heart has to do. Fat itself is an inflammatory issue!
It’s not just about over-eating, either.
I made my name, many of you know, pointing out the dangers of food allergies and intolerance. These are inflammatory foods. You need to get them OUT of your diet. And everyone has one or more allergy or intolerance foods. Everyone. Forget official figures; they don’t measure the inflammatory response to foods. They only think in terms of antibodies to food.
The Way We Live Now
Some of you will recognize this as the title of a novel by Victorian author Anthony Trollope. But it also strikes at the heart of the inflammation problem.
The 20th and 21st centuries have been increasingly hostile towards living forms. Monsanto and other creepy bio-corps like to use terms like “pesticide”, “insecticide” and “herbicide”. These are deliberately and fraudulently misleading labels. As I have been saying in my books since the 1980s, the correct term is BIOCIDE, meaning kills life. There is nothing in the modern chemical armory that has been proven safe for humans and other animals. I’ll write that again, in case you missed it: THERE IS NOTHING, NO CHEMICAL, THAT HAS BEEN PROVEN SAFE FOR HUMAN LIFE.
The reason is simple—the chemical conglomerates get around the obligation to prove their substances are safe by trying to make it the duty of the populace to prove they are not safe. This is contrary to the law. But then we all know with what contempt Monsanto and the like hold the law.
I was living in Britain at the time, but I well remember the orchestrated media campaign in the US against individuals dubbed “irresponsible environmentalists”. Pouring hundreds of millions into their PR and lobbying, the chemical conglomerates somehow managed to have those who were concerned about long-term health damage relegated to the category “irresponsible”, while they went on pouring their toxins onto Mother Earth.
And before I get back to my main thrust, let be take a moment to reiterate my attack on their tricky reasoning: they talk about “responsible” use and “cutting down on quantities”, as if this meant anything at all. But this completely diverts attention from the fact that pesticide use is cumulative. It’s THIS year’s spraying, added to LAST year’s spraying, added to the YEAR BEFORE, and the year before that, and so on. It doesn’t go away!
So talking about reducing quantities is just blowing smoke. There is enough chemical pollution in the water tables right now to poison us all for the next one hundred and fifty years! If they stopped all production tomorrow (fat chance) the damage is already done. We’ve been screwed.
Back To The Topic
OK, this is about inflammation problems, not biochemical politics. What can we do? Can we do anything to be safe?
We can try to avoid exposure. Good luck with that! It’s raining out of the skies. Chinese pollution is sailing across the Pacific as so-called “brown aerosol” and landing on all the nice, certified “organic” crops here in the USA.
This is brown aerosol viewed from space. You can actually watch a video of it tracking across the Pacific Ocean on the nasa.gov site.
The chemical blizzard, as I call it, is so bad that eskimo women, far from the centers of civilization nearer the equator, provide milk that is laced with pollutants and babies are force fed a chemical cocktail before they are even weaned. What does this mean for a so-called natural, nature-based, organic lifestyle?
It means you are kidding yourself!
- Still you can stick to organic food and avoid GMOs as best you can
- Reduce your intake of cosmetics, cleaning fluids, solvents, air fresheners, and fabric treatments. Buy second-user vehicles (new cars are a nightmare of plastics and chemicals).
- Don’t use pesticides in your home. Let the termites have the wood! It’s better to have the house fall down than to die young! And don’t think I’m kidding.
- Take care of your liver. Your liver and kidneys are your two on-board filter systems that are battling daily to save your life from the chemical onslaught. A couple of weeks back I introduced you to my new liver-friend formula (Keith’s Own® Physician’s Strength Bergamot).
- You can’t get too much alpha-lipoic acid, N-acetyl cysteine and/or s-adenosyl methionine (SAMe) and other glutathione precursors. Dandelion and Glycyrrhizin32 are good for the liver too.
- YOU MUST LOSE WEIGHT IF YOU ARE CARRYING EXTRA POUINDS. If you haven’t understood why, go back and re-read this article.
- Mild to moderate exercize is good. It’s anti-inflammatory. BUT—excessive exercize is highly inflammatory, which makes follies like the Crossfit movement very dangerous.
Do your best and you’ll hit 70, 80, 90 and even past 100, in good condition. Here’s to the permanent bounce in your step!
- Segerstrom SC, Miller GE. Psychological stress and the human immune system: a meta-analytic study of 30 years of inquiry. Psychol Bull. 2004;130(4):601–30.
- New Scientist Vol 234 No 3130, 17 Jun 2017, p. 29