Posted by Velandy Manohar, MD., DLFAPA
Top 5 Blood Tests For Inflammation - DrJockers.com
Five top Blood tests for Inflammation by Melissa Nohr
What is Inflammation?
Inflammation is the body’s natural defense mechanism. It is part of the body’s innate immune system and can be triggered by many things. It is a complex process by which the body’s white blood cells are released into the blood or affected tissues to fight infection. Inflammation is essentially the body’s way of tagging a part of the body to receive attention from the immune system.
There are two types of inflammation, acute and chronic. Acute inflammation starts quickly and generally disappears within a few days. Acute inflammation protects us against damaged cells, viruses, and bacteria. In this way, inflammation is beneficial.
Chronic inflammation is systemic inflammation that can last for months or years. Many things can contribute to chronic inflammation including inflammatory foods, environmental toxins, excess weight, and stress.
Chronic inflammation & Disease
Chronic inflammation occurs when our bodies are repeatedly exposed to these influences and inflammatory mediators are produced throughout the body. The immune system becomes overwhelmed as the ongoing stimulus results in more cell recruitment, increased inflammation, and changes to cells.
White blood cells will eventually start attacking internal organs or other necessary tissues and cells, which is characteristic of autoimmunity. This inflammatory response continues until the cause of the inflammation is addressed.
Chronic inflammation is at the root of most, if not all chronic diseases including cancer, ALS, and heart disease (1). It also increases the risk for diabetes and weight gain, aging, lung issues, increased bone loss and lack of bone growth, and depression.
Autoimmune diseases are also a result of inflammation. In autoimmune disease, the body’s immune system triggers an inflammatory response to its own tissues. The body responds as if normal tissues are infected and attacks these tissues. Autoimmune diseases, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and arthritis, develop as a result.
How Inflammation affects the Body
Inflammation & Mitochondria
Mitochondria are tiny structures within just about every cell of your body. They are responsible for producing the energy your cells need to carry out their functions. What many people don’t realize is that these tiny structures are also very vulnerable to chronic inflammation.
What this means is that chronic inflammation damages mitochondria, lowers your body’s overall ability to function and heal, and steals energy from just about every process in your body.
It is critical to test for inflammation and take measures to reduce inflammation in the body. The best tests for inflammation are Fasting Insulin, HgA1C, C Reactive Protein, Serum Ferritin, and Red Blood Cell Width. Each of these tests will be explained below and both clinical and optimal ranges will be given.
5 Tests for Inflammation
With most health issues it can be extremely helpful to test and retest inflammatory markers periodically when attempting to overcome a health challenge. This will allow for detection of specific target points and will make progress easier to track moving forward.
I find that having these markers recorded at the beginning of a health plan generally improves the outcomes by providing quantifiable data points that can be monitored throughout the process.
The fasting insulin level test is a valuable test for detecting levels of inflammation. Insulin is a hormone that is produced and stored in the pancreas. Insulin helps transport glucose from the blood to cells. When the body recognizes that blood sugar is elevating, the pancreas releases insulin.
Our bodies need some circulating insulin at all times. However, high or low insulin levels can be problematic. A high insulin level is a sign of insulin resistance or diabetes. The association of obesity, insulin resistance, and chronic low-grade inflammation has been evident for years. All are related to aging as well (2).
Insulin resistance is the decreased ability to respond to the effects of insulin. As a result, the body produces additional amounts of insulin which increases inflammatory processes within the body.
Over time, surges of insulin can cause chronic health complications. Health conditions associated with insulin resistance include type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and high blood pressure.
High fasting insulin can also indicate metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a set of risk factors that increases a person’s chance of developing serious conditions such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke. These risk factors include: insulin resistance, abdominal obesity, unhealthy lipid levels, and high blood pressure. It is estimated that 34% of Americans have metabolic syndrome.
Clinical Range: 2.6-24.9 uIU/ml
Optimal Range: 1.0-5.0 uIU/ml
Hemoglobin A1C (HbA1c) gives the average amount of glucose in the blood, or blood sugar, over the past 3 months. It is one of the top tests for determining whether a person has inflammation.
Hemoglobin A1c (or glycated hemoglobin) is formed in the blood when glucose attaches to hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. The higher the level of glucose in the blood, the more glycated hemoglobin is formed.
Red blood cells are constantly forming and dying, but typically they live for about 3 months. Thus, the A1C test reflects the average of a person’s blood glucose levels over the past three months. The test is reported as a percentage. The higher the percentage, the higher a person’s blood glucose levels have been.
The HbA1c test can screen for diabetes and prediabetes. It is also used to monitor the glucose control of diabetics over time. Chronically elevated glucose levels as reflected by a high HbA1c, can damage the body’s organs and nerves.
Chronically elevated blood sugar reacts with enzymes and other protein molecules to create Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs) (3). AGEs are highly inflammatory and damage tissue throughout the body. The result is neurological and cardiovascular complications which are common with diabetes.
Clinical Range: 4.8-5.6
Optimal Range: 4.5-5.2
C-Reactive Protein (CRP)
The C-Reactive Protein (CRP) test is a blood test marker used to assess levels of inflammation in the body. CRP is a protein produced in the liver. It is an acute phase reactant, which means it increases or decreases in concentration with inflammation or trauma.
The best measurement to detect CRP is the high-sensitivity CRP (hs-CRP) test. This is often used for cardiovascular risk assessment since high-sensitivity CRP has been linked to heart disease and mortality (4).
CRP is also useful in diagnosing and monitoring chronic inflammatory conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, and psychological issues (5). Measuring CRP gives the inflammatory status of the body and is critical for diagnosing and monitoring many chronic health conditions.
Clinical Range: 0-3 mg/L Low CRP <1, Moderate CRP 1-2, High CRP>3
Optimal Range: 0-2 mg/L
The ferritin test is a simple blood test that measures the level of ferritin in the body. Ferritin is a blood cell protein that stores iron. Low levels of ferritin indicate iron deficiency which causes anemia, a reduction in the number of red blood cells.
Like CRP, ferritin is an acute phase reactant. This makes a ferritin test useful in detecting a chronic disease process. Elevated levels of ferritin can indicate inflammation, liver disease, chronic infection, autoimmune disorders, and some types of cancer (6).
Clinical Range: 30-400
Optimal Range: Females (25-100), Males (50-150)
Red Blood Cell Width (RDW)
Red Cell Distribution Width (RDW) is an excellent test to detect inflammation in the body. A 2011 study found that RDW is a “robust predictor” of the risk of mortality from all causes and bloodstream inflection (7). RDW reflects overall inflammation and oxidative stress.
RDW is an expression of the variation in size of the red blood cells that make up the total population of red blood cells in an individual. The size of the blood vessel has a lot to do with the maturation of the blood cells and this is dependent upon methylating agents such folate and B12.
Red blood cells begin their life cycle very large but as they mature in the bone marrow, the overall width is reduced to a more optimal size to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the cells. Elevated RDW is associated with multiple diseases. RDW is a widely available, inexpensive test that is included in the complete blood count panel.
Clinical Range: 12.3-15.4%
Optimal Range: 11.7-15%
The Comprehensive Blood Analysis
The Comprehensive Blood Analysis (CBA) is a detailed test that looks at all the above tests for inflammation, including the high-sensitivity CRP. The test is more sophisticated than what most conventional doctors run and examines all parameters of inflammation, blood sugar analysis and thyroid function.
The CBA includes a Complete Blood Count, Complete Metabolic Panel, Urinalysis, Lipid Panel, Zinc/Copper ratios, Vitamin A & D levels and Thyroid Panel. It tests immune function, thyroid function, blood sugar regulation, liver function, nutritional deficiencies and much more. People who may benefit from this test include anyone with low energy, weight gain, chronic digestive problems or joint pain, brain fog, skin or hair issues, hormonal issues, and depression.
The Comprehensive Blood Analysis can be found here and should be done regularly as both a preventative measure and to monitor inflammatory levels.
Chronic inflammation is associated with serious health conditions. Heart disease, cancer, ALS, diabetes and other health problems have been linked to chronic inflammation. In fact, it is almost always a factor in chronic diseases.
There are 5 top tests for detecting and measuring the level of inflammation in your body. These tests are Fasting Insulin, Hemoglobin A1c, C-Reactive Protein, Serum Ferritin, and Red Blood Cell Width.
These tests and much more are included in the Comprehensive Blood Analysis. The CBA should be done regularly to monitor inflammation in the body. It looks at all areas of the thyroid, liver enzymes, iron levels, vitamin D, B12, fasting insulin and more.
For action steps on how to reduce inflammation quickly, check out this article.l
5 Ways To Reduce Inflammation Quickly - DrJockers.com.
II.5 Ways To Reduce Inflammation Quickly. Posted by Dr. Velandy Manohar, MD., DLFAPA
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5 Ways To Reduce Inflammation Quickly
Chronic inflammation is one of the most insidious causes of disease in modern society. Certain lifestyle factors increase inflammation and as a result our cells lose the capacity to function at peak performance. The result is the slow deterioration of health that often leads to full-blown diseases like Autoimmunity and Cancer. In this article, you will discover 5 ways to reduce inflammation quickly!
Inflammation is a necessary biological process that signals our immune system to pay attention to certain tissues in the body. When something is not right, the immune system will do what it can to remove the offender. When inflammation is chronically high due to things like poor diet and stress, the immune system quickly becomes overwhelmed.
Conditions Influenced By Inflammation
Something that is very critical to understand about inflammation is that it can affect the energetic output of the mitochondria in our cells. The mitochondria in our cells are what make almost all of the energy that our body uses to perform daily processes. When inflammation inhibits mitochondrial energy output your body is immediately at a higher risk of any disease.
Inflammation is almost always a factor in chronic diseases. The top conditions linked with chronic inflammation are:
Auto-Immunity, Cancer (1, 2); Diabetes; Arthritis; Leaky Gut; Heart Disease; Liver Disease; Pancreatitis (3); Neurodegenerative Diseases; Behavioral Changes (4) [including Major Depressive Disorder- VM]
Why Reducing Inflammation Is So Important
I always try to address inflammation as a foundational strategy with all of my patients. If you think of your body as a series of radios communicating to each other in order to maintain optimal health, inflammation is like radio interference. By addressing inflammation first and clearing up the static, the body has a much better ability to communicate and heal itself.
Because the body relies so heavily on complex communication processes to maintain health, every step must be taken to ensure those communication processes are running uninhibited.
5 Ways To Reduce Inflammation
Now that we know inflammation is a primary contributor to (or is a major factor in) most chronic diseases, here are 5 effective strategies to combat its insidious effects.
These 5 strategies are not at this time FDA approved to prevent, mitigate, treat or cure chronic inflammation but we know from research that they can support a healthy inflammatory response by the body. Using these strategies can help your body get back in balance and help you start feeling better!
Exposure to toxins is one huge factor in chronic inflammation. These could include pesticides, heavy metals, air pollution, mold, and more. On a daily basis, we are exposed to a list of toxins without even knowing it. Hydrating effectively is one of the key strategies to make sure the body is able to effectively detox.
Hydrating really well helps to clear out the bowels, keep toxins moving through the liver and kidneys, and helps to eliminate them through sweat. Additionally, your cells require adequate hydration to carry out proper functions. In general, the more hydrated you are, the less inflammation will be present in your body.
There are several guidelines I recommend when it comes to adequate hydration. Make sure your water is tested free of contaminants such as chlorine, fluoride, heavy metals, etc., installing a reverse osmosis water system in your home is a great idea. If your water is full of toxins, it will only add to the problem.
I recommend systems like Aquatrue or the Berkey system for low cost filtration. The best water is the Synergy Science hydrogen water which is what I use at home as it is powered by molecular hydrogen which reduces oxidative stress in the body and improves immune function. Add a slice of lime for some extra flavor.
Super Hydrate in the morning by drinking 32-64 ounces of water before consuming your first meal. This will help flush out your body and get it primed for the day.
Add natural salts such as Himalayan pink to your water to provide electrolytes or sip on diluted full-sodium organic broths. Super hydrating requires extra strategies to ensure electrolytes stay balanced and the nervous system can properly transmit signals throughout the body. The chart below outlines goes over my top strategies to optimize your hydration levels.
Something that I’ve noticed as I learn more about the human body is that you have to keep things moving. This applies to just about every organ system including the bowels, urinary tract, sweat glands, circulatory system, lymphatics, and even your muscles. Keeping these systems flowing is what keeps them healthy.
When we become stagnant in any of these areas problems arise and we often get tons of inflammation. Daily exercise is great for pumping the lymph fluid and boosting circulation. Delivering fresh blood to your tissues is an important strategy for lowering inflammation as it helps to flush away metabolic debris and provide nutrients to inflamed tissues.
Ways To Get Moving
Make it a priority in your daily life to make sure you are moving your body as much as possible. Go for walks, stretch, and get adequate exercise. Become more expressive and use your body to convey your speech, look for any excuse to move your body. And of course, avoid sitting for extended amounts of time.
One powerful strategy to improve circulation of blood and lymph is rebounding. This is simply jumping on a small trampoline and all it takes is 10 minutes to get your circulation pumping. These can be found on amazon for relatively cheap and it is an excellent form of exercise.
Finally, some other great strategies are cold showers, sauna, and even massage to help get your blood pumping.
One of the most prominent sources of inflammation in our society has got to be the diet. If you want to rid your body of inflammation you need to start thinking about what you are putting into your body.
Many people go about their days thinking they are eating healthy when all they are really doing is flooding their body with sugar that is putting their body in a constantly inflammatory state. At the same time, many people are consuming foods that are hard to digest and lead to inflammation in the digestive tract.
Chronically inflaming the digestive tract is one of the most common factors I see in people with autoimmune diseases. As gut inflammation leads to leaky gut, unrecognizable, undigested food particles slip into the blood stream and confuse the immune system, causing massive inflammation (5).
Healing Diet Guidelines
First and foremost, sugar and grains must be removed from the diet. Anything else that is easily metabolized into sugar should be drastically limited to help balance blood sugar.
Replace the majority of calories from carbs with healthy fat sources. I personally heavily rely on coconut oil, grass-fed butter, MCT oils, olive oils, and avocado oils. Other great fat sources include coconut milk, avocados, nuts and seeds (if tolerated), and fatty cuts of pasture-raised meats.
You will definitely want to avoid highly processed vegetable oils like canola, safflower, and soy at all costs as these are highly inflammatory to the body.
Finally, I always emphasize the consumption of a variety of non-starchy vegetables and herbs for phytonutrients and antioxidants. Flooding the body with these nutrients is powerful antioxidant support to combat free radical induced inflammation. Small amounts of low-glycemic fruits like berries, lemons, and limes are great too.
Reduce Stress & Improve Sleep
Chronic stress causes rampant increases in inflammatory biomarkers called cytokines. If we don’t do anything to control our stress then this cytokine activity can be highly damaging over time (6). Chronically elevated pro-inflammatory cytokine markers are especially bad for the immune system, opening the doors to opportunistic infections and increasing our chances of coming down with an illness.
One of the best ways to counteract the stressors of daily life is really getting the best sleep possible. During sleep, your brain flushes out metabolic debris and the body is put into a deep healing state. Chronic stress on top of poor sleep is a recipe for rapid degeneration of health.
Getting Your Best Sleep
Optimizing sleep has a lot to do with regulating your circadian rhythm. Your body is designed to be awake when the sun is up and asleep when the sun is down. With so many artificial light sources, the body no longer receives the right signals for sleep.
Get morning sunlight
Avoid artificial light within 1-2 hours of bedtime by using blue light blocking glasses
Be in bed by 10PM if possible, every hour of sleep before midnight is equal to 3 hours after midnight
Blackout your room, Limit caffeine to the morning, Form a pre-sleep routine
Practice gratitude to relax your mind
In addition to the strategies listed so far, there are certain supplements that have been shown to be powerful modulators of inflammation. I usually tell people that supplements are not required, although they certainly can help speed the healing process for those who are struggling with a health challenge.
Chronic inflammation and pain can be an emotional challenge to overcome and sometimes these people need all the help they can get to put them over the hump and on their way to optimal health once again. While these supplements are not FDA approved to prevent, mitigate, treat or cure chronic pain or any other health conditions at this time, we know from science that they can support a healthy inflammatory response.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the most foundational supplements for mitigating inflammation. Most people today are consuming highly processed diets that are high in Omega-6 fats and deficient in Omega-3. This imbalance alone contributes to higher levels of inflammation as omega-6 fats are involved in the eicosanoid pathway (responsible for producing inflammation).
By increasing your ratio of Omega-3 to omega-6 fats using 2-5 grams of a high quality purified fish oil, you are doing your inflammation a great favor. In fact, the combination of omega-3 fatty acids in conjunction with flavonoids has been shown in controlled trials to stimulate the immune system while also downregulating inflammatory markers in the body (7).
This means consuming omega-3 fish oils with the next supplement may be a powerful strategy given that it has similar properties to
Curcumin is one of the most comprehensively studied anti-inflammatory compounds. Derived from the indian root spice, turmeric, this compound has tremendous healing potential in many areas of disease which may have a lot to do with its ability to mitigate inflammation (8).
While turmeric is great to add to meals, and I definitely recommend doing so, I am a huge fan of taking supplemental turmeric in a fermented form with other warming digestive supporting and adaptogenic herbs. This is why I use the Fermented Turmeric product from Ancient Nutrition. The fermented form of turmeric activates unique compounds and allows for better assimilation of the beneficial curcuminoids.
With a full-spectrum fermented turmeric blend, organic fermented warming botanical blend, organic ashwagandha extract and an organic fermented bitter botanical blend the Ancient Nutrition Fermented Turmeric is specially formulated to support healthy joints and mobility as well as a healthy response to inflammation.†
Fermented turmeric is a powerful blend of high dose organic turmeric extract a fermented warming and bitter botanical blend and organic ashwagandha extract to reduce inflammation throughout the body and support its ability to adapt to stress.
Vitamin D is arguably one of the most powerful nutrients responsible for modulating and coordinating the immune system. By re-coordinating the immune system, vitamin D has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect.
Vitamin D deficiency is vastly common in our society due to sunscreen use and low amounts of sun exposure. On top of this, the average diet is severely lacking dietary sources of Vitamin D such as organ meats and certain fish.
For most people experiencing poor health, I will recommend up to 2000IU of Vitamin D per 25 lbs. of bodyweight or at least 10,000 IU total and always in conjunction with Vitamin K2.
Glutathione Boosting Agents
Glutathione is our master anti-oxidant that regulates all other anti-oxidants within the body. Having high amounts of glutathione in the body is key for mitigating the inflammatory effects of free radicals.
Free radicals are upregulated during any time of stress whether it is lifestyle or something like a bacterial imbalance in the gut. For clinical applications, I will either use glutathione boosting agents like N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) or acetylated glutathione.
The lifestyle strategies mentioned are absolutely necessary to controlling inflammation.
Inflammation contributes to just about every chronic disease. In some diseases, it can actually be considered one of the primary contributors. Following the strategies outlined in this article will drastically increase your body’s innate ability to heal itself.
Like I said before, inflammation is like radio interference for the communication processes that are responsible for healing in the body. By reducing inflammation, you re-coordinate these signals and healing happens much more quickly.
Sources For This Article Include:
1. Landskron, G., De La Fuente, M., Thuwajit, P., Thuwajit, C., & Hermoso, M. A. (2014). Chronic inflammation and cytokines in the tumor microenvironment. Journal of Immunology Research. PMID: 24901008
2. Wu, Y., Antony, S., Meitzler, J. L., & Doroshow, J. H. (2014). Molecular mechanisms underlying chronic inflammation-associated cancers. Cancer Letters. PMID: 23988267
3. Habtezion, A. (2015). Inflammation in acute and chronic pancreatitis. Current Opinion in Gastroenterology, 31(5), 395–399. PMID: 26107390
4. Schedlowski, M., Engler, H., & Grigoleit, J. S. (2014). Endotoxin-induced experimental systemic inflammation in humans: A model to disentangle immune-to-brain communication. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. PMID: 24491305
5. Fasano, A. (2012). Leaky gut and autoimmune diseases. Clinical Reviews in Allergy and Immunology, 42(1), 71–78. PMID: 22109896
6. Tian, R., Hou, G., Li, D., & Yuan, T. F. (2014). A possible change process of inflammatory cytokines in the prolonged chronic stress and its ultimate implications for health. Scientific World Journal. PMID: 24995360
7. Cialdella-Kam, L., Nieman, D. C., Knab, A. M., Shanely, R. A., Meaney, M. P., Jin, F., … Ghosh, S. (2016). A mixed flavonoid-fish oil supplement induces immune-enhancing and anti-inflammatory transcriptomic changes in adult obese and overweight women—A randomized controlled trial. Nutrients, 8(5). PMID: 27187447
8. Yallapu, M. M., Nagesh, P. K. B., Jaggi, M., & Chauhan, S. C. (2015). Therapeutic Applications of Curcumin Nanoformulations. The AAPS Journal, 17(6), 1341–1356. PMID: 26335307