Inflammation can result from the normal function of the human immune system. A well-functioning immune system triggers a complex series of chemical and cellular activities in response to an injury or infection from a physical, chemical or biological agent. Let’s look at how the immune system reacts to these natural mishaps.
The immune system responds to infection and injury with acute inflammation. Signs of acute inflammation can include redness, swelling, and pain. Within a 24 to 48 hour period, the usual emblems of acute inflammation resolve themselves as the recovery process begins. In fact, as the body heals, cellular garbage from the site of the infection is removed. The signs of inflammation disappear. The skin and body return to a “normal” condition.
Consider, as well, the cumulative effect of daily, chronic inflammation sustained over a lifetime on the process and pace of aging. You will find a hidden and dangerous cause for premature aging and disease. But what stimulates the body’s immune system to trigger the chronic inflammation that recurs day after day? According to Denham Harman, a medical physics researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, free radicals, (highly charged and unstable atoms missing one electron) are the source of this chronic daily inflammation. Denham Harman conceived his theory in 1956, which posits a direct relationship between the presence of free radicals and aging. Harman’s theory is now known as the “free radical theory of aging.”
Free radicals enter our bodies through frequently recurring factors including sunlight, poor diet, the use of alcohol and tobacco and airborne chemicals. The objective of this daily invasion is to obtain missing electrons. Favorite targets are fatty acids, DNA and proteins. The end result on our bodies is a seemingly constant and pervasive chronic inflammation. The summary effect over years and years is aging and often aging that is premature and a contributor to disease.
Dr. Georgeann Dau was an early adopter of Denham Harman’s theory. Her holistic wellness practice at Body Naturals, Ltd. includes therapies designed to minimize the effects of free radicals. At the same time, her work endeavors to reduce the toll of chronic inflammation. Her techniques include methods to improve the diet of her clients; recommending nutritional supplements; nurturing spirituality; promoting mental health; physical massage and cleansing/detoxification. The end result is the reestablishment of a normal aging process where acute inflammation comes and goes, without habitual damage to the body.