What you need to know about about inflammation:
Taming the fire inside.
With the help of key supplements and some simple, and better food choices, you can put a lid on inflammation.
What is inflammation, really?
Inflammation itself is not necessarily a bad thing. It serves a vital purpose in your body. Chronic inflammation, however, is a different story.
Any disease you know of that ends in “itis” is an inflammatory-based disease. Think, arthritis, conjunctivitis, meningitis and plenty more.
Inflammation is part of the bodies natural defence mechanism. When your body perceives a threat by invaders, it springs into action! Your white blood cells and some special chemicals called cytokines march right in to protect you and repel the attack.
It’s like a war zone in there.
As Mark Hyman, MD describes,
“normal inflammation is a good thing. It helps your body protect and heal itself. However, when your immune system shifts out of balance, inflammation can run rampant — causing a chronic, smoldering fire inside your body that contributes to disease and weight gain.”
Many of today’s chronic diseases get there start because of long standing inflammation. Dry eye syndrome is fast becoming a chronic disease all of its own.
Yep, there’s a war going on in your eyes too!
Bloodshot eyes are but one sign of inflammation and your body’s attempt to fight off an allergy, irritant or infection. With blepharitis of the eye, again, this at its core is an inflammatory disease of the eyelids - and pretty uncomfortable.
Swollen, crusty eyelids restrict the normal operation of the eye and interrupt tear film flow over the eye surface. Dry eyes typically result – and when the surface of your eye is dry, well, you guessed it, in marches the inflammation to try and heal the affected tissue.
It’s a double whammy: discomfort caused by the blepharitis, but as a result, further inflammation (bloodshot eyes) and not enough tear film.
Eye drops are often used to ease the symptoms but really do nothing to address where the inflammation is stemming from.
It’s a bit like throwing a barrel of water on a forest fire.
What to do about inflammation?
Nature provides some pretty potent anti inflammatories. That’s the good news. A number of these can help to fight the sore, bloodshot eyes associated with dry eyes, not to mention allergies.
They are also very protective in quelling inflammatory mediators associated with a whole range of chronic diseases.
The Top 3 Supplements for Inflammation
- Vitamin C
- Fish oil (omega 3)
Curcumin, sometimes known as Tumeric, is an asian spice and a potent regulator of inflammatory mediators. Studies are showing curcumin to be very protective against a number of diseases. It is not easily absorbed so the more ‘bioavailable’ the better.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid ) is a great anti-histamine. As part of the inflammatory process, mast cells are known to induce a rapid inflammatory response to germs, bacteria and other nasties by way of releasing plentiful amounts of histamine.
If you get hay fever or eye allergies, then you’ll be familiar with ‘anti’ histamines. Studies show that Vitamin C reduces histamine levels naturally.
Research has also shown that ascorbic acid lowers CRP (C-Reactive Protein) levels in your body. And CRP is a common marker for inflammation.
Good amounts of ascorbic acid, 2-3000 mg a day, help to down-regulate the inflammation response and, according to one Optometrist, provide very effective relief for dry eye associated with contact lens wear due to its antihistamine effect.
Lastly, most of us have heard that good quality fish or krill oils curb inflammation. DHA, one of the two omega 3 fatty acids, converts to a chemical called Resolvin D2 and this reduces inflammation in the body.
Alongside this, omega 3 reduces levels of chemicals called prostaglandins. These are pro-inflammatory substances commonly found in omega 6-laden processed foods and oils.
The upshot is that we get too much of the omega 6 oils in our diet and not enough of the omega 3s. Both omega 3 and 6 compete at cell receptors sites. Sometimes the omega 6s simply out muscle the omega 3 fatty acids and an ongoing imbalance ensues.
The causes of inflammation are all around you. The sugar you eat, high doses of the wrong oils and fats in your diet, hidden food allergens, lack of exercise, chronic stress, and hidden infections all trigger a raging, unseen inflammation deep in your cells and tissues.
We have all heard of the usual suspects of late, namely, wheat and dairy. Seems every third person has a gluten intolerance. These issues appear to be on the rise year-in- year-out. For some, allergens trigger a false immune response which sets off inflammation and a whole host of other uncomfortable symptoms, including bloating, fatigue, foggy thinking and more.
In order to reduce your inflammation load and relieve dry and bloodshot eyes, try these few simple things:
- Curcumin, Vitamin C and Omega 3 fish oil all provide potent anti inflammatory properties, helping to cool the inflammation and protect you from chronic disease;
- Reduce your intake of foods that help to cause inflammation in the body such as fatty, sugary, processed foods, heavy in omega 6 oils. Remove wheat and \or dairy where needed;
- Increase your intake of whole foods (organic if possible ) vegetables, juices, salads and water. Add a short detox into the bargain to start fresh, find more energy and lose weight.
Don’t be afraid to take more therapeutic (larger) doses of one or all of the above supplements. Of course, always check with your doctor if you are unsure.
It is clear that inflammation has a central role to play in many illnesses and disease including dry eyes and its related conditions meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) and blepharitis.
Cooling the fire associated with these issues can go a long way towards a cure or at the very least more comfort day to day.
Histamine and ascorbic acid in human blood.
Vitamin C treatment reduces elevated C-reactive protein
Chemopreventive effect of curcumin, a naturally occurring anti-inflammatory agent, during the promotion/progression stages of colon cancer.
Bioavailability of curcumin: problems and promises.
How Can Omega-3 Fats Possibly Prevent Disease?
Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 5th Edition 2010 – Phyllis A Balch, CNC.