Thursday, December 22, 2011


Inflammaging is probably the most surprising thing I have learned in 2011. In future posts I will explain how hydrotherapy and inflammaging interact but, for now, let's look at what inflammaging is.

  Claudio Franceschi coined the term back in 2006,"to explain the now widely accepted phenomenon that ageing is accompanied by a low-grade chronic, systemic up-regulation of the inflammatory response and that the underlining inflammatory changes are also common to most age-associated diseases." (Giunta)

 Synonyms: Other researchers call it: Metaflammation, Para-flammation and Smouldering Inflammation.

 Acute Inflammation
 An acute inflammation is where the body is threatened by a pathogen, toxin or injury, the "pro-inflammatory markers", such as cytokines, are produced and the immune system responds accordingly. As the threat is neutralised, the anti-immune system kicks in, the number of inflammatory markers goes down and the immune system returns to normal. This usually takes between 3 days to about 3 weeks.

 But inflammaging is a low-grade, chronic, asymptomatic, feedback loop, that continues for years. Characterised by an over-active, but weak, immune response (lots of cytokines) and a weak anti-inflammatory response (unable to turn off the immune system). This results in simultaneous tissue damage and tissue healing over decades causing damage of specific cells and disfunction of organs.

 Diseases with definite links to inflammaging:
  • Obesity (as much as 65%)
  • Heart disease, stroke
  • Diabetes II,
  • Many cancers
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Alzheimers
  • Depression
  • Persistant pain
Diseases with probable links to inflammaging:
  • Some Allergy
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Lupus
  • Crohns
  • Psoriasis
  • Parkinsons
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Inflammaging
This doesn't mean that all these diseases are a result of inflammaging but that the increased incidence of these diseases is probably due to inflammaging. Co-morbidities to inflammaging include:
  • Increased Oxidative load (oxidised lipids)
  • Insulin resistance
  • Subclinical viral infection
  • Epigenetic damage (damage to the parts of DNA that surround the genes and controls which genes are expressed)
Inflammaging isn't caused by something specific, it is "induced". Inducers of inflammaging include:
  • Obesity
  • Nutrition - excessive:
    • saturated fat intake
    • glycaemic load
    • fructose drinks
    • salt
    • alcohol
    • and starvation
  • More Inducers of inflammaging :
  • Inactivity
  • Smoking - passive smoking
  • Inadequate sleep
  • Stress
  • Anxiety/ Depression
  • Pollution
The underlying factor is our lifestyle today, most of these inducers have only been common since the industrial revolution. Protectors against Inflammaging:
  • Activity
  • Adequate water
  • Sunshine – light
  • Temperance
  • Air - breathing
  • Rest – sleep, stress control
  • Trust in a loving God
Nutritional Protectors include:
  • Fruits/ vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Mono-unsaturated fats
  • Tea
  • Dark chocolate
  • Omega 3-6 ratio
  • Mediterranean diet
  • Calorie restriction
  • Anti-oxidants (in foods - not supplements)
To summarise, Inflammaging is the normal increase in metabolic inflammation as we grow older. But if we had a 'non-inflammatory' early life it goes up more slowly.

However, Inflammaging is reversible.

 To find out more just follow the links I have here or Google Inflammaging or Metaflammation.