The Important Relationship Between Inflammation, Weight Loss and The Future Of Your Health
We have been focusing a lot recently on the subject of energy at PEERtrainer. The reason we have been doing this is that an overwhelming number of you have been telling us that you are feeling tired. The response has been really great, and we have been sent hundreds of emails thanking us and asking us followup questions.
One of the reasons that the response has been great is that lack of energy is something you feel. It is an obvious thing. So when we send out an email that has a subject line of "4 Supplements That Will Give You More Energy" or some variation of that, the response is great. The emails get opened, the links get clicked on and the articles get read and passed around.
We are saying this because we are going to be shifting the discussion somewhat to the subject of inflammation. We are "caveating" this because inflammation is not something that you generally feel, like you feel when you are tired.
But it is equally as important. If not more important.
What is interesting about inflammation is that there is a PILE of research that specifically links elevated levels of "inflammatory markers" to a whole host of negative health outcomes. We have been looking at studies published by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) that link inflammation to future weight gain, increases in cholesterol levels, as well as raise the risk of stroke and heart disease.
On its face, PEERtrainer is a "weight loss company." But as you know, if you lose weight in a healthy, sustainable and long term way, your health improves. Ever since we met (and worked with) the founder of a large health care company, we have been working hard to make sure that people lose weight in a manner that leads to better health.
This has made things tough for us from a marketing perspective. There are a lot of highly popular ways to lose weight, that unfortunately lead to both people gaining the weight back and harming their health. The typical "yo-yo" diet cycle for example is very tough on your system.
A less popular weight loss marketing message is, "hey take two years of time, totally change your eating habits and become really introspective." That tends to not lead to immediate action.
But, it is pretty much the only way you are going to lose weight for the long haul. We are saying all of this to show, again, how "all this stuff is connected."
If you do the things that lead to long term weight loss, your health will improve. If you do the things that help foster greater health, you are likely to find it easier to lose weight.
So back, to the subject of inflammation....
What is also interesting about inflammation is that there is also a growing body of research that demonstrates the effectiveness of certain herbal substances in reducing inflammation. As well as a very well established set of protocols or "tools" that work to help you get the "fire" of inflammation under control.
We were in Whole Foods today (one of our favorite research labs!) and learned something very interesting. It turns out that the top selling herbal supplement that is sold to "promote healthy inflammation response" is also the most extensively researched.
The supplement is called Zyflamend, and it is the top selling herbal anti-inflammatory supplement in the United States right now. It is made by a company called New Chapter, and you can find it in most places supplements are sold. (It is important to note that New Chapter only sells whole food-based, non-synthetic supplements. If you are familiar with Dr. Fuhrman's urgent warnings on the dangers of synthetic folic acid, New Chapter's multivitamins only contain natural folate. New Chapter is widely regarded as the quality leader in their industry.)
Most herbal supplements rely on history, word of mouth and anecdotal evidence to help promote them. Zyflamend is in a different class because of a recent clinical study performed on it by Columbia University.
In this study they tested Zyflamend on a group of men between 40 and 75 who were at a high level of risk for developing prostate cancer. Over the 18 months that the study took place, half of the subjects had a 25-50% reduction in PSA levels. PSA stands for "Prostate-Specific Antigen", and the basic deal is that as PSA levels rise so do occurrences of prostate cancer.
We began this discussion of inflammation with clinical studies because we wanted to show you how well understood the problem is, as well as help show you how well understood many of the solutions to this problem are.
Now, inflammation is a big and complex subject. Entire books can and have been written on the subject. The purpose of this article is to get you focused on this issue, and also relate it back to your efforts to improve your weight and your fitness. It is intended to be a starting point for this important discussion.
What Are The Roots Of Inflammation And How Does One "Put Out The Fire?"
Chronic inflammation usually has it roots in diet, although a wide array of irritants can also exacerbate the problem. The usual suspects like sugar, processed foods and high amounts of animal fat are widely thought to contribute to inflammation.
A good way of thinking about reducing inflammation, is that you want to "put the fire out."
You need to identify and reduce the foods that help to foster the creation of pro-inflammatory substances. At the same time you want to identify and increase the foods that block these substances and help to reverse the damage done.
A nutrient dense diet, featuring high amounts of greens and cuciferous vegetable forms the base of a diet that will help prevent disease and generally make you feel better. This is the exact same diet approach that one would take to lose weight for the long term.
Hopefully reading this information will help to increase your motivation to consume more greens.
Chronic inflammation can be a difficult and frustrating thing to completely tackle. For many people simply eating more vegetables and reducing gluten, dairy and sugar will not be enough. At least not right away.
You have to realize that a poor diet can take a toll on your body, and most of us have been hammering our bodies for years. You can't expect immediate relief. Yet many people do.
However, if you take a broad approach to "putting the fire out" you will find that you will have greater control over this as time goes on.
For example in addition to making some shifts in your diet, you are also likely to benefit from a high quality fish oil supplement. You see these everywhere now, and there is a very good reason for that. Fish oil contains very powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
The research behind fish oil is extensive, (here is one example) and we will probably develop an entire article just on this subject alone.
Additionally, there are some herbal blends, like Zyflamend which have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. As you start to stack these different tools together, you are likely to have begun the process of putting yourself on the right track long term.
High doses of vitamins C and B have also been shown by clinical research to play an important role in reducing inflammation. It is important to remember that green vegetables like Broccoli are rich in Vitamin C. We usually think of Vitamin C as something we get from Oranges or Orange Juice. If you try and get some of your Vitamin C from greens, you'll avoid some of the extra fructose which just may help with your weight.
For those of you who are committed meat eaters, free range chicken and grass fed beef and bison are thought to be less inflammatory than traditional meat. We need to do some more research into this, but people like Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum suggest that eating grass fed meat instead of grain fed meat will provide some help.
This whole process is likely to be frustrating, especially if you have been grappling with chronic disease. But if you get a good view of the "playing field" you can begin to get handle on how you can go about tackling this issue.
Again, we'd love to hear your feedback on your experiences. The best content we create is in response to the questions you all have. So keep them coming, keep posting on our Facebook Wall. We are also very interested in Zyflamend, and New Chapter in general.
Dr. Fuhrman has really sounded the alarm about certain synthetic substances and certain minerals that he feels ought to not be in vitamins and supplements. We have found New Chapter and Dr. Fuhrman to be very much on the same page. We will be working to confirm and verify all of this.
Great suggestion. We see that quite often, and have taken their field of greens product in the past when we were training.
Posted by: PEERtrainer | 02/04/2011 at 06:10 PM
Another way I get my greens...is by drinking a drink called Green Vibrance which is sold at Whole Foods. You should check it out....It helps with energy and inflammation with all the great items in it and it is the best tasting I've had by far.
Posted by: Rebecca | 02/04/2011 at 10:39 AM
So what is inflamation, and how do I know if I have it?
Posted by: Angie | 02/04/2011 at 09:59 AM