Study shows 5 triggers for inflammation, a skeleton key for bad health worldwide

Chris Burns - Dec 18, 2019, 1:10pm CST
Study shows 5 triggers for inflammation, a skeleton key for bad health worldwide

Systemic chronic inflammation, or SCI, has been shown to lead to several diseases that, collectively, “represent the leading causes of disability and mortality worldwide.” In a study published here in December of 2019, researchers showed the multi-level mechanisms underlying SCI as well as a set of risk factors that are most essential in promoting this health-damaging phenotype. Key amongst these factors are lack of physical activity, infections, environmental and industrial toxicants, poor diet, and psychological stress.

The study, “Chronic Inflammation in the Etiology of Disease Across the Life Span” by David Furman et. al. was the result of intense work on the part of a wide variety of scientists and researchers from major health institutions around the world. This study included researchers from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, Columbia University Medical Center, Emory University School of Medicine, and Harvard Medical School. Also on the team were researchers from the National Institutes of Health, Skane University Hospital, University College London, UCLA, and the Stanford University School of Medicine, and more.

Systemic chronic inflammation is the middle-cog between a set of causes and a set of what might otherwise seem like unconnected results. In the study published in the scientific journal Nature, it’s shown that the following elements are known major contributors to SCI. (NOTE: These are expanded with slightly more specificity from the initial 5 mentioned above: physical inactivity, infections, toxicants, diet, stress.)

Most Common Triggers of SCI:
• Chronic Infections
• Physical Inactivity
• Obesity
• Intestinal Dysbiosis
• Diet
• Isolation and Chronic Stress
• Disturbed Sleep
• Xenobiotics*

The appearance of Xenobiotics on this list might not seem particularly outwardly helpful, if you’re looking at the study from a purely DIY-related perspective. The study helpfully expands upon this one broad term by giving the following examples. Xenobiotics related to SCI include, but are not limited to, exposure to the following:

• Air pollutants
• Hazardous waste products
• Industrial chemicals
• Tobacco smoke

The factors listed above are the the most common triggers of SCI. SCI, in turn, can lead to a set of serious diseases, disabilities, and death. These factors, together, are what these researchers call “the leading causes of disability and mortality worldwide.”

Potential Consequences of SCI:

• Metabolic syndrome
• Type 2 diabetes
• Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
• Cardiovascular disease
• Cancer
• Depression
• Autoimmune diseases
• Neurodegenerative diseases
• Sarcopenia
• Osteoporosis
• Immunosenescence

“Although many of the SCI-promoting factors that we have described herein are at least partly modifiable—including physical inactivity, poor diet, nighttime blue light exposure, tobacco smoking, environmental and industrial toxicants exposure and psychological stress—the number of studies that have successfully targeted these risk factors and shown corresponding reductions in SCI levels is limited,” said Furman in the paper published this month.

“This has occurred despite the fact that the association between inflammation and chronic disease is now widely recognized and that healthcare systems are buckling due to the enormous cost of treating a worldwide population that is heavily burdened by SCI-related chronic health problems,” said Furman et. al., “Therefore, the time to start seriously studying how to prevent and treat SCI-related disease risk in both children and adults is now.”

You can learn more about this study by checking out the following. Furman, D., Campisi, J., Verdin, E. et al. Chronic inflammation in the etiology of disease across the life span. Nat Med 25, 1822–1832 (2019) doi:10.1038/s41591-019-0675-0 online by the time this article is set to be published.

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