Tag Archive: Chronic Inflammation

Inflammatory cytokine IL-8 elevated 300% in fibromyalgia

Elevated Cytokines Graph Image

Substantial evidence has accumulated that cytokines, especially IL-8, may play an important role in the initiation and progression of fibromyalgia.

Cytokines are small molecules that serve as inter-cellular messengers. There are many different types, each with multiple, diverse and sometimes overlapping functions. Understanding of cytokine function is limited, but cytokines are known to play an important role in regulating the immune system.

Alterations in cytokine levels (cytokine dysregulation) has been linked to sleep disorders, hyperalgesia (excess sensitivity to pain signals), stress, ‘aching’, anxiety and cognitive difficulties (e.g. such as with “fibro fog”.)

On investigation, the level of IL-8 in fibromyalgia patients was 300% of that found in healthy controls. Furthermore, only IL-8 levels were shown to increase over time.

Inflammation basics

Acute inflammation is often beneficial but can also be detrimental to the host, depending on its cause, severity, duration and specific circumstances. For example, acute inflammation is often responsible for much of the permanent damage that occurs as a result of heart attacks and strokes. Acute inflammation can also exacerbate pre-existing conditions, such as by precipitating asthma attacks, migraine headaches or seizures in those suffering from the underlying malady.
Chronic inflammation is always detrimental

Whereas acute inflammation can be either beneficial or detrimental, chronic inflammation always involves detriment to the host.

Severe fatigue afflicts 75% of those with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

Fatigue, it seems, is a near constant companion of pain, which has led many to conclude that pain is the cause of fatigue.

It’s true of course that pain is ‘fatiguing’ – but it seems something else might be at work. Perhaps both pain and fatigue result from a form of mild, chronic inflammation.

It’s noteworthy that lupus patients, for example, often report that while pain abates during a remission, in many cases fatigue does not…

Ginger appears to be more effective than aspirin in reducing pain and inflammation

When properly administered, ginger offers greater potential for relief of pain and inflammation than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – but with fewer side effects – for several reasons.

Ginger directly inhibits prostaglandin synthesis and thereby acts as both a COX-I and COX-II inhibitor.

Ginger also inhibits 5-lipoxygenase by direct action – thereby inhibiting the production of leukotrienes. Leukotrienes are key regulators (promoters) of inflammation. They may be of particular importance in allergy and asthma, but are probably involved in promoting and sustaining inflammation generally. Recent studies suggest a role for leukotrienes in cancer, arthritis, pain perception, cardiovascular disease and neurological disease.

Ginger further exerts its anti-inflammatory and anti-pain effect by inhibiting expression of pro-inflammatory genes that encode cytokines, chemokines, and the inducible enzyme cyclooxygenase-2. Chief among these effects is its inhibition of NF-kB – the inflammation Master Switch.

Banjo delivers a combination of herbal extracts, including ginger extract, by means of a lozenge. By allowing the lozenge to dissolve in your mouth, active components (actives) are absorbed trans-mucosally (through the lining of the mouth.) This results in faster delivery of a higher concentration of actives to the bloodstream. Of perhaps greater significance, actives are not first subject to the harsh, destructive environment of the stomach, neither are they immediately destroyed by the liver (the “first pass” effect.)

The traditional means of administering ginger – as well as other medicinal herbs – was by chewing or eating. Of course both chewing and eating require that the product spend a substantial time in direct contact with the mucous membranes of the mouth. That might be important.

Most such products are now delivered by means of a gelatin capsule that is immediately swallowed, which may be one reason for the limited efficacy of such products. Banjo provides effective relief from pain and inflammation by employing an effective combination of agents, delivered so as to ensure maximum bio-availability.

Ginger reduces inflammation in multiple sclerosis

Activated macrophages are present in high concentrations in a number of inflammatory lesions. The most common inflammatory cell identified in active central nervous system lesions of multiple sclerosis is, for example, the macrophage.

The study briefly summarized below may have implications on the possible use of ginger extract in the treatment of multiple sclerosis, especially to the extent that ginger extract was associated with a significant reduction in T cell proliferation in response to allostimulation – thought to be important in the pathology of multiple sclerosis.

Genetic study points to NF-kappaB dysregulation in multiple sclerosis

Variation in genes controlling inhibitors of NF-kB strongly influences susceptibility to multiple sclerosis.

Multiple sclerosis is known to be associated with both excess, chronic inflammation and with immune dysfunction. Since NF-kB is central to the control of inflammation, the researchers whose publication is summarized below investigated genetic variations associated with NF-kB in multiple sclerosis patients.

Role of estrogen in trigeminal nerve sensitization

Estrogen plus inflammation acts via trigeminal nerve to increase pain in TMJ and perhaps migraine.

The highest incidence of TMJ is observed in women between 20 and 40.

The authors note that TMJ is associated with estrogen. Their investigation concerned the possible mechanism by which estrogen might act as a risk factor in the development of TMJ.

They found that inflammation plus estrogen increased pain perception via the trigeminal nerve through a MAPK pathway.

The MAPK pathway does interact with NF-kB, but the primary point of interest here is the overlap with migraine. Migraine is also predominant in women (approximately two to three times as many women suffer with migraine as men.) Migraine is also most prevalent between ages 20 and 40. The trigeminal nerve is also central in migraine pain.

It may be that migraine and TMJ share, at least to some extent, the same underlying pathology.

Estrogen is generally anti-inflammatory and is considered ‘protective’ against certain conditions associated with inflammation (e.g. atherosclerosis.) Nonetheless, many of the conditions most closely associated with inflammation (e.g. autoimmune conditions) are far more common in women.

If the reason for this apparent paradox could be determined, it might be of great assistance in developing effective treatments for conditions associated with inflammation.

Back pain, disc damage & NF-kappaB

Back pain results when NF-kB is chronically activated, as strongly suggested by this study.