Alternative Medicine: Do you have silent inflammation?
By Dr. Tim Holcomb
March 18, 2014 at midnight
Updated March 17, 2014 at 10:18 p.m.
Your degree of wellness and the rate at which you are aging depend upon the level of inflammation that is ongoing in your body.
It can be silently wearing you down, resulting in chronic, degenerative diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, weight gain, arthritis, thyroid problems, fatigue, fibromyalgia and accelerated aging. That's why I recommend the actual level be measured.
There is no way to tell just by looking at you. Here are the tests that I use to do just that. The most important test is the ratio of arachidonic acid to eicosapentaenoic acid.
This ratio should be in a certain range and can alert you to silent inflammation years to decades before you develop health problems. If this ratio is high, you are at risk of a heart attack, getting cancer, developing Alzheimer's and more.
Another important test that is seldom measured is fasting insulin. If it is high, you are five times more likely to develop heart disease. In contrast, if you have high cholesterol, you are only twice as likely to develop a heart attack.
If your ratio of fasting triglycerides to your HDL (good) cholesterol is high, you have silent inflammation, so these need to be checked. Still another test is c-reactive protein, a common blood test that is useful but not as good as the ones already mentioned.
Measuring the percent of body fat with calipers at skin folds and waist measurements are additional tools I use as an indirect measure of inflammation and insulin resistance.
For men, ideal body fat measurements are from 12-15 percent body fat. A man's waist should be less than 40 inches. Women should be anywhere from 20-25 percent body fat, and the waist should be less than 35 inches.
If you are serious about getting healthy again, I recommend you get these tests done as soon as possible. This way, you will know the amount of inflammation you are up against and be able to do something to help yourself in slowing down your aging process and preventing and reversing the symptoms of chronic diseases.
Tim Holcomb is a Victoria nutritionist, pharmacist, naturopath and chiropractor.