It is now generally accepted in the healthcare community that an imbalance in the body’s inflammatory response, particularly in the activity of cytokines, can greatly exacerbate existing health problems throughout the body, prolonging healing time which may lead to reoccurrence or chronicity.[1,2]
A strong immune defense against harmful agents is vital to maintaining the normal structure and function of all body systems. Inflammation is an integral part of a healthy immune system, occurring when tissue has been damaged by invading microorganisms, traumatic injury, altered metabolism, oxidative stress, environmental irritants or any other physical or chemical insult to the body. The inflammatory process begins when tissue damage stimulates the release of chemical mediators including histamine, prostaglandins, leukotrienes, bradykinin and various cytokines which bring about a number of vascular and cellular changes. These chemical mediators cause blood vessels to dilate increasing blood flow to the area. Local blood vessels also become more permeable, allowing fluid and proteins including fibrin to leak into the tissues to isolate the foreign or harmful substance from other parts of the body. Cytokines attract phagocytes to the area to engulf and destroy the offending agent as well as any dead or damaged cellular material in the first step towards tissue regeneration or repair and the end of the inflammatory process.
If the body incorrectly identifies the cause of tissue damage or a harmful agent cannot effectively eliminate a harmful agent or there is interference in the healing process, pro-inflammatory chemical mediators will dominate and inflammation will persist. Progressive tissue damage caused by even low-grade chronic inflammation can result in further functional impairment. Unless this imbalance is addressed, conventional or alternative treatment methods will have difficulty resolving the initial health concern.