Dr. Tim Martin shares his perspective on inflammation from his years of experience as a primary care physician and wellness champion.

Four Things You Need to Know About Inflammation   

The human body has many mechanisms to respond to foreign substances, injury and illness. Inflammation is one of them. There is a purpose for it, but like a good houseguest, once the visit is over it needs to leave. A common and often undetected condition, it’s important to have the facts about this issue.

1. What is Inflammation? 

It is the process of your immune system uses to defend you from viruses, bacteria, infections and toxins. It is also the beginning of the healing process. 

  • Acute inflammation comes on and subsides quickly. Inflammatory cells trap the offending substance or heal the tissue. As this process occurs, blood vessels leak fluid into the site of the injury, which causes the telltale swelling, redness and pain. Swelling at the site of a bug bite or having fever with a virus are examples of minor and temporary inflammation.
  • Chronic inflammation occurs when this healing process doesn’t resolve. Unlike visible swelling or redness, chronic inflammation can cause invisible damage. When uncontrolled, inflammation is connected to causing and advancing most serious illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, autoimmune disease, Alzheimer’s and can even contribute to clinical depression.

2. Causes of Chronic Inflammation
How does temporary inflammation turn into chronic inflammation? Several factors contribute and it can last months or even years. 

  • You have an untreated infection or injury or the after effects linger. 
  • You have an autoimmune disorder, where your immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue.
  • You have long-term exposure to irritants, industrial chemicals or polluted air.

Not everyone will experience chronic inflammation and some cases don’t have a clear underlying cause. Research has shown that factors such as smoking, alcohol use, chronic stress, sugar, fried foods and processed foods and can contribute to long-term systemic symptoms.

3. Identifying the Issue
Chronic symptoms are usually much more subtle than the pain, swelling, heat or redness from the acute version. Common symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Body pain
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Gastrointestinal issues, diarrhea or constipation
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Persistent infections

These symptoms can range from mild to severe with different durations. 

4. Management

Once symptoms begins to move from the acute stage to chronic, don’t let it settle in and overstay its welcome! From the foods you eat to the way you manage stress can exacerbate or alleviate chronic symptoms. 


  • Eat refined carbohydrates, like white bread, pastries and sugar
    Eat fried foods, like French fries
  • Eat processed meat, like hot dogs and sausage
  • Smoke 
  • Drink excessive amounts of alcohol
  • Ignore symptoms of stress and anxiety. Instead, seek support and learn coping skills that work for you.


  • Eat foods with anti-inflammatory properties including:
    • Leafy greens, like kale and spinach
    • Tomatoes
    • Fatty fish like salmon and sardines
    • Nuts
    • Olive oil
    • Cherries, blueberries and oranges.
  • With moderation, you can occasionally use aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve).
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Increase physical activity. Add walking into your daily routine.
  • Improve your sleeping habits.

    Take supplements that reduce symptoms. I recommend:
  • Orthomega
  • Turiva
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid 
  • Alpha Base multivitamins

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With increased awareness and diligence, you can throw water on the flames of chronic inflammation and enjoy LifeLong Health.