Inflammation Might Be the Root of Preventable Disease | Harvard Magazine

“Evidence has been mounting that these common chronic conditions—including Alzheimer’s, cancer, arthritis, asthma, gout, psoriasis, anemia, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and depression among them—are indeed triggered by low-grade, long-term inflammation. But it took that large-scale human clinical trial to dispel any lingering doubt: the immune system’s inflammatory response is killing people by degrees…

…The metabolic stress that is a hallmark of modern life, the stress that the body has not evolved to handle, is constant eating, he continues. When people eat, energy and nutrients enter the body rapidly, are processed, produce in turn a lot of by-products, and then need to be reduced to ‘functional substances that are distributed throughout the body, and then disappear very quickly. Many cells and tissues actually undergo a huge amount of stress during this process,’ he explains, ‘as they store appropriate nutrients and dispose of harmful intermediates.’ Part of this process also involves mounting an immune response. ‘The pancreas, for example, must secrete four to five hundred milliliters of enzymes every day’ to be able to manage the incoming energy load with every meal. ‘If you place these organs under constant stress, they start malfunctioning.’ The consequence is that ‘right now, one out of every 10 individuals has diabetes. One out of every four individuals has fatty liver disease. And if you reach a certain age, one out of every three individuals will develop neurodegenerative disease.”

—Jonathan Shaw, “Raw and Red-Hot.” Harvard Magazine. May/June 2019.

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