Inflammation and Diet

Inflammation has been linked to hair loss and to diet. A diet that produces systemic inflammation is more likely to exist with hair loss than do anti-inflammatory diets.

Several inflammatory cytokines are induced by oxidant stress.  The fact that cytokines themselves trigger the release of other cytokines and also lead to increased oxidant stress makes them important in chronic inflammation. Toxic cytokines can be influenced by diet modifications.

Over production of pro-inflammatory hormone-like messengers (ex. prostaglandin E2 PGE2) and a lack of production of anti-inflammatory messengers (ex. prostaglandin E1 and E3) is a common cause of inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids seem to suppress the production of PGE2 and promote the production of the beneficial prostaglandin PGE3. Thus the recommendation is to reduce foods that are high in omega-6 fatty acids and increase the intake of foods high in omega-3. This will lead to more of the beneficial prostaglandins (E1 and E3) and less of the PGE2 linked to inflammation.

Also, Gamma linolinic acid (GLA) induces the production of the anti-inflammatory PGE1.

Arachidonic acid is a precursor to both the pro-inflammatory prostanglandin E2 (PGE2) and the pro-inflammatory cytokine leukotriene B4. Limiting foods that lead to the synthesis of arachidonic acid can also help reduce inflammation.

A high-glycemic index (GI) diet cause excess production of insulin often leading to sharper spikes in insulin. Consuming GI foods could lead to the production of arachidonic acid. So, naturally one should avoid all high GI foods.

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Omega-3 fatty acids and phytonutrients are abundant in an anti-inflammatory diets.

The topic of inflammation is a very complex and prevalent one, the above is just a very quick look at how dietary changes (and supplementation) can help reduce inflammation.

  • Please refer to the Daily Diet page for many useful dietary tips.
  • Go back to the home page to find other articles on inflammation.
  • Other articles will discuss the above mentioned ideas in more depth.

Updated/Reviewed: 12/11/2010

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