Inflammation - A Simple Explanation

As well as your body having to deal with free radicals, glycation and methylation it also has to fight against chronic inflammation!  This is an ongoing battle which is being waged every second of the day.If it is not controlled, inflammation will wreak havoc in your body.  In fact, some scientists believe that chronic inflammation is the cause of most age related damage.  This is because excessive inflammation causes toxic chemicals which eat away body tissues, thus leading to heart disease, dementia, arthritis and diabetes just to mention a few.

As with the other three concerns… (free radicals, glycation and methylation), the cause of inflammation cannot be narrowed down to one thing only.  All four issues are interrelated!

For example, let’s take MDA (malondialdehyde). MDA is a dangerous chemical byproduct formed in your body as a result of the action of free radicals on the fatty membranes of your cells.  It is a major factor in the production of AGEs from glycation.  This same chemical, MDA, is also implicated in inflammation.

This perhaps helps show you how nothing works in isolation!

Cut the supply line!

Using the example of MDA…  If you reduce the free radicals in your body through the use of anti-oxidants then you will reduce the oxidation of your cell membranes which will in turn reduce the formation of MDA which in turn will reduce glycation and thus the formation of AGEs…and this will help reduce inflammation. In other words...cut the supply line.

However, it is not possible to control all the free radicals so no matter how many anti-oxidants you take MDA is still going to form…and will continue to attempt to produce AGEs which in turn can contribute to inflammation.  So, this is why it is so important to take Carnosine in addition to anti-oxidants in order to minimize the formation of AGEs.

But…not all AGEs can be avoided and by extension not all inflammation can be avoided either so you have to ensure that you address inflammation in ADDITION to the above mentioned three concerns!

If you don’t, your ‘anti-aging’ or ‘wellness’ program can never be successful.

To demonstrate this further…a component of inflammation is excitotoxicity. If allowed to ‘continue’ the result is the death of brain cells leading to strokes and dementia.  Excitotoxicity occurs when brain cells get overexcited due to excess glutamate in the diet.  MSG and other flavor enhancers are the culprits here and should be kept to a minimum in your diet.

Fortunately Carnosine can protect against excessive excitotoxicity.Another seriously dangerous chemical associated with chronic inflammation is tumour necrosis factor (TNF).  TNF actively promotes the degeneration of your brain and nerves! It is activated by a combination of free radicals and AGEs.

Some Doctors and marketers on the internet promote Omega 3 fish oil as the answer to inflammation.  There is no doubt that the anti-inflammatory component of Omega 3 fish oils are certainly very helpful in reducing the impact of inflammation…but, it is only dealing with one component of the much broader picture of inflammation.Take TNF as another example.  To keep this chemical as low as possible you need to also be taking nutrients that will help such as a calorie restriction mimics.  This is another subject on its own but the best known natural calorie restriction mimic is resveratrol.

Key nutrients that can work in synergy with Omega 3 fish oil to reduce inflammation and the damage from it are:

  • * Flavanoids
  • * Alpha lipoic acid
  • * Carnosine
  • * Turmeric
  • * Glutathione
  • * Resveratrol

We use all of these nutrients in our Total Balance

One of the biggest challenges we have at Xtend-Life is trying to explain to customers how Total Balance works.  Unfortunately most consumers have been ‘educated’ that free radicals are the biggest concern in any wellness or anti-aging program.  Lately that ‘education’ has been expanded by marketers of fish oils, to include inflammation.

But…just addressing free radicals with anti-oxidants or inflammation with fish oils will NOT achieve what you want.  It is only PART of the equation.

It takes more that one nutrient to get a result in just one part of this very complex equation.  Each part has to be addressed from multiple angles, and EVERY part of the equation also needs to be dealt with.

There is a reason why we have 75- 85 nutrients in our Total Balance range!  Each nutrient is there for a reason and has been carefully integrated.  The individual components of each nutrient have also been studied and sometimes the component of that nutrient other than the common active ingredient in it, is what is wanted for a specific function.

Do not forget that Inflammation is only one important component. There are four key components in protecting DNA and aging successfully, free from degenerative disease.

The others are:


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About the author


Warren Matthews is the co-founder and Chairman of Xtend-Life Natural Products, a family-owned, integrated manufacturer and distributor of natural supplements and skin care products.

Xtend-Life has since become one of New Zealand's business success stories, renowned for the purity of its ingredients, its innovative formulations and its competitive pricing. The company now sells its expanding range of natural supplements, omega-3 and skin care products each month to thousands of customers in over 40 countries.  

You can read his blog at


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