Chapter 18

Biology of Inflammation

Robert E. Smith

Abstract

Inflammation can be a cause or a symptom of many diseases. When controlled, it is also an important part of maintaining good health. Reactive oxygen substances (ROS) are produced as part of normal, healthy aerobic metabolism, such as electron transport in the mitochondria of cells. Many foods, spices, herbs and dietary supplements contain antioxidants that can destroy ROS and prevent diseases, including arthritis, cancer, heart disease, stroke and brain diseases. Some important dietary antioxidants include vitamins A and E, oleic acid, polyunsaturated fats, omega-3 fats, resveratrol and polyphenols. Inflammation is a significant factor in many diseases, including arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, hormonal diseases, osteoporosis, inflammatory bowel disease, pelvic inflammatory disease, and many others. Smoldering inflammation is a relatively low level of inflammation that occurs in diseases such as obesity, type-2 diabetes, asthma, and atherosclerosis. In many cases, these diseases of inflammation can be prevented by avoiding obesity, trans fats and saturated fats that are in the typical fast food diet consume by many people in the USA. Instead, unsaturated fats are much better. Omega- 3 fats can be taken as dietary supplements such as fish oil and flaxseed oil. They are also present in fatty fish, such as salmon. Omega-3 fats are also very important in the brain, where they play an important role in cognitive function and behavior. Inflammation plays an important role in all stages of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. Inflammation is also an important factor in stroke.

Total Pages: 414-425 (12)

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