I initially started writing this post because I wanted a better understanding of the role inflammation plays, particularly as it relates to anger, in the development of Parkinson’s. But the deeper I got into the research the better I began to understand the roles and relationships between anger, stress and poor diet, and inflammation, the immune system, alkalinity and the lymphatic system. I’ve discussed these issues in other posts and with this post, I’d like bring them all together.
Let’s begin by discussing inflammation.
Inflammation plays a significant role in the development of disease. In fact, it appears to be a precursor to many diseases, including Parkinson’s.
Inflammation actually occurs as a result of the body’s natural response to foreign substances. When the immune system (IS) detects something that’s not supposed to be in the body, it responds by sending white blood cells (WBC) to the area. The WBC attack the intruder and escort it out of the body via the lymph system. In the process, the area around the substance becomes reddened, swollen, hot and or in pain. It becomes inflamed.
The problem arises when inflammation persists (when it becomes chronic) either because there is too much foreign substance for the WBCs to contain or when the lymph system becomes too clogged up to remove the WBCs and their unwanted guests. And what is the source of this overwhelm of triggers? You likely guessed it:
- Viruses and bacteria
- Excessive toxins from our food, water, air, cleaning products and cosmetics,
- Undigested food (due to leaky gut, lack of enzymes or because they’re not natural) that our body doesn’t recognize
- Injuries that aren’t given proper time to heal
- Chronic stress … affects our glands and organs
- Unresolved emotional pain (particularly anger) … which is stored in the cell memory of our tissues and in our limbic brain (where our memories are held)
… all the usual suspects!
According to Deepak Chopra, anger is an inflammatory emotion, so it needs to be eliminated, but here’s the thing. Because of the mix up in brain chemistry ( neurotransmitters and hormones), people who are living with PD are prone to irritability and anger, which causes inflammation to persist. So, in this respect, healing Parkinson’s is like trying to put out a fire that keeps producing gasoline as it burns.
Yes, I know! What a predicament! Clearly, it underlies the importance of letting go of anger in order to heal. But that’s not the only thing. If chronic inflammation is in part, the cause of disease, and if inflammation results when the IS is triggered and when it’s unable to cope with the amount of intruders (because it has been weakened), then the solution is to both strengthen the IS and eliminate the things that trigger it. In order to understand what we need to eliminate, we simply need to look at the list above.
We don’t have much control over our exposure to viruses and bacteria (we can wash our hands, handle our foods properly and avoid sick people), but we have total control over the rest of the triggers … especially diet!
Diet is likely the single most important factor in the development and elimination of inflammation, for two reasons. First, a healthy diet strengthens the IS by keeping the gastrointestinal tract healthy (not to mention alkalining the body and keeping the lymph system flowing), thus helping to eliminate inflammation. Second, an unhealthy diet triggers an IS response, thus creating inflammation, and continual unhealthy eating results in chronic inflammation … and eventually disease.
Chronic stress and unresolved emotional pain, especially that characterized by anger, must also be addressed. While scientists haven’t figured out the physiological process, studies have shown that people who are prone to anger and stress have higher levels of the inflammation blood marker C-reactive protein in the blood. (From my own experience, there is no doubt in my mind that anger has had a lot to do with my health issues.) Stress, including that caused by anger, also suppresses the immune system and so the very thing we need (the IS) in order to eliminate the source of the inflammation, is being suppressed by what is causing the inflammation in the first place.
Egads! It’s like the police being prevented from stopping a bank robbery because they’re being held at gun point by the bank robbers!
Inflammation and a suppressed IS aren’t the only consequences of chronic stress, anger and a poor diet. They also cause the body to become acidic. Allowing the body to become acidic is like dumping battery acid in your pool, then expecting the kids to go for a swim. An acidic body compromises gut health by allowing the growth of yeast, mold and harmful bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, which also erodes the mucosal lining of the GI tract and suppresses the IS … 80% of the IS is located in this mucosal lining in the form of Immunoglobulin A. This acidic state also clogs up the lymph system, impairing the IS’s ability to get WBC from the bone marrow to the site of foreign substances, as well as its ability to remove inflammation and wastes from cell tissue.
Chronic stress, anger and a poor diet also clog up the lymphatic system by causing the lymph fluid to become acidic and by causing the production of mucous.
Clearly, anger, as well as chronic stress and a poor diet make it virtually impossible for the body to achieve homeostasis. It may be able to do so for a period of time, but eventually, it will break down and the digestive, immune and lymph systems will no longer be able to do their jobs. This in turn affects all other systems, including the endocrine (our glands) and central nervous systems, and eventually, disease develops. It’s inevitable. Which disease we develop depends on a host of other factors, but you can be certain, it’s going to happen.
The solution for both preventing and healing disease it seems is rather obvious. Eat healthy foods, eliminate stress and let go of emotional pain, especially anger. Piece of cake! (I’ve covered this in other posts, so I’m including the links here rather than going in to all the detail!)
A couple of other tips:
- Bouncing exercises, like trampoline or jumping jacks, help stimulate lymph flow.
- Green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cucumber, cabbage, avocado, lemons, grapefruit, garlic and almonds are great alkaliners
- Vit C, Vit D3 and garlic help strengthen the immune system
- Cinnamon, omega-3 oils (like coconut oil), leafy greens, berries and tumeric are anti-inflammatory
Last point. If you’re already experiencing a disease, you’re going to have to go through a detox period and this can be unpleasant. You have to restore gut health, unclog the lymph and eliminate inflammation, which means getting rid of toxins, mucous and the like. I’m going through it now and I plan to post a blog about my experience soon. In the meantime, do what you can to ealthy, reduce stress and be happy! It’s your ticket to restoring your health!
Have an awesomely joyful day!