Inflammation is the response of immune cells to tissue damage, pathogens, and other intrusions, with the purpose of healing and restoring cells. Acute inflammation entails a number of adaptations that take place to protect and repair the body. Immune cells are recruited to the site to combat any pathogens they encounter, while some cells secrete proteins that help to clear dead cells and damaged extracellular matrix, and facilitate healing. Pain, heat, and increased blood flow are also common features.
That’s the healthy, adaptive part of inflammation.Then there’s chronic inflammation, which is a persistent elevation of inflammation that affects many parts of the body continuously. It may be caused by a persist injury or an inability to clear an infection, but it’s also oftentimes caused by excess adipose tissue, metabolic stress and dysregulation, a compromised microbiome and gut barrier, persistent exposure to toxicants, and autoimmunity, where the immune system attacks the body directly. A lack of the nutrients, cells, and friendly microbiota that are involved in immune regulation will make it all the worse, and lead to greater inflammatory activity for longer.
The inflammatory response, much like a war, is costly and leads to collateral damage. Inflammatory signaling molecules, the chemical weapons of immune cells, and the cellular breakdown, can damage and dysregulate our own cells and contribute to a wide variety of common diseases and disorders.
This page is for inflammation in general, and will include study outcomes of a variety of markers of inflammation, but will largely be made up of c-reactive protein, and various cytokines, as these are the most common inflammatory markers that are tested for. For information on a specific inflammatory marker, it’s best to search for it by name, and not to rely on this page.