Douse the flames of inflammation

by | Apr 29, 2011 | Functional Medicine, Nutrition & Diet | 2 comments

Anyone who’s living in a cave and gathering fruits and nuts can skip reading this.

The rest of you…read on to learn to douse the flames of inflammation.

Compared to living in a cave and surviving on roots and bark, the wealth and convenience of the modern world is a blessing to all of us.

We’re much, much better off than our hunter-gatherer ancestors.  We live longer, healthier, and fuller lives.  Life is considerably easier and more fun.

We’re spared most of the risks that Paleolithic hunters faced from injury, starvation, disease, weather conditions, and predators.

Given the challenges those cave-dwellers faced, it’s a miracle they survived at all.

In fact, there’s only one reason they were able to survive:  their physiology was perfected for the conditions they were living under.

It had to be.

They needed to extract every ounce of nutritional possibility from the foods they ate, and store excess energy whenever they were lucky enough to enjoy a feast.

Their muscles, lungs, heart and blood vessels had to be maximally efficient.

They needed to be able to trigger a robust immune reaction to fend off random bacteria and viruses, and mount a healing response to injuries.

And since you share 99.99% of your genes with these stone-agers, you enjoy the nearly-miraculous health benefits of this optimized physiology too.

Unfortunately, with all of the benefits of living in today’s world, there are some hidden pitfalls.

Because of our technological approach to food production (and to other aspects of life, too) your bodily systems are as confused and bewildered today as a cave-dweller would be if confronted by the Internet.

Paleolithic hunter-gatherers didn’t sit in chairs ten hours a day staring at moving pixels on a screen, or raid the fridge for a midnight snack.

They never burned artificial lights to stay up till 11pm, and weren’t subject to screeching subway car brakes or automotive exhaust.  They didn’t have to evolve a nervous system to cope with these challenges.

Your stone age ancestors never ate safflower oil, sugar, or grain-fed beef, let alone tri-oxy-troxy-dimethyl-silberstethalone.  (I made that up – it’s not a real food ingredient – it only sounds like one.)  Your body isn’t designed to process this stuff either.

Your digestive system hasn’t been technologically upgraded the way each generation of computers has.  Your stomach, intestines and nervous system were optimized over more than a million years of evolution, and they still work much the same way.

The same is true of the enzymes systems that regulate your internal chemistry.  Evolution hasn’t had time to catch up with the pace of technological change.

In the case of your inner physiology, what’s good enough for grandpa (or actually great-great-great-great times 10,000-grandpa) is good enough for you.

Your way of life is seriously out of sync with the way you’re designed.

That’s why we’re drowning in an unprecedented medical epidemic.  An epidemic that will continue to overwhelm the resources of our sorry health care system until we meet the threat head on.  An epidemic of

  • heart disease
  • arthritis
  • diabetes
  • obesity
  • depression
  • asthma
  • back pain
  • fibromyalgia, and
  • cognitive decline

Sounds like a list of today’s top ten killers.

But these conditions have something in common other than being on the top ten list.  They’re all linked to a state of chronic, low-level inflammation.

Our modern way of life and industrialized diet flips on our inflammatory response and keeps it burning at a low level indefinitely.

The ability to create inflammation in response to injury was one of the essential responses that allowed early humans to survive.  And in the modern day you still need the ability to mount an inflammation reaction.

But eating a modern western diet is like setting your stove’s pilot light to burn on HIGH all day.  For one thing, it wastes gas – just like your body wastes its protein stores building inflammatory molecules needlessly.

And a pilot light set too high is also dangerous.  It can too easily trigger a raging, out-of-control fire.

That’s true for your body too.  You’re primed to leap into an inflammatory state – and stay inflamed for an extended period of time – whether it’s needed or not.

Now researchers are finally piecing together the sobering fact – that chronic, degenerative conditions on the top ten list are all hastened by the low level inflammatory state that’s always cooking in your body.

First you can have your level of inflammation tested with a simple blood test of C-Reactive Protein (CRP).  That will tell you how high your pilot light is turned up.

Once you’ve determined the degree of your internal pro-inflammatory state, you’ll institute the simple diet measures you need to change.  And we’ll throw in a few supplements and anti-inflammatory herbs to help you too.

Soon the new diet plan will become second nature to you.  You can retest your CRP to document the beneficial health changes your body will enjoy.

Dr. Lavine has been an innovator in the use of movement and touch to promote health since 1981. He practices in New York City and Princeton, NJ.



  1. Dor Mullen

    Thank you, Dr. Lavine. I was recently criticized because my mantra — Return to the behaviors that pre-date the epidemics — is too “retro”. How shall we seed a contemporary contagion: paleo isn’t passe; the future of the species depends on it.

    • Ron Lavine, D.C.

      How about “Paleo Future” ?

      or “Back to the Future” ?


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Ask Dr. Lavine about….

the cat-cow stretch can help with low back pain

Five star chiropractor


8 best self-care tips for the health of your spine

To claim your free guide, simply enter your email address below.

You'll also be joining Dr. Lavine's e-mail list for periodic updates filled with useful health information and self-care strategies.

We value your privacy and will never spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Thank you! Please Check your inbox to validate your email

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share this post with your friends!