Inflammation: Evil of the century ?

By Doctor Phillippe Guerin

Article N ° 1 – Metaflammation: beneficial effects of fasting

 

Definitions of inflammation and metaflammation

Inflammation protects us. In the face of aggression, its end result is healing.

Acute inflammation is a suitable response to local or systemic, internal or external attacks by our body.

Chronic inflammation is a long-lasting, systemic response to permanent and persistent aggression involved in a large number of disorders, including metabolic
disorders. It is often associated with the immune system reactions that is dedicated to recognise and destroy foreign particles or perceived as such.

In recent decades, research has revealed a link between metabolic disorders and inflammation which leads to the concept of “metaflammation”.

Metaflammation describes the systemic inflammation resulting from continuous absorption of energy from a particular food or from a persistent decrease in the quality of that food. It represents a pathological condition where the dysregulated inflammatory response is responsible for chain reactions with secretions of multiple pro-inflammatory cytokines (inflammatory proteins secreted by damaged tissues, acting throughout the body) and inappropriate immune responses. These reactions are the cause of the silent appearance of chronic diseases (obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, NASH …) and organ damage (adipose tissue, liver, muscles, brain …). Tissue and cell damage are themselves responsible for increasing the number of circulating free radicals (oxidative stress) which, in the absence of
sufficient antioxidant molecules, worsen the process of organ destruction in the body. A growing body of evidence links these conditions to metaflammation (1-2) with the development of insulin resistance.

Obesity worsens inflammation of adipose tissue (especially visceral fat)

Due to a diet that is too rich, of poor quality or too little variety, the number of adult obese patients continues to increase dramatically in France and is currently estimated at around 8 million (3). Obesity is classically aggravated by inflammation of adipose tissue, particularly in ectopic or visceral fat, usually located in the abdomen.

What can fasting do to reverse this pathological condition ?

The practice of fasting (water or intermittent) is correlated with an improvement in insulin sensitivity and a decrease in the inflammatory state, both in animals and in humans (4). Numerous studies performed in healthy subjects (5) or in metabolic patients (diabetics) confirm the positive impact of fasting on markers of
metaflammation (6). In addition, it has been shown that long-term fasting can also increase the endogenous production of a number of antioxidant molecules which act in a protective manner against free radicals (7).

Fasting also acts in the digestive tract by intervening on the composition of the microbiota. It is responsible for feelings of well-being and improved cognitive faculties that go far beyond the simple anti-inflammatory response.

Comprehensive support

Generally, fasting is not an isolated practice. It is usually combined with adapted physical activities, specific methods of relaxation and management of possible sleep disorders, as is offered at “Fasting & Health Institute”.

These complementary activities and treatments significantly increase the anti-inflammatory effects of fasting.

We will see this in more details in the second article, which will study the beneficial effects of these associated treatments on chronic inflammation and on associated pathologies.

Dr. Philippe Guérin

Doctor Philippe Guérin supervises fasting retreats in France, in our Fasting & Health institute where he uses a comprehensive medicalized and personalized approach for sustainable weight loss with a stress free groundwork preparation for implementing long-term habit-based dietary behaviour changes.

Sources
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(2) Alina Kuryłowicz and Col. Anti-Inflammatory Strategies Targeting Metaflammation in Type 2
Diabetes. Molecules. 2020 May; 25 (9): 2224.
(3) https://solidarites-sante.gouv.fr/systeme-de-sante-et-medico-social/strategie-nationale-de-
sante/priorite-prevention-rester-en-bonne-sante-tout-au -long-de-sa-vie-11031 / priority-prevention-
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208% 20millions% 20of% 20persons.
(4) Anson R.M. and Col. Intermittent fasting dissociates beneficial effects of dietary restriction on
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(5) Wilhelmi de Toledo F., Grundler F., Bergouignan A., Drinda S., Michalsen A. Safety, health
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1422 subjects. PLoS ONE. 2019;
(6) Halberg N., Henriksen M., Soderhamn N., Stallknecht B., Ploug T., Schjerling P., Dela F. Effect of
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