Cellular Inflammation



Cellular Inflammation-Definition and Causes

A majority of the symptoms and diseases we see today stem from chronic cellular inflammation. “Inflammation of the cell membrane affects the way the cell functions, including communication with other cells, detoxification and gene expression (DNA).”

Let me give you a brief overview of how the approximately fifty trillion cells that comprise the human body function. Every one of our cells has a membrane comprised of a lipid bilayer (two walls of fat), and off these walls of fat are receptors. A normally functioning cellular membrane takes in the raw materials we eat, and our bodies break them down into usable elements. These receptors are responsible for drawing into the cell our vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and hormones like insulin.

Correlating receptors draw that raw material into the cells, and energy (ATP) is created in the mitochondria. That energy is converted into hormones, messages, and antioxidants before they are sent out of the cell to other cells. In the production of energy, toxins are also produced and released from the cell.

An inflamed cell is a congested cell. When this occurs, the receptors are blunted. The proper nutrients can’t get into the cell, and toxins can’t get out of the cell. This causes a number of problems with cellular function, and symptoms begin to occur in the body.

The cell then has two options:

  1. It will mutate or adapt to the new environment of toxicity or inflammation. This mutation is also known as cancer.
  2. It will die. Also referred to as cell apoptosis or premature aging.

When the cells die off at a rapid rate, the body begins to respond with conditions like headaches, brain fog, and fatigue to more serious illnesses, such as diabetes, hypertension, and other chronic symptoms and diseases that many men and women in our culture face today.

There are three major causes of cellular inflammation. The first one is excessive sugar intake. With excessive sugar intake, the insulin receptor gets overworked and eventually dies. The cell can no longer hear insulin. That is what type 2 diabetes is—the body’s inability to hear insulin, not produce insulin. But in today’s medical treatment, medications are used to beat the pancreas into producing more insulin, when the problem is in the cell. High insulin levels drive inflammation further, eventually leading to heart disease and premature aging and will further the progression of diabetes. Insulin also makes it harder to lose weight because insulin is a fat-storing hormone. So, in order to get well, this vicious cycle has to stop.

Sugar also fights with other receptors, such as the receptors that take in vitamins and minerals and, therefore, acts as an anti-nutrient. This is why sugar plays such a huge role in many of the chronic diseases we see today.

The second cause of cellular inflammation is the intake of bad fats. We have become so afraid of saturated fat and cholesterol, but when we look at the research, these are the two most necessary fats to regenerate the cell membrane.

Bad fats in the form of polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFAs) damage the cells and drive inflammation and oxidative stress (production of free radicals). These fats, in the form of vegetable oils, are found in the majority of our processed foods including chips, pies, cookies, crackers, and even foods marketed as health foods.

Sugar combined with bad fats increase the LDL particles (commonly known as bad cholesterol) that drive inflammation.

The third major cause of cellular inflammation is environmental toxins. The Environmental Protection Agency defines toxin as “any chemical or mixture that may be harmful to the environment and to human health if inhaled, swallowed, or absorbed through the skin.” Environmental toxins involve a broad entity of chemicals that we encounter in our everyday lives. Our environment has been bombarded with over 84,000 chemicals since World War II, with about 1,500 new chemicals being introduced into our air, food, and water each year. Every time we take a shower, we breathe in more chlorine than is in a glass of unfiltered water. The International Agency for Research on Cancer and the World Health Organization have concluded that 80 percent of all cancers are attributed to environmental rather than genetic factors, including exposure to car­cinogenic chemicals, such as formaldehyde and benzene, many of which are found in household cleaning products. Our laundry detergents, kitchen cleaners, and air fresheners could be unknowingly making us sick. Every morning we lather up in skin-care products that are also loaded with toxic chemicals, such as sodium lauryl sulfate, which has devastating effects on our health. Other toxic chemicals we have daily exposure to include fluoride, molds, pesticides, herbicides, and heavy metals like lead and mercury.

Toxins are known as the smoking gun that can trigger numerous chronic diseases, including cancer, diabetes, and obesity. The inability to lose weight, despite diet and exercise, is usually associated with high toxicity levels in the body.

Another cause of cellular inflammation I would like to introduce has helped me “crack the code” with not only my health challenges but also some of the tough cases that I’ve seen in my practice. I will call this the fourth cause of cellular inflammation, which is a negative belief system. Our cells not only respond to a toxic or unbalanced physical environment, but they also respond to unhealthy or unsupportive beliefs.

Whatever program you use or lifestyle changes you choose to implement, what you believe plays a major role in whether or not the system will work for you. Your outer world, including your health, is a reflection of your inner thoughts. When I was able to grasp this concept, I began to notice my life and the lives of others completely transform.

So, the intention of my action steps was to downregulate cellular inflammation, start a diet that promoted cellular healing, and remove excess toxins from the body.

To fix and detox the cells, I implement the programs act as a roadmap to regulating the cells’ ability to heal and detox.

1 step – Remove the Source

Removing the source is, unfortunately, one of the most overlooked Rs. In order to control numerous serious conditions like diabetes or heart disease, it is very important to remove the source. Most of the healthcare practitioners, including allopathic and alternative, treat the symptoms of chronic illness without considering the primary cause or source. Instead of getting to the source, which may be toxic in nature, most practitioners dabble with downstream symptoms in their attempts to fix the issue.

We must remove the interference. If we don’t remove the barriers to healing, the patients will not get well long-term.

2 step – Regenerate the Cell Membrane

While removing toxins from the body, it is very important to regenerate the inner and outer cell membrane. If the cell membrane is inflamed, it will not allow nutrients to enter the cell and toxins to exit.

When the membrane is regenerated, it is able to communicate properly with other cells and bring changes in the DNA and in gene expression. If the cell membrane is unable to regenerate, it will not be able to detox or change gene expression.

Regenerating the cell membrane may be the most important R of all. We can’t get the patient well without fixing the cell membrane.

3 step –  Restore Cellular Energy (ATP)

It is very important to restore cellular energy. In fact, increasing cellular energy is the first step to improving overall health. Without restoring cellular energy, it will be challenging to benefit from other treatments. The cells will not have sufficient energy to function properly.

With lower cellular energy, inflammation will increase. Due to this, you will feel very lethargic and lazy. You might not have the energy to get out of bed or even get through the day. In addition, you may experience some general pain and brain fog. This defect in basic cellular metabolism may be the primary cause of your illness. It is necessary to restore cellular energy to improve your condition.

4 step – Reduce Inflammation and Oxidative Stress in the Cells

As mentioned earlier, it is extremely important to reduce inflammation to control chronic illness. With this stress, this is certainly not possible. In order to reduce inflammation, it is crucial to reduce oxidative stress. If you’re unable to reduce oxidative stress, your detox attempts are likely to fail. R4 is the most basic of the 5Rs, and the key treatment to reversing this is with The Cellular Healing Diet.

5 step – Reestablish Methylation Pathways

Methylation is a standard process in which the body performs and manages many responsibilities. One of the most important responsibilities of this process is to turn the good genes on and bad genes off. Detoxification of bad hormones, such as toxic estrogen, which is linked to so many cancers today, is another responsibility of methylation. In fact, this process is the key to starting and stopping most cellular functions. Thus, it may be considered a process to sustain life.

Stress is one of the most important factors for depletion of methyl groups. It is important to understand that the human body considers physical, emotional, and chemical stress to be the same. Therefore, it responds in the same way to every kind of stress. Stress puts your DNA at risk.

You also need to take care of the chemical exposure from various products that may be toxic. Some of these include personal care products, nonorganic foods, silver amalgam fillings, city water, grain-fed meats, vaccinations, and so on. When you add these toxic substances with other stressors (emotional or physical), methyl depletion will cause some serious health problems.


Reducing Cellular Inflammation: “THE SECRET KILLER”

TIME Magazine, February 2004, the headlines read,” THE SECRET KILLER – The surprising link between INFLAMMATION and HEART ATTACKS, CANCER, ALZHEIMER’S, and other diseases.” Back in 2004, this was breaking news. At that time, most people never made an association with inflammation and disease until headlines like this started pouring out from mainstream media. Today, I think the majority of people have heard of the association but still do not really understand the connection. If you were to ask someone about inflammation, they would still think you are referring to pain in a shoulder or knee. While this is most certainly an example of inflammation, conceptualizing how it relates to diabetes, thyroid conditions or even the inability to lose weight is not something that has often not been considered. Systemic cellular inflammation is what is driving the epidemic of chronic diseases and hormone conditions that are so pervasive within our culture today. More specifically, I am referring to inflammation of the cell membrane that affects the way the cell communicates, detoxes and will ultimately change gene expression, which leads to a disease of genetic weakness. Understanding how inflammation affects the cell and how to down-regulate it is a must to get almost any condition well. The unfortunate reality is that most practitioners are not keeping up with some of the exciting new research in the area of inflammation, detox or gene expression, which would dramatically change the results they are getting in their practices. Therefore, my goal is for this article is to bring those who are reading it to a new level of understanding and, therefore, success, whether in their personal health, or their practice for the greater purpose of changing a paradigm.


If You Do Not Know the CAUSE, You Cannot Fix the PROBLEM!!!

The Truth Most Do Not Want To Hear

 Controlling glucose/insulin is of paramount importance for any anti-inflammation program to be effective as it is a driving force that cannot be penetrated by any supplementation protocol. For example, diabetics do not die from diabetes, but from other degenerative conditions. Despite being on medication, 68% of all diabetics die from heart disease, and 50% of diabetics end up with dementia or Alzheimer’s as they age rapidly from the inside out. This is directly due to the oxidation/inflammation from uncontrolled glucose and insulin. Even when they take medication and force their glucose to be within normal ranges, they still have episodes of extreme highs and lows with their glucose and insulin causing inflammation and, therefore, premature aging and disease. By the way, grains, not sugar, are the #1 contributor to elevated glucose. Yes, even whole grains. Did you know that 2 pieces of whole grain toast or a bowl of oatmeal raises glucose the same as a 12oz soda? This is why my Cellular Healing Diet eliminates ALL GRAINS from the diet UNTIL cellular inflammation is corrected.

The Most Controversial Truth of All

The 2nd major contributor to the cellular inflammation epidemic is “bad fats”.  I wish it were as simple as just saying bad fats drive inflammation, but this is not so. It is imperative to identify them. When we look at new research about the cell membrane, it becomes clear that saturated fat and cholesterol (the 2 most “vilified” fats) are in fact, the 2 most necessary fats to regenerate the cell membrane. The irony is the fats being promoted by our “protective” government bodies for maintaining health are the real culprits. Oxidized and denatured polyunsaturated fats, which are in everything thing we eat in the form of vegetable oils, are the real bad guys. It is not that polyunsaturated fats are “bad” in and of themselves, but are very fragile and denature easily, which turns them into a bad fat. We are all familiar with the damaging effects of trans fats such as hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils, and many companies even promote their products using labels that say: “NO TRANS FATS ”, but vegetable oils have now become the bigger issue. Even most fish oil is denatured because, it too, is polyunsaturated and very fragile. Recall from R2 that many people are taking too much fish oil causing “OMEGA 3 DOMINANCE”, and not to mention, most of the fish oil is damaged and denatured, only driving inflammation even further. The simple truth is this: the opposite outcome is occurring for which was intended, by taking the fish oil in the first place. The bottom line is this; do the opposite of what the government is saying and get rid of the vegetable oils. Take an  balance of good fats  and eat more grass-fed meat and dairy. This is another core principle of Healing Diet.

The Hidden and Unspoken Truth

Lastly, toxins are, in my opinion, the biggest driving factor of inflammation today. So I will not get into it here but I will say this: if you do not remove the hidden sources of toxins within your body, the chronic inflammation will NEVER be resolved. How many people do you have in your practice that still have “silver amalgam fillings” in their mouth? How many people are living in moldy homes? How many of them have undiagnosed Lyme disease? And how many are still drinking tap water and surrounding themselves with the toxic onslaught of modern-day living? That the personal care products they use every morning contain, on average, 518 chemicals that are known “hormone disruptors”. Of course it is also our job to educate them on the causes of the “SECRET KILLER”. Hidden toxic sources should not be an “unspoken truth” if you truly desire to change lives. If we do not, who will?

The Theory That Changed My Life

The last 10 years has brought volumes of new research in the area of inflammation. There is one area of research that changed me, my health and my pursuit of knowledge forever. In R3, I spoke of an inflammation cycle called the NO/ONOO Cycle. It is the brilliant work of a biochemist named Martin Pall. Pall, in his vast research of cellular inflammation and his NO/ONOO Cycle theory, has given us an answer for so many unexplainable illnesses. Suffering with my own unexplainable illness, this became a theory that changed my life. After I got most of my life back I faced perhaps the most troubling part of my illness; “multiple chemical sensitivity” (MCS). MCS is considered by most to be unexplainable, but Pall’s theory gives a true etiology. MCS lies within the wake of so many chronic illnesses today and ruins lives. Most of these poor individuals go misunderstood and are told it is all their head; I can assure you FIRST HAND, it is not.

A Potential Path to Treating Inflammation-related Aging and Cancer

The link between inflammation, cellular senescence, aging, and cancer is a complex relationship, but a new study sheds light on how these four interact.

The light and dark side of inflammation and cellular senescence

Cellular senescence is a protective mechanism that helps us to stay healthy and avoid cancer by removing damaged and aged cells from the cell cycle while preventing them from creating damaged copies of themselves. Senescent cells are disposed of via a self-destruct process known as apoptosis.

The link between inflammation, cellular senescence, aging, and cancer is a complex relationship, but a new study sheds light on how these four interact.

The light and dark side of inflammation and cellular senescence

Cellular senescence is a protective mechanism that helps us to stay healthy and avoid cancer by removing damaged and aged cells from the cell cycle while preventing them from creating damaged copies of themselves. Senescent cells are disposed of via a self-destruct process known as apoptosis.

However, cellular senescence has a dark side. As we age, the immune system slows down, becomes dysfunctional, and ceases to remove senescent cells, allowing them to accumulate.

The accumulation of senescent cells in aged tissues is a hallmark of aging and one of the processes that causes us to age[1]. As senescent cells build up, they trigger the immune system to generate excessive inflammation, which, in turn, impairs healthy tissue regeneration and drives the aging process ever faster.

This contributes to the smoldering and chronic age-related inflammation known as “inflammaging”. Other sources of inflammaging include microbial burden, cell debris and protein crosslinking. This chronic inflammation contributes to age-related diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and neurodegeneration.

The focus of current research efforts is to find ways to periodically remove senescent cells from the body using senolytic therapies or to reduce inflammation by manipulating the immune response.

Chromatin leaking leads to inflammation

A new study by researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania found that chromatin – a structure in the cell nucleus where genes are housed – can become misplaced[2]. The traditional view is that chromatin as a cell component remains within the nucleus in order to regulate gene expression. However, the team found that there were misplaced chromatin fragments outside the nucleus that had been pinched off from nuclei present in senescent cells.

This misplaced chromatin causes a DNA-sensing pathway called cGAS-STING to become activated in its presence. The cGAS-STING pathway is based outside the nucleus and is known for its ability to combat microbial invasion from bacteria and viruses. It appears that in the case of cell senescence due to aging, the chromatin leaks outside the nucleus and triggers the cGAS-STING pathway, which reacts to this the same way it does to microbial infection. The leaking chromatin triggers an “alarm signal”, leading to inflammation.

Inducing short-term inflammation is useful in fighting infections and preventing cancers from developing; the problem begins when that inflammation becomes chronic, such as in aging. It leads to loss of tissue repair and ultimately can even help cancer spread.

The researchers used cellular stressors, such as DNA-damaging agents, activated oncogenes, and regular aging cells, to set off the alarm signal. They found that cells responded by shutting down and entering cellular senescence and calling the immune system to dispose of them. This depends on the immune system working properly, and while it is designed to clear away senescent cells, if uncontrolled, it can do more harm than good.

Sounding the alarm

The team observed that when mice with disabled cGAS-STING alarm pathways are exposed to cancer-inducing stressors, their cells do not summon the immune system for help. This is a problem because those damaged cells lead to the formation of tumors.

In normal mice exposed to stressors that induce aging, the accumulation of senescent cells causes a continual call for the immune system, leading to an excessive immune response and chronic, long-term inflammation. This then induces tissue damage, failure of tissue repair and premature aging.

Months after receiving stressors, the normal mice with an active alarm system showed masses of grey hair, a sign of aging in mammals, including humans. In contrast to this, mice lacking the alarm system had normal black hair, which shows exactly what the light and dark sides of cellular senescence are.

The researchers are now searching for molecules that target the always-on cGAS-STING alarm pathway in the hope of finding ways to manipulate the inflammatory response.


Science is steadily unraveling the exact mechanisms behind cellular senescence and how it contributes to chronic inflammation and aging. Of the two approaches to dealing with senescent cell accumulation, the removal of them seems the more direct approach over attempting to mediate the inflammation by tweaking various pathways, as these researchers are attempting to do.

While we find out more about how this complex interaction plays out, there are human trials for senolytics launching this year, and some studies are already in progress in some cases. In our view, removing the root of the problem seems to to be the more practical approach than modulating the signals from senescent cells without actually removing them.


[1] López-Otín, C., Blasco, M. A., Partridge, L., Serrano, M., & Kroemer, G. (2013). The hallmarks of aging. Cell, 153(6), 1194-1217.

[2] Dou, Z., Ghosh,K.,Grazia, M. et al. Cytoplasmic chromatin triggers inflammation in senescence and cancer. Nature (2017) doi:10.1038/nature24050.