Inflammation to the level that one feels pain is common. Silent inflammation is unnoticed inflammation and is more detrimental because it goes undetected, often for long periods of time. Three hormones — cortisol, insulin, and eicosanoids — contribute to silent inflammation in your body, but with some simple Paleolithic diet techniques, your levels can be stabilized to reduce the inflammatory response.
This hormone is produced in every cell in your body and its main function is to work with your immune system to help you fight invaders. There are two types in your body. One helps as an anti-inflammatory to reduce inflammation in your body. The other works to help destroy tissue and acts as a pro-inflammatory. Your body needs both to function normally, but they need to be in balance; not too much of one over the other.
There is a direct link between eicosanoid hormone production and fatty acid consumption. Pro-inflammatory eicosanoids are made with the help of omega-6 fatty acids. In cases where a person eats more omega-6 over the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, their inflammatory eicosanoids will be higher, thus contributing to silent inflammation. To increase the amount of the better hormone, a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids over a diet richer in omega-6 fatty acids is best. The Paleolithic diet naturally encourages a diet higher in omega-3.
Insulin is the hormone that your body sends out when carbohydrates or sugar enters the bloodstream. Its function is to allow glucose to be taken up by cells in the liver and muscles. If that energy is not used right away it will be stored as glycogen, a complex carbohydrate molecule, in those cells. The more sugar that someone eats, the more insulin will be released to deal with it. Greater insulin increases the production of a substance found to be directly related to pro-inflammatory eicosanoid formation. As stated previously, this contributes significantly to silent inflammation.
Data from the 2007 National Diabetes Fact Sheet states that 23.6 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes. That is 7.8 percent of the entire U.S. population. It is listed as the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.
Cortisol, sometimes referred to as your flight or fight hormone, is produced by the adrenal glands. When your body is in a stressed condition this hormone is released to deal with the stress. It does that by trying to diminish the eicosanoid hormones. According to Dr. Barry Sears, author of The Zone, this causes insulin resistance. Insulin resistance tapers back your immune response and, in turn, can make you sicker.
When a large surge of carbohydrate is ingested, the body produces a large amount of insulin to prevent the excess blood sugar. This actually can produce a dip in blood sugar level that is below average. In response to that dip, you release cortisol and adrenaline (another powerful hormone in your body). After each episode of eating large carbohydrates, this same procedure happens: big release of insulin, big dip below average of blood sugar levels in response to the insulin, then release of cortisol and adrenaline. This up-and-down pattern can lead to a condition known as insulin resistance. Insulin resistance often leads to type-2 diabetes, a disease where the body ignores the insulin that is released, thus sugar is not taken up by the cells for energy use.