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Are you inflamed? How do you know if you are?

How to know if you are inflamed?

I often get this question from my clients when asking them about signs of inflammation: how do I know if I have inflammation?

And it’s true that it might not be easy to answer, especially if you haven’t been paying attention to your body and what it is telling you, which, let’s be honest, most of the people aren’t. And maybe you’ve been inflamed for a long time so the signs are just how you’ve been feeling all the time and think it’s normal…

Your body is always showing you if something is wrong, you “just” need to be able to see it!

What is Inflammation?

Inflammation is a normal response to perceived threat or injury. Inflammation occurs when your body launches a series of immune reactions: blood flow increases and capillaries dilate to allow your healing white blood cells and the chemicals that they produce (such as antibodies and cytokines) to reach the injured area to protect you from foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses.

When your body is under sustained stress due to an inflammatory diet, chronic emotional stress, the burden of chemical toxins and poor sleep, it feels constantly under attack. Your body cannot differentiate between different stressors, if it is a poor diet, a constant lack of sleep or a bug bite or wound. All it wants to do is to protect you…

While “acute” or short term inflammation is necessary – and even beneficial in repairing damaged tissue and helping you heal after an injury, long-term or “chronic” inflammation can contribute to many health issues, including migraine, depression, PCOS, endometriosis, Hashimoto's, Grave's disease, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, autism, poor memory and other neurological disorders.

Finding out if you have inflammation, requires some detective work and especially paying attention to the signs your body is sending you.

Signs of inflammation

Some signs can be obvious: redness, swelling, itching, pain, headaches or migraine, joint pain, water retention, muscle tension/pain.

But some of the signs can mimic other conditions and can be too subtle to notice. Chronic low-grade and systemic inflammation can exist undetected for years without noticeable symptoms, silently damaging the tissues of joints, arteries, organs, and the brain.

Digestive symptoms like gas, bloating, constipation (no daily bowel movement), diarrhea, acid reflux, burping, sense of excess fullness are all signs of inflammation.

And then of course fatigue, anxiety, depression and brain fog…

Your skin usually is a great indicator:

  • If you have rosacea, you’ll notice that it gets worse.

  • If you are prone to acne, you’ll notice it’ll get worse.

  • You may just have lots of blemishes or spots on your skin and feel it’s not as “clean” as it used to be.

  • Eczema, rashes, psoriasis or other skin conditions of course are also signs of inflammation.

You may feel a bit stiff in the morning and feel like you need more time (and coffee) to wake up or get going… This would just be an example of some mild inflammation and that it’s time to take better care of yourself again. Joint pain that lasts during the day is a sign of more pronounced inflammation.

Feeling hot, excessive sweat or smelly sweat or strong body odor

All of these symptoms are alarm bells of your body letting you know that something is not right. If you ignore them when they are mild, they will only get louder until you are forced to stop and listen.

I know that this is not easy, especially as we often just think it’s part of getting older or it’s just a “phase”. If you are in doubt, I strongly recommend keeping a food, mood & poop journal for a week to actually take notice of what you eat, how it makes you feel and also what kind of digestive symptoms you have. If you want to use the template I’m using to work with my client, you can download it here.

What are sources of inflammation?

The source(s) of inflammation can be multiple: most people hold inflammation in their gut with bad bacterial overgrowth or even autoimmune triggering bacteria, but also as you learned in my newsletter about parasite infections, they can be a source of inflammation too.

A poor diet with high sugar, refined foods, gluten, fried foods, sodas, juice & alcohol consumption, overconsumption of vegetable oils that throw off your Omega 3:6 balance. Not only are these foods very inflammatory, but they are also very poor in nutrients, so not a smart choice if you want better energy. If you are looking to adopt an anti-inflammatory diet, consider buying my blood sugar & hormone balance cookbook.

Physical and mental stressors are a big source of inflammation (these can be over exercising or high intensity exercise, an accident, any mental stressor from work or just ordinary thing from your day to day life like traffic, financial worries, worries over kids, spouses, family…., pressure from your boss or being bullied at work….) toxic burden, biotoxin illness, injuries. Other stressors are imbalanced blood sugar levels, lack of sleep, and nutrient deficiencies.

Food sensitivities/leaky gut: but also consuming healthy foods that are inflammatory to your body because you have developed a sensitivity against them. I had developed a sensitivity against avocados for instance and I wasn’t aware of it. So when I found out via my food sensitivity test, I avoided avocado completely for 3 months while healing my gut. Now I am eating avocado again without a problem, but I make sure I don’t eat it every day.

Blood sugar roller coaster

Balancing your blood sugar is the first step to migraine freedom, better memory, less cravings, brain fog and happy hormones! If you are experiencing low blood sugar and high blood sugar during the day, not only will it wreck your energy, mood and memory, it’s really damaging to your brain and stresses out your liver too.

High levels of blood glucose entering the brain cause damage to blood vessels over time. When excess blood sugar levels damage the small blood vessels of the brain, it impacts your mental function.

Elevated glucose levels in the bloodstream will bind to proteins and make them sticky, almost like putting cotton candy in your arteries. Over time, that excess sugar contributes to narrowing and stiffening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). Since the brain is dependent on the arteries to carry oxygen and nutrients, when there are microvascular injuries, the brain suffers as well from oxygen and nutrient deprivation.

Lack of sleep

Sleep is essential to your health and allows your brain and body to recharge and heal. If you are lacking sleep, it will negatively impact your mood, energy, but also stimulate cravings and affect your memory over time. Let’s be honest, who feels good after a night of tossing and turning?

While imbalanced blood sugar levels are probably the number 1 sleep disruptor, bad sleep also has a negative impact on your blood sugar balance the next day, so it’s a vicious cycle.

A lack of progesterone is impacting your quality of sleep by causing less deep sleep aka tossing and turning, not feeling rested when waking up

A lack of estrogen will also impact your ability to sleep well: it impacts your blood sugar and is often linked to insomnia

If your liver is overburdened, this might wake you at night (between 1-3AM) - an overburdened liver can also be responsible for hot flashes at night

High cortisol will impact your ability to get to sleep and keep you up at night. Cortisol has many roles in the body from helping you to wake up to regulating insulin, but its biggest role is to manage your stress response. Cortisol also triggers the release of insulin in your body as a survival mechanism—meaning that being stressed has the same effect on your body as eating a cupcake (without actually getting to enjoy it).

When you’re in pain, you’ll probably reach for ibuprofen or aspirin to feel better…

And they do work if you’re not taking them long term!

So what’s the problem with painkillers/NSAIDs?

An occasional (1x every 3-6 months) low dose pain killer will not harm you, however taking them regularly or frequently is a problem.

They block the Circulating Immune Complex (CIC) activity in your body. CIC is a protein chain activated by your immune system causing pain, swelling, and redness to promote recovery.

The problem is that NSAIDs affect all CIC’s in your body, including the ones necessary to maintain the lining of your stomach, intestine, kidneys, and liver. That’s how long-term use of NSAIDs can result in stomach ulcers, kidney and liver toxicity, and leaky gut. NSAIDs also “unteach” your body to use its own inflammation process.

Instead of relying on NSAIDs to lower inflammation, it is important to understand and address the underlying causes of chronic inflammation. Diet and lifestyle changes can have a huge impact in lowering inflammation and recovering from inflammation-related pain and illness.

What solutions are there to manage inflammation?

Well let’s just take my story as an example: I shared with you a couple of weeks ago that I was suffering from eczema and suspected mold toxin exposure and food sensitivities to be the cause. Turns out I was right: we had black mold in our bedroom (that’s now gone finally and I’ve deep cleaned our bedroom). I also have food sensitivities due to leaky gut (depriving me of my beloved matcha tea and carrot cake!!). As a result, my eczema is almost completely gone now.

What did I do?

Identify: the sources of inflammation that were causing my symptoms


  • toxic exposure,

  • foods I am reacting to

  • bacterial overgrowth

Restore my gut lining with nourishing herbs and amino acids

Move out toxins with infrared sauna, castor oil packs (air purifier for the bedroom)

Eat a whole foods and nutrient-dense diet (- the foods I’m reacting to)

On top of that, there are great anti-inflammatory herbs like turmeric, ginger & boswellia for instance and of course high dose Omega 3 fatty acids that will help calm down inflammation.

This is the process I apply with all my clients to help them get to the root of their symptoms! If you want to know more about my program, book a free clarity call here.


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