Mitigating The Effects of Cytokines With Antioxidants
Posted Aug 24 2008 6:14pm
You've heard of cytokines. They tend to get a bad rap, even though they are important elements of immune response. Those proteins that recognize foreign antigens, recruit white blood cells and get them to do their job of killing pathogens, are also known for causing inflammation in the body. At least some of them.
In Lyme disease, the cytokines get a little crazy, and their inflammatory effects can actually hinder healing if we don't get them under control. Oxidative stress and cell membrane damage result from inflammation, and this phenomenon is reason enough to find solutions for reducing inflammation. Dr. Richard Horowitz, M.D., at the LIA Conference this past weekend, shared a great tip for downregulating cytokines and thereby reducing inflammation; taking antioxidants!
Antioxidants are key, because these neutralize the free radicals caused by oxidative stress, so that the suckers don't go tearing away at the body's healthy cells. The best source of antioxidants is from organic fruits and vegetables (non-organic typically don't provide enough nutrition). Berries are especially good sources, as are prunes. Other foods, such as pecans and some types of beans, including black and red, are also rich in antioxidants. Other radical-neutralizers include: omega fatty acids, especially from fish oil; N-acetyl-cysteine, alpha-lipoic acid, and glutathione. Oh yes, and especially glutathione, which has often been called the body's master antioxidant.
Glutathione also helps the body to detoxify, which is another good reason to get some of the stuff.
According to Dr. Horowitz, healing from Lyme disease should address the three "I's": Infection, Immunity and...you guessed it, Inflammation. It isn't enough to kill pathogens and support the immune system. Its inflammatory processes must be controlled, too!