The Inflammation Connection to Disease (Why You May Not Feel Like You Used To) : An Exclusive Renegade Health Article by Dr. J.E. Williams

Wednesday Jun 29 | BY |
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camping in weather this cold can easily reduce inflammation on the short term – because it’s like sleeping in an icebox. (Long term, it can weaken the immune system, though!)

Resident Medical Authority: J. E. Williams, OMD, FAAIM


As a practicing clinician, I hear it all the time: “I haven’t felt well for months! I have low-grade joint pain and stiffness, muscle aches, neck pain, headaches, abdominal bloating, fatigue; and, I can’t think clearly and totally feel out of it.” The MD general practitioner says it’s stress and aging, possibly some fibromyalgia, and then tells you every thing is fine by your blood tests; even though your blood sugar is pushing 100, your triglycerides and LDL are close to the top of the normal range, and your C-reactive protein is a little high. Your chiropractor says you have Candida, and your naturopath says it’s adrenal fatigue. The only thing that seems to help is acupuncture, but your acupuncturist can’t explain why it works and informs you that your liver Qi is stagnant. But the effects don’t last; even though you feel somewhat better, it doesn’t take you all the way back to normal.

What none of your doctors know is that you have low grade chronic inflammation – the epidemic of all postmodern epidemics – and it’s making you sick, predisposing you to degenerative disease and shortening your life. At the same time, it’s robbing you of quality of life – now.

Floyd H. Chilton, Ph.D., of Wake Forest University and author of Inflammation Nation, says: “chronic inflammation is overwhelming our health care system.” Immune system activated inflammatory molecules are associated with every major degenerative disease, including arthritis and Alzheimer’s, heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. They’re also associated with autoimmune diseases, like Lupus and Hashimoto’s, and infectious conditions, such as Hepatitis and Lyme’s. Obesity, chronic fatigue syndrome, IBS, and accelerated aging can also be caused by chronic inflammation.

Researchers have found an inflammation connection with Type II Diabetes. Overnutrition (a hybrid term meaning eating too much all the time) leads to insulin resistance, causing islet cell dysfunction in the pancreas, which causes oxidative stress, endoplasmic reticulum stress, amyloid deposition in the pancreas, fat accumulation in the muscles, liver and pancreas, high blood fats like LDL, “bad cholesterol,” and high glucose levels, “blood sugar.” All together they cause significant autotoxicity and massive cellular stress that induces an inflammatory response, which overwhelms the immune system and leads to more disease.

The solution is supposed to be simple. Change your lifestyle. Exercise more. Eat less. Even Benjamin Franklin had a clue: “To lengthen thy life, lessen thy meals,” Poor Richards Almanac (1737). However, many people have already made these changes: reduced carbohydrates, eliminated gluten, consume mostly alkaline foods, use filtered water, take supplements, get chiropractic adjustments and acupuncture treatments, and drink green smoothies. So, what’s missing?

The immune system, once disrupted in profound ways over a lifetime, is so burdened with deep cellular toxicity that it is unable to reset itself. You get somewhat better, but still experience chronic low-grade symptoms that persist year after year because your cell receptors are not responding effectively, even to the natural foods. Your genes are not picking up healthy clues and cannot express positive biochemical functions. Individual variations in gene expression and detoxification pathways can vary up to 1,000 times from person to person, making you highly sensitive to even small amounts of environmental chemicals or hormones, like estrogen. Then, what’s the solution?

Consume a plant-based diet, BUT get enough soluble and insoluble fiber. Take the right kind of essential fatty acids, principally focusing on EPA and GLA. Cut out the sugar, AND avoid overeating fruits. Add antioxidant supplements like Vitamin C and Zinc, improve Vitamin D3 levels, AND every day consume small amounts of high polyphenol superfoods like pomegranate. Also, remember to sip your green tea, which is high in catechins that knock out inflammation molecules.

If that’s not enough, get comprehensive testing, including homocysteine and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels. Include antinuclear antibodies (ANA) and sedimentation rate (ESR). These, and other tests, are necessary to find out if you have low-grade inflammation. Have sophisticated lipid tests, like the NMR LipoProfile that tells more about your LDL, including its association with insulin resistance. Similarly, get an Omega-3 fatty acid test so you know if you’re getting enough, if your fish oil supplements are working, and if your ratio of Omega 3s to 6s is optimal.

And, mention to your acupuncturist that her needles work because the body responds to insertion by modulating immune response factors, including lowering tumor necrosis factor (TNF), interleukins 1 and 4 (IL-1, IL-4), and the highly pro-inflammatory cytokine, IL-6.

We want to know your thoughts: Do you think your immune system could be overburdened?


Donath, MY and Shoelson, SE. Focus on: Metabolism and immunology. Type 2 diabetes as an inflammatory disease. Nature Reviews Immunology 11, 98-107 (February 2011).

Wang WJ, et al. Effects of electroacupuncture of unilateral and bilateral “zusanli” (ST 36) on serum TNF-alpha, IL-1 and IL-4 levels in rats with chronic inflammatory pain. Zhen Ci Yan Jiu. 2010 Dec;35(6):429-32.

Ouyang BS, et al. Effects of electroacupuncture and simple acupuncture on changes of IL-1, IL-4, IL-6 and IL-10 in peripheral blood and joint fluid in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2010 Oct;30(10):840-4.


Here’s How You Can Access Some of Dr. Williams’ Most Important Health Secrets and Protocols…

Dr. J. E. Williams has over 30 years of clinical experience in the natural health world and has had over 100,000 patient visits over that time.

We’ve recently created a selection of programs based on his work, to help you get real, tested and effective natural solutions.

These programs include how to improve thyroid function, how to read your blood tests, and how to support your adrenals naturally.

To learn more about these programs or to get one today, please click here!

Dr. J. E. Williams


Dr. Williams is a pioneer in integrative and functional medicine, the author of six books, and a practicing clinician with over 100,000 patient visits. His areas of interest include longevity and viral immunity. Formerly from San Diego, he now resides in Sarasota, Florida and practices at the Florida Integrative Medical Center. He teaches at NOVA Southeastern University and Emperor’s College of Oriental Medicine.

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  1. Stephanie says:

    Absolutely! Very interesting. I feel like I have every symptom you listed 🙁

  2. Sarah says:

    Whew! Yes! As a nutritionist, I see this all the time! One thing I would add in as helpful, actually extremely helpful, is the inclusion of fermented foods. I have found making and consuming coconut kefir (from the water of young coconuts) to be extremely helpful with this condition. It has worked profoundly well with my clients. This is only one part of re-establishing gut ecology though, which is the super important step to take. Some people get put on costly food sensitivity testing. I don’t go there with people beacause it is not the underlying cause. I always go back to basics and that is healing and cultivating the gut. Apart from the naturopathic training I had and refer back to, I have to give credit to Donna Gates of the Body Ecology Diet for being a real pioneer here.

  3. Thanks Kevin for all the good info!

    I agree with Sarah, if you can purchase the cocobiotic from Donna Gates that would be an excellent fermented drink to have everyday, however what I have done and what you can buy at any health food store for $6 is a glass jar of Saurkraut – add in organic sauerkraut – with every meal.. just a couple of tablespoons to eat that with your food and you will notice a difference – no stomach bloating no bad gas, no tiredness, just feel like you are a kid again and able to eat all foods normally and naturally without any side effects – no bloating, you feel your food is getting digested so much easier and effectively, AND you are creating probiotics in your gut flora. Helping to boost your immune system and build good bacteria for so many functions.

    Just a thought.. for those with digestive issues.. try organic saurkraut just a few tablespoons with every meal… olives are also good. Water kefir is fantastic too and coconut kefir.

    I had alot of food sensitivities but with taking fermented foods with each meal that has disappeared,

    Also if you have taken anti-biotics or chemical drugs you need to replace the good bacteria in your system and the fermented foods help with that.

    Thanks for sharing about the relevance and importance of Vit D3 for inflammation.. that is very good info. But you should take Vit D3 WITH Vit C for proper absorption. Chromium and Magnesium are also essential for energy – big time. Your heart needs both chromium and magnesium to function – if you supplement just a little magnesium from a product called “CALM” a teaspoon in hot water you will feel calm, have a great poop and energize your being also. We are very depleted in minerals and some minerals are uber essential for organ function.

  4. I agree with the Doc, most of us have chronic inflammation. Because of the SAD, we are lacking in essential vitamins and minerals. We need to Ph are bodies, and detox. Toxins are stored in our fatty tissue and vital organs, causing dis-ease. Infrared saunas are also good to frequent as it aids in releasing toxins from our bodies. Drink lots of water and exercise, move as our bodies were meant to. If we eat right there is no need for supplements. Do you think people living in the BLUE Zones take supplements??

  5. Patricia says:

    I’m sorry, but… you folks make this sound so easy in your posts.

    I’ve been reading books and articles on raw food and alkaline diets for many years. And there is so much information! I’m experiencing exactly what Kevin detailed above wtih Dr.’s, Nutritionists, Accupuncturists, etc. as this is happening to me currently. The stress of bits and pieces of advice and not having a single plan detailed for me, not to mention all the costs, are just levying further burdens.

    Is there an actual plan that brings all of these best practices together? Is it the raise your immunity plan? The adrenal plan? Etc., etc.

    Sorry if this is negative. I’m just beyond exhausted from being exhausted and my daily positive outlook sometimes takes a bit of a hit.

    Thank you in advance for any help you may be able to provide.

  6. lisa says:

    I have to say that I got the author’s book “Viral Immunity” and it is excellent! Very thorough stuff in there but presented in an easy to read and understand manner.

    My only wish is that he does a new edition as there are some outdated things in there. But for anyone who wants to more thoroughly understand the immune system and how we can be at optimal health, this is a definitely a good one.

  7. sharon says:

    I was eager to have my Omega 3 fatty acids tested after reading this article. But the test at Direct Labs is $319. Whew. What would one have to tell an MD to get them to prescribe a fatty acid test so the insurance company would cover it?

  8. sarah says:

    Oh Patricia, I really hear you. Am in exactly the same boat.It is frustrating and laden with heartcahe often. The ehaustion is intense.
    Yet I see people living off junk, processed food and sugary drinks, you name it. So devoid of nutrition, following the (SAD)Standard Australian Diet and they have so much more life than I do. Just confuses and exhausts me more.
    Best of luck Patricia, am so grateful you shared this, I thought I was the only one. Thanx renegade, really love your agenda and all it’s integrity. 🙂

  9. Angie says:

    It sounds like that article was written describing me. 🙂 It was a wonderful thing to read after yet another frustrating morning waking up fatigued. I always eat my greens & drink alkaline water, but there are two food categories that seem to help me most. 1) Lots of organic/grass-fed animal products, with all the good fats: butter, raw milk, cream, raw egg yolks, raw cheeses, and meats. 2) Lots of fermented/cultured foods: cultured butter, kombucha, raw sauerkraut, raw Bubbies pickles, kefir, yogurt, cultured cream cheese, cultured sour cream, etc. These things combat the fatigue enough that I can function really well most days in spite of waking up tired.

    I just started taking fermented cod liver oil a couple of days ago (it tastes awful so I put it into capsules and take a bunch of them). I’m curious to see if it will help.

  10. Hubert says:

    Waaauw great article! It’s funny and gets to the bottom of things. Most feeling unwell (disease), having no energy is the result of a build up throught the years of toxins in the tissues and cells. The toxins David Wolfe calls ‘bad cacium’, But it’s more than just calcium 🙂
    AGE molecules, Acrylamide, furans, and many more.
    These poisons are constantly attacked by the immune system hence constant inflammation and fatigue.
    But there is another problem: after 20 years on the raw now I have by now well understood that our stomach is also impaired. It’s often not just eating the right stuff that get’s us there.
    So @ Ann Marie (# 4) the people in the blue zones are eating (rather) healthy all their lives so their digestive systems are very well adapted to the foods they eat. We ususally ate less healthy diets and then change. So the challnge for the GI-tract maybe a bit too much. So sometimes supplements (like HCL or any other for that matter) really can help you for a part of the way.
    To Sarah (# 8) The SAD diet is a ‘blow up’ diet. It gives you boost after boost untill the systems break down. So you’re just a step ahead and maybe much more fortunate than the guy does great but who gets the heart attack and is gone at 37.
    @ Angie(#9): You might also suffer from the impaired digestion so you can only get enough energy from high nutient/calory dense foods.
    So a deep cleanse (a fast for a week or so -many ways to fast) could be a good way to heal your GI tract, to reboot and to get some old toxins out.

    Thanx Dr Williams in so frankly sharing your insights !

    To #7. Sharon. just be honest to your MD, it sometimes works wonders.

  11. QC says:

    I’m recovering from an autoimmune disease. Everything has improved, even my chronic fatigue. However, sometimes I still feel tired in the morning. My blood test showed that I still have some inflammation. Since my food sensitives have been improved, I think my overactive immune system is slowly getting better.

    What I wanted to say is about a month ago, I did a blood test for omega 3 fatty acid level, and it came out slight low. According to that, I increased my consumption of hemp seeds and started to take a vegan DHA supplement. From that I see some improvement of my skin (from very dry to not as dry). Then, I realized it’s the lack of omega 3 fatty acid which caused my skin problem. I tropically put some omega 3 oil onto the area that I have eczema which has dramatically improved ever since.

    Then, bit by bit I have increased my consumption of healthy fat into my 801010 diet. Last week, I was feeling tired the whole week. My body started to ache again. I then lowered my fruit consumption, but I felt even worse, couldn’t do my regular exercise.

    It’s such a struggle, even when I was on the banana meals, I was feeling better. Now that I realized I didn’t intake enough omega 3, and try to improve it by adjusting my diet. It made me feel worse. What am I supposed to do?

  12. John says:

    Good information. I would just add that, in my experience, inflammation is a symptom and, at the same time, a causation in a hierarchical cause and effect series of relationships. There is usually, if not always, an emotional issue behind all inflammatory responses, issues which may be presently occurring in one’s life or past issues that still remain unresolved and not grounded.

    Emotional issues create blocks in the otherwise normal flow of energy throughout the body. Where energy is blocked, nutrition is also blocked from reaching any area of the body on the pathway that is blocked.

    Acupuncture can help to breakdown those energy blocks allowing more normal biochemical responses to occur as indicated by Dr. Williams above, but the energy blockage must be removed for those responses to occur, thus acupuncture is often a very helpful modality in that regard.

    That being said, until the emotional issues are resolved, we definitely need to deal with the inflammation in whatever manner we can and the sooner the better — biochemically or otherwise.

    Best regards,

  13. Hubert says:

    To QC:
    auto-immune is the body desperately trying to get rid of toxins that are stuck to your tissues. So the body attacks those tissues.
    It sounds like your cleansing is not profound enough with only the change of diet. On a mono diet (bananas) the body has the energy to heal. What yo no do might be pushing the body with your ideas of what is best to do.
    Why not focus on cleansing…
    (colonics, liver detox, fasting, juice fasting, many ways). And listen to the body, give it what it likes (as long as it’s not candy bars 🙂 ).
    Good luck.

  14. Patricia says:

    Posting more information:

    My chiropractor said the first place to begin is with a candida cleanse. Then heavy metals cleanse. Then an EMF cleanse.

    Right now my protocol is an elimination diet (very similar to McComb’s plan), but less strict. I’m actually being a bit more strict. My chiro is an applied kinesiologist and tested me for food sensitivities and food allergies. (I’m + for wheat/gluten, sugar, dairy (cow, so I can have goat & sheep), potato (except sweet potato), chicken, tuna, onion, mushroom, dill, sesame seed, etc.)

    Fruits are allowed, but I read that fruit raises potassium levels, which is bad for adrenal fatigue.

    I’ve since found out on my own to add eggs and nuts to the list of cannots.

    Suggested supplements are a multi vitamin, a b complex, and a formula for controlling candida, along with two liquids (30 drops 2x per day) for assisting with strengthening the immune system.

    She’s since added sauna sessions.

    That’s how I found the McComb’s plan.

    Now I find out here the yeast are possibly consuming my iron?

    I’m not supposed to have fermented foods / vinegars, etc. but folks here say those can have a positive effect.

    The McCombs plan lists no probiotics until week 8 of the plan.

    Does anyone have any information as to what steps to take next as I’m not getting a full program.

    I’ve completed 3 weeks of the elimination diet and supplements thus far.

    Essentially I’m looking for how to address issues w/out making other issues worse.

    Thank you for anything you can provide.


  15. sarah says:

    Thanks Hubert 🙂

  16. AOk says:

    Dear Dr Williams & Kevin

    TOTALLY *LOVE* THIS SHARE ~ Warm Hug & Thank you to you both. More importantly reading ‘real’ responses is AWESOME. So warm Thank you to all that also responded. This type of sharing really does connect & assist those in need.

    Dear Patricia ~ We hear you! Thats for sure. After reading, learning, appointments, trial & error from so many different health professionals, it can be totally daunting, trying to put it all together. What works for some, may not for others. In theory some things are precise but in practise doesnt happen & vice versa. The only accurate advice anyone can really ‘rely’ on is *Listen to your Body* it really does tell us when to Elminate, Rest, & Invigorate/Fuel & Be Kind.

    David Wolfe is pretty special & highly educated as are many others including Dr Williams & more.

    One of the most challenging sides to seeking out so many health professionals is, COST, TRUST & GUARENTEED RESULTS??? We pay for such a huge variety of everything to find the ‘right’ cure for ‘us’. It is overwhelming & can sometimes be more burdening ‘like you mention’ than the actual complaint. So revert back to simplfying. Less is best. Cleanse/Fast then Re-Introduce ‘one’ thing at a time slowly. Easier said than done, yet essential.

    Dear John

    Yessss Emotional attachments are absolutely essential to work on to maintain Balance of the above. If we have not conquered our emotional challenges, then it will not matter what food we are consuming or not consuming, the stress will add extra strain on our health issues & they will continue to re-occur. Yet in saying that, it is essential to eat Living Fresh Organic Foods, for a small clean out is better than no clean out at all.

    Dear Hubert

    Enjoyed you taking the time to address the individuals, & appreciate your comment.

    Dear ‘Just Sit There’

    Do elaborate more on your user name??? hehe! :o)

    Enjoyed your response also & felt it beneficial.

    Personally, I feel that getting thru any health challenge helps if we find Accountability Buddies to go thru all the highs & lows with. Someone you “Trust” & can rely. We are more likely to stick with Fasting, Cleasning, Fitness & Life Changes when we have someone ‘likeminded’ at our side & these type of friends dont cost money & can sometimes be more helpful than paying for a bunch of health professionals.

    Easy said than done, I respectfully understand. We all need *LOVE & CONNECTION* more than anything in the world & you would be surprised how wonderfully clever the Body is when it has this. Some amazing Optimum Health turn arounds have occurred. If you feel you already have this, then their maybe some other blockage you are unaware of. Its all connected & relevant.


    Wishing everyone here, that responded AWESOME INSPIRATION & OUTSTANDING HEALTH RESULTS! Stay MOTIVATED & get an Accountability Buddy Online if you dont have one in person! Write updates weekly to one another & you will be Surprised how quickly you can Create Change!

    Instead of focusing on how sick, how bad, how worried & how much fear you have. Focus on how you can be EVEN MORE WELL, EVEN BETTER, EVEN MORE COURAGEOUS, DETERMINED, COMMITTED & KINDER to yourself! Ive seen Terminally Ill patients REVERSE everything with the above approach, I CAN SEE all of YOU above DO THE SAME from you Reaching out & Connecting.

    Big Hug to all
    Anonymous Acts of Kindness :o)
    Patch has it going on! He may look like a
    Clown but he is a beautiful being & blessed god send!

    Dont Feed Disease by paying it what it wants from you ~ worry, focus & too much attention (FLOW not fight) BEAT IT By Being KIND & COURAGEOUS ~ Continue to give yourself Positive Affirmations (no matter your physical & emotional challenge) Live Enzymes, Love & Connection! – then Pay it forward! :o)

  17. Nikki says:

    Just how much would you suggest limiting fruit – I don’t like to hear that because fruit is a real staple of my diet!!

  18. Hanna says:

    Kevin ~ Hmmmm, just came upon this article. It all sounds good and have enjoyed the commentary from such kind and knowledgeable people. I’m just wondering if anyone has heard of and tried the Blood Type diet? This aligns permissible foods based on blood type and might account for some of the variance in people’s responses to various diets, supplements, regimens, etc.

    It was quite big several years ago but I have not heard anything about it recently. I wonder if it has been debunked or just not many people have heard of it?

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