After attending an Institute For Functional Medicine conference in 2000, I returned with the knowledge that excess inflammation was a main driver of chronic disease, and how to reduce inflammation in the body would become the question of the decade.
Optimum's first anti-inflammatory formulation
As a result I formulated the very first Optimum Health Vitamins product. A synergistic anti-inflammatory combination called Opti-A.I. It contained Curcumin and Boswellia for their broad spectrum anti-inflammatory effects inside cells. Type II Collagen for its anti-inflammatory effects on cartilage, and within the connective tissue between your cells, (i.e. the the extracellular matrix.) Quercetin and Green Tea for their ability to modulate immune response, thereby blocking inflammatory pathways. Plus Rosemary and Grapeseed Extract for their extensive antioxidant properties, and hormonal effects. It was designed to reduce chronic inflammation, as well as acute injury or joint pain.
Chronic inflammation and the poor health correlation
Since at the time I had many clients seeking support while undergoing cancer treatments, I was particularly interested in how inflammation promoted the initiation/proliferation of cancer. It quickly became clear to me that the root cause of so many dysfunctions in the body didn't end with inflammation, but rather with the inhibitory effects that it has on on the mitochondria, i.e. our energy production, and the increase in metabolic acidity that is created as a result.
Have you heard these sayings before?
Many of you have likely heard things like "cancer can't survive in high oxygen", or "cancer can't survive in an alkaline environment". These ideas have been around for many decades, but the question for me was how did they all tie together?
It was while I was talking to a client in 2001 that all the pieces of the puzzle fell into place for me. You see it doesn't matter how you arrive at a highly inflamed state, be it trauma, activation of the stress response, excesses in blood sugar and insulin, hormonal imbalances, or through immune responses, once inflammation is present, it brings with it high amounts of oxidation, (similar to how a flame automatically brings with it large amounts of heat.) This oxidative stress throws your cells into imbalance, (i.e. redox imbalance), disrupting the balance of charges within the mitochondria necessary to properly use oxygen to produce energy.
When we get highly inflamed, it is like the pilot light in our mitochondria goes out
Even though oxygen may be present, we stop using it normally, and our energy (ATP) production drops dramatically...from an approximate factor of 36 to 2! Our cells then switch into the back-up method of producing energy...the ancient, (bacterial) highly inefficient method called fermentation, which DOESN'T use oxygen, (i.e. anaerobic metabolism), but produces a waste product, namely lactic acid. The lactic acid then further adds to the oxidative imbalance that knocked-out the energy production to begin with, propagating a vicious cycle of poor oxygen utilization, low energy, and high acid.
These ideas have been around since the 1930's
As mentioned, this is far from new information. These ideas have been around since the 1930's and 40's, with the work of Otto Warburg, who won more than one Nobel Prize for his contributions, and have been discussed at length on countless websites and forums.
Yet, even though ideas about inflammation, mitochondria, low oxygen and high acidity are common, none that I have seen tie them all together with inflammation as the driver of the cycle. This was the purpose behind the Biggs Model of Inflammation & Mitochondrial Inhibition. To propose how inflammation directly impacts the mitochondria, what effects result, and how this impacts our physiology, creating dysfunction.
The 3 important steps to reducing chronic inflammation are:
As soon as a tissue is inflamed, the affected cells stop using oxygen normally, energy production drops, and they don't do their jobs. Conversely, when you drive the cycle in the opposite direction by:
- reintroducing redox balance (balance of charges) in the mitochondria
- directly reducing inflammation via halting production within/around cells
or working with the control points mentioned above that lead to inflammation in the first place, everything improves! You have less pain, a better brain, more physical energy, better mood and a more optimistic state of mind. You have more balanced immunity and fewer unwanted immune responses/reactions, better blood sugar, less tendency to store fat, more balanced sex-hormones, a healthier response to stress...and the list goes on. And it all boils down to your tissues being able to produce energy more effectively so they can do their jobs better!
Without adequate energy which of your active tissues work properly? None of them! And when energy is low your tissues become highly vulnerable, (particularly those in your brain and central nervous system.)
So, even though the information contained in the Biggs Model was originally put together surrounding prevention of cancer, it quickly became clear to me that it applied to many more health challenges. Particularly conditions highly impacted by the mitochondria, such as musculoskeletal conditions like fibromyalgia / chronic fatigue, and neurological conditions, such as Parkinson's and Multiple Sclerosis .
Having used this model now for almost 20 years we have been able to help countless people with it
The entire model will be explained at length in a more formal publication soon to appear on this website. Yet, for the purposes of this article, once again the main actions that someone needs to take to reduce inflammation in the body are to push all three of the vicious cycle factors, (inflammation, low oxygen, and acidity) in the opposite direction, and then to reverse the factors that lead to the inflammation to begin with.
In other words, as mentioned above, alkalinize, support your mitochondria, and directly reduce the production of inflammatory molecules. Then balance your immune response and hormones, pay attention to moderating your blood sugar and insulin, support your adrenals and thyroid, and do your best to quiet your stress response.
Of course each individual is going to have different areas that they need to pay more or less attention to but if you can "unplug" the inflammatory response, then address the factors that lead up to it, you are well on your way to optimum health. In fact these "control points" in our physiology were largely what the Optimum Health Vitamins line of supplements were designed around.
Being more alkaline = having more energy
Turning your body more metabolically alkaline helps to break the vicious cycle of oxidation that holds everything in place, lifting a burden off your mitochondria. For anyone who has ever gone on an alkaline diet, what is the first thing they report? More energy!
What I have always found most effective over a matter of days at turning your body alkaline are citrate mineral salts, especially potassium citrate. This is what our Opti-Alkaline supplement was designed for. We have discussed the reasons for this in more detail in this prior article 5 Health Benefits Of Maintaining An Alkaline Body-pH
Next how do you support your mitochondria?
You reintroduce a balance of charges with natural ingredients that contribute to the charges required to establish the flow of energy. The substances found in our Cell Fuel supplement are all aimed at accomplishing this.
Cell Fuel article -How To Effectively Unleash More Energy From Your Oxygen
And, as described above, what is now our Opti-AI Ultra formula is designed to reduce the production of inflammatory molecules and mediators, and support joint comfort and health with the dramatically enhanced absorption provided by LongVida Curcumin. On the other hand our Opti-A.I. Extra formula with added Resveratrol and Nettle Root, in addition to adding extra anti-inflammatory punch, also helps balance the immune system.
The ingredients in our A.I.Extra formula also dramatically help your cells by acting as Nrf2 activators, which can have profoundly healing effects on cellular function, driving all of the above factors in the desired direction. (See the end of this article called "the next big thing ahead" to read more about Nrf2 activators.
So stay tuned to this blog this year for many more details on how and why these formulas work to help you live better.
Until next time,
Disclaimer: The above information is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your physician.