Inflammation as a Leading Cause of Chronic Disease

Chronic inflammation is now thought to play a key pathogenetic role in the associations of obesity with insulin resistance and diabetes.

Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999-2002 revealed strong associations of serum concentrations of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) with type 2 diabetes.  It is well-known that exposure to high concentrations of environmental pollutants can induce inflammation.

In this study, we observed that serum concentrations of OC pesticides were positively associated with C-Reactive Protein among the general population of the U.S. with background exposure to POPs.

There is no question that the exposure to certain environmental pollutants can induce inflammation. At present, the most studied area in both experimental and human studies subsumes the association between exposure to air pollution and system inflammation.

As an entirely nonspecific response to most forms of tissue damage, various factors may be involved in the chronic elevation of CRP. Our study suggested that, without consideration of exposure to POPs, CRP may not be associated with insulin resistance.

Exercise for Chronic Fatigue and the ‘I’m So Tired’ Feeling

Although it’s believed that exercise is good to help overcome chronic fatigue, and that is true, but there is a big problem with that. Both diet and exercise are issues in the solution to this problem but the newly discovered issue of persistent organic pollutants is actually the main problem.

Chronic fatigue arises from multiple sources. Physical inactivity can lead to fatigue. The problem, of course, is that when you begin to exercise, this may exhaust you even more because your exercise tolerance levels are so low.

The statement, “Get more exercise,” is too non-specific for people suffering from chronic fatigue. A step-by-step exercise program is what you need.

A combination program of resistance exercise and aerobic exercise is the best way to go. All exercise programs have three major parts:

* duration: how long

* frequency: how often

* intensity: how hard or how much effort do you expend

Resistance and Effort Evaluation

Since monitoring is so important to success, we must have a simple, yet effective method for rating effort. This allows you to determine the proper resistance to use when beginning the training program, and also to know at what point you need to increase the resistance for continued progress.

True for both aerobic exercise and resistance training, this provides a framework for an exercise prescription.

In the early 1960’s, Dr. Gunnar Borg from the University of Stockholm in Sweden, developed the idea of a scale for rating the trainee’s sense of how hard an exercise was to perform. He called this the “perceived exertion scale.”

He designed the scale so that scientists, practitioners of the health sciences, and individuals could simply, yet accurately, and without the aid of sophisticated equipment check how hard an exercise was so that the proper level of effort for each person could be determined.

Perceived exertion is a description (or rating) of your effort during exercise. It’s a measure of how hard you think the exercise is for you. Your brain can tell how hard you are breathing or how hard you are straining to lift a weight and it processes those feelings of effort that you have during your exercise.

When you say that an exercise is hard, then you are verbally stating your perception of the effort you made.

The good thing about this is that we can use a scale to measure exactly how hard you think the exercise is for you. This scale is then used to pick the correct resistance or weight to use to get good results.

Perceived Exertion Rating Scale

The scale has numbers from 0 – 10, with 0 being the “no effort” level and 10 representing the “very, very hard” level. Most of the numbers have word labels that are

easy to understand. The layout of the scale is as follows.

0              No effort at all

1              Very, very light (just noticeable)

2              Very light

3              Light

4              Moderate

5              Somewhat hard

6              Hard (heavy)


8              Very hard


10           Very, very hard (almost maximal)

When using the scale, you can rate effort by decimals, that is, 3.5 or 5.5. As you can see, 10 is listed as

almost maximal. Therefore, you can rate a 10.5 or 11 if the effort you just made was the hardest you’ve ever done.

Using the Rating Scale to Monitor Your Programs

How do you use the scale? Let’s use aerobic exercise as an example. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that aerobic training be done at 65-90% of the maximum heart rate.

This heart rate has been shown to be highly related to the 3 (moderate) to 6 (hard) level on the scale.

So, scale ratings of 3-6 can estimate training ranges for proper exercise based on scientific guidelines.

Dr. R. J. Shephard and others have shown that the scale is effective for both men and women.

Dr. Borg’s research showed that the scale is also capable of accurately rating anaerobic (resistance)

exercise. In an article published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise in 1983, Dr. Bruce Noble confirmed this.

Verbal Instructions in Use of Scale

Dr. William Morgan has provided verbal instructions for understanding the scale based on aerobic exercise: When you do aerobic exercise, try to estimate how hard you feel the work is; that is, rate the degree of perceived exertion you feel.

Think of perceived exertion as the total amount of exertion and physical fatigue, combining all sensations and feelings of physical stress, effort, and fatigue. Try to concentrate on your total, inner feeling of exertion.

Estimate as honestly and objectively as possible. Sometimes an exercise will be hard for the whole body.

You’ll feel worn out all over; this is usually the case with an activity such as running.

With resistance training, an individual muscle may get very tired before the whole body does. This also happens in biking, especially to people who are not yet in shape with the thigh muscles becoming worn out before the whole body gets tired.

When this happens, rate how hard that exercise is for that muscle group. For example, with resistance exercises for the arm muscles, the arms usually get tired or can’t do any more work well before your breathing rate or heart rate increases to higher levels. Your whole body doesn’t feel tired but your arms may hurt a lot. Just rate how hard the exercise is for your arms and don’t worry about your whole body.

Using the scale is the best way to deal with your chronic fatigue. This way you can grade how you’re doing so you don’t overdo while you recondition.

Environmental Chemicals Cause Weight Gain

There’s no question that diet composition has effects that optimize changes in bodyweight and particularly in body composition. A low-carbohydrate diet helps one reduce food intake, leading to a body composition that has more muscle and less fat.

The “super-market diet,” in contrast, increases over-all calorie intake and makes bodyweight control more difficult.

Glycemic Index

Many decades ago, several researchers implicated insulin, produced by the pancreas in response to the consumption of carbohydrates, as a cause of major health problems.

During the 1990’s, there was an explosion of interest among scientists, medical practitioners, and lay people about the potential hazards of carbohydrate consumption and its associated glucose and insulin releases.

All of this occurred simultaneously with a national celebration of the health-giving properties of these same glucose and insulin-raising carbohydrates.

Fat had already been dissed for decades, and now carbohydrates, also, too, were falling into disfavor. The problems were mounting.

If carbohydrates were bad, along with fats, what were people going to eat? To solve this problem, researchers were doing some neat arm-twisting.

Several researchers and popular authors are unconvinced about the hazards of a high-fat diet. They, in contrast to the fat-fearing majority, have proposed the reduction of carbohydrates to the point that they represent a small percentage of total daily calorie intake.

Most scientists and pseudo-scientific writers are fearful of going against the “Establishment” theory that fat is the cause of many major diseases.

This group, however, has been subject to the influence of 25 years of study into the “Glycemic Index.”

Another dietary choice for people, other than the low-carbohydrate diet, is that of the glycemic index. Here, one chooses carbohydrate foods that don’t lead, theoretically, to a rapid or prolonged increase in blood sugar (glucose) and insulin.

But that’s the rub: there’s no convincing scientific evidence supporting the usefulness of the glycemic index!

As of 2002, no international or national organization has accepted the tenets of the Glycemic Index to assist diabetic patients in maintaining control for blood sugar levels.

Recent Research Shows that Unexpected Culprits are Confounding the Problem

Chemicals as heavy metals, some solvents, pesticides, BPA, organophosphates, phthalates, PCB, PBBs, and many other substances are documented to cause weight gain. These chemicals interfere with weight and fat balance by various mechanisms related to weight-controlling hormones, activity of the sympathetic nervous system, and sensitivity to neurotransmitters.

Exposure to these chemicals varies in different age groups; their effects during fetal and infancy periods may be irreversible and long-lasting for adulthood. Even exposure to low doses of endocrine disrupting chemicals during critical times of differentiation can change the developmental programming and may result in obesity. One hypothesis on the effects of intrauterine growth on fetal programming and fetal origins of adult diseases is well documented; however, other characteristics as later growth spurt and environmental factors are considered to influence this programming. Exposure to environmental chemicals with endocrine-disrupting activities in early life may result in everlasting adverse health effects. Such health consequences may become apparent not only in childhood, but also in adulthood, and even in succeeding generations. Transgenerational effects may be because of mutations as well as because of factors regulating gene expression. Findings support the role of obesogens, as chemicals with disruptive effects on fat balance and various weight controlling mechanisms, in programming the development of excess weight from early life. Although all obesogen chemicals are not yet identified, and their detailed mechanisms of action remain to be explored, generally it is assumed that exposure to different doses of these environmental chemicals in various periods of life from fetal to adult period interacts with some endocrine signaling mechanisms and in turn leads to obesity.

It’s no longer simple!