We're all familiar with biological clocks and circadian rhythm. Traditional Chinese Medicine has emphasized the importance of working with these rhythms to achieve optimal health for centuries. But these days, we don't often think of these clocks and rhythms as affecting much more than our sleep and possibly our fertility. However, new research indicates that these rhythms could affect much more than that - including how inflammatory diseases affect us.
Researchers at Inserm, Institut Pasteur de Lille, and Université de Lille in France have been investigating a disease called fulminant hepatitis. The main cause of this serious disease is an overdose of acetaminophen. Too much acetaminophen in the body stresses the cells, which causes the immune system to go into overdrive. This in turn spikes inflammation, which destroys hepatocytes (liver cells), affecting overall liver function. It also can lead to blood coagulation disorders and brain damage. Currently, the only known treatment is a liver transplant within 24 hours of symptom onset - no small feat. So the researchers are studying the inflammatory processes involved in this disease in hopes of finding alternate solutions.
The researchers noticed an interesting pattern: immune functions seem to vary predictably throughout the day. They started focusing on a particular "biological clock protein" called Rev-erba, which affects adipose tissue, the liver, skeletal muscle, and brain cells. It also plays a key role in regulating the circadian rhythm.
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In research on mice and human immune system cells, the researchers found that injecting the mice with a molecule that revved up the action of Rev-erba could reduce the inflammatory response that was causing hepatocyte death. When the mice received this treatment, their symptoms were less severe, and more mice survived the disease. Similar results were observed with the human immune cells.
The researchers are very excited about this potential for harnessing the natural fluctuations in the immune system and inflammatory response. Diseases like peritonitis, diabetes, and atherosclerosis are also known to fluctuate in response to immune system activity, so patients with these conditions may also be able to benefit from these results in the future.
This study provides an important reminder of just how damaging high levels of inflammation can be and how important it is to calm the inflammatory response as quickly as possible - just a few hours can make a difference. Even if you're not suffering from a severe condition like fulminant hepatitis, you can likely benefit your health by taking steps to reduce your inflammatory load.
As Traditional Chinese Medicine suggests, working with your natural rhythms instead of fighting them can be a good place to start. You can improve your sleep with a formula such as Advanced Sleep Formula. A general, natural, anti-inflammatory supplement such as Reduloxin can act as a natural NSAID to fight inflammation further. For most people, when there's less inflammation, sleep is easier and more peaceful. This is one of the reasons why many people will take Advil (NSAID) before bed or Advil PM (NSAID and Benadryl).
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B. Pourcet, M. Zecchin, L. Ferri, J. Beauchamp, S. Sitaula, C. Billon, S. Delhaye, J. Vanhoutte, A. Mayeuf-Louchart, Q. Thorel, J. Haas, J. Eeckhoute, D. Dombrowicz, C. Duhem, A. Boulinguiez, S. Lancel, Y. Sebti, T. Burris, B. Staels, H. Duez. Nuclear Receptor Subfamily 1 Group D Member 1 Regulates Circadian Activity Of NLRP3 Inflammasome to Reduce the Severity of Fulminant Hepatitis in Mice. Gastroenterology, 2017; DOI: 10.1053/j.gastro.2017.12.019.