Inflammation is the key to understanding many ailments, including autoimmune conditions. As science learns more about the intricate workings of the human immune system, we can find many ways to combat these illnesses.
In an article called “Marshalling the body’s own weapons against psoriasis” on Science Daily there was a great explanation of how psoriasis and other inflammatory autoimmune illnesses are beginning to be treated.
“Inflammation is a defence strategy of the body against invaders. Increased amounts of blood and fluid flow into the infected areas, and the release of signalling molecules summon immune cells to the site of infection to effectively neutralise the pathogens. However, poorly coordinated or misdirected immune reactions can trigger inflammation even in the absence of external agents, thus causing undue tissue damage. This is the case in psoriasis and other autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis”
The article then goes on to show some German research into Interleukin 4; “The substance’s ability to inhibit inflammation is well known, but its mechanism of action was not fully understood.
Scientists have now shown in an animal model and in a study on patients how IL-4 helps against psoriasis at the molecular level. “Together with colleagues from Tübingen, we were able to show in earlier studies that the signalling molecule IL-4 is a promising candidate for the treatment of psoriasis,” explains Prof. Tilo Biedermann, who holds the chair for Dermatology and Allergology and is Director of the Clinic and Polyclinic for Dermatology and Allergology. “However, before IL-4 can be used as a standardised medication, we have to understand the exact mechanism of action — and we’ve now succeeded in doing just that.” They first used human and mouse cells to unravel the molecular effects of IL-4 on inflammation. The scientists discovered that IL-4 inhibits specific immune cells in a natural way: it prevents the cells from synthesizing and releasing two signaling molecules. The scientists also checked the findings from the animal model in a patient study. Twenty-two patients with psoriasis received subcutaneous injections of IL-4 over a period of six weeks. Tilo Biedermann and his colleagues then examined samples from the patients’ affected skin areas before and after the treatment.
The results confirmed the previous experiments: Before treatment with IL-4, the study participants had high levels of the signaling molecules in their inflamed and itchy skin. After successful treatment, the two substances were barely detectable. The result was that inflammation and psoriatic skin changes had disappeared.” Research continues into a viable medical cure.
So what can we do in the meantime to help with inflammatory conditions like psoriasis? My father-in-law swears that he got over his by bathing with fresh rosemary branches chopped from his garden.
“Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) is one of the most common household herbs, used as spice in a variety of foods, and employed in traditional medicine for its healing properties. Rosemary is a rich source of active antioxidant constituents such as phenolic diterpenes, flavonoids and phenolic acids. Caffeic acid and rosmarinic acid are the most important bioactive constituents. The chemical structure of rosmarinic acid derives from phenylalanine via caffeic acid and from tyrosine via dihydroxyphenyl-lactic acid. It is easily absorbed through gastrointestinal tract as well as the skin. Rosmarinic acid is one of the most important and well known natural antioxidant compounds, which possesses neuroprotective effects in different models of neuroinflammation, neurodegeneration, as well as chemical-induced neurotoxicity and oxidative stress.”
Some products like this one use rosemary in extract form as an antioxidant, or something which can slow down or reduce oxidative damage in the body. Other anti-inflammatory and antioxidant supplements are these and foods like ginger and turmeric. Try adding these to your diet in some form or another (dried, fresh or powdered, and added to smoothies or curries for example) and reducing inflammation-causing foods and drinks like coffee, alcohol and refined carbohydrates to reduce inflammation, whether suffering from an inflammatory condition or not. You may be surprised at how good you feel!
Research “The Cellular Protective Effects of Rosmarinic Acid: from Bench to Bedside.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25578431?report=abstract
Emmanuella Guenova, Yuliya Skabytska, Wolfram Hoetzenecker, Günther Weindl, Karin Sauer, Manuela Tham, Kyu-Won Kim, Ji-Hyeon Park, Ji Hae Seo, Desislava Ignatova, Antonio Cozzio, Mitchell P. Levesque, Thomas Volz, Martin Köberle, Susanne Kaesler, Peter Thomas, Reinhard Mailhammer, Kamran Ghoreschi, Knut Schäkel, Boyko Amarov, Martin Eichner, Martin Schaller, Rachael A. Clark, Martin Röcken, Tilo Biedermann. IL-4 abrogates TH17 cell-mediated inflammation by selective silencing of IL-23 in antigen-presenting cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2015; 201416922 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1416922112