ARTICLE: Do you have silent inflammation?

ImageDo you have silent inflammation? by Dr. Tim Holcomb, The Victoria Advocate, March 18, 2014

Your degree of wellness and the rate at which you are aging depend upon the level of inflammation that is ongoing in your body.

It can be silently wearing you down, resulting in chronic, degenerative diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, weight gain, arthritis, thyroid problems, fatigue, fibromyalgia and accelerated aging. That’s why I recommend the actual level be measured.

There is no way to tell just by looking at you. Here are the tests that I use to do just that. The most important test is the ratio of arachidonic acid to eicosapentaenoic acid.

This ratio should be in a certain range and can alert you to silent inflammation years to decades before you develop health problems. If this ratio is high, you are at risk of a heart attack, getting cancer, developing Alzheimer’s and more.

Another important test that is seldom measured is fasting insulin. If it is high, you are five times more likely to develop heart disease. In contrast, if you have high cholesterol, you are only twice as likely to develop a heart attack.

If your ratio of fasting triglycerides to your HDL (good) cholesterol is high, you have silent inflammation, so these need to be checked. Still another test is c-reactive protein, a common blood test that is useful but not as good as the ones already mentioned.

Measuring the percent of body fat with calipers at skin folds and waist measurements are additional tools I use as an indirect measure of inflammation and insulin resistance.

For men, ideal body fat measurements are from 12-15 percent body fat. A man’s waist should be less than 40 inches. Women should be anywhere from 20-25 percent body fat, and the waist should be less than 35 inches.

If you are serious about getting healthy again, I recommend you get these tests done as soon as possible. This way, you will know the amount of inflammation you are up against and be able to do something to help yourself in slowing down your aging process and preventing and reversing the symptoms of chronic diseases.

Tim Holcomb is a Victoria nutritionist, pharmacist, naturopath and chiropractor.


  1. sally salkowski said

    Hi Dave, Sally in Michigan here… still working on my Restless legs and arms…. I am definitely better then when I e-mailed last summer (thanks for your support) For some reason summer seems to be my worst time…so if I’m not waking up hourly this summer then I know I’m on the right track.

    I’m still trying to figure out my diet…what is your opinion on organic oats? I have read conflicting articles on weather they are inflamatory or not? I have been making granola at home and wonder if it’s a good alternative for breakfast?

    Hope all is well with you! Thanks Sally

    • rlsottawa said

      Hi Sally

      Great to hear from you! Sorry for the delay, I’ve been out of town. I’m VERY happy to hear that things are finally getting better for you.
      I don’t know anything about organic oats. I would be concerned about the starch/carbo content. That’s something I personally have to avoid. Granola is a good alternative for breakfast if you’re consuming dairy, bacon etc. but again, granola is a food high in fat that I would try to avoid if possible. If it’s a choice between granola and a typical bacon/eggs/milk type breakfast, definitely go with the granola. It’s a step in the right direction. My breakfast is a blueberry/raspberry smoothie with almond milk, Heritage O’s cereal with almond milk, green tea, and cracked wheat toast with almond butter. That’s been working wonders for me. One of the keys was to move away from regular milk to the almond milk.

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