In Nutrition, Videos

December 01, 2009

Video Article

Few people work out thinking they want to “reduce inflammation.” Most hit the gym to feel better, look better or increase performance. According to Dr. Barry Sears, what they’re really doing is reducing inflammation.

High-intensity exercise works to reduce inflammation, which in turn reduces fat storage and often produces chiselled abs and rippling pecs. Working out, however, isn’t enough. You need to go further upstream to combine a great workout program with a diet aimed at reducing inflammation. Reductions in inflammation can result in increased performance but can also help people suffering from depression, Alzheimer’s and a host of other afflictions.

Speaking shortly after his live webcast to the CrossFit community, Dr. Sears explains that he’s moved beyond invasive blood tests to develop a urine test that measures levels of inflammation. His goal: producing hard data and finding the best ways to prevent inflammation and improve health.

Video by Again Faster.

6min 49sec

Additional reading: Glycemic Index by Greg Glassman, published Nov. 1, 2002.

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21 Comments on “Inflammation: Part 3 of the Conversation”


wrote …

Great stuff, thoroughly enjoying this.


wrote …

As usual grat stuff love this series, i got to get ahold of that webcast...



wrote …

Can anyone explain to me or point me in the direction of some research on the mechanism behind insulin resistance being caused by inflammation.


wrote …


I think you have it the other way around. Insulin Resistance is what causes the inflammation. High levels of insulin themselves will alter the production of eicosanoids in favour of the pro-inflammatory family. It also tends to up-regulate the production of cholesterol (mainly VLDL) due to the high levels of triglycerides a diet high in carbohydrates (promoting high insulin) promotes. Typically someone who is insulin resistant also has chronic high blood sugar, which usually leads to accelerated aging/inflammation due in large part to what are known as Advanced Glycation Endproducts (AGE's). Just doing a quick google search on Insulin Resistance + inflammation/triglycerides/cholesterol/AGE's will yield plenty of reading material. Hope that helps!


wrote …

WOW! Nothing was good in there, not even the eggs, pork or broccoli, the eggs are conventionally raised with steroids and antibiotics, inside a cage for their entire life, no sun, with a hole in the back of the cage so they can poop and another one in front so they can eat the pesticide full, genetically modified Monsanto's corn. The pork, well the same way or worst, fed contaminated grains, animal byproducts, steroids, GH, antibiotics and lots of crap, like plastic chips, powder cement, wood powder and even car oil to make them fat quick and put it right on your kitchen table, the broccoli conventionally farmed with some DHT and pesticides, now we wonder why America is sooo sick, fat and LAZY! of course having a free health insurance will cost so much!!


wrote …


That's pretty much how I understood it too, minus VLDL production being ramped up due to triglycerides (I thought they were independent effects of hyperinsulinemia). The video at about 3:30 says otherwise. Interested in that mechanism.


wrote …


I just think Sears explains it in a different way. I believe what he is saying is: consistently raising your insulin levels, which will not allow fatty acids to be released from fat tissue, is an inflammatory state, which overtime can lead to insulin resistance(broad term). At least thats what I am getting from it?


wrote …


A quick search on Pubmed

revealed 450+ papers on "insulin + inflammation"


replied to comment from Zachary Frankhouser

Here are a few references courtesy of Dr. Sears:
1. Sears B. The Anti-Inflammation Zone. Regan Books. New York, NY (2005)
2. Sears B. Toxic Fat. Thomas Nelson. Nashville, TN (2008)
3. Heilbronn LK, and Campbell LV. “Adipose tissue macrophages, low-grade inflammation and insulin resistance in human obesity.” Curr Pharm Des 14: 1225-1230 (2008)
4. Kahn S, Hull RL, and Utzschneider KM. “Mechanisms linking obesity to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.” Nature 444:840-846 (2007)
5. Shoelson SE, Lee J, and Goldfine AB. “Inflammation and insulin resistance.” J Clin Invest 116:1793-1801, (2006)
6. Lee YH and Pratley RE. “The evolving role of inflammation in obesity and the metabolic syndrome.” Curr Diab Rep 5:70-75 (2005)
7. Yudkin JS. “Inflammation, obesity, and the metabolic syndrome.” Horm Metab Res 39:707-709 (2007)
8. Hotamisligil GS. “Inflammation and metabolic disorders.” Nature 444: 860-867 (2006)


wrote …

Thanks much


wrote …

I have found it very interesting -- and lifestyle changing -- to realize that my favorite liberal functional medicine radio doctor, Dr Dawn Motyka, agrees with Robb Wolf and Sears about nutrition and inflammation. (And yes, Dr. Sears does drive home the food quality issue in his many books, especially _The Top 100 Zone Foods_.) She and other practicing doctors also recommend fish oil (DHA and EPA) as well as recognize the inflammatory nature of dairy, soy, grains, etc. This particular discussion on Dr Dawn's podcast was really interesting, as they talk about how these common allergens lead to autoimmune disease and how people can start to heal themselves, basically by switching to a Paleo diet. Apparently there are tests to detect antibodies to certain proteins to see if you are starting to develop an autoimmune disease. She also talks about fish oil here: .

BTW, these podcasts have been very interesting. I can even share them with my family since there is no swearing.


Umm... "...pesticide full, genetically modified Monsanto's corn." Technically, Monsanto's (and other GMO's) corn doesn't need pesticides because it is genetically modified to be pest resistant. The subject of GMOs is very complex and for the most part they are a god send, especially for people living in third world countries with severe climate issues. On the whole, GMOs are tested more and are much safer than organic foods.
As for the rest of your claims, they are seriously overstated at best. If you went out on a mission to find the worst offenders selling low grade food you might be able to find a couple places that do some of those things. I would suggest you spend more time doing actual scientific research (a green peace blog does not constitute research) and less trying to scare people off with baseless accusations.


wrote …

Did Dr. Sears say aspirin cures diabetes?


replied to comment from Richard Marsh


I think he did. "Cure" might be a little strong. The study linked below is pretty impressive. High dose aspirin's not the way to go though. The downside is pretty bad: bleeding ulcers, GI perforations, stroke, tinnitus... The results point to the role of inflammation in insulin resistance though. (WFS)

Published in Volume 109, Issue 10 (May 15,2002)
J. Clin. Invest. 109(10): 1321-1326 (2002). doi:10.1172/JCI14955.
Copyright © 2002, American Society for Clinical Investigation


Jeff Barnett wrote …

I think I don't fully understand Dr. Sear's definition of inflammation. When I think of inflammation I think of a muscle injury or allergic reaction. Tissue swells and becomes red. How on God's green earth does this cause things like Alzheimer's? I don't doubt that it does, but I want to understand. My grandmother died of Alzheimer's and dimensia and she probably weighed 80 pounds at death. She was definitely not inflamed in the sense I understand it.

I am an avid zoner and user of fish oil, but this part of the equation still seems fuzzy to me. I heard 20 times in this video "___ is caused by inflammation," but I still don't understand how or why, and the way I understand inflammation makes it seem very illogical. It's as if someone told me that flat tires are caused by clogged kitchen sinks.

Does anyone understand where I'm coming from, and is anyone able to explain or point me to a reference to better understand inflammation as something other than puffy redness?


wrote …

I am with you on this one. I when I think of inflammation I think of exactly the same thing. I keep trying to talk to people about the Zone, but when this part comes up... I am alil weak on the explanation.


wrote …

Jeff and Josh -

It's been awhile since I read it, but I believe Sears' book the Anti-Inflamation Zone describes the cycle of inflammation to anti-inflamation (and the role of eicasonoids in that process). He also describes the difference between the acute inflammation you are familiar with and the chronic, low-level inflammation which he calls "silent inflammation" and which wreaks its havoc over time. The difference is one of degree. You can feel the intense inflammation in your head caused by drinking a case of beers last night, you can't feel the mild but perpetual inflammation of your arteries caused by chronically elevated insulin and an imbalance of pro vs. anti- inflammatory eicosonoids.


wrote …

Great series!

One thought I'd like to get your feedback on.
What Dr Sears in effect is saying is that you choose to have cancer!
By an incorrect diet you maintain a high level of inflammation in the body which is likely to lead to chronic disease - maybe cancer, maybe alzheimer's, maybe something else.

I have (before coming across Dr Sears) had a hypothesis that a lot of the diseases that are commonly regarded as hereditary through DNA are actually hereditary in habits. You do not inherit your fathers/mothers "disposition" for cancer on genetic level but on lifestyle level. If you grow up with a diet that is "high inflammatory" you are likely to maintain that diet throughout adulthood thus unknowingly choosing cancer, but blaming it on bad genes, and passing on your diet to your kids hoping they do not inherit the "bad genes".
It is obviously great business for the pharmaceutical industry if cancer and diet was not linked.

Am I extrapolating this too far?

If the above make sense, how would one explain children getting cancer?
For example in the case of child leukemia, can a child inherit enough inflamed blood cells to trigger leukemia during the first few years?
And if so, would a stricter diet during the first years have reversed the disease?


wrote …

Forgot to mention: My thoughts on this come from studying the macrobiotic diet (


replied to comment from Fredrik Lyhagen

Oh, I don't think anyone is saying you choose to have cancer. I think what Dr. Sears is saying is that your diet affects the expression of your genes. Genes that don't exist can't express, and genes that need inflammation to express will blossom in that environment (or won't in its absence).


replied to comment from Tony Budding

Ok but how do you then develop "genes that need inflammation to express" (let's call it "bad genes" for simplicity)?
Is that purely DNA i.e. you either have it or you don't?
Or can you develop bad genes through lifestyle? (diet, smoking, exposure to certain chemicals, etc)?

I know that the statement "you choose cancer" is very provocative but drawing my interpretation of Dr Sears research to it's ultimate conclusion that in effect what you do (knowingly or unknowingly).

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