They say that the ability to measure is the absolute foundation of all science.
That certainly holds true for measuring silent inflammation in your body.
Since your level of wellness and anti-aging is ultimately dependent upon the degree of silent inflammation in your body, it behooves you to measure the actual level of silent inflammation present in your body.
A simple blood test, that was anything but simple to discover and develop.
You need the blood test, because there is no way to tell just by looking whether you have silent inflammation. I guess you could call it "invisible inflammation" as well!
What you look like on the outside may have nothing to do with what level of silent inflammation you have on the inside.
You may have abs of steel, but have exceedingly high levels of silent inflammation internally.
You may be a bit pudgey and have low levels of silent inflammation.
There are a few, but one is the very best.
These tests are sophisticated and have only been developed over the last several years. But in order of importance, they are:
- The gold standard test is the ratio of arachidonic acid (AA) to eicosapentanoic acid (EPA): (AA/EPA)
This ratio alerts you to silent inflammation years to decades in advance of the development of any chronic or degenerative illness.
An ideal AA/EPA ratio is between 1 and 3. Anything above or below that puts you at risk for all the consequences of silent inflammation that is out of balance.
"How could that be?" you ask. If 1 to 3 is ideal, wouldn't 0.5 be better? The answer is a resounding "NO."
Remember, in the body, as in life, balance is everything. Your body needs some pro-inflammatory eicosanoids to help it fight off infectious disease and to help your body repair damaged tissues.
If your AA/EPA ratio is high (>3.0), you are at greater risk of developing a heart attack, getting cancer or developing Alzheimers and more. (Studies show that for each 1% drop in your AA/EPA ratioo, the risk of dying from heart attack is reduced by 2%)
Here's a nice risk rating based on Dr. Sears work:
- 1-3: Low risk
- 3-8: Moderate risk
- 9-15: High risk and
- Greater Than 15: Very High Risk.
Barry Sears, Ph.D., researcher and renowned scientist, believes that the AA/EPA ratio is the single most powerful blood test you can take. In his own words, "I firmly believe that it predicts your likelihood of developing cancer, Alzheimer's and heart disease decades before these diseases manifest themselves.
Unfortunately, most doctors do not know about this test and where to get it and there are only a few places that do it well.
For more information on where to get tested for your AA/EPA ratio, please email me by clicking here.
- Fasting insulin levels also help quantify your level of silent inflammation.
This is a simple test that your doctor can perform in nearly every medical lab.
An ideal fasting insulin level is 5.0 uIU/ml and a good level is anything < 10 uIU/ml.
The higher your fasting insulin level, the more inflammation your body is producing.
This is because insulin stimulates the production of arachidonic acid (AA) from omega-6 fatty acids (in particular DGLA: dihydro-gamma-linolenic acid). AA is the most powerful pro-inflammatory molecule in your body. It generates both COX (Cyclo-oxygenase) and LOX (Lipo-oxygenase) pro-inflammatory eicosanoids.
Studies show that if your fasting insulin level is > 10 uIU/ml, you are 5 times as likely to develop heart disease. Interestingly, if you have high cholesterol, you are only 2 times as likely to develop a heart attack.
- Triglyceride/HDL Ratio is a secondary biomarker for silent inflammation.
If your level of fasting triglycerides (TG) divided by your HDL (good) cholesterol is greater than 2, you have increased silent inflammation.
A 2001 study shows that those with a low TG/HDL ratio (<2) had half the risk of developing heart disease than those with a high TG/HDL ratio (>2), even if they smoked, were sedentary or had high LDL (bad) cholesterol or high blood pressure.
- Highly Sensitive C-Reactive Protein (hsCRP) is currently the most "popular" and well known test for silent inflammation.
The problem is, it's not that great a test for silent inflammation. For more information on why the C Reactive Protein inflammation marker is not very useful, click here.
Initially, hsCRP was an exciting marker, even making the cover of TIME magazine. In fact, some studies showed that elevated hsCRP was a better predictor of heart disease risk than high cholesterol levels.
Unfortunately, recent studies have not confirmed these initial findings, mainly because many other things can increase your hsCRP level.
Also, there is no evidence that lowering your hsCRP level will actually decrease silent inflammation in your body.
For example, aspirin is a great anti-inflammatory drug, but it will not lower hsCRP levels.
Vitamin E will lower the hsCRP level, but it does not significantly decrease inflammation or prevent cardiovascular mortality.
In spite of the above problems, the hsCRP still offers some measure of silent inflammation and if that motivates you to live a healthier lifestyle, it's worth measuring.
A hsCRP < 1 is ideal. Between 1 and 3 is considered "average risk" and hsCRP levels > 3 dramatically increase your risk of heart disease, even if you have normal cholesterol levels.
- Body Fat or Waist Measurement provide an indirect assessment of silent inflammation, because they reflect insulin levels.
For men, ideal body fat measurements are 12 to 15% body fat. For women, 20 to 25% body fat.
For men, waist measurements >40 inches indicates a significant risk for heart disease and insulin resistance. In women >35 inches indicates a high risk.
So, that's it folks. I know it's a lot of information, but imagine the advantage you have in measuring your level of silent inflammation.
So ask your doctor if they can do a blood test for an AA/EPA ratio. (Arachidonic Acid/Eicosapentaenoic Acid). One lab that performs this test can be reached at 1-877-557-7722, but your doctor will need to apply for lab privileges and then write the order for you.
If you would just prefer to get tested through my office, please complete the form below to receive more information or feel free to call my office and speak to my nurse Cathy at 949.502.5656.