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Scientists might have just discovered an off-switch for inflammation


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By now, you likely know all the woes inflammation can cause. (Acne? Check. Digestive problems? Check. Chronic disease? Double check.) Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a little control switch in the body that could be turned off, preventing any of those terrible problems from even happening? Well it turns out, there just might be one.

“My lab has been exploring metabolic changes in macrophages for the past six years and we’ve come across what we think is the most important finding yet.”
—Luke O’Neill, PhD

Researchers at Trinity College Dublin have apparently discovered a molecule that works to “switch off” macrophages, AKA overactive immune cells that lead to many inflammatory effects including arthritis, irritable bowel disorder, and heart disease. The miracle molecule in question: itaconate, which is derived from glucose. “My lab has been exploring metabolic changes in macrophages for the past six years and we’ve come across what we think is the most important finding yet,” says Luke O’Neill, PhD, a professor of biochemistry at Trinity and one of the study’s lead researchers.

Basically, the way it works is that the itaconate completely blocks the production of the molecules that cause inflammation, therefore protecting the body from a whole host of ailments.

Dr. O’Neill and his team have been studying the pesky overactive immune cells for six years, and all that dedication has paid off big time. His hope is that prescription drugs can be developed to activate the “switch.”

In the meantime, here are eight easy ways to reduce inflammation. But don’t freak out too much: A little inflammation can actually be good for you.

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