What Is Inflammaging? Causes, Signs and Natural Remedies - Dr. Axe

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What Is Inflammaging? Causes, Signs & Natural Remedies


Inflammaging - Dr. Axe

It’s almost impossible to go through a day without hearing about the downsides of chronic inflammation — from an increased risk of disease to the ways it can make everyday life more difficult. It also plays a key role in the aging process, which has led to a new term: inflammaging.

Also referred to as inflamm-aging or inflammageing, it’s exactly what it sounds like: inflammation that happens as you age.

What does inflammaging do to your body, and what can you do to help manage it? Let’s explore.

What Is Inflammaging?

Inflammaging refers to a chronic, low-grade inflammation that occurs in the body, particularly as a result of aging. It is a combination of the words “inflammation” and “aging.”

As people age, the immune system may become less efficient, leading to a state of persistent, low-level inflammation. This inflammatory state is believed to contribute to various age-related diseases and conditions that affect the heart, brain and metabolism, such as cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative diseases and metabolic disorders..


Inflammaging is characterized by an increase in pro-inflammatory markers and a dysregulation of the immune response. It is thought to be influenced by various factors, including genetics, lifestyle and environmental exposures. Chronic inflammation is generally associated with the activation of the immune system and the release of inflammatory molecules, such as cytokines.

Research on inflammaging is ongoing, and understanding its mechanisms could potentially lead to strategies for mitigating age-related health issues by targeting chronic inflammation. Lifestyle factors like a healthy diet, regular exercise and proper stress management are often recommended to help reduce inflammation and promote overall well-being, especially as individuals age.


Inflammaging is a complex phenomenon influenced by various factors. The causes of inflammaging are multifaceted and may include:

  • Genetics: Genetic factors can contribute to an individual’s susceptibility to inflammation. Certain genetic variations may impact the regulation of the immune system and inflammatory responses.
  • Cellular Senescence: As cells age, they may enter a state of senescence, where they no longer divide but remain metabolically active. Senescent cells can produce inflammatory molecules, contributing to chronic inflammation.
  • Immunosenescence: Aging is associated with changes in the immune system, known as immunosenescence. This can result in a less efficient immune response, leading to a chronic, low-level inflammatory state.
  • Chronic Infections: Persistent infections, such as viral or bacterial infections, can contribute to chronic inflammation over time. The immune system’s continuous response to these infections may lead to inflammaging.
  • Environmental Factors: Exposure to environmental stressors, pollutants and toxins can contribute to inflammation. Chronic exposure to such factors may amplify the inflammatory response in the body.
  • Lifestyle Factors: Unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and inadequate sleep, can promote inflammation and contribute to inflammaging.
  • Adipose Tissue (Fat) Inflammation: Adipose tissue can produce inflammatory molecules. Excess body fat, especially visceral fat, is associated with increased inflammation, which can be a contributing factor to inflammaging.
  • Dysregulation of Signaling Pathways: Age-related dysregulation of signaling pathways, such as those involving cytokines and other immune modulators, can contribute to chronic inflammation.
  • Mitochondrial Dysfunction: Dysfunction in the mitochondria, the cellular powerhouses, can lead to the release of reactive oxygen species, triggering inflammation.

Understanding these various contributors to inflammaging helps researchers develop strategies to mitigate its effects. Lifestyle modifications, anti-inflammatory interventions and other therapeutic approaches are being explored to target inflammaging and potentially improve overall health in aging individuals.


Inflammaging may manifest itself through a variety of signs and symptoms. It’s important to note that these symptoms can vary among individuals, and the presence of one or more of these signs does not necessarily indicate inflammaging in every case.

Some common signs and symptoms associated with inflammaging include:

  • Chronic Fatigue: Persistent feelings of fatigue and low energy levels may be linked to the ongoing inflammatory processes in the body.
  • Joint Issues: Inflammation can affect joints. Pain, stiffness and reduced mobility may be indicative of inflammaging.
  • Cognitive Decline: Chronic inflammation has been associated with cognitive decline and an increased risk of neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s. Memory problems and cognitive impairment may be observed.
  • Increased Susceptibility to Infections: A weakened immune response associated with inflammaging may result in an increased susceptibility to infections.
  • Skin Changes: Inflammation can affect the skin, leading to changes such as redness, swelling and increased sensitivity. Skin conditions like psoriasis may be exacerbated.
  • Digestive Issues: Inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract may contribute to digestive problems, including bloating, discomfort and changes in bowel habits.
  • Mood Changes: Chronic inflammation has been linked to mood disorders, such as depression. Individuals experiencing inflammaging may be more prone to mood swings and feelings of anxiety or sadness.
  • Cardiovascular Issues: Inflammation is a contributing factor to cardiovascular issues. Symptoms may include chest pain, shortness of breath and increased risk of heart attacks.
  • Insulin Resistance: Inflammaging has been associated with insulin resistance, which can contribute to metabolic disorders like type 2 diabetes. Symptoms may include increased thirst, frequent urination and fatigue.
  • Muscle Weakness: Inflammation may impact muscle health, leading to weakness and reduced muscle mass.

It’s important to recognize that these signs and symptoms are not exclusive to inflammaging and can be associated with various health conditions. Diagnosis and management of inflammaging typically involve comprehensive health assessments, including blood tests to measure inflammatory markers.

If individuals experience persistent or concerning symptoms, it is advisable to consult with a health care professional for a thorough evaluation and appropriate guidance on managing inflammation and overall health.

Natural Remedies

Addressing inflammaging often involves adopting a holistic approach that includes lifestyle modifications, dietary changes, regular physical activity, stress management and, in some cases, targeted supplementation. Here are some natural remedies that may help mitigate inflammaging:

1. Anti-Inflammatory Diet

If you want to combat inflammation, naturally you should consume more anti-inflammatory foods. Here are some of the best foods to fight inflammation and inflammaging:

You also want to avoid inflammatory foods. Limit or avoid processed foods, refined sugars and excessive intake of red meat, as they may contribute to inflammation.

Make sure you also drink plenty of water to support overall health and hydration, which can influence inflammatory processes. Certain herbal teas, such as green tea and chamomile, contain compounds with anti-inflammatory effects as well.

2. Regular Exercise

Physical activity can help reduce inflammation. Aim for a mix of aerobic exercise, strength training and flexibility exercises. Moderate-intensity activities like walking, cycling or swimming can be beneficial.

3. Stress Management

Practices like mindfulness meditation can help reduce stress and inflammation. In addition, techniques like deep diaphragmatic breathing can have a calming effect on the nervous system.

In addition, ensure sufficient and quality sleep, as inadequate sleep can contribute to inflammation. Maintain a consistent sleep schedule, and create a sleep-friendly environment.


4. Supplements

Consult with a health care professional before taking supplements. Some supplements with potential anti-aging and anti-inflammatory effects include:

  • Omega-3 fatty acid supplements
  • Curcumin (from turmeric)
  • Vitamin D, which plays a role in immune function
  • Probiotic supplements for gut health
  • Leafy greens
  • Elderberry
  • Liver cleanse supplements
  • Candida supplements
  • Collagen

It’s crucial to note that individual responses to these remedies may vary. Additionally, these strategies are not a substitute for professional medical advice. Individuals with underlying health conditions or concerns should consult with a health care provider for personalized guidance on managing inflammaging and overall health.

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