The 12 Triggers of Inflammation: The Root Causes

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 12/15/2023

The 12 Triggers of Inflammation: The Root Causes

Imagine feeling like a worn-out rubber band, stretched thin and ready to snap. That's what chronic inflammation can feel like. You may know the basics - your body's response to injury or illness. But do you understand what triggers this fiery reaction?

Picture your favorite meal... does it have reused oils? Or maybe some preservatives? Little did we know that our diet could fan these flames inside us! The tale, however, doesn't finish here.

From vitamin D deficiency and gallbladder issues to stress and hidden viruses – they all play their part in this inflaming drama. I invite you to join me on this enlightening journey. Together, we'll delve into the root causes of inflammation.

By the end, you won't just be adept at identifying potential triggers but also ready to make changes for a healthier life! So get ready; it's going to be an exciting ride!

Unveiling the Root Causes of Inflammation

First, let's dive into how gallbladder issues can stir up inflammation. When your gallbladder isn't happy, neither is your body. Gallstones or bile sludge might be party poopers causing a stir on the right side of your body.

Mayo Clinic suggests that this discomfort can often be linked to inflammation.

Gallbladder Issues and Inflammation

The National Center for Biotechnology Information reveals that it's not just an isolated issue when things go awry with our gallbladders - like developing stones or bile sludge. It starts lighting inflammatory fires throughout our bodies, especially on the right side.

The Role of Vitamin D Deficiency in Inflammation

Sunshine vitamin, anyone? A lack of vitamin D doesn't just mean less beach time; it may also lead to pain and inflammation, as per studies from PubMed Central. So grab some sunblock because we're about to shed light on this critical topic.

Stress-Induced Inflammation

We all know stress is a villain, but did you realize it could sneakily trigger cortisol production, leading to immune system weakness? Yep. According to Harvard University, that then sets off those nasty red flags known as inflammation.

Latent Viruses and Inflammation

Last but not least, those dormant viruses hiding out in your body can be a real pain. When stress activates these sleeping giants like Epstein-Barr or herpes, they often cause inflammation and chronic fatigue, as explained by the CDC. But remember - knowledge is power.

The Impact of Diet on Inflammation

What we eat has a direct impact on our body's inflammation levels. Certain dietary elements like reused oils, MSG, preservatives, and low-quality foods can kick-start the process of inflammation.

Harmful Ingredients in Restaurant Foods

Frequenting restaurants might be fun, but some ingredients they use could silently trigger your inflammation. Reused oils or trans fats, for example, have been linked to increased inflammatory markers.

Moreover, hidden culprits such as MSG and certain food preservatives can irritate the digestive system, causing discomfort and swelling. So next time you order out, remember: what’s tasty might not always be good for you.

Common Dietary Triggers of Inflammation

You'll find sugar nearly everywhere these days - from cookies to ketchup. Did you know that sugar consumption is linked to an inflammatory response in the body?

High levels of sugar consumption have been correlated with a heightened presence of pro-inflammatory molecules in the bloodstream.

Besides sugar, grains, including gluten-containing ones like wheat and barley, also trigger an inflammatory response, especially among people with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.

Seed oils, too, aren’t left behind; excessive consumption may disrupt the omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid balance, leading to more bodily irritation.

The Problem with Ultra-Processed Foods

Munching on ultra-processed foods sure feels convenient, but they're no friend when it comes to keeping inflammation at bay. These often contain additives that exacerbate gut health problems, increasing inflammation. Woman eating a salad

The Hidden Risks of "Healthy" Keto Snacks

Beware of the "healthy" tag on your keto snacks - they may contain concealed irritants that could disturb your gut and cause inflammation. Some may contain hidden irritants that could upset your gut and trigger inflammation.

You eat. So, ensure you eat foods that promote good health and reduce inflammation. It's about selecting wisely for your physical well-being.

The Role of Body Fat and Iron Levels in Inflammation

Body fat, particularly visceral fat, can significantly affect inflammation. Visceral fat isn't just an energy storage depot; it's also an active endocrine organ that secretes hormones and cytokines - the chemical messengers that trigger inflammation.

Visceral Fat and Inflammation

The release of these inflammatory compounds by excess visceral fat is like pouring fuel on a fire. Excess visceral fat often triggers a chronic low-grade inflammatory response, resulting in health issues such as heart disease and diabetes.

Lifestyle changes are crucial to put out this fire: more exercise and a healthy diet help reduce this dangerous belly padding.

High iron levels can be another instigator for bodily inflammation. Excess iron can result in oxidative tension, where free radicals surpass the body's antioxidant safeguards and cause destruction at a cellular level.

High Iron Levels and Inflammation

This scenario becomes even more problematic if you have a genetic predisposition towards hemochromatosis – where your body stores excessive amounts of iron, leading to liver pain and other inflammatory conditions.

If you suspect high iron levels may contribute to your discomfort or illness symptoms, consider getting tested. Remember, moderation applies not only to food but nutrients as well.

The Effects of Alcohol Consumption and Eating Habits on Inflammation

Drinking alcohol, especially in excess, can be a significant trigger for inflammation. When alcohol is consumed, our bodies must expend extra energy to metabolize it, which can create inflammatory by-products.

This process creates by-products that may cause irritation and inflammation. Eating habits also play a vital role in managing or fueling inflammation. Frequent eating and snacking throughout the day stress our digestive system.

This constant bombardment doesn't give your gut time to rest and recuperate, leading to chronic bloating and an inflammatory response.

Recent studies suggest that prolonged feeding periods could exacerbate systemic low-grade inflammation – like pouring gasoline onto an already smoldering fire.

Frequent Eating: A Double-Edged Sword?

We often hear advice about small frequent meals being good for metabolism. But there's more to this story. While it might help with blood sugar control, some research suggests this habit could contribute to metabolic diseases linked with increased systemic inflammation over time.

Mindful Drinking Can Make a Difference

Reducing alcohol intake won’t just reduce hangovers; it’s also one way you can lessen body-wide inflammation. The NIAAA states that even drinking in moderation can boost inflammation levels.

So, whether it's savoring a glass of wine or spacing out meals, being mindful about what we consume can be the key to keeping inflammation at bay.


It's been quite the journey. Uncovering the root causes of inflammation - from gallbladder issues and vitamin D deficiency to stress-induced flare-ups.

We learned that even latent viruses can stir up trouble. We saw how our favorite meals could fan these flames with reused oils, MSGs, or preservatives.

The importance of keeping an eye on body fat and iron levels became apparent, too. And let's not forget those seemingly harmless "healthy" keto snacks!

This journey highlighted our power to impact our well-being—all by understanding what triggers inflammation in our bodies.

So here's to healthier eating habits, less stress, more Vitamin D... Here’s to a life free from chronic inflammation! Cheers!

Supporting Data

Healthy Keto Guide for Beginner

FREE Keto Diet Plan