Inflammation is a response by the immune system to defend the body from injury. With the onset of inflammation, blood capillaries dilate and immune cells called leukocytes enter the injured area of the body, producing redness, pain, and swelling at the injury site. This is the classic view of acute inflammation. But there are other, more subtle types of inflammation that have potent effects on health and longevity. This involves a type of inflammation that affects the entire body, known as sustained systemic inflammation. Such systemic inflammation is strongly linked to cardiovascular disease and cancer, the two leading causes of human death. You can read a technical paper on how systemic inflammation influences cancer here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2803035/. The debate among researchers is which came first: the disease or the inflammation. In any case, having uncontrolled systemic inflammation adds to the problem. Although inflammation, because of its relationship to injuries, is often thought of as a negative aspect of health, in fact, it offers some vital protection against the spread of disease. Inflammation is the first step in the healing process.
A good example of this is what happens in muscle tissue following intense weight-training workouts. When you train a muscle intensely, you damage the muscle. This causes debris to build up in the muscle that you trained. But the muscle cannot initiate repair processes until that debris is cleared. The best way to rapidly get rid of the workout-induced muscle debris is through local inflammation in the damaged muscle fibers. This inflammation draws immune cells to the damaged area called macrophages that work to engulf and eliminate the excess debris that holds up the muscle repair process. Other immune cells prodded by the localized inflammation in muscle work as anabolic signaling factors, prodding the release of hormones involved in the muscle repair process, such as insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and Mechano-growth factor (MGF). Both of these locally produced hormones in muscle work to promote the activity of satellite cells, muscle stem cells involved in the muscle repair process. If all goes well, the end result is muscular hypertrophy or muscular growth. But a key point here is that the localized inflammation in a muscle that follows muscle damage initiates the entire muscle repair process.
If anything interferes with this immediate local inflammation in muscle, it could blunt or halt the muscular hypertrophy process. An example of this is ingesting larger doses of anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen right after training. Ibuprofen works by inhibiting enzymes that produce prostaglandins from arachidonic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid. One, in particular, prostaglandin F2A, is involved in . . .