top of page

INFLAMMATION: The Chemical Process

Updated: Jan 25, 2021

by Dr. Mitchell Rasmussen, D.C., CFMP, FRC-ms

What Is Inflammation

What is inflammation? Generally speaking, it is the immune system’s response to an irritant. An irritant most commonly could be a pathogen (think ‘germs’), an external injury such as a sprained ankle or a wood splinter, or effects of chemicals or radiation. In medicine, terms that end in ‘-itis’ are referring to inflammation of whatever tissue comes with it.

Dermatitis = inflamed skin.

Hepatitis = inflamed liver.

So on and so forth.

When you have acute inflammation, you will typically notice some or all the following:

  • Redness

  • Heat

  • Swelling

  • Pain

  • Loss of function

Ok great. That is probably most of which you could already assume based on the last time you sprained your ankle. BUT

– what is happening chemically during inflammation?

Anti-inflammatory diet

If tissue damage or infection occurs, sentinel cells (fibroblasts/macrophages) send signals (cytokines) out. When these signals are released, they diffuse out and hit the wall of a small vein (venule) associated with the area of damage/infection.

This vein-sticking phenomenon causes expression of adhesion molecules on the venule, which causes the neutrophils in the nearby venule to ‘stick’ to the wall of the venule and come into the tissue, through a process known as ‘extravasation’.

This infiltration into the damaged/infected tissue by neutrophils leads to the engulfing of bacteria (if infection) OR damaged tissue (if injury).

Once the engulfing happens by these Neutrophils which have been “called” to the site of issue, these recruited neutrophils send some signals of their own. These signals hit the wall of the nearby venule and attract monocytes (specialized white blood cells which are a key mediator during the process of adaptive immunity). These monocytes are just floating by in venules at all times. Once neutrophils ‘call out’ for the monocytes, the monocytes come in, differentiate themselves into something known as a ‘Macrophage” (“big eater”), and then phagocytose (“eat”) these ‘apoptotic neutrophils’ and get rid of them.

This is a very common mode of inflammation. Neutrophilic inflammation.

Neutrophilic Inflammation

Taken one step further- Neutrophilic inflammation is a primary mechanism by which tissue is destroyed in the Autoimmune process. Failure to remove apoptotic bodies typically leads to chronic inflammation and/or Autoimmunity – this same mechanism is promoted in many other processes like insulin resistance, dysbiosis, chronic stress, etc.

Failure to remove apoptotic bodies results in CHRONIC INFLAMMATION.

What happens when there is failure in this process? Numerous potential issues, including:

chronic infections, chronic inflammation, and brain inflammation.

Anti-inflammatory supplements

We will circle back at some point to also discuss failures in inflammation resolution.


+ We can address inflammation with dietary and lifestyle intervention. An anti-inflammatory diet involves removing inflammatory triggers AND focusing on relevant anti-inflammatory nutrients. For a guided anti-inflammatory protocol, Book an Appointment with Kate.

+ For patients wanting a supplement boost, RIGHTFUL is an ideal anti-inflammatory formula. Read more about the formula here.



Want to work with a functional medicine doctor to run labs and assess nutrient status? Struggling with hormone imbalance, IBS, weight gain, mood changes? Let's look at BIOCHEMISTRY. Read more about Functional Medicine at The Facility here.

Not sure where to start?

CLICK HERE to schedule a FREE 15-Minute Consult with Kate to determine your best course of action!

Or reach out by email


MattWeaver_Chiropractor_Sports Rehab.jpg
Dr. Mitchell Rasmussen - Doctor of Chiro
Kate Daugherty - Nutritionist - Function
facility logo.png


We believe in an education FIRST model of healthcare. This space is where we share our insights, perspectives, and lessons on health & wellness. Subscribe below to stay up to date on new posts, events, and other announcements from The Facility! 

Thanks for subscribing!

Get Social:

  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Facebook

Explore by Category:

Get in Touch:

bottom of page