Sub-Clinical Inflammation Lesson from “The Inflammation Doctor”

Sub-Clinical Inflammation Lesson from “The Inflammation Doctor”

I am often asked how I got into helping people work towards reversing chronic health issues without the use of medications or surgery.  The simple answer, My mom.


When I was young, I didn’t have a mom due to her chronic disease. When my mom was in her 40s, she went from working full-time and raising two boys to a doctor saying, “Sorry, you’re going to be spending the rest of your life in a wheelchair.” She was eventually diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

Now, I’m happy to say that she is in 100% complete remission and medication-free.   She is  70+ years old. She just started running 5k races a couple years ago. Now she wins them in her age group. She’s on zero medications. She’s our lead health coach, and she’s coached hundreds and now thousands of patients to complete success. By success, I mean helping them achieve their weight loss goals, get off medications, and reverse their chronic health issues: everything from hormonal imbalance, diabetes, peripheral neuropathy, fibromyalgia, arthritis, et cetera.

Since I got my mom back I have dedicated my entire career to helping others.

There are many myths and misconceptions on chronic disease.  With my mom I have had personal experience with the medical world and the advice that is given.  We were told and many people believe that chronic disease is unavoidable or that it comes with aging. Some believe the cause of chronic disease is genetic or that there’s not much they can do about it. That simply isn’t the case.

The Medical Field:

It’s my mission to help as many people as possible achieve their true and full health potential without the use of drugs or surgery, but we need a new perspective.   We know that doctors are typically considered to be smart. We know that doctors have to go to school for a very long time. We know that doctors typically mean well. We know that new medical advancements come out every year. We also know that doctors are sometimes wrong because they don’t stay up on the current changes. There was a time where doctors actually recommended cigarettes because it would reduce the birth weight of the babies, and they theorized that smoking was good during pregnancy because it would lower the birth weight and make delivery easier. But think about it–how long did it take before we all agreed that smoking wasn’t healthy for us? Well, it took decades before we all agreed that smoking was unhealthy for us.

Now, think about how crazy that is, but that used to be the suggestion. When you look at some of the side effects of medications that we deal with today, whether it’s simple medications like Metformin or Avandia or Celebrex or even statin medications, the side effects are very dangerous.  Now we know the risk because new information came out about statin and cholesterol medications and most people don’t realize that in about 2014, the FDA completely reversed its position and no longer recommends taking an aspirin, even a baby aspirin, a day. I think in probably the next five or ten years, just like we laugh at the old smoking advertisements, we’ll be laughing at doctors who prescribe medications such at Metformin or aspirin or statin medications. It’s no different, we just don’t see it that way yet.

The problem is the majority of doctor visits are spent looking at your blood pressure, your height, your weight, reviewing your labs, reviewing your medications and, I always love this, when you leave and a doctor says, “By the way, you need to lose weight,” as if you didn’t know that already before you went in there. The problem is that we have these short office visits, and we’re not talking about the root problem. We’re just giving medications because we know traditional medicine covers up symptoms. It doesn’t treat the root cause. It’s kind of like if you were to step on a dog’s tail,  it would cause the dog to bark. Yes, putting a muzzle on the barking dog would stop the barking. It would stop the symptom, which is the barking, but it’s not getting to the root cause, which is stepping on the dog’s tail. The simple solution to fix the problem would be to remove your foot from the tail.

We can mask symptoms by putting a mask or a muzzle on it. In healthcare, we do that by medications, but it doesn’t get to the root cause. 

I’ll ask you this. What motivation do drug companies have to get you healthy? Well, we know that the top three drugs include analgesics, cholesterol medications, and antidepressants. Those are the top three prescription medications. When you add up all the costs, we’re looking at  billions spent on prescription drugs. In 2018, $360 billion was spent on prescription medications. The pharmaceutical companies only make money when you stay sick and stay on drugs. To put it another way, what incentive do drug companies have to get you healthy and get you off drugs? The answer is drug companies have zero financial incentive to get you healthy.

Sadly, there’s a saying that there’s more money in the treatment of a disease with medications than there is in a cure, meaning there’s a lot more money to be made if a drug company can keep you on drugs on a daily basis rather than giving you one pill that would fix it. Of course, there is no one pill that fixes things other than maybe antibiotics. For the chronic Western disease that we face today, we try to fix it with medications, but we know that it’s not from a medication deficiency. We’re giving these medications, but it’s just putting a muzzle on the problem and masking the symptoms. It’s not getting to the root cause, which is inflammation.

So what is the root cause?

For many years, myself and fellow researchers have identified what’s called sub-clinical inflammation- sub like a submarine, like under-sub-clinical inflammation. Now, what do I mean by that? Well, we’re all familiar with what’s called clinical inflammation. Clinical inflammation is when you sprain your ankle and it swells up. It’s very red. It’s hot. It’s painful. It’s very obvious. That’s clinical inflammation, but what I’m talking about is sub-clinical inflammation.

Think of sub-clinical inflammation like a low-grade irritant in your body.  If your inflammation gets a little bit elevated, it becomes like lava below the surface; if lava below the surface stays low and it doesn’t erupt, it’s fine, but if that lava and that pressure starts to build up, eventually it’s going to erupt and it’s going to cause a host of health issues. Inflammation builds up over time, and again you can’t necessarily see it or feel it, but we know it is there because we have tests for it. As this inflammation builds up, it eventually turns on whatever your genetic weak link is and then you ultimately express that condition or that disease. If you have the genetic predisposition for breast cancer, then if your inflammation rises, you’re going to have breast cancer. If you have the genetic predisposition for prostate cancer, if your inflammation gets elevated, you’re probably going to get prostate cancer. The same with heart attacks, Alzheimer’s, hormone imbalance, thyroid imbalance, diabetes, fibromyalgia, peripheral neuropathy, on and on.

Are You Inflamed? 

How do you know if you have inflammation? Well, we know that inflammation is the driver of chronic fatigue and low energy, back pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia, brain fog, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, IBS, leaky gut, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, sleep apnea, thyroid imbalance, hormonal imbalance, are overweight or obese, have saggy and unhealthy skin and hair, and on and on. If you have any of these symptoms or diseases, we know that you have sub-clinical inflammation.

Where does inflammation come from? Well, that’s a great question.  In our clinics, what we do is use functional medicine (treating the root cause and not the symptoms), by looking through different areas in your body and in your lifestyle to figure out which of these things aren’t working right. Sometimes people don’t even know that they’re not working right unless they have a trained eye looking at it. We get those areas that are out of balance back into balance. As a result, inflammation starts to drop and chronic diseases start to resolve just like they did with my mom and now the tens of thousands of patients that we have worked with to achieve success in their health goals.

How do we get rid of sub-clinical inflammation and how does that work?

Some of the things I’m going to be sharing with you, you may think, “Gosh, you know, Dr. Gala, that sounds great, but I couldn’t make those kind of changes.”

I want you to take a minute right now, and I want you to think about the things frustrate you with your health. Meaning if you had a magic wand and you could get rid of any one thing with your health, what would that be? Just think for a second. What would you get rid of if you could?

How is that affecting your life? Because, really, these are your goals.  Meaning do you want to lose weight or do you want to  feel better and do the things you used to do? Do you want to heal your diabetes or are you tired of having to inject medications or check your blood sugar? Or maybe you have low energy because you have a hormone imbalance and you can’t play with your kids or your grandkids. Whatever reason, it’s important that you establish the outcomes in your life you want to see so that you are clear on your motivation to change.  For my mom it was so she could be part of our lives again, making dinner, attending our games, and going on family outings.

You are going to have to make some changes in your life. With change, sometimes that can be a little bit difficult. It’s important to establish what your goal is so that when you are faced with, “Gosh, this feels tough,” or, “Maybe I don’t want to make those changes,” you can ask yourself, “How important is it to me that I achieve these goals with my health?

The Nutritional Piece of Inflammation:

Let’s talk a little bit about nutrition.  There’s a term we like to use called genetic discordance. Just like you wouldn’t feed your horse a steak, you wouldn’t feed your lion a bale of hay. It is the same thing with humans. We are eating things that our bodies are not supposed to be eating. Now, when we do things that are outside of what our bodies are designed for, we express inflammation. We know that about 72% of average calories that somebody eats actually causes inflammation in their body. 72% of what the average American eats causes inflammation.

Let’s go over a few of these food. Dairy, we’ve all been told that dairy products are healthy for us. Milk does a body good, but why are dairy products healthy for us? A lot of people say the calcium. Other people say vitamin D.  Well, what’s the largest land mammal that’s out there? Well, the largest land animal is an elephant. My question is: Where does an elephant gets its calcium from for its bones? How much dairy does an elephant drink every day? The answer is none. Elephants don’t drink cow’s milk. Where does an elephant with these massive bones get its calcium from? Well, it gets it from its diet. We also know the other question is vitamin D. Where does vitamin D come from in milk? Well, the answer is it’s fortified. Have you ever noticed on a milk jug where it says fortified with vitamin D? Now, vitamin D should naturally come from the sun, but we aren’t getting enough. We spend so much of our time either indoors or in the car or with a long sleeve shirt or hat, and we use sunblock when we do go out in the sun. We work indoors, we live indoors, and we very rarely spend enough time in the sun to produce the amount of Vitamin D that our bodies need.

What is dairy really designed for? Dairy is really designed to help take a tiny cow and turn it into a big cow. Every time you eat dairy, you’re telling your body to go from a tiny cow to a big cow. A lot of people wonder why our obesity rates have risen so dramatically and why we’re so overweight as a nation. Well, it is because we’re eating so much dairy. It’s telling our body to grow fast, just like human breast milk is designed to help a baby start growing quickly.

The other thing I hear a lot is people say, “What about grain products?” Well, grain products, now, whether you looked at the old food guide pyramid that’s somewhat outdated or the new MyPlate, we know that grains, according to the government, grains are considered a crucial part of our diet. However, let’s look at this. Well, we’re supposed to have what? According to the government, we’re supposed to eat six to 11 pieces of bread a day or grains a day, but why? Why are grains supposedly healthy for us?

Maybe you’ve heard of gluten. Well, if you’re gluten-free, I applaud you, but that’s really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to reducing inflammation because there’s other things in grains and seeds that can cause inflammation. We also know that grains actually increase tissue acidity and raise sub-clinical inflammation. You don’t want more inflammation in your body. We know that grains can raise inflammation. We also know, a lot of people say, “Grains are good with fiber. It helps with bowel movements.” Well, that’s sort of true, but we actually know on a per calorie basis grains don’t hold a candle to vegetables when it comes to fiber. As a nation, we really need less calories because obesity rates are going up.

We also know that they’re a poor source of micronutrients. A lot of people say, “Yeah, but grains are filled with vitamins and minerals.” Well, have you ever looked on a loaf of bread or a box of crackers or cereal and noticed on the ingredient list where it says enriched wheat flour? Well, what does that mean? When we look at it, we know that grains aren’t healthy enough on their own, which is why we have to add vitamins to it just like we add vitamin D to milk because milk isn’t healthy on its own. We have to add vitamins. That’s why you see enriched wheat flour on the ingredients list. We also know grains are high in the glycemic index and load. If you want to lose weight, you absolutely want to avoid it.

I often hear,  “Yeah, but Dr. Gala, I eat pretty healthy.” My response is if you truly ate healthy, the vast majority of your inflammation would already be gone, and you would not be having your health problems– whether it’s headaches or arthritis. Your hormones would be balanced, your thyroid would be balanced, you’d be diabetic-free already, you’d be fibromyalgia-free already, you wouldn’t have peripheral neuropathy or anything else. If you were making the right dietary choices for your body, these health issues would already be resolved.

You really have two choices. You could either stay on your current path, which typically leads to increasing risk of drug reliance, heart attacks, high risk of cancer, low energy, obesity, thyroid issues, diabetes, chronic pain, et cetera, basically all the things that we associate with getting old that start sometimes as early as age 25 or 30 and just increase all the way up into our 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. Or you can learn how to reverse your current path so you can reduce or eliminate the use of drugs, surgery, and have a high fulfilled, high energy life at your goal weight without medications, so you can spend quality time with family and friends and not worry about your health in the coming months and years. The nice thing is every single day you have the power of either taking one more step towards getting healthier or one more step towards getting sicker because, just like my mom, she made intentional decisions every single day.

It is not just my mom who we have helped. Here’s the words of three clients who have reversed their chronic disease with us:

“I’ve been on the program since February. The first time I went to my doctor and I told him about the program, he said that he would be cautiously optimistic. The last time that I went to see him, he asked if I had ever thought about being a health coach. I have lost 35 pounds and still losing. I was on 1000 milligrams of Metformin twice a day and 20 units of insulin once a day and I am no longer on any medications.” -Barbara J.

“It’s been a little over two months and I’m noticing that almost all of the numbness on the top of my feet is gone, more movement in my toes. I’m definitely more steady on my feet, more flexibility in my feet, just the little bit of neuropathy pain still across the ball of my feet and up towards into the toes. In the right foot, [I’ve experienced] almost 100% [improvement]. I don’t feel any numbness on the top of my foot at all. On the left foot, about 80%.” -Ginger K.

“I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and I believe it was about 20 years ago. I was diagnosed with IBS, which caused a couple surgeries. That was probably about 10 years ago. [My IBS is] gone. It’s just basically gone. When I met Dr. Gala, my pain was probably at an eight or nine. I was struggling more than I had ever struggled with fibro. Like I said, I was pretty much bedridden. I struggled a great deal, especially the last couple years, with fibro fog. I was constantly in this foggy state. That is gone. I can feel that clearness and that’s wonderful also to be able to not feel like I’m walking around in this thick fog all the time.” -Jeanie C.

When is the best time to get healthy? 

I use the example it’s kind of like when’s the best time to wash dinner dishes, right after dinner or waiting until the next morning? Well, the best answer is doing them right after dinner and not waiting until the next morning because why don’t you wait? Well, even if after dinner, let’s say that you’re tired, you want to just go to bed, you want to lay down, you want to relax, you don’t want to do the dishes. Well, you do them anyways. Why? Because if you wait until the next morning, the food’s going to be caked on, it’s going to be dirtier, and it’s going to take a lot more work to do it later. Ask yourself this. When’s the best time to get healthy, right now- today- or waiting three to six months? I’m willing to bet the best time to get healthy is right now, so you can look and you can feel great, just like my mom and the many other people that we’ve helped. Because once you get healthy, your body looks and feels better, and it’s a lot easier to maintain.

Really, what is a day worth to you in terms of lost productivity, lost creativity, diminished momentum or lower quality of life or mental clarity or low energy or family member distraction or really quality of life with family and friends? Because no one is promised tomorrow and all we have is today to do the best that we can to take that first step in getting healthier, getting your body back into balance, getting your sub-clinical inflammation down, and working with a team and a program that thoroughly knows how to get to the root cause and help you manage that. So call our clinics now at to start to feel better today and achieve all your health goals!

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