This post is part of a series that dissects what kinds of inflammation people get, the diseases and risks associated with such inflammation, and how we could dial it down.
What is Interleukin-8?
Interleukin 8 (IL-8) is a ‘chemokine’ produced by various immune cells. Chemokines attract other immune cells to a specific area. IL-8 an important part of our immune response .
IL-8 attracts other cells that are the real muscle of the immune system: neutrophils (also attracts eosinophils and basophils). Neutrophils consume bacteria by engulfing them. IL-8 can release molecules like histamine to facilitate the attraction of neutrophils .
IL-8’s Role in Disease
IL-8 is also known to be a potent promoter of angiogenesis, which is the growth of blood vessels. This is what helps cancer grow. It also increases the proliferation and survival of cancer cells . Indeed, increased IL-8 is associated with many cancers. Recently, IL-8 was shown to increase hormonal activity in prostate cancer cells (which helps them grow). IL-8 can also cause resistance to chemotherapy in cancer cells .
IL-8 contributes to forming plaques in our arteries . TNF, IL-1b, and IL-8 enhance the binding of cholesterol (LDL) to blood vessels and increases the adhesion of immune cells in these vessels. Both of these events contribute to atherosclerosis .
Important Contributory Factors
IL-8 is released by fat cells and is elevated in obese people and correlated with fat mass .
IL-8 and the Brain
Higher IL-8 predicted smaller gray matter volumes in the hippocampus .
IL-8 also exerts neuroprotective properties . IL-8 might be involved in the biological mechanisms mediating resilience to anxiety. In this way, it can reduce suicide among people with psychiatric conditions .
Diseases Associated With IL-8
- Heart disease 
- Cancer  – Prostate Cancer , Breast Cancer , Colorectal Cancer , Liver Cancer, Thyroid Cancer , Myeloma , among others.
- Pain [12, 13]
- CFS (post infection type)  and Fibromyalgia 
- Depression , Bipolar (could be from lithium) , Schizophrenia  – Also, children had a higher risk for schizophrenia when pregnant mothers had elevated IL-8 . High IL-8 reduced the likelihood of positive responses to antipsychotic medication .
- Migraines 
- Alzheimer’s 
- IBS , Colitis , Crohn’s 
- Thyroiditis 
- Rheumatoid Arthritis [26, 27]
- Multiple Sclerosis , Lyme , ALS 
- Behcet’s 
- Asthma and COPD , Allergic Rhinitis  (not the main cytokine)
- Sleep apnea  – probably elevated because of hypoxia
- Osteoporosis (post-menopausal) 
- Psoriasis  and Eczema 
- Gingivitis 
- Vitiligo 
Top Ways to Inhibit IL-8
- Calorie Restriction 
- Fasting 
- Wim Hof Breathing/Meditation 
- Quercetin [43, 44, 45, 46, 47]
- Bromelain  (promising, removes receptors – CD128a+b from neutrophils – unique mechanism?)
- Probiotics: B. infantis, L. casei and L. lactis , B. Longum, L. Bulgaricus , S. Boulardii , B. subtilis 
- Resveratrol (500mg, with 5g leucine) 
- Luteolin [38, 53]
- Apigenin 
- Aspirin 
- Cinnamon /Sodium Benzoate
- Fisetin , not activated basophils 
- Cod liver/fish oil 
- Licorice 
- Curcumin 
- Black Cumin Seed Oil/Thymoquinone 
- Andrographolide  (by inhibiting NF-kB)
- Vitamin D3 
- Jasmine Tea/EGCG
- Zinc 
- Red Yeast Rice/Statins 
- Theaflavins  (“Potent”)
- Artemisinin 
- Vitamin E  (alpha-tocopherol prevents UVA-induced IL-8 increase)
- Cortisol/Glucocorticoids/Dexamethasone 
- alpha-msh 
- ACTH 
- DHEA 
- Progesterone 
- Estradiol  – in cystic fibrosis
- LLLT [74, 75, 76]
- ACE inhibitors  – blood pressure lowering drugs. Many natural products are also ACE inhibitors.
- Theanine  (via NF-kB)
- Rutin 
- Milk thistle/Silymarin 
- Phytic acid  – in plant-based foods
- Oat /Oat polyphenols 
- Ginkgo 
- Grape Seed Extract 
- Parthenolide/Feverfew  – (via inhibiting NF-kB, TNF, and IL-1b)
- Echinacea , Danshen , Kaempferol , Chrysin , Caffeic acid , Sumac ,
- Doxycycline 
- Oxidative stress  (specifically, H2O2) – but H2O2 inhibits IL-8 production in neutrophils 
- Sun/UVB  + UVA 
- Exercise  – small and only locally in muscle.
- Obesity  – IL-8 is released by fat cells.
- Smoking 
- Estradiol  – in breast tissue
- Salmonella 
- Angiotensin II 
- Homocysteine 
- Lithium  (in intestinal cells)
- Resistant starch/Butyrate  (intestinal cells)
- Asian Ginseng (some parts) 
Want More Targeted Ways to Combat Inflammation?
If you’re interested in natural and more targeted ways of lowering your inflammation, we at SelfHacked recommend checking out this inflammation wellness report. It gives genetic-based diet, lifestyle and supplement tips that can help reduce inflammation levels. The recommendations are personalized based on your genes.
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