What Supplements Are Good For Inflammation?
Inflammation is our body’s natural response to infection or injury and in the short term, can protect us. But over time it can become debilitating, leading to pain and disease.
Parsley Health physician Darcy McConnell, MD lists five supplements which may help reduce inflammation: Fish Oil; Bromelain; Curcumin (found in turmeric spice); MSM; and Quercetin.
1. Fish Oil
Human body’s natural inflammatory response is essential in protecting against infection, illness and injury; however when chronic inflammation arises it can become painful and damageful if left unchecked. Luckily, natural supplements exist which can reduce inflammation to keep you feeling healthier overall.
Fish oil is one of the best anti-inflammatory supplements on the market due to its rich source of omega-3 fatty acids that are known to ease inflammation. Fish oil contains both eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), two such EPA/DHA that inhibit production of pro-inflammatory molecules within your body and also make platelets less sticky for reduced risk of blood clot formation.
Additionally, fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids which may help improve cholesterol levels and decrease triglycerides to greatly decrease your risk of heart disease. Fish oil also contains vitamin D which plays an integral part in bone health as well as proteoglycan formation in cartilage.
Studies have shown that taking fish oil supplements increased levels of anti-inflammatory molecules in the blood for up to 24 hours after taking. The anti-inflammatory compounds present in fish oil could boost macrophages – cells responsible for eliminating dead cells and bacteria – as well as reduce inflammation. They may even prevent plaque buildup in your arteries – an increased risk factor of heart attacks and strokes.
Fish oil offers anti-inflammatory benefits when added to a healthy diet rich in leafy green vegetables, berries, avocados, olive oil, tomatoes and nuts. You may also take omega-3 supplementation; just ensure it comes from a reliable source and adhere to dosage instructions on its labeling. It is best to refrain from fish oil consumption if you suffer from bleeding disorders or are taking blood thinners as this could increase bleeding risks significantly.
Bromelain is a mixture of protein-digesting enzymes derived from pineapple (Ananas comosus). For centuries it has been used to treat digestive problems and reduce inflammation across Central and South America, while studies suggest it can also alleviate pain caused by osteoarthritis and other conditions – more research needs to be conducted into its effectiveness as a dietary supplement.
Bromealin appears to work by modulating the activity and expression of genes involved in immunity, directly impacting white blood cells while inhibiting their production of inflammatory molecules. Furthermore, bromealin may reduce damage caused by oxidative stress by increasing antioxidant production in cells.
Animal studies have demonstrated the ability of bromelain to decrease inflammation and protect against heart disease. It works by blocking an inflammatory protein called IL-1beta produced by immune cells when damaged or injured cells become active again, as well as blocking another mediator of cell inflammation NF-kB.
Ornishin can be taken either alone or combined with other herbs as a dietary supplement and has proven its efficacy at reducing joint stiffness and pain, particularly among those suffering from osteoarthritis. One study demonstrated that the combination of bromelain, rutosid and trypsin performed as effectively for relieving knee pain associated with osteoarthritis as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs did. Saffron has also been used to aid digestion, reduce sinus inflammation and post-surgery discomfort – including nasal bypass surgeries. Saffron is generally safe, having few side effects other than potentially interfering with certain medications such as blood thinners and sedatives; pregnant women should avoid it; it may slow wound healing too – in fact MediWound offers products enriched with bromelain proteolytic enzymes specifically tailored for this use in debridement of chronic wounds that don’t heal as quickly.
Curcumin, the active ingredient found in turmeric, is an anti-inflammatory natural solution that works by blocking inflammatory pathways, inhibiting T cell activation and suppressing production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Furthermore, curcumin’s antioxidant properties provide protection from oxidative stress; Curcumin may help prevent and treat various conditions linked to chronic inflammation such as atherosclerosis, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
Studies have revealed that curcumin can increase levels of the brain hormone BDNF, which promotes cell repair and maintains healthy nerve cells while possibly helping to prevent age-related neurodegeneration. Furthermore, curcumin serves as an antioxidant that may protect against atherosclerosis, heart failure and stroke as well as being an anti-microbial with powerful killing abilities against bacteria and parasites.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a digestive condition marked by chronic inflammation of the digestive tract, and studies suggest curcumin can reduce symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating and constipation associated with IBS.
Curcumin has also proven its effectiveness in treating rheumatoid arthritis. A study concluded that patients taking curcumin supplements experienced decreased swelling and tenderness in their joints as well as reduced numbers of new inflammatory cells within them.
Studies have also revealed that curcumin can enhance patient outcomes after laparoscopic cholecystectomy due to its ability to decrease pain and fatigue following surgery.
Curcumin is an excellent natural anti-inflammatory that can serve as an alternative to prescription or OTC medications, though it’s important to speak to your physician prior to beginning any new supplements, even natural ones. They can advise you if and how much of this supplement you should take as well as providing insight on the most efficient method to take it so it will absorb into your system and be most beneficial.
MSM is an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant substance found naturally within your body that has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. It plays an integral part in producing collagen and glucosamine for healthy joints as well as certain immunoglobulins that support our immune systems, with multiple studies (including an RCT ) showing its potential in alleviating joint pain, stiffness and swelling by blocking pro-inflammatory proteins from being active.
MSM can assist in speeding muscle recovery after exercise by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress. According to one study, athletes taking 3 grams of MSM per day reported less post-exercise muscle soreness than a placebo group; MSM also reduced TNF-a and IL-6 release and increased levels of glutathione, an antioxidant powerful enough to combat cell damage from exercise.
MSM may help prevent seasonal allergies by decreasing the amount of histamine released in response to triggers, while also benefitting skin health by decreasing blemishes such as rosacea (redness, papules and visible blood vessels) and psoriasis (scaly patches on skin).
Although MSM can be found naturally in foods like milk, nuts and raw cabbage, the amounts are relatively insufficient compared to supplement standards and it can be difficult to obtain adequate levels solely through diet alone. Plus, unprocessed forms may not be ideal options for people with food intolerances or allergies. When taken as a supplement however, MSM has proven safe and well tolerated in doses up to four grams daily without interfering with medications, making it an invaluable addition in your arsenal against inflammation.
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to stress, injury or illness; when chronic inflammation takes hold it can lead to health issues including heart disease, arthritis and cancer. Quercetin is an antioxidant plant-based flavonoid that helps fight inflammation; research shows it to be more powerful than vitamins C and E as a source of protection from free radicals in the body that damage cells and speed aging.
Quercetin’s anti-inflammatory properties help combat conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases, according to research findings from one study. Researchers observed that supplementing with 500 mg of quercetin per day helped decrease levels of an inflammatory biomarker called CRP for individuals suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
Studies have also demonstrated quercetin’s ability to enhance exercise performance and decrease oxidative stress levels in skeletal muscles. Furthermore, quercetin may inhibit pro-inflammatory cytokine production while simultaneously increasing mitochondrial biogenesis – thus delaying muscle tissue aging and slowing its decay. Furthermore, quercetin prevents LDL cholesterol oxidation which may lower cardiovascular disease risks.
Quercetin has also proven itself an effective treatment option for certain forms of prostate cancer. According to research published in PLoS ONE journal, quercetin can block pro-inflammatory cytokines that lead to tumor growth and prostate enlargement.
Quercetin-rich foods such as onions, red and green apples and bilberries contain quercetin; however, eating a well-balanced diet, getting adequate sleep and managing stress are more likely to reduce chronic inflammation than supplements alone. If inflammation continues to be an issue for you, consult with your physician first before taking supplements to establish the most appropriate treatment plan for you.