5 research-backed supplements to soothe inflammation - Healthy Living Association

5 research-backed supplements to soothe inflammation

Inflammation plays a role in all chronic conditions and aging in general. Inflamed tissues signal to our body something is wrong, so it can fight the root cause. However, in chronic conditions inflammation becomes general. When this happens, the body can no longer control it and the inflammatory response keeps your body from healing properly.

Among patients dealing with arthritis, colitis, cancer and auto-immune conditions, among others, curbing inflammation is the first step towards better quality of life. Today we’ll go over 5 science-backed supplements proven to lower inflammation. Of course, if you’re already taking medication for other conditions consult with your doctor before taking up new supplements.

1.      Curcumin

Curcumin, derived from turmeric root, is one of the most-researched natural ingredients to fight inflammation.  This compound modulates different signaling molecules [5], meaning it acts through several physiological pathways at the same time.

In fact, several studies show curcumin can help dimmish both neurologic and psychiatric conditions, fight obesity-related inflammation, control diabetes and ensure the gastrointestinal system is working at its best. Because of its properties, this compound is part of many arthritis patients’ care regime, helping them deal with stiff joints, pain and general inflammation.

However, in spite of its positive effects, curcumin isn’t widely used because of its poor bioavailability. Out of every 2 grams of curcumin, humans absorb less than 0.02%! Luckily, by adding piperine (extracted from black pepper) absorption increases by 2000%. While curcumin hasn’t been officially authorized by the FDA as an anti-inflammatory treatment in humans, thousands of patients use it daily to complement their regular treatment plan.

2.      Ginger

A spicy and fresh Asian root, ginger has many health benefits, including fighting inflammation. Its main compounds, gingerols, improve diabetes symptoms by lowering insulin sensitivity. The same biological pathways used to lower insulin sensitivity also influence a chain reaction that inhibits the body’s inflammation response [4].

In fact, several studies show ginger has a strong anti-inflammatory effect in various tissues, including the lungs. This means ginger could help with asthmatic conditions, as well as its better-known effect on flu symptoms. This root, when taken consistently, also improves arthritis symptoms and other immune disorders. To get these benefits, you’ll need to eat one 1-inch piece of ginger or so a day.

3.      CBD

CBD is short for cannabinoids. As you probably already know, these compounds come from the Cannabis sativa plant. Cannabinoids have powerful anti-inflammatory properties and its physiological pathways have been studied since the 40s.

These compounds help your cells modulate cytokines and other active molecules. In fact, they’ve shown to be effective to treat Alzheimer’s-related inflammation, retinal inflammation and even serve as a neuro-protector. Like curcuminoids, CBD acts in multiple ways at once, and its full potential is still being studied.

4.      Resveratrol

This polyphenol, found in grapes and wine, is known for its anti-aging properties. However, it can also help you deal with chronic inflammation and it’s been shown to have some anti-tumor and immunomodulatory properties.

Resveratrol inhibits pro-inflammatory compounds within the cells, while helping your body create a positive immune responses and lower inflammation. In fact, a study carried out by a European research team [2] showed resveratrol lowered inflammatory colitis and improved symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Another research team [3] found that resveratrol’s anti-inflammatory action could protect the cardiovascular system and help prevent chronic heart conditions.

5.      Vitamin B-complex

B vitamins can ease your pain and inflammation because they help lower homocysteine levels, a protein known to be involved in inflammatory reactions. B vitamins with anti-inflammatory effects include vitamin B6, B9 and B12.

According to a study published on the Arthritis Research and Therapy journal, vitamin b6 showed a strong correlation to other inflammation indicators among patients with rheumatoid arthritis [1]. In fact, the lower the vitamin B6 levels were, the higher the pain. According to that study, chronic inflammation jumpstarted a cellular process that depleted vitamin B6 levels in tissues, which in turn worsened inflammation. Ironically, some common drugs for arthritis patients -like methotrexate- can lower your vitamin B absorption.

While supplementing your vitamin B intake won’t guarantee zero inflammation, it can help break the vicious cycle and make you feel less stiff.

How should you take these supplements?

Adding these compounds to your diet can be difficult. For example, resveratrol is a volatile compound, meaning it stays in your body for a short time and you need to add grapes or wine to your daily intake. Others, like vitamin B, need you to add at least 3 portions of dark leafy greens a day, as well red meat, fish, milk, cheese and eggs.

In general, most people find it more manageable to add a well-rounded nutritional supplement like this that already has several anti-inflammatory compounds that work together. This will avoid any disruption in your usual eating pattern and make it easier to reap the benefits.

References

  1. Chiang, EP., Smith, D.E., Selhub, J. et al. Inflammation causes tissue-specific depletion of vitamin B6. Arthritis Res Ther 7, R1254 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1186/ar1821. Available here.
  2. Susana Sánchez-Fidalgo, Ana Cárdeno, Isabel Villegas, Elena Talero, Catalina Alarcón de la Lastra. Dietary supplementation of resveratrol attenuates chronic colonic inflammation in mice. European Journal of Pharmacology. Volume 633, Issues 1–3. 2010. Available here.
  3. Das, S., & Das, D. K. (2007). Anti-inflammatory responses of resveratrol. Inflammation & Allergy-Drug Targets (Formerly Current Drug Targets-Inflammation & Allergy), 6(3), 168-173. Available here.
  4. Priya Rani, K. P. Padmakumari, B. Sankarikutty, O. Lijo Cherian, V. M. Nisha & K. G. Raghu (2011) Inhibitory potential of ginger extracts against enzymes linked to type 2 diabetes, inflammation and induced oxidative stress, International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 62:2, 106-110, DOI: 10.3109/09637486.2010.515565. Available here.
  5. Gupta SC, Patchva S, Koh W, Aggarwal BB. Discovery of curcumin, a component of golden spice, and its miraculous biological activities. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2012;39(3):283-299. doi:10.1111/j.1440-1681.2011.05648.x Available here.
  6. Sumner Burstein. Cannabidiol (CBD) and its analogs: a review of their effects on inflammation. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry. Volume 23, Issue 7. 2015. Available here.

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