What are anti-inflammatory supplements?
You would do well do think of anti-inflammatory supplements as your arsenal in the battle against the potentially debilitating symptoms of inflammation, which can occur as a result of trauma, illness and stress. Your diet and lifestyle can also be a considerable factor in inflammation, both in relation to causing and preventing it.
Inflammation does not only apply to muscular concerns but commonplace allergic reactions including hay fever and injuries that result in swelling, pain and burns. These are considered short-term cases of inflammation. Long-term and chronic conditions include cancer, diabetes and heart disease, which may not result in obvious superficial symptoms. Inflammation can last for years. It can target a particular area — like your skin, sinuses, prostate, bladder or gums.
If inflammation is something you experience and thought incurable, think again. Regulating your sleeping pattern, sticking to an exercise plan and ensuring certain vitamins and nutrients are in your diet can keep those dastardly symptoms at bay.
How do anti-inflammatory supplements work?
For gym-goers, the topic of inflammation often will come up when joints and injuries are an issue. Inflamed joints, in particular, can be fixed with a balance achieved with supplements. This should be your first port of call. Second up you should take a look at your level of activity. For full-time weightlifters, inflammation of muscles may be caused by overuse. The flip side of that is not enough use. Inflammation is common in office workers and people that do not get enough exercise.
Many things can contribute to inflammation. Firstly, your diet plays a major part. People who regularly eat refined (empty) carbs such as white bread, pastries and white sugar, along with too much boozing, junk food and processed meats can have an inflammatory effect on the temple that is the human body. But it doesn’t end there; hydrogenated trans fats, which are found in many of your favorite takeaway orders are also off the menu.
Natural food source-based diets with low carb specs or vegetarian diets help to reduce inflammation. The reason for this is that they contain many of the nutrients that will help to tackle symptoms.
So which supplements should you look up to help with inflammation, and how do they do it?
Naturally found in the spice turmeric, curcuminoid molecules are polyphenols, meaning they are chemically structured with a number of carbolic acid molecules. Curcumin is a component of the yellow spice turmeric, which you can find in curry. Healthy curry, that is, so before you run to the takeaway, remember what we previously said about empty carbs and processed foods.
Studies have shown that curcumin can subside painful inflammation. And it may have special anti-inflammatory properties in the eyes. A layer of yellow pigment helps to protect the retina — and especially, the macula — from the harmful effects of sunlight. The pigment actually acts as a filter. It blocks harmful blue UV light from striking the retina. Curcumin has been proven helpful for chronic anterior uveitis (an inflammation of the front part of the eye) and for macular degeneration.
Alpha-lipoic acid is a fatty acid that you produce naturally in your body, which plays a major role in metabolism and energy production. It also functions as an antioxidant, protecting your cells from damage and helping restore levels of other antioxidants, like vitamins C and E (1).
Alpha-lipoic acid is also a big player worth considering for reducing inflammation.
Additionally, alpha-lipoic acid may help reduce blood levels of several inflammatory markers, including IL-6 and ICAM-1. Alpha-lipoic acid has also reduced inflammatory markers in multiple studies in heart disease patients.
Tests have found that resveratrol is a more potent anti-inflammatory agent than NSAIDs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or indomethacin. Though these are safe, often over the counter medicines, tests have proven their detrimental impact upon development following a workout.
Scientific studies found that injections of resveratrol into the joints of animals decreases inflammation. It also reduces cartilage destruction. In keeping with ginger and fish oil, resveratrol inhibits a number of inflammation-producing biochemical including COX-1 and COX-2 as well as regulatory powers over certain immune cells. It may reduce T cell proliferation. T cells are involved in some autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis.
It also affects cells called granulocytes, which are known to play a part in the inflammation produced in the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease so it may be helpful in reducing the lung damage of smokers and their unhealthy habits.
Part of the turmeric family, ginger is a common ingredient in cooking and baking as well as a herbal medicine used to treat nausea and indigestion. Research also suggests that ginger is effective in fighting inflammation caused by type 2 diabetes.
Is there nothing fish oil can’t do? It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which decrease the body’s production of a long list of pro-inflammatory biochemicals, including the same ones targeted by most NSAIDs — the aforementioned cyclooxygenase (COX 1 and 2). Omega 3 also helps to reduce levels of inflammatory interleukins, a component in chronic inflammation. Studies have proven that people who eat fish are less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis, and people with rheumatoid arthritis who took fish oil were able to reduce their dosage of anti-inflammatory drugs. They also reported less pain and stiffness.
Evening Primrose Oil
Evening primrose oil has anti-inflammatory effects without the side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs. Enough said? Also referred to as sun drop, it is a cure-all that will feature in many a supplement list. But it is its anti-inflammatory abilities that can help with eczema, diabetes nerve damage, tender breasts and dry eyes. This is due to the extracted fat-rich oil that is taken from primrose seeds.