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Calm Inflammation with these 3 Supplements

Pain, heat and redness are the main signs that indicate some inflammatory process is occurring in the body. In most cases where we feel pain it is actually inflammation that is causing it. Anti-inflammatory drugs known as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflam

2021-07-19 21:47:09

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Pain, heat and redness are the main signs that indicate some inflammatory process is occurring in the body. In most cases where we feel pain it is actually inflammation that is causing it. Anti-inflammatory drugs known as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory), have been developed to target a specific pathway that mediates pain and inflammation. While they are effective in reducing inflammation they also come with some significant side effects. Most commonly regular NSAID use can lead significant stomach pain, gastric ulcers and bleeding, but they have also shown to delay muscle and ligament repair, lead to significant kidney damage and double the risk of blood clots and heart attack(1). With all of these negative side effects it may be time to consider taking some natural anti-inflammatory supplements. Natural supplements can work in a similar manner to NSAIDs but can also act to control inflammation through other pathways. They have shown to be effective and have far fewer harmful side effects.

 

Here are three of the best natural anti-inflammatories:

 

Omega-3

Omega-3 supplements are well known to be some of the most effective natural anti-inflammatories available. Studies show that taking an omega-3 supplement like fish oil can decrease inflammation through a variety of mechanisms. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are omega-3 fatty acids that decrease the activity of arachidonic acid (ARA) which is an omega-6 fatty acid and is known to play a role in the production of inflammation in the body(2). Decreasing the activity of the ARA pathway limits the production of a number of different inflammatory chemicals. EPA and DHA also appear to help produce other anti-inflammatory molecules in the body(2). With inflammation being a large part of the pathology of heart disease and other chronic conditions, the American Heart Association now recommends that people take an omega-3 supplement to prevent heart disease(1). A recent study was conducted with 250 people who were suffering from degenerative discs in their upper and lower back and taking NSAIDs for their inflammation. 59% of these subjects were able to successfully substitute their NSAID with fish oil at a dose of 1.5-5g/day of EPA and DHA. Omega-3’s are an effective and safe alternative to NSAIDs and should be considered in anyone experiencing inflammatory related pain. 

 

Boswellia

Boswellia is a species of trees that are found in India, Northern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. They are responsible for producing a resin that people know as frankincense and has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties(1). It is commonly used to treat degenerative and inflammatory joint disorders and can reduce immune and inflammatory markers in joint fluid. Boswellia specifically seems to target a secondary inflammatory pathway that is different than typical pathway that NSAIDs target. Because of this they may be a good option when people find that NSAIDs are not working for them. Boswellia can often be paired with curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric for an improved and synergistic effect for treating inflammatory conditions like arthritis. Boswellia is generally well tolerated and safe with some people reporting minor side effects such as nausea, diarrhea or acid reflux. Doses are generally 300-500mg, 2-3 times per day and the extract should be standardized to 30-40% boswellic acid(1). 

 

Serrapeptase

Serrapeptase is a proteolytic enzyme that appears to decrease inflammation through a variety of mechanisms. It was in the 1950’s that enzymes in general were first discovered to decrease inflammation from conditions as wide ranging as rheumatoid arthritis to viral pneumonia and post-surgical swelling(3). Further research in the 1980’s and 90’s compared the inflammatory potential of a number of different types of enzymes, and discovered that serrapeptase was the most effective. The exact mechanism of how serrapeptase acts to decrease inflammation in the body is not known completely as a number of unique actions have been seen. This includes reducing the damaging effects of histamine in the body’s blood vessels, breaking down abnormal proteins and damaged tissues without harming living tissues, promoting wound healing and restoring normal skin temperature in inflamed and traumatized areas(3). It appears to be absorbed easily when taken orally and gets concentrated into inflamed tissues within an hour of consumption(3). While there is limited research on serrapeptase its wide range of effects make it a promising natural option to alleviate inflammatory conditions in the body. 

 

1.         Maroon JC, Bost JW, Maroon A. Natural anti-inflammatory agents for pain relief. Surg Neurol Int. 2010 Dec 13;1:80. 

2.         Takkouche B. Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Chronic Pain:A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Pain Physician. 2016 Nov 14;8;19(8;11):521–35. 

3.         Tiwari M. The role of serratiopeptidase in the resolution of inflammation. Asian J Pharm Sci. 2017 May;12(3):209–15. 


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