With the holiday season in full swing many people tend to fall off their normal eating patterns, stress levels rise and in combination this can lead to heightened inflammation throughout the body. But, what exactly is inflammation?
By definition inflammation is, “A localized protective reaction of tissue to irritation, injury, or infection, characterized by pain, redness, swelling, and sometimes loss of function.” In other terms, it is the body’s immune response as it tries to protect, fight off or eliminate undesirable stimuli. Not all Inflammation is the same and there’s two major categories, acute and chronic.
Acute inflammation comes about quickly and only lasts a few days to weeks. The major noticeable symptoms are pain, redness, immobility, swelling and heat. This can be anything from acne, muscle pain, a headache or the onset of a cold. When not taken care of properly, chronic inflammation can come about in which the symptoms last much longer, persisting for months to years. Chronic inflammation can cause diseases such as some cancers, inflammatory bowel disease, and autoimmune diseases, which is when the immune system attacks healthy cells mistaking them for harmful pathogens. There are hundreds of these diseases, but a few examples are Rheumatoid arthritis, Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease and Psoriasis.
Lifestyle factors can play a huge role in the body’s inflammation levels and its ability to keep it at bay. Some key players are diet (think sugar intake, identifying food allergies, avoiding processed foods, including fruits/vegetables etc.), getting enough sleep, exercise (plus recovery) and environmental exposure to free radicals like polluted city air. With lifestyle habits in check, turning to supplements can be a great way to fight off and maintain low inflammation in the body. Keep reading to find out some of the best supplement options for dealing with all types of inflammation!
If you’ve discussed inflammation with anyone in the wellness sphere, we’re sure you’ve also become very aware of turmeric. Curcumin is the active compound in that orange root which is responsible for its inflammation fighting powers. In recent years, studies have grown more common on this compound and it shows to have significant effects in helping people with all types of inflammatory conditions. Some specifics include reducing symptoms of those with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis as well as lessening inflammatory markers plus increasing the quality of life score in cancer patients. Curcumin can also be taken as a daily supplement to help with cases of acute inflammation.
The body does not properly absorb curcumin though, so getting a supplement with piperine (found in black pepper) which enhances absorption or form that has a greater bioavailability on its own, is important to ensure you’re actually getting all the anti-inflammatory benefits.
Alpha Lipoic Acid
Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) works as an antioxidant in the body, offering protection from free radicals as well as aiding in rejuvenating other important antioxidants like vitamins C and E. Using ALA has shown to be beneficial in lowering inflammation plus reduce symptoms in those with diabetes, heart and liver disease. It also aids in blood flow and overall glucose metabolism.
Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for the body to operate optimally; they help with keeping inflammation levels low as well as benefit the heart, brain, skin and more. Fish oil is the most common form of supplementation for Omega-3s as it is a great source of EPA and DHA, two extremely beneficial and active components of the fatty acids.
Taking fish oil can help with everything from diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, to everyday acute inflammation like muscle soreness or joint pain.
If following a plant-based lifestyle or seeking an alternative, seed sources of Omega-3s such as flax seed oil is a great bet. Supplementing with flax shows to be especially beneficial for cases of skin inflammation, and some of the fat does convert into EPA and DHA in the body, providing similar benefits as fish oil.
This powerful antioxidant is commonly found in food like apples and shows to decrease the production of pro-inflammatory compounds in the body.
It also halts the release of histamine, which is responsible for symptoms suffered from an allergic reaction or seasonal allergies.
Quercetin is generally a great immune booster as well, so can help with your body’s response to possible inflammatory stimuli down the road.
A common known ingredient in many dishes, when taken in supplement form this root can really tackle inflammation levels.Mostly known for its aid in curing motion sickness or nausea, ginger’s two major compounds, gingerol and zingerone, have shown to reduce inflammation in cases of kidney damage, colitis, diabetes and breast cancer.
Other studies show ginger to reduce exercise-induced inflammation like muscle soreness and be effective in reducing levels in those with rheumatoid arthritis.
Another antioxidant, resveratrol is one associated with dark colored fruits such as grapes and blueberries. This compound helps by reducing inflammatory markers and blocking inflammatory biochemicals in the body.
It has several other health benefits regarding cellular health and rejuvenation as well. Supplementing with resveratrol shows most beneficial for cardiovascular conditions including heart disease as well as gastritis, colitis and cancer prevention.
Spirulina is a blue-green algae which is a nutritional powerhouse in many ways. Its most active compound, phycocyanin, protects against free radicals and oxidative damage to our cells.
This damage is one cause of chronic inflammation responsible for cancer and other diseases. A few of its benefits are combating muscle fatigue, aiding in cancer prevention, and overall immune function.