March is Pain and Inflammation Month
Acute or short-term inflammation is a normal immune response triggered by factors such as tissue injury or pathogens. Long-term, chronic inflammation, however, is associated with pain and chronic conditions such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. Chronic inflammation may result from infections, accumulation of environmental toxins, obesity, stress, sleep disorders, and excessive intake of certain dietary factors (e.g., saturated fats, trans fats, refined sugar). Addressing these lifestyle factors and incorporating certain dietary supplements can help manage pain and inflammation.
Below is some useful information about top recommended supplements for pain and inflammation support, I have highlighted a few in my dispensary.
Commonly known as Indian frankincense, Boswellia serrata is an ancient herb that has anti-arthritic, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory effects. Certain supplement formulations containing acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid (AKBA), the active component found in the plant, may help reduce joint pain in as little as five days of treatment. Studies in individuals with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have also shown that Boswellia serrata extracts may protect against inflammatory damage to the intestines.
Curcumin is an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory compound found in turmeric root (Curcuma longa) which gives the plant its bright yellow color. Curcumin supplementation has been shown to reduce pain, tenderness, and swelling related to several types of arthritis. The anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin may also have anti-depressant effects and provide protective effects against Parkinson’s disease.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Research suggests that higher blood ratios of omega-6 to omega-3 fats may be associated with silent inflammation in the body. The intake of the omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), can be increased by consuming fatty fish (e.g., anchovies, mackerel, salmon, sardines) and/or dietary supplements. Omega-3 supplements have a range of benefits including protecting against cardiovascular conditions and improving inflammatory and neurodegenerative conditions.
Probiotics are supplements containing beneficial microbes that may improve health by modulating the microbial composition of the gut and the body’s immune system. In addition to supporting gastrointestinal health, research shows that probiotic supplementation may help regulate anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory compounds. Specific probiotic strains have been shown to reduce symptoms of inflammatory conditions, such as atopic dermatitis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and rheumatoid arthritis.
Consider the anti-inflammatory diet
The key to a successful anti-inflammatory diet is to regulate blood glucose levels and emphasize the intake of anti-inflammatory plant-based foods and omega-3 fatty acids. Visit the Fullscript blog to learn more about addressing inflammation through the diet and to download a guide to the anti-inflammatory diet.