|Natural Inflammation Remedies|
|The majority of people in the Western world have, through unwise monitoring of their eating habits, developed a condition in their body wherein inflammatory fatty acids such as omega-6 have free rein. For such people it is imperative to increase the consumption of anti-inflammatory fatty acids and antioxidants. The key supplements that should be taken follow:
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Fish is your key source of two key omega-3 fatty acids – eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA). These are major anti-inflammatories. EPA and DHA are essential building blocks for the body’s anti-inflammatory prostaglandins (e.g., prostaglandin E1) and for turning off Cox-2 and the body’s pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1, IL-6, and TNFa). In addition, omega-3 fatty acids block the activity of an enzyme that breaks down joint cartilage. Mackerel, salmon, trout, sardines and tuna are good sources of these fatty acids.
(Arora RB, Basu N, Kapoor V, Jain AP. Anti-inflammatory studies on Curcuma- longa (turmeric). Ind J Med Res 1971 Aug;59(8):1289-95).Curcumin is the active ingredient of the Indian spice turmeric. Over the last few decades hundreds of small scale studies have proven scientifically what Indian people have known for centuries; that curcumin has the ability to halt or prevent certain types of cancer, stop inflammation, improve cardiovascular health, prevent cataracts and kill or inhibit the toxic effects of certain microbes including fungi and dangerous parasites.
Curcumin is a naturally occurring source of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors, which can be artificially obtained through such drugs as Celebrex® and Vioxx®. People who take COX-2 inhibitors as statistically less likely to develop cancer than those who do not.
(Reddy BS, Rao CV. Novel approaches for colon cancer prevention by cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors. J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol 2002;21(2):155-64).
GLA is actually an Omega-6 fatty acid. However, it has anti-inflammatory properties, increasing production of the anti-inflammatory prostaglandin E1. Evening Primrose Oil provides an excellent source of GLA. Taken internally, the body converts GLA into prostaglandins. These hormone like compounds help regulate various body functions, controlling inflammation in some cases and promoting it in others. The anti-inflammatory properties of evening primrose oil help people suffering from pains, aches and cramps.
(Belch JJ, Hill A. Evening primrose oil and borage oil in rheumatologic conditions.Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;71(1 Suppl):352S-356S).
Serrapeptase is a proteolytic enzyme found naturally in the intestine of the silkworm. It is widely used as an anti-inflammatory agent. Clinical studies show that serrapeptase induces fibrinolytic, anti-inflammatory and anti-edemic (prevents swelling and fluid retention) activity in a number of tissues, and that its anti-inflammatory effects are superior to other proteolytic enzymes.
(Mazzone A, Catalani M, Constanzo M, Drusian A, Mandoli A, Russo S, Guarini E, Vesperini G. Evaluation of Serratia peptidase in acute or chronic inflammation of otorhinolaryngolog pathology: a multicentre, double-blind, randomized trial versus placebo. J Int Med Res 1990,18(5):379-88).
Bromelain is a plant derived proteolytic enzyme. It is extracted from the flesh and stem of the pineapple plant. It is most notable for its effectiveness in the reduction of inflammation and the decreasing of swelling. As a natural anti-inflammatory enzyme, bromelain has many uses. Arthritis patients may reduce the swelling that causes joint pain by taking bromelain. Bromelain may also be helpful for the pain, numbness, tingling, aching and loss of motor and sensory function in the fingers resulting from carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).
(Kelly, G.S. “Bromelain: A Literature Review and Discussion of Its Therapeutic Applications.” Alternative Medicine Review (November 1, 1996).
St. John’s Wort
Although it is better known for it’s anti-depressant effect, St. John’s Wort has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. In a laboratory experiment, researchers from the University of Frieburg, Germany found that hypericin, one of the constituents of St. John’s Wort, inhibited NF-kB, which activates pro-inflammatory genes.
(School of Public Health, University of California, Los AngelesResearchers at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, recently reported that the antioxidant polyphenols in green tea had anti-inflammatory properties by inhibiting Cox-2 and TNFa. Genistein inhibits prostaglandin E2 and Cox-2, and quercetin inhibits the activity of inflammation-promoting “adhesion” molecules. It’s likely that Pycnogenol, grape seed extract, and other flavonoids work through similar mechanisms.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 80, No. 6, 1558-1564, December 2004).
(Setty AR, Sigal LH. Semin. Arthritis Rheum. 2005 Jun;34(6):773-84. Herbal medications commonly used in the practice of rheumatology: mechanisms of action, efficacy, and side effects).The popular herb ginger contains over 500 different compounds, many of which have anti-inflammatory properties. Suppression of inflammation is attributed to suppression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines produced by synoviocytes, chondrocytes, and leukocytes. Ginger suppresses prostaglandin synthesis through inhibition of cyclooxygenase-1 and cyclooxygenase-2. A ginger extract (EV.EXT.77) derived from Zingiber officinale and Alpina galanga inhibits the induction of several genes involved in the inflammatory response.
Vitamin C has long been recognized for its anti-inflammatory properties. In a study published in the March, 2006 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, High blood levels of Vitamin C reduced signs of inflammation by 45 percent. The study was conducted at a London university and involved over 3200 men between 60 and 69. Researchers looked at C-reactive protein and t-PA, both markers for inflammation levels in the body. High blood levels of Vitamin C were also predictive of lower risk of blood clots, as indicated by factors such as blood viscosity.
(American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Vol. 83, pp. 567-574),
Vitamin E plays a major role in reducing inflammation as well as cleansing the body of free radicals. Ishwarlal Jialal and Sridevi Devaraj of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, Texas studied 47 men and women with adult-onset, or type II, diabetes and 25 healthy volunteers. The researchers sampled people’s blood before and after each received 1,200 international units of vitamin E daily for 3 months. The vitamin E cut production of a cytokine, an immune system signaling molecule. In test-tube experiments, white blood cells were stimulated to provoke an immune response. Cells from volunteers after treatment responded by producing about one-third as much interleukin-6–a cytokine that tells the liver to make CRP–as was generated by cells from blood drawn before people took vitamin E.
Before treatment, the 23 people with major diabetes complications such as kidney failure produced roughly twice as much C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation, as the healthy group did. Concentrations of CRP were about 33 percent higher in blood from the 24 people with mild diabetes than in the healthy volunteers.
Vitamin E supplements lowered CRP concentrations dramatically in all three groups. CRP measurements in people with mild disease fell to the healthy group’s starting concentration, and those in people with advanced diabetes fell to the concentrations detected in the other diabetic people before treatment
(Jialal I, Devaraj S. Effect of vitamin E on acute chronic inflammation in Type 2 Diabetes Patients: FREE RADICAL BIOLOGY & MEDICINE Oct. 2000).
(Upritchard JE, Sutherland WHF, Mann JI. Effect of supplementation with tomato juice, vitamin E, and vitamin C on LDL oxidation and products of inflammatory activity in type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care, 2000, 23:733-738).