COMBATING INFLAMMATION NATURALLY
Inflammation is a protective attempt by the body initiate the healing process. Without inflammation, wounds and infections would never heal. However, chronic inflammation can be a sign of many diseases, such as hay fever, muscle aches and pains, arthtitis, and even cancer. There are 5 cardinal signs of inflammation which are tightly regulated by the body including pain, redness, immobility, swelling and heat. These signs of inflammation are often uncomfortable to experience, especially when they get out of control, which is why we often seek out ways to decrease inflammation.
Most over the counter and prescription anti-inflammatories come with many well-known and disasterous side-effects, such as gastric ulcers, erosion of intestinal tract, and liver and kidney toxicity. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, account for 10,000-20,000 deaths per year in the U.S. They have also been shown to increase erosion of joint cartilage and actually advancing the osteoarthritic process. These options for treatments should be used sparingly and only when absolutely necessary.
There is increasing evidence for the use of natural anti-inflammatories to help keep inflammation in check and under control. Research reveals that the efficacy of many natural anti-inflammatory agents stems from their ability to modulate the activity of the enzymes, cyclooxygenase and/or 5-lipoxygenase, specifically. Both of these processes produce prostaglandins and leukotrienes, which both contribute extensively to the inflammatory process. These natural substances have been shown to reduce inflammation and pain associated with various types of arthritis and traumatic joint injuries. Unlike their synthetic counterparts, they have not been shown to cause erosion injury to the intestinal tract, accelerate cartilage destruction or produce liver and kidney toxicity.
You should consult your health care practitioner before taking any supplement.
- Curcumin is the active anti-inflammatory agent f oun d in t he spice turmeric. It has been shown to inhibit the activity of the 5-lipoxygenase and cyclooxygenase enzymes. A large double-blind stud y demonstrated that curcumin was as effective as a powerful anti-inflamm atory drug (phenylbutazone) in reducing pain, swelling and stiffness in rheumatoid arthritis patients.
- Boswellic Acids are the active ingredient in the gum resin of the boswellia tree. These have been shown to improve symptoms in patients with osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Research indicates that boswellic acids inhibit the 5-lipoxygenase enzyme in white blood cells. As a singular agent, the usual dosage is 150mg, one to three times per day. Boswellia appears to have no important side-effects or drug-nutrient interactions of concern.
- White Willow Bark Extract provides anti-inflammatory phenolic glycosides, such as salicin, which have been shown to be effective in the treatment of arthritis, back pain and other joint inflammatory conditions. These phenolic glycosides are known to inhibit cyclooxygenase, and exert a mild analgesic effect.
- Bromelain contains anti-inflammatory enzymes that have the proven ability to suppress the inflammation and pain of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, sports injuries, and other joint inflammatory conditions. Bromelain has been shown to inhibit the cyclooxygenase enzyme and helps to break down fibrin, thereby minimizing local swelling.
- Devil’s Claw contains the anti-inflammatory agent harpogoside. Devil’s claw has demonstrated efficacy in the management of low back pain and is used traditionally as an anti-inflammatory by numerous southern African tribes.
Meschino, J. 2001. Natural Anti-Inflammatory Supplements: Research Status and Clinical Applications. December, 2001 (Vol. 01, Issue 12)
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