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Fighting inflammation Advice

7 natural remedies for inflammation

While inflammation can be good for our health, it definitely isn’t when It becomes chronic. Here are 7 natural tips to eliminate it.
Woman suffering from chronic inflammation and pain
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Rédaction Supersmart.
2022-03-15Comments (0)

Inflammation: what’s the problem?

The inflammatory process is part of the body’s normal response to attack (viruses, bacteria, allergens, injuries or insect bites, for example). It is a first-line defence mechanism vital for identifying tissue damage and/or eradicating pathogens.

In its acute phase, inflammation manifests in dilation of the blood vessels which allows an influx of immune cells (primarily neutrophils and macrophages) to the affected site where, in a process called phagocytosis, they digest damaged tissue, germs or antigens.

Short-term inflammation encourages healing but when it persists, it becomes really problematic: this is referred to as chronic inflammation. With constant demands being made on the immune system, it becomes weaker and more vulnerable to disease. This ‘silent’ inflammation is indeed a factor in most long-term diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and auto-immune disorders (1-3).

A good way of identifying inflammation levels is to test the blood for C-reactive protein (CRP). Produced by the liver, this is an early and specific marker of an acute or chronic inflammatory response. Normal CRP levels are below 6 mg/L.

Get active to reduce inflammation levels

When you move around, your muscle cells release two mediators which naturally reduce inflammation levels: interleukin-6 (IL-6) and interleukin-10 (IL-10) (4). This effect is even greater in the case of prolonged physical activity. An excellent reason to put on your trainers (or head for the pool)!

Lose weight to reduce pro-inflammatory molecules

Not only does exercise offer immediate benefits, it’s also an important aid to losing weight. Adipose cells are thought to exert a pro-inflammatory effect on macrophages, large numbers of which accumulate in fatty tissue (5). So by shedding a few pounds, you’re likely to reduce your inflammation levels too.

Take advantage of antioxidants such as turmeric

A key tool in our armoury, antioxidants play a central role in maintaining inner balance. To gain maximum benefit from them, make sure you consume them regularly.

A star performer from Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric offers extraordinary antioxidant properties largely due to its content of curcuminoids (6). Unfortunately, these compounds are poorly absorbed by the body in their natural state, but cutting-edge supplements have managed to remedy this by combining turmeric with natural phosphatidylcholine (as in the product Super Curcuma, where the curcuminoids are 29 times more absorbable compared with standard supplements).

Given the complexity of the biochemical reactions that control the body, you could also diversify your intake of ‘supermolecules’, by choosing a synergistic formulation (combining turmeric with 12 exceptional substances including tulsi, bromelain, gingerols, quercetin and rutin, the supplement Inflarelief is the benchmark in this field) (7-9).

Adopt an anti-inflammatory diet

On top of increasing your antioxidant intake, reviewing your dietary habits as a whole is another way of lowering your CRP level.

The emphasis should, of course, be on fruits and vegetables, but don’t forget about pulses: as a source of fibre and plant proteins, they, along with wholegrains, provide a good alternative to meat which actually maintains inflammatory states (10). They also have a low glycaemic index, a key priority in fighting inflammation. So high-sugar foods are off the menu! (11)

Typically, our diet also has a a poor omega 6:omega 3 ratio. Though omega-6 fatty acids are essential, they exert a pro-inflammatory effect if consumed in excess. It’s a good idea, then, to redress the balance by boosting your omega-3 intake (with, in particular, oily fish, and linseed, rapeseed or hemp oil) (12).

With regard to ‘healthy fats’, palmitoleic acid (or omega-7), which is abundant in body tissues but negligible in the diet, is currently attracting considerable scientific interest (13). It may therefore be appropriate to supplement with this invaluable amino acid (by taking, for example, Palmitoleic Acid, a purified palmitoleic acid supplement, obtained from sustainably-fished anchovies).

Boost your intake of red berries

How about injecting some brightness into your diet with a bowl of berries? Despite their small size, they pack a hefty punch in terms of health benefits, because of their high content of exceptional compounds (14). Leading the pack are bilberries and grapes, both of which have antioxidant properties that come from their anthocyanin and leucocyanidin content (15-16).

If berries are something you rarely buy, think about supplementing with extracts of red berries and fruits to restore your inner balance (with a product such as AntiOxidant Synergy, based on turmeric, bilberry and grapeseed, and enriched with powerful natural substances including green tea, resveratrol, glutathione and pine bark).

Combat stress to maintain low CRP levels

No fewer than 41 studies published between 2003 and 2013 refer to a link between psychosocial stress and raised CRP levels (17). So taking time for yourself, engaging in relaxing activities and managing your emotions better could all have a positive effect in reducing chronic inflammation (and better still, preventing it!)

Try boswellia for joint inflammation

Are your knees and hips now a painful reminder of good times in your past? A resin obtained from the bark of the tree Boswellia serrata, boswellia supports joint health as a result of its high content of boswellic acid (18-19). Taken in the form of a dietary supplement (for example,5-Loxin®, standardised to 30% boswellic acid for optimal efficacy), it offers valuable support for inflamed joints.

And one last ingredient to discover is white willow bark, often recommended by naturopaths for its salicin content, which is converted into salicylic acid in the body.

References

  1. Tsalamandris S, Antonopoulos AS, Oikonomou E, et al. The Role of Inflammation in Diabetes: Current Concepts and Future Perspectives. Eur Cardiol. 2019;14(1):50-59. doi:10.15420/ecr.2018.33.1
  2. Sorriento D, Iaccarino G. Inflammation and Cardiovascular Diseases: The Most Recent Findings. Int J Mol Sci. 2019;20(16):3879. Published 2019 Aug 9. doi:10.3390/ijms20163879
  3. Duan L, Rao X, Sigdel KR. Regulation of Inflammation in Autoimmune Disease. J Immunol Res. 2019;2019:7403796. Published 2019 Feb 28. doi:10.1155/2019/7403796
  4. Ertek S, Cicero A. Impact of physical activity on inflammation: effects on cardiovascular disease risk and other inflammatory conditions. Arch Med Sci. 2012;8(5):794-804. doi:10.5114/aoms.2012.31614
  5. Bianchi VE. Weight loss is a critical factor to reduce inflammation. Clin Nutr ESPEN. 2018 Dec;28:21-35. doi: 10.1016/j.clnesp.2018.08.007. Epub 2018 Sep 3. PMID: 30390883.
  6. Jurenka JS. Anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, a major constituent of Curcuma longa: a review of preclinical and clinical research. Altern Med Rev. 2009 Jun;14(2):141-53. Erratum in: Altern Med Rev. 2009 Sep;14(3):277. PMID: 19594223.
  7. da Silva AB, Cerqueira Coelho PL, das Neves Oliveira M, Oliveira JL, Oliveira Amparo JA, da Silva KC, Soares JRP, Pitanga BPS, Dos Santos Souza C, de Faria Lopes GP, da Silva VDA, de Fátima Dias Costa M, Junier MP, Chneiweiss H, Moura-Neto V, Costa SL. The flavonoid rutin and its aglycone quercetin modulate the microglia inflammatory profile improving antiglioma activity. Brain Behav Immun. 2020 Mar;85:170-185. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2019.05.003. Epub 2019 May 3. PMID: 31059805.
  8. de Sá Coutinho D, Pacheco MT, Frozza RL, Bernardi A. Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Resveratrol: Mechanistic Insights. Int J Mol Sci. 2018;19(6):1812. Published 2018 Jun 20. doi:10.3390/ijms19061812
  9. Rathnavelu V, Alitheen NB, Sohila S, Kanagesan S, Ramesh R. Potential role of bromelain in clinical and therapeutic applications. Biomed Rep. 2016;5(3):283-288. doi:10.3892/br.2016.720
  10. Ley SH, Sun Q, Willett WC, Eliassen AH, Wu K, Pan A, Grodstein F, Hu FB. Associations between red meat intake and biomarkers of inflammation and glucose metabolism in women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Feb;99(2):352-60. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.075663. Epub 2013 Nov 27. PMID: 24284436; PMCID: PMC3893727.
  11. Fajstova A, Galanova N, Coufal S, et al. Diet Rich in Simple Sugars Promotes Pro-Inflammatory Response via Gut Microbiota Alteration and TLR4 Signaling. 2020;9(12):2701. Published 2020 Dec 16. doi:10.3390/cells9122701
  12. Calder PC. Omega-3 fatty acids and inflammatory processes: from molecules to man. Biochem Soc Trans. 2017 Oct 15;45(5):1105-1115. doi: 10.1042/BST20160474. Epub 2017 Sep 12. PMID: 28900017.
  13. de Souza CO, Valenzuela CA, Baker EJ, Miles EA, Rosa Neto JC, Calder PC. Palmitoleic Acid has Stronger Anti-Inflammatory Potential in Human Endothelial Cells Compared to Oleic and Palmitic Acids. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2018 Oct;62(20):e1800322. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201800322. Epub 2018 Aug 28. PMID: 30102465.
  14. Joseph SV, Edirisinghe I, Burton-Freeman BM. Berries: anti-inflammatory effects in humans. J Agric Food Chem. 2014 May 7;62(18):3886-903. doi: 10.1021/jf4044056. Epub 2014 Mar 17. PMID: 24512603.
  15. Ghalishourani SS, Farzollahpour F, Shirinbakhshmasoleh M, Kolahdouz S, Ghaedi E, Behrouzian M, Haghighian HK, Campbell MS, Asbaghi O, Moodi V. Effects of grape products on inflammation and oxidative stress: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Phytother Res. 2021 Sep;35(9):4898-4912. doi: 10.1002/ptr.7120. Epub 2021 Apr 28. PMID: 33908079.
  16. Luo H, Lv XD, Wang GE, Li YF, Kurihara H, He RR. Anti-inflammatory effects of anthocyanins-rich extract from bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L.) on croton oil-induced ear edema and Propionibacterium acnes plus LPS-induced liver damage in mice. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2014 Aug;65(5):594-601. doi: 10.3109/09637486.2014.886184. Epub 2014 Feb 19. PMID: 24548119.
  17. Johnson TV, Abbasi A, Master VA. Systematic review of the evidence of a relationship between chronic psychosocial stress and C-reactive protein. Mol Diagn Ther. 2013 Jun;17(3):147-64. doi: 10.1007/s40291-013-0026-7. PMID: 23615944.
  18. Siddiqui MZ. Boswellia serrata, a potential antiinflammatory agent: an overview. Indian J Pharm Sci. 2011;73(3):255-261. doi:10.4103/0250-474X.93507
  19. Yu G, Xiang W, Zhang T, Zeng L, Yang K, Li J. Effectiveness of Boswellia and Boswellia extract for osteoarthritis patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Complement Med Ther. 2020;20(1):225. Published 2020 Jul 17. doi:10.1186/s12906-020-02985-6
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