When trying to combat inflammation, natural supplements can provide relief. Inflammation is a protective measure, taken by your cells, in response to an irritant. Exposure to a variety of environmental factors causes many cases of inflammation.
With the variety of irritants in our environment and food sources, we can take natural supplements to combat excessive inflammatory responses. When left untreated, inflammation may lead to arthritis and premature aging.
Combating Inflammation: Natural Supplements
Natural supplements are your best option to combat inflammation. Synthetic drugs can be effective in the short term, but they should never be consumed on a long-term basis unless strictly necessary.
You'll find a variety of supplements available designed to help your body combat inflammation. Keep in mind that you need to take any supplement for at least two to three months to see an effect. It takes time for your body to adjust, and the effect of these natural supplements needs to compound over time.
When starting a new supplement, assess whether or not it is working for you after four months. If you don't see any improvement, it is time to switch to another supplement. If you change to another supplement every time a bottle finishes, you're not giving it enough time to reap the benefits. Every time you switch supplements, you have to start from scratch. Don't let these types of setbacks may lead you to believe the supplements are not working for you.
Bromelain is a mixture of enzymes that are naturally abundant in pineapples. It is absorbed into your blood stream intact, so it exerts its anti-inflammatory properties throughout your vascular system. It is often used to treat inflammation and swelling due to surgery, injury, or osteoarthritis.
Bromelain works best on an empty stomach. It is recommended to take this supplement between meals if taking it to combat inflammation. This will maximize bromelain absorbency.
This compound naturally occurs in your body. It is produced by your liver and is believed to increase cartilage thickness. For this reason, it has proven to be quite effective in relieving joint inflammation. When looking for pain relief due to inflammation, natural supplements such as SAM-e are recommended over pharmaceutical choices such as Celebrex. In comparison, SAM-e has proven to be just as effective as Celebrex in the long run.
MSM is a common compound found in plants, vegetables, meat, fruit, and even dairy products. MSM stands for 'methylsulfonylmethane', and considered to have anti-inflammatory properties.
A benefit of MSM is the lack of serious side-effects. However, if taken for joint inflammation, it does relieve pain and swelling but not joint stiffness.
This is another of the inflammation natural supplements that fights inflammation at the molecular level. Cyclooxygenase is an enzyme that is strongly involved in inflammation. Devil's Claw can inhibit this enzyme, and therefore reduces the body's inflammation response. In addition, Devil's Claw also inhibits lipoxygenase, which is another compound involved in causing inflammation.
Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric, and gives foods with this spice a yellow color. Turmeric is often used in curry powders in Indian cooking. Curcumin also inhibits certain compounds involved in inflammation response. One of these is cyclooxygenase. At this time, turmeric is not yet recommended for osteoarthritis.
Just like Devil's claw, ginger also inhibits cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase. Thus, it has some strong anti-inflammatory properties. Evidence to support the use of ginger for osteoarthritis is still lacking, but people with other inflammatory conditions could benefit from consuming more ginger.
Although ginger is often used in cooking, it can be taken in more potent concentrations as a natural supplement.
Perhaps the simplest supplement you can take for inflammation is vitamin C. It acts as an anti-oxidant and combats free radicals. These are molecules involved in the cause and progression of inflammation. Vitamin C is also quite safe; it can be consumed in relatively large quantities before causing side-effects. Any excess vitamin C is disposed of through the urinary system. For best results, don't take your full daily dose of vitamin C at one time. Instead of purchasing a supplement containing 1000mg per tablet, purchase one with 500mg or less and take a tablet twice a day. By breaking up the amount of vitamin C you consume over the course of a day, you increase the amount that is absorbed into your blood stream. The body only absorbs a certain quantity of vitamin C at any one time. Excess amounts of vitamin C pass through your system unabsorbed to be eliminated in your urine. Excess doses may also cause diarrhea, nausea and headaches.
Inflammation natural supplements can interact with some drugs. For example, SAM-e interacts with a few pharmaceuticals, such as Ultram.
While natural supplements can help combat or reduce inflammation, it is important to check with your doctor before taking natural remedies. Your pharmacist will also be able to help you determine if your prescription may interact with your chosen supplement.