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Some natural supplements may help fight inflammation. However, some anti-inflammatory supplements may work better than others.
Inflammation is the body’s response to irritation, infection, and injury. Short term inflammation protects the body, while chronic inflammation can lead to long term pain and damage, such as in arthritis.
Anti-inflammatory medications help fight pain and chronic
In this article, we describe some of the most effective anti-inflammatory supplements that people may wish to try, depending on the cause of their inflammation.
These supplements may help fight several types of inflammation, including vascular inflammation. Vascular inflammation is a significant risk factor for heart disease and heart attack.
The right dosage varies with the potency of the supplement. Some products come in pill form, while other manufacturers sell omega-3s as an oil. When using these products, people should always follow the instructions on the packaging.
Like many prescription anti-inflammatory medications, omega-3 fatty acids and fish oil may increase the risk of bleeding. People with bleeding disorders and those taking blood thinners should not use this supplement.
Omega-3 fatty acids are available to purchase online.
A 2011 study also found that curcumin may help reduce inflammation from obesity-related metabolic conditions. Curcumin altered several inflammatory pathways, reducing insulin resistance, hyperglycemia, and hyperlipidemia.
There are a few studies that showed curcumin alone was as than the NSAID diclofenac.
Although it is safe to take curcumin with low doses of NSAIDs, higher doses may increase the risk of bleeding. Curcumin also increases the risk of bleeding in people taking blood thinners and those with bleeding disorders.
Curcumin is available to purchase online.
S-adenosylmethionine (SAM-e) is a substance that the body creates naturally. It plays an important role in the epigenetic regulation of genes.
Epigenetic factors affect gene expression and behavior, turning some genes on or off and changing the effect of others.
Doctors sometimes recommend SAM-e to manage symptoms of depression, osteoarthritis, and certain liver conditions, as inflammation may play a role in each of these.
A handful of clinical trials have suggested that SAM-e may help relieve the pain and inflammation associated with various types of arthritis — sometimes as well as NSAIDs can.
The right dosage depends on the condition a person has. For example:
- A person may take 400–800 mg twice per day for fibromyalgia.
- A person may take 800–1,600 mg twice per day for depression.
- A person may take 600–1,200 mg divided into three times per day for osteoarthritis.
SAM-e may interact with a wide range of drugs, so people must not take it without first consulting a doctor.
At high doses, SAM-e may cause vomiting, diarrhea, gas, and nausea, so people must not exceed the recommended dose.
SAM-e supplements are available to purchase online.
Some research suggests that zinc is a potent anti-inflammatory that may support the immune system and reduce several markers of inflammation.
According to a
Several studies have suggested that supplementing with zinc may reduce infection rates by approximately 66% among elderly participants.
People with zinc deficiency are
Zinc may interact with calcium, diuretics, and certain antibiotics, so people must talk to a healthcare provider before trying this supplement.
Zinc supplements are available to purchase online.
Research suggests that green tea may inhibit the production of certain inflammatory chemicals. It may also help
Most doctors recommend drinking three or four cups of green tea per day, or taking 300–400 mg of green tea extract daily.
Green tea contains caffeine, so it is not safe for those who are sensitive to caffeine. The caffeine may cause stomach problems such as diarrhea.
Some companies make decaffeinated green tea. The caffeine content has little effect on inflammation because the anti-inflammatory benefits of green tea are attributed to its antioxidant polyphenol content like EGCG.
Green tea extract is available to purchase online.
It may also help reduce cartilage loss and reverse autoimmune symptoms. Per the Arthritis Foundation, it is a fast acting supplement that may help with osteoarthritis pain in just 7 days.
The usual dosage is an extract containing 30–40% boswellic acids, which a person takes in
Combining frankincense with curcumin
Frankincense is typically safe, with few side effects. However, some people report stomach pain and gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea.
Frankincense supplements are available to purchase online.
Capsaicin is the ingredient that gives hot peppers their heat. Substance P is a pain transmitter produced by the body. Capsaicin
Some research suggests that capsaicin may help with both
Several manufacturers offer capsaicin creams that people can apply directly to painful areas. Capsaicin supplements may also help. Again, people taking these should follow the directions on the packaging.
Capsaicin can irritate the skin and eyes, so it is essential to wash the hands thoroughly after use.
Capsaicin supplements are available to purchase online.
Cat’s claw comes from various uncaria plants, including Uncaria tomentosa and Uncaria guianensis.
Research suggests that cat’s claw may reduce various forms of inflammation. It is
If using cat’s claw tea, a person may drink a ratio of
Cat’s claw supplements are available to purchase online.
Anti-inflammatory supplements do not work for everyone. In almost all cases, these supplements take time to reverse inflammation.
Keep in mind that supplements are not FDA regulated in the same way as drugs, and therefore they cannot claim to treat or cure inflammation, pain or any disease.
So, people who need immediate pain relief may want to try other options, either in addition to or instead of anti-inflammatory supplements. Some options include:
- Over-the-counter (OTC) anti-inflammatory drugs: Medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin can help with inflammation-related pain. They may also reduce the swelling of a recent injury.
- Prescription anti-inflammatory drugs: A wide range of prescription medications can help with inflammation and pain.
For a more long-term solution, another option is to try an anti-inflammatory diet. Some people focus on eating foods that reduce inflammation, while others avoid those that may trigger inflammation.
Fried foods, soda, refined carbohydrates, and red meat may cause inflammation, while nuts and seeds, berries, olive oil, vegetables, leafy greens and seafood may help fight it.
Natural anti-inflammatory supplements can help the body fight pain and inflammation. They may even prevent some of the long term complications of chronic inflammation, such as cancer.
Before trying a new anti-inflammatory treatment, even a natural one, it is important to consult a doctor. Natural remedies are often potent medicine that can cause side effects and interact with other drugs.
When they work, however, they may reduce the need to take prescription or OTC medications.