Diet and Supplementation to Reduce Inflammation

December 21st, 2014 by Dr. Keith Nemec

According to the Surgical Neurology International research group, pain, heat, redness and swelling are the class signs of the inflammatory process. Usually the origin of pain is an inflammatory response. For centuries, natural anti-inflammatory agents have been used to lessen the effects of the inflammatory process often with fewer side effects.

The active ingredients of plant based omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), enhance the conversion of COX to prostaglandin E3 which is a natural anti-inflammatory agent. Prostaglandin E3 prevents the effects of arachidonic acid conversion to prostaglandin E2, which is a very inflammatory substance and is commonly created from meat, dairy and starch consumption. The EPA and DHA degrade the cytokines enzymes associated with the inflammatory mechanism.

White willow bark is one the oldest herbal remedies for inflammation and pain, dating back centuries to Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Indian civilization, primarily used as an antipyretic and analgesic agent. Aspirin has common gastric side effects and that brings many to look for alternatives such as white willow bark for an inflammatory syndrome treatment. The process of action that white willow bark has is similar to aspirin which inhibits COX-1 and COX-2, which is thus used to prevent inflammatory prostaglandins.

Capsicum annum is a small spreading shrub that has been used for centuries and grown throughout the world. It is a small red fruit and is commonly known as a chili pepper, yet its stinging pungency is from the chemical capsaicin. Capsaicin activates a receptor vanilloid 1, which is the body’s main receptor for nociception. There is also an inhibition of NF-kB which produces an anti-inflammatory effect. This herb can be used alone, but is commonly mixed into natural anti-arthritic herbal mixtures. It has also been used for peripheral neuropathies and chronic musculoskeletal pain.

Curcumin is a natural occurring yellow pigment from turmeric, a flowering plant of the ginger family. It is commonly used as flavoring and coloring spice in certain foods. Curcumin has a long history of being used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines as an anti-inflammatory component, healing digestive disorders and to improve wound healing. Numerous clinical trials have shown curcumin’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antineoplastic properties including treatment for cystic fibrosis.  Curcumin has also been a proposed treatment for arthritis, chronic neurodegenerative diseases, colitis and cancer. Essentially it regulates the activity of several enzymes and cytokines to prevent COX-1 and COX-2.

In a randomized, double-blinded crossover trial, hempseed oils and flaxseed oils were compared with the same doses for 4 weeks. The hempseed subjects increased concentrations of both L A and GLA in serum levels. It was also found that levels of arachidonic acid in cholesteryl esters were lower after the flaxseed diet compared to the hemp seed diet, but both had a decreased level. However, the hempseed subjects resulted in lowered total cholesterol.

From a double-blind trial, 260 individuals with arthritis of the knee were given a placebo or Avocado unsaponifiables (AU) at 300 or 600 mg daily for 3 months. It was shown that the AU mix significantly improved arthritis symptoms compared to a placebo. More importantly, NSAID and analgesics taken by subjects decreased their dosage by 51% in 71% of subjects.

For individuals with low vitamin D levels, there is an association with increased levels of inflammation and oxidative load. A prospective study of more than 3000 male and female subjects scheduled for coronary angiograph, found a positive correlation between low vitamin D levels, cardiovascular health as well as all-cause mortality. Vitamin D has also been correlated with several contributing factors to the development of inflammatory diseases including type 2 Diabetes and defects of pancreatic cell function, insulin sensitivity and systemic inflammation. Subjects were from the Framingham Offspring Study and there were 1,739 men and women without prior cardiovascular disease.

Inflammation in the body can lead to numerous disorders and diseases that plague Americans. Plant based omega-3 fatty acids, which comprise of DHA & EPAs, have countless positive effects on the body being an anti-inflammatory response. White willow bark is used to treat inflammatory and a pain and inhibits COX-1 and COX-2 which prevents inflammatory prostaglandins. Chili peppers contain capsicum which prevents a protein that causes inflammation. Curcumin is from turmeric, which has anti-inflammatory effect as well, but also heals digestive issues and improves wound healing. Intake of Hemp and Flax seeds help to lower arachidonic acid as well as cholesterol serum levels. Intake of an avocado significantly decreased arthritis symptoms. Vitamin D has numerous benefits but also many anti-inflammatory diseases.

 

 

 

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