Chronic inflammation has become a major health issue today.
It is important to distinguish acute from chronic inflammation. Acute inflammation is a short-term process. It is the body’s natural riposte to invaders such as bacteria, viruses, and so on. It involves a physiological response that triggers different immune, endocrinal and neurological mediators necessary to properly repair. It is not dangerous and rather a sign of good health!
Chronic inflammation is a different matter. Both external and internal factors need to be taken into consideration before defining a healing process. Adrenal glands, gut health, liver function, but also diet, pollution, stress, and physical activity...
Only a systemic approach and the usage of natural supplements for inflammation can slowly bring back the body's natural homeostasis - a set of regulated internal conditions that allow us to maintain balance.
In cases of acute inflammation, conventional treatment often includes the use of pain relievers and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen.
Corticosteroids such as cortisone and prednisone are often prescribed in cases of chronic inflammation such as arthritis but also in cases of auto-immune disorders, allergies, and other inflammatory diseases.
The side effects of corticosteroids are rather damaging: weight gain, insomnia, mood changes, fluid retention, dysbiosis, hormonal unbalance, high blood pressure, and muscle weakness...
I highly recommend that you keep away from these drugs (unless of course there is no other alternative) and trust other methods.
BEST NATURAL ANTI-INFLAMMATORY REMEDIES
“The microbe is nothing. The terrain is everything.” Louis Pasteur (1822-1895)
In the case of chronic inflammation, it is essential to follow the right diet, as well as to supplement with drugs that will have an effect throughout the whole body (and not just a part of it).
- First insure that you have a healthy alkaline-forming and anti-inflammatory diet: eat a minimum daily amount of 800g of vegetables. Avoid dairy products, processed foods, gluten and refined carbs. Eat plenty of nuts and healthy oils. A fibre-poor diet will increase the number of gut gram-negative bacteria that contain a high amount of LPS. Lipopolysaccharides are highly toxic molecules responsible for inflammation if released into the bloodstream through a damaged gut lining. A proper fatty acid balance is essential in trying to reduce inflammation. Supplementation in Omega 3 EPA and DHA is one of the first steps to take in case of chronic inflammation. An easy habit is to mix two-thirds of canola oil and one-third of flaxseed (use 2 tablespoons a day on your salad). But this is far from being sufficient and supplementation is necessary as it often takes a minimum of a year to restore optimal fatty acid levels.
- Restore a healthy microbiome with probiotics and glutamine: inflammatory messengers are released inside the gut lining. The first step to take in the case of inflammation is to supplement in glutamine (an amino acid that is essential for proper immune functioning, and plays a major role in gut lining construction). A regular intake of probiotics for inflammation may help reduce the response by nourishing the proper gut bacteria and limiting the production of IL6 cytokines and TNF&, 2 major pro-inflammatory mediators.
- Magnesium is one of the best supplements to reduce inflammation in the body, an essential mineral involved in modulating the inflammatory process. Modern diets do not supply us with sufficient amounts and supplementation is often necessary and has high chances to help in cases of inflammation. There are many types so it is important to use bio-available forms such as glycerophosphate, malate, or glycinate.
- Plants are very efficient: they are of many types and must only be used under the advice of a specialist. "Adaptogen" plants, such as ginseng, eleutheroccocus, and rhodiola strengthen our resistance to stress and normalise the body's release of hormones.
Other plants such as blackcurrant and harpagophytum or Devil’s Claw (use plant extracts) have proved very effective as an inflammation-reducing supplement and a way of lowering muscle and joint pain.
Plants, herbs, vitamin supplementation, and natural remedies are numerous. The aim here is to inform on the holistic process involved when treating inflammation, rather that make a list of "possible solutions".
As mentioned, the first step is to understand the deep reasons underlying the inflammatory process. This must be done with the help of a specialist. The second move is to adopt a proper diet and the best anti-inflammatory supplementation suited to each individual case.
Author: Marie-Noëlle Bourgeois, Nutritionist at Bounce Up Micronutrition
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- Glutamine: Metabolism and Immune Function, Supplementation and Clinical Translation, Nutrients 2018 Oct 23. Vinicius Cruzat , Marcelo Macedo Rogero , Kevin Noel Keane , Rui Curi , Philip Newsholme
- Denis Riché, Micronutrition, Santé et Performance, ed. de Boeck, 2015.